Author : Freddy Foote
Packed Full Of Surprises
The new Surtees 6.7 Weekender was released earlier in the year at the Auckland Boat Show, and not only did it win an award for aluminium fishing boats 6-7m, it also won our own award, the People’s Choice Award, for boat of the show. Freddy Foote went to check it out.
The 6.7 Weekender appeals to current Surtees owners who want to take the next step and upgrade. While also being a blue water boat, it has gained a lot of appeal from fresh water users, who want a boat to explore some of New Zealand’s many lakes and to be able to accommodate 2-3 people overnight.
“They want all the comfort of a small launch, and be able to moor the boat into a 7m berth,” says Phill Noblett, sales manager at Surtees Boat.
“With the design of the 6.7 Weekender we had to decide how much of the boat was actually a caravan and how much was a fishing boat, and we think we got it pretty right.”
Throughout the range, Surtees is able to alter cabin and cockpit lengths to suit an owner’s needs.
The 6.7 sits in-between a couple of popular Surtees models, the 6.1 Barcrusher and the bigger 8.0m Sportfisher. As a demonstrator model for Surtees dealer, Rotorua Marine & Leisure, this particular model had been set up with a whole host of extras and would make a great overnighter for blue water as well as fresh water boaters.
In the cockpit, fishability is a main feature with a good-sized work area able to accommodate four people fishing with relative ease. One neat and innovative feature is a tackle box built into the base of the bait board. On the port side, built into the transom is a live bait tank that is fully plumbed to circulate the water, and also features a see-through window.
A walk-thru is also available on the port side, and the sizeable boarding platform is fitted with a dive ladder. On the starboard side of the boarding platform is a built-in berley pot.
A large 100-litre storage compartment is located in the floor, with additional full length side shelves on each side of the cockpit, both big enough to fit dive bottles. In keeping with the diving theme, a hot water shower is fitted in the forward port corner of the cockpit – great for those who want to warm up after a dive, and also a great feature to appeal to overnighters.
Cockpit seating is entirely removable, and consists of seats that clip onto the cockpit sides and can slide up and down the length of the cockpit with ease. A fold down seat is positioned aft and when folded out of the way, conceals the boat’s batteries, which are located on a shelf above the floor.
When the cabin door is hinged back in the open position an innovative table has been built into the inside of the door. It folds up into place and provides a place to put a small stove.
Inside the cabin, seating is made up of a fixed squab seat for the driver and another for the passenger’s side. Under the helm seat is a 12V 40-litre fridge/freezer and above that a pull out drawer. On the opposite side under the passenger seat is a large plastic 75-litre fresh water tank that is removable. It’s plumbed into a sink and tank unit that is fixed into the corner behind the seat.
Forward in the actual cabin, is a full 2.2m berth that with an infill converts into a large double berth, and as Phill pointed out, can accommodate three people if you’re really close friends!
Storage is under the squabs, while full-length shelves run up the cabin sides. An electric flush toilet is also fitted under the forward squab, and for additional privacy a curtain can be pulled across.
Surtees hasn’t left his innovative ideas just for the boat, these ideas have also extended to the trailer as well. A hook like piece of aluminium has been built into the towing eye in the bow, and with a catch on the trailer, allows the boat to be driven straight onto the trailer. The catch locks into place when the hook makes contact, meaning no one has to get wet!
The entire Surtees range feature a flooding keel, and a boat the size of the 6.7 can hold around 400 litres, right from the keel forward to the anchor locker. The benefit of this system is that the boat maintains waterline length at all times, so especially at rest. The water ballast system can also be closed off – a door can be moved into place by pulling a rope located at the stern. This allows water to be kept out, or by locking the water in the hull, giving 400kg of ballast, lowering the centre of gravity, lowering the boat into the water, ideal for those really rough water conditions.
Powered by a 175hp Mercury OptiMax, the Surtees 6.7 managed to pull 41.5mph. While the hull is rated from 150hp-225hp, I’d personally set the boat up with a 200hp outboard, as I think a little extra power would be ideal. While I didn’t get the opportunity to test the boat in any rough water, as a big ‘high’ over much of the country and little wind meant it was perfect for boating wherever we went, and as for a backdrop, it didn’t get any better than our test venue, Lake Rotoma, just outside Rotorua.
Power options include twin outboards and diesel sterndrives, the lightweight all-aluminium 181 propshaft hp Volvo Penta D3 with SX drive being particularly well suited to the hull. (This unit is only 46kg heavier than a 6-cyl. Verado.)
The Surtees have traditionally been renowned for their soft ride, a fine entry design with a variable 18 degree deadrise ensures this, and by having the flooding keel, allows the boat to have exceptional stability at rest. Really, you have the best of both!
On a run up the lake, I noticed that the 6.7 does run quite flat, and to lift the bow even slightly needed almost maximum trim, which is also a character of Surtees boats.
The helm position was very comfortable, with enough room given between the helm and the seat base to stand. Surtees Boats is always willing to semi-customise its layouts, and it’s not a problem to move a bulkhead a few hundred millimetres to accommodate your needs.
Sliding side windows are a good feature, providing ample ventilation in the cabin, which is essential during those hot summer months.
This was in fact my first ever experience in a Surtees, and I can now see why the boats are so popular. I can see that the design team sits down and takes note of what owners have said about the boats, bringing in new ideas and concepts to make the product even better. And while Surtees boats aren’t built under the CPC banner, all are built to survey standard.
With the success of the brand here in New Zealand, Surtees is also set to launch into the Australian market, with a distributor now set up in Perth.
- Model: Surtees 6.7 Weekender
- Price as Tested: $87,500
- Designer: Neil Surtees
- Material: Aluminium
- Type: Hardtop
- LOA: 6.7m
- Beam: 2.35m
- Deadrise: 18 degrees
- Hull Configuration: Mono
- Trailerable Weight: 1800kg
- Engine Capacity: 150-225hp
- Power Options: Outboard/Sterndrive
- Fuel Capacity: 200 litres
- Engine: Mercury Optimax 175hp