Now with a range of models targeting the fishing market, Tristram Marine has released its latest model to the Offshore range, the 641. Freddy Foote checks out this new model catered to the serious fisherman.
The new 641 Offshore from Tristram Marine is the new incarnation of the very popular 641 Avant Garde, which was sadly one of the models lost in a fire at the Tristram Marine factory a couple of years ago. Though, out of tragedy comes triumph, and along with the new 641 Offshore, Tristram Marine are still producing some of the finest boats the market has ever seen.
With a definitive shift to target the offshore fishing market, the 641 joins the Tristram Offshore range as the smaller model below the 741 and 881 hardtop models, and shares a lot of the same DNA.
“Like the 881 Offshore and 741 Offshore we’ve targeted the fishing market. The 641 see’s a little extra refinement and a few additional features we’ve added from customer feedback and previous Avant Garde owners. However, above all, the 641 Offshore has exactly the same blue water hull as the Avant Garde. There was no reason to change it,” says Lance Fink, Tristram Marine Managing Director.
So where are the changes?
Though they are only minor changes, they have big results. The helm has been moved forward by 700mm, taking with it the dash and windscreen, the result enlarging the cockpit to make it more useable for fishing. This also expands the seating options to allow for back-to-back seating on both sides.
Having previously tested the larger 741 Offshore just under a year ago, it was clearly evident to see the same design parameters follow through into this smaller model. Like the 741 Offshore, Fink’s design philosophy is to make the boat extremely fishing friendly, and it is apparent as soon as you step aboard.
Aft, low profile walk-throughs are built into both transom corners, the port side sees a stainless boarding ladder flush mounted into the port side pod.
Additionally in both corners, small catch tanks are integrated into the transom walkthrough, which can plumbed to create a live bait tank. This particular boat had the tank in the port corner plumbed.
In the centre section of the transom, a large locker houses batteries and other onboard systems, and is easily accessible via a substantial hatch. Smaller lockers in either corner provide additional storage and access to other onboard systems.
Also centre, a removable bait station is positioned, and can be swapped out and replaced with a ski pole, should a different style of boating be on the cards for your day out.
More ‘Offshore’ features flow through into the large cockpit. High gunwale thigh padding runs along the upper inside edge of the cockpit sides, and below you’ll find recessed storage racks for rods.
A healthy sized underfloor storage locker is situated aft in the cockpit and is accessed via to adjoining lift up hatches. Should you wish, removable bins from the factory can be specified to be fitted, or you can secure your own. It’s a big space and a great feature, big enough to store 3-4 dive bottles should you choose.
Though not featured on this boat, removable clip in carpet can be added as an option which can be nice underfoot when not fishing, and easily taken out for ease of cleaning after a days fishing. At rest the boat was ultra stable, two of us moved around the cockpit with no evident lean apparent. Rod holders were exactly where needed, with a number in the cockpit sides, built into the bait board as well as a number in the bimini/rocket launcher configuration above.
The seating configuration consists of a twin pedestal seats on moulded bases, with the aft facing seats lifting up to reveal cavernous storage space underneath. The forward cabin can be fully sealed off and locked for privacy or security, by attaching a privacy curtain.
In the cabin itself, a large V-berth transforms into a large double berth with the insertion of a squab infill. Further storage space comes in the form of side shelves that run the length of the cabin area. The forward squab lifts up and reveals the porta-potti, which has been installed.
Should you wish to access the foredeck, then a tinted polycarbonate hatch in the foredeck provides access. A helm operated Maxwell RC6 automatic rope/chain capstan takes care of the anchoring duties from the helm.
The 641 is rated from 150hp outboards through to 225hp outboards, with our particular test boat powered by a Yamaha 200hp four-stroke outboard.
The back-to-back seating configuration of the 641 Offshore means the space between the seat and the helm itself isn’t adjustable. However, on every Tristram I’ve tested, I’ve always found the seating position in relation to the helm to be one of the most comfortable and practical out there. The helm seat allows you to sit nice and high with excellent visibility forward through the curved glass windscreen.
A teak finished footrest below keeps your legs elevated, and the throttle is within easy reach to starboard. Should conditions chop up (not that it did on our glassy smooth test day), there is adequate room to stand and steer, getting the maximum visibility forward.
On our test day the Yamaha 200hp four-stroke outboard delivered a healthy 48.0mph at 5700rpm, swinging a 19” Saltwater Series propeller and consuming 70.0L/h. A cruise speed of 31mph at 4000 rpm had the Yamaha 200 four-stroke using a very economical 31.0L/h.
I found the 200hp performed perfectly well for the hull. It wasn’t overly noisy and we managed to converse while cruising. Overall, it gave exceptional punch out of the hole, and delivered respectable fuel figures. Given the Yamaha’s fuel economy and the large 150L underfloor fuel tank, you’re going to have plenty of hours on the water. Should you wish to go for more horsepower and get the 225hp outboard, the hull will certainly handle it. And it will still perform more than adequately with a 150-175hp engine.
Test day conditions were idyllic, with hardly a ripple across Auckland harbour. Though not exactly perfect for testing a serious offshore performer like the 641.
None the less, my past experience in Tristram’s places them amongst some of the very best performing boats if not the best on the market.
Fink has spent a long time sculpting the perfect performing hull, and has gotten it fairly well right. The fine entry will exact a soft ride, and the strake and chine design will provide plenty of lift.
At the ultra modern dash, provision has been made to flush mount large multifunction displays. On this boat, a 10” Lowrance HDS is fitted into the dash, while the Yamaha engine instruments were fitted above. Trim tab controls are within easy reach downwards to the right of the wheel, while the VHF and Fusion Stereo systems are located down to the right below the engine throttle control.
Above, we were well protected by the bimini top, which can fold down out of the way when storing it in the garage. We had ‘clears’ fitted for that extra bit of protection, with the sides and centre removed for airflow.
Steering away from redesigning the boat into a hardtop model, the targa style bimini top, with the addition of three sided clears, gives the feeling of a hardtop – something I’m a big fan of.
At 1700kg on the trailer, it’s a rig that can be easily towed by a large family sedan, and though it feels like a big boat when you’re in it, it’s small enough that you could launch it by yourself for a solo fishing trip when needed.
Overall, Lance Fink and the team at Tristram Marine have done a fantastic job at combining all the traits needed to make a serious fishing boat, with all that is needed to provide a pleasurable family day on the water.
I like how they have made subtle changes to return a bigger result, and have resited the urge to create a hardtop based on the same hull design.
The Avant Garde was and is a great boat, the 641 Offshore is even better.