Sea Nymph is back. With a raft of new models on the way, we sent Freddy Foote along to check out their all-new Oasis 635 model.
The Sea Nymph name is one nearly every Kiwi boatie is familiar with and for a lot of us our first boating experience was probably in a Sea Nymph.
The brand has been around since the 1970’s, with models such as Blazer, Hustler and Regal very well known. Like any company, the brand has been through various ownerships, and since 2002 it has been under the ownership and direction of Robbie Hopper.
The brand has been a little bit quiet on the New Zealand market the last couple of years, but after shifting the manufacturing to China, it’s back.
“The main reason for the brand to move its manufacturing into China was so that we could target more overseas markets and supply from there,” says Hopper.
“That’s what we’ve been doing the last few years.”
Hopper plans to manufacture ten models from 4.8m to 10m including runabouts; hard tops, Targa tops and European styled enclosed hardtop models. Many of the popular models of the past such as the 480, 580, 640 Blazer, 650 and Hustler will once again be available in New Zealand.
“They’re all good boats, and have been very popular for a long time, so we’ll look to re-establish those in the market as we as a host of new ones not seen before.”
“We’ve stuck to the size of our boats. Some builders who build offshore have made their boats narrower to fit in containers for export. For us, it just means we have to lean the boat over further to get it into the container.”
The boats arrive in New Zealand about 90% complete. From the distribution base in Silverdale, the Sandbrook windscreens are fitted as well as the having the outboard motors rigged.
Hopper has made taken the step to build traditional optional extras as standard into the New Sea Nymph boats, something he says he can only do if he manufacturers offshore. As an example, on this 635 Oasis, the Targa top, ski pole, bait board, rod holders, drum auto capstan, bin seating, handrails – all come as standard.
As tested the Sea Nymph Oasis 635 is $69,990, which for the level of appointment, the size of the boat is pretty exceptional.
“We’ve made sure that the design continues to suit New Zealand boaties and have been able to offer all the features that New Zealand boaties want, at an affordable and cost effective price.”
Having spent an afternoon aboard the Oasis 635, I got a good appreciation for how functional, spacious and well appointed the boat was.
The seating configuration consists of twin swivelling pedestal seats, mounted atop of moulded bases with storage provide underneath. Aft, there is full-width bench seating, which is made up of two removable bin seats. This gives you seating for at least six people.
In the cabin, a large V-berth provides storage underneath, and there is provision for a toilet as an option. Side shelf storage is deep and will provide a handy place to store life jackets. While the squabs are upholstered in vinyl, the rest of the cabin area is finished with soft carpet.
The cockpit is very roomy and provides plenty of space to move around, and fisherman will love it. Gunwale thigh-padding runs along the upper inside edge of the cockpit sides, and below you’ll find storage racks for rods – a feature I love, it’s so much better than just throwing them into the side shelves on their own.
Rod holders were exactly where needed, with four built into the coamings with a further six in the Targa top/rocket launcher above. A stainless steel ski pole is mounted in the centre of the transom and can accommodate a removable bait board.
Aft, there is a healthy sized underfloor storage locker, big enough for dive bottles, while ahead of that, and between the seats is hatch access to the 180L underfloor fuel tank.
In the port corner, an infill into the transom is removable and once removed quickly creates a walk-through to aid in entering the boat from the water, or perhaps to haul aboard that large game fish. Aiding access into the boat from the water is a stainless telescopic boarding ladder, which is positioned on the port-boarding platform.
The cockpit and tops of the coamings are finished in Ultralon, which is a soft foam type finish that not only gives the boat a nice look, but certainly makes it nicer underfoot to walk and stand on.
At the Wheel
The seating position is very comfortable; the helm seat allows you to sit nice and high, with excellent visibility forward through the curved glass windscreen. Underway you get minimal wind in your face and a moulded footrest below keeps your legs elevated and comfortable.
There is also a lift up bolster in the base of the seat, which allows you stand to drive should you wish. When standing, there is plenty of headroom from the Targa top above, and once back home the whole Targa top structure can fold down allowing you to garage it should you wish.
Passenger comfort is aided by a sturdy handrail that runs along the entire inside top edge of the curved windscreen.
At the helm, the dash is minimalist with the Suzuki digital engine gauge above, with a Lowrance HDS 12 below and the switch panel alongside.
Test day conditions were quite calm as we explored the upper waters of the Hauraki Gulf. The ride was comfortable and dry, the strake less hull making short work of some small chop we found further offshore and overall, the boat was easy to drive and easy to trim. At rest, the boat was ultra stable, and two of us moved around the cockpit with no excessive lean.
Our test boat was powered by a Suzuki 150hp four-stroke, but you have the option of anything from 150hp as seen here through to 225hp.
The 150hp Suzuki on our test day managed to achieve 37 knots @ 6000rpm using 61.0L/H. At a comfortable cruise of 21.5knots @ 4000rpm, the Suzuki was consuming 20.0L/H. The economy at trolling speeds was pretty good. 7.0 knots @ 2000rpm showed 6.8L/H on the Suzuki engine instruments. Pull that back slightly to 6.5 knots @ 1700rpm, and the fuel use is just 4.4L/H. Combine that with the 180L fuel tank, and you’ll have hours and hours of game trolling at your disposal.
Our test day performance figures were achieved with two adult passengers onboard and a full fuel tank of 180L.
Hopper packages his boats with Suzuki outboards as he believes they are one of the best outboards on the market – however, I’m sure you could have any motor you wanted.
I found the 150hp performed exceedingly well. Overall, it gave exceptional punch out of the hole and delivered respectable fuel figures. As I mentioned earlier, the hull is rated for up to 225hp outboards, and I think a 200hp would be a good match for those who are going to load the boat up with dive gear, etc. But for most of us, the 150hp will be more than adequate while also keeping the whole package very affordable.
Speaking of affordable, let’s talk about the price. This boat as tested is $69,990, which when you look at everything that it is included in the package as standard is incredible value for money. I had a quick browse online, and I found comparably sized models from other New Zealand manufacturers for the same price, but they did not have such features as the Lowrance MFD, the ski pole, Targa top and bin seating as standard.
Overall, a great package that looks superb goes great, and if you’re in the market for a GRP boat in this size, the Oasis 635 is going to be hard to look past.