Life-changing prize package
Surtees and Yamaha combine to produce amazing ‘world’s most valuable’ show prize masterpiece
As far as anyone can tell, there has never been a boat show prize like it. Not only in New Zealand or Australia but literally anywhere on the planet.
Long time Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show exhibitors and sponsors have truly created something special for this year’s event: a Surtees/Yamaha Grand Prize boat package that comes with a retail value of more than $207,000!
At the core of the package is the flagship of the Surtees range: a fully-featured 750 Game Fisher Enclosed Cabin.
Powering it along, at speeds up to 47 knots, are twin Yamaha F150F (XCA) 2.8 litre 4-stroke outboards, complete with the latest electronic ‘fly-by-wire technology and swinging Yamaha Reliance SDS (Shift Dampening System) 13 ¼ x 19P polished stainless steel propellers.
And then there are the extras: the Epic double-axle braked trailer, the suite of Garmin electronics worth upwards of $10,000, the Balex Auto Boat Loader, the Lone Star drum remotely-controlled windlass, the Hella LED lighting package, the outriggers, the list goes on.
If it sounds impressive on paper, in real life it looks even better. In its temporary home at Andrew Carlson’s Fishing Boats NZ on Auckland’s North Shore, the Grand Prize boat dwarfs the other vessels on show. Resplendent in its burnt orange exterior paint scheme it has already, in the short time it has been there, attracted a huge amount of attention — and several “I’ll buy it on the spot” offers! (Especially, apparently from those with similarly-coloured vehicles keen to have a matching set.)
With a trailerable weight of around 2.5 tonne and capable holding an impressive 300-litres of fuel, this is not a rig for the family sedan. However, thanks to those twin axles and the independent breaking, our tow vehicle (a Ranger SUV) has little trouble transporting it safely across the Auckland Harbour Bridge to the Outboard Boating Club.
Once there, there are, likewise, few issues with launching this substantial 7.5m vessel, thanks largely to Balex automatic launching and retrieving system. The trailer is backed into the water, the winch and safety catch are released and, from his position at the helm, Fishing Boats NZ’s Sam Tucker leans out the window and presses the Balex remote. Down aft, the large rollers turn, the Grand Prize moves backwards and into the water, the tow vehicle drives away. Job done.
One touch digital control
Fly-by-wire electronic control has been around for a while: on airplanes, in cars and on large vessels. It is still relatively new on trailer boats however and the novelty still delights.
For a start, all one needs is a single finger. (There is a key — just one, even though there are two engines — but it is solely used to turn the whole system on.)
Once everyone is on board and ready to go, I simply push the single go button and both engines start simultaneously (there are also separate start buttons for each engine but these are generally only used when one wants to run just one at a time, when trolling for example).
Although there are two throttle controls, these too have been configured to run as a single unit, unless otherwise selected and the same applies to the trim.
As we idle out to the breakwater, Sam explains that the proper name for this electronic “fly-by-wire” system is actually Yamaha DEC (Digital Electronic Control): it requires no mechanical remote control cables; throttle and shift operations are electrically controlled and the result is effortless control without cable friction.
He’s not kidding. In the marina, I reverse around in the confined space using one engine in forward and one in reverse and switching between the two several times. There is none of that “thunk” sound as the levers go into and out of neutral and there is no jerkiness as we slowly increase revs up to the permitted 5 knots.
Once clear of the confines of the breakwater, the throttles are thrown hard forward against their stops and the effect is breathtaking! The acceleration is both unbelievably smooth and incredibly powerful. It is like an enormous, unrelenting push in the back. One minute we are at displacement speed, seconds later we skidding across the water and heading for upwards of 40 knots.
Moving up and down through the rev range is equally smooth. There are no discernable dead spots and the overall effect is, in many ways, more like turning a dial than using a traditional throttle.
For our initial run down to the calm waters of Islington Bay, we have left the water ballast in Surtees trademark flooding keel (Anti-Roll ballast stability control) in place. This is done simply by keeping the aft gate closed, rather than allowing it to open naturally as the boat moves onto the plane. (Anti-Roll and Anti-Roll Lock are part of the Surtees’ SiQ package).
The result is a far smoother ride in the slight but sometimes sharp chop with the only downside a slight tendency to porpoise. A quick downward nudge on the trim quickly sorts this out.
As we later discover on our ballast-less ride home, there is, somewhat surprisingly, very little cost, in either speed or fuel consumption for carrying this extra 530 litres of water in our keel. Our top speed drops just two knots and the increase in fuel burn is of a similarly insignificant amount.
Monitoring our performance in these various modes is equally effortless thanks to the Yamaha CL7 multi-function colour display. A 7in touch screen, it is capable of monitoring up to four engines and six tanks through a single gauge, boasts internal Wi-Fi and is fully programmable.
Built to fish
A good friend of mine is fond of saying about his pride and joy: “It may be a fishing boat but it doesn’t need to look (nor smell) like one”.
His words spring to mind as I gaze over the 750’s substantial cockpit. Nine geometric SeaDek anti-skid floor panels, grey with black edging, are separated by bare aluminium water channels, creating a sole that is both immensely practical and enormously attractive. This “work of art” effect is further enhanced with another three SeaDek panels on both coamings, each with its own drink and rod holders. Add another rod holder in each aft quarter, three in the Surtees baitboard, six up in the integral rocket launcher and a further four in a portable unit hanging off the starboard side locker (plus loads of space in the two wide side lockers) and there is enough stowage for even the most enthusiastic team’s weaponry.
As the name implies, the 750 Game Fisher has been designed primarily to chase big fish. To that end, it boasts is a 300-litre fuel tank to get one out to those offshore islands, reefs and seamounts; there is a fully-plumbed, 800gph under-step live bait tank, complete with clear window; that Surtees baitboard mounted high above the transom; a set of 14’ Oceanblue outriggers; big wide coamings to rest on when the fishing is slow and a platform wide enough so one can comfortably stand between transom and engines.
An overnighter too
In addition to being a great fishing platform, this package is a pretty effective overnighter, too. Occupying the for’ward port quarter of the cockpit is a seat module. In it is a handy sink, serviced by a faucet on the coaming and fed by an 80-litre fresh water tank. Over on starboard, an identical-looking unit, is home to an alcohol cooker.
In the enclosed cabin, just through the twin powder-coating aluminium and glass doors, is the third part of the overnighting trifecta: an Engel 42-litre fridge, snugly positioned under the driver’s seat.
Combine this with the sink and cooker, the large bunk space (especially with the infill in place) and the warmth of the enclosed cabin and a night or even a weekend away is not only possible but reasonably comfortable, too. At this stage, there is no toilet but this is an easy and relatively inexpensive addition.
Because stowage is always at premium when staying away, Surtees have thoughtfully added pull-out drawers under both seat cabin seats and there is also a nifty shelf unit that pulls out from alongside the crew seat. This unit, the two drawers and the numerous open lockers on both sides of the enclosed cabin are all lined with frontrunner, too, so things stay put and quiet while underway.
There is also stowage in a large underfloor locker (with two access hatches) between the seats and under the cabin squabs. Each of the latter comes with its own strap to hold it open while loading or accessing the items within.
Both driver’s and crew’s seats are impressive units, too. Although hard mounted on the modules below, both are very well padded and come with hinge-able bolster for additional comfort when either stand or sitting. High returns behind the two bunks double as footrests and an aluminium track each side of the seat units is there for an optional drop-in seat.
Visibility from both seats is superb. The offshore-ready windscreen is in three sturdy sections, each with its own Exalto wiper; there are a large opening windows on each side and, flanking the cabin door, a pair of drop-down windows.
The dash arrangement has been well thought out, too, especially considering the generous amount of electronics and other equipment on board. The large Garmin GPSMAP XSU MFD screen combines with the Yamaha digital panel directly below to ensure every bit of information one could possibly require is just a quick glance away. The former can be configured to show data from the GPS plotter, the down view or side view sonar and the radar, or any combination one wishes.
Also close at hand are the two DC panels, the control unit for the Lone Star drum winch, a combined voltage gauge and double USB charging outlet, a fuel gauge, the single starter key and the single and two individual on/off buttons for the engines.
Above are the Garmin VHF, the Fusion stereo unit and two of the four speakers (the other two are in the cockpit).
There is also a handy red/white light in the ceiling (for night running), part of a comprehensive Hella LED lighting package that includes twin flood lights, under gunwale and bait tank lighting in the cockpit and a bright spotlight.
A true life-changer
The Surtees/Yamaha Grand Prize package will be a true life changer for one lucky punter at this year’s Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show. In return for buying their admission tickets, collecting the seven stamps from the various booths around the show, answering a simple question, filling-in their contact details and answering their phone when it rings on the evening of Sunday, May 20, they will be the proud owner of this amazing $200,000-plus rig.
As well as everything described here, they will also receive a Hutchwilco safety pack with four lifejackets and a flare pack and a year’s worth of Yamaha Marine Insurance. The Epic trailer will be registered and warranted and the fuel tank will be full.
There is little doubt that their boating life will never be quite the same again.
Possible panel depending on space:
Each Surtees comes complete with what Surtees call their SiQ technology package. Designed to improve both stability (at rest and underway) and handling in a wide range of conditions it includes Anti-Roll ballast stability control with Anti-Roll Lock, Razortech smooth riding hull, Tough Deck super rigid hull construction, Safety Buoyancy airtight flotation compartments, the Quik-Hitch trailer catch system and Surtees’ 10-year warranty.
- Model & Model: Surtees 750 Game Fisher Enclosed Cabin
- Price as tested: $NZ207,000
- Priced from: $NZ150,000
- Type: Hardtop Enclosed
- Construction: Aluminium
- LOA: 7.5 m
- Beam: 2.5 m
- Deadrise: 20 deg
- Height on trailer: 3150mm
- Trailerable weight: 2410kgs
- Test Power: Two x Yamaha 150hp 4S
- Propeller: 19” Reliance
- Power options: Single or twin outboard or inboard
- HP Range: 200-300hp
- Fuel Capacity: 300 litres
- Trailer: Epic
FUEL & PERFORMANCE DATA
Surtees 750 Game Fisher