Text by Mike Rose
HIGH & HANDY
The latest addition to the Smuggler range has been designed to offer both comfort and protection for even the tallest amongst us.
The new Smuggler 620HT, released at the recent Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show in Auckland in May, sits about midway in the company’s range of GRP family cruisers. Like much of the range, it owes its genesis to the Scott Robson designed hulls of the old Bonito range. Smuggler owners David and Pauline Pringle bought the range at the beginning of the new millennium and have been consistently modifying and modernising them since then. The result is a range of soft-riding, well performing GRP boats that combine stylish contemporary good looks with the latest boatbuilding techniques.
Those familiar with the Bonito 585 on which the 620HT is based would struggle to recognise the older version. Gone is the old outboard well, replaced with a straight transom on a slightly lengthened hull. Gone, too is the old fashioned bow. In its place, a more stylish offering, specifically designed to incorporate a captive, through-the-pod anchor and, if the owner wishes, a drum winch.
What hasn’t gone is the great riding hull. Regardless of whether the 620 is running upwind or down, or across the waves, the angles hardly change, except in the turns. It is an impressive performance from this new 6.2m vessel.
The hardtop on the 620 will easily accommodate a pair of All Black locks, probably with some headroom to spare! There’s lots of other comforting touches, too, and a fairly big variety of options as well. You can choose the outboard brand of your choice and, with a recommended range between 115hp and 175hp. A Yamaha 150hp four-stroke will hit an impressive 47mph at 5500rpm..
This Smuggler philosophy of offering as much choice as possible also carries over to the seating arrangements. Clients can choose twin pedestals, twin King/Queen or any combination they prefer. The King/Queen module includes a hinged top that allows the seating to easily lift up, giving access to a large dry stowage area beneath.
Many shades of grey
The 620’s interior finish is an impressive study in different shades of grey. The cabin is another area where there is more space than one would initially think. With its infill in place, there is easily enough space for a couple to overnight if they wish. David has plumbed in a pump-out toilet in the traditional spot between the berths and, for those keen to spend a night or two away, options include a fresh water tank, a stove and, of course, a barbecue. Range is also not an issue as the 620 now boasts a 200-litre fuel tank.
As mentioned, the area under the hardtop is a spacious one and it has a light and airy feel about it, too. In order to ensure great all-around visibility, David has used glass for the forward and side sections of the screen and Perspex curves for the bits in between. While that won’t be to everyone’s taste, I think it is a good compromise: the visibility is excellent with no blind spots and most of the time and from most angles the difference is barely noticeable. Another big plus is that the side windows can both open, providing welcome air flow and cooling on hot windless days at rest or when trolling.
The Pringles added the 620 HT to their range after finding clients liked the size and layout of the 620 but really wanted a hardtop. Feedback since has proved they are on the right track with many saying they like the idea of a practical 6m hardtop, that doesn’t require a huge tow wagon to move around.
With its 21 deg deadrise, it will cope with just about anything and its large hardtop means it will comfortably accommodate just anyone as well. Although not set up primarily as a fishing boat it has enough fishing features (a transom mounted bait board, twin rod holders in the side decks and stowage in the side lockers) to do the job more than adequately.
There is also plenty of scope to take this family day cruiser and turn it into either an overnighter or a more dedicated fisher. Neither would take a lot of work, nor would they break the bank.
- Model & Model: Smuggler 620 Sport Hardtop
- Priced from: $NZ69,000
- Construction: Fibreglass
- LOA: 6.2m
- Beam: 2.44m
- Deadrise: 21 degrees
- Height on trailer: 2850mm
- Trailerable weight: 1600kg (dry)
- Test Power: Yamaha F150 4 stroke
- Fuel Capacity: 200 litres
- Manufacturer: Smuggler Marine