BOAT TEST: FORMOSA TOMAHAWK 620 CENTRE CAB
Kevin Smith discovers an offshore fishing machine with enough charms to keep your entire family smiling.
FORMOSA TOMAHAWK 620 CENTRE CAB
The 620 Centre Cab is the latest addition to the Formosa Tomahawk range, boasting extra length - way more extra space in the cabin than Formosa's 550 and 580 models - as well as more freeboard and a wider dash. With a full walkaround cabin, the 620 is a mean offshore fishing machine that's sufficiently versatile to please the whole family, and it even comes with a sporty new look.
ON AND OFF THE TRAILER
At 6.2m, the Formosa 620 Centre Cab is not your average small craft when it comes to launching. Nonetheless, Australia is blessed with the luxury of decent ramps in most populated areas, and a simple submersion of the multiroller trailer, combined with reversing, is all it takes to get it into the water. Getting it back on, well - that's just the same as for any other boat, whether you have a technique for it or not. At the Gold Coast's Runaway Bay ramp, where our test was to take place, there is no current flow effect, so with two people on the job it was a quick and simple exercise.
A 150hp Evinrude E-TEC was the gumption behind the test boat. It was a fine match, with ample low-down grunt and a top end that got it flying along the surface. The control box was standard cable, and the steering system was hydraulic, a prerequisite on craft like this. Throughout the test all controls were user friendly, responsive, and mounted in suitable operating positions.
GIVING IT A THRASHING
The conditions were typical for offshore days on the Gold Coast. A cracker of a south-easter was making its presence known at around 20-25kts, which is ideal test weather for an offshore vessel like this.
When putting a craft through its paces, I like a boat that can turn in a full-locked position without picking up major cavitation. In this case no abnormal cavitation was noted when in the full-lock positions from out of the hole, through to higher speeds. Yes, some motors need to be mounted up high to get the top performance, and you will get some cavitation, but even so I like to be able to turn in a hurry if necessary, especially when crossing bars. Although it was relatively calm in the Gold Coast Seaway entrance, there was still enough swell to test the 620's turning capabilities.
Following those tests it was time to run offshore into harsh chop. This proved challenging, and to maintain a comfortable cruising speed I had to hover around 17kts. Now don't forget that this is a reasonable speed for such conditions when you've got the family onboard and don't want them getting smashed and hanging on for dear life. It's a different story when it's just the hardcore fishing mates, and you want to get to the "G" spot as fast as possible. In that case you can crank it up to 25kts or so, although that does become a bit of a hold-on-tight affair.
Smashing into the chop with a bit of extra trim gave a stable and dry ride, albeit with a slight bang here and there, which is expected on most craft in these conditions. Running side-on, the stability was again good, with a bit of spray thrown back in and the ride being slightly softer. With a following sea, the 620 easily pushed into the troughs without any major signs of broaching. Throughout the offshore tests I found the standing and driving positions to be more comfortable than sitting, and once out of the chop I could sit back at the helm and relax.
Unfortunately, due to the sea conditions, a full range of speed trials offshore were not an option, so these were measured back in the calmer waters of the Gold Coast Seaway.
The 620 has a layout that will suit hardcore fishos, but which is versatile enough for family users. The spacious transom area is fitted with the 150 E-TEC, a foldaway dive ladder, a non-slip step-up section, and full grabrails.
Leading into the high false transom, which has access through a small transom door, is a full-sized baitboard with rodholders, a hinged cuttingboard with bait section beneath, and drainage. Below you'll find the enclosed dual-battery hatches and oil tank hatch, which are easily accessed. What is appealing here is that this section is above deck so the chances of water ingress are pretty slim. Moving forward, the gunwales have double-sidepockets for stowage and flush-mounted rodholders. They're also at a decent fish-fighting height.
The full aluminium selfdraining deck is carpeted for extra comfort, and is also super easy to clean. Flush-mounted into the deck within the stern is an easily accessible and good-sized killtank or livewell. Moving forward, the full walkaround cabin consists of dual-adjustable seating with footrests, a spacious dash for all the gadgets, a full screen, and small sidepockets for stowage. It's topped off with a full anti-melanoma fishing-rigged bimini top. The sides wrap around the seating area, maximising the protection from the elements.
The main cabin section is then open plan and can comfortably seat a few adults or the kids with the centre cushion out; or, it could even serve as a reasonable spot to have forty winks or a midday cuddle. Beneath the main seating is ample stowage space for all of your gear, while two small windows provide light to the cabin.
Further forward is a small step beside the cabin section, and since the boat has a good beam, the walkthrough area is open and accessible to the bow.
The bow section consists of a deep anchorhatch, bollard, roller, and full-split bowrail. A nice touch was the way it was carpeted to reduce noise and damage. Just having that easier access onto the bow of a boat with a cabin makes a world of difference in many ways.
One thing to point out in the layout is the notable construction quality, namely the visual welds and supports throughout. We all have our preferences, and in this case, for me, the clearly visible strength within the hull only adds to the 620's character.
The 620 is a serious fishing machine and at 6.2m you can comfortably travel long distances in rough conditions. Being a walkaround, the open fishing space makes it that much easier to fight fish around the boat. The cabin section also allows for night fishing trips and stay-overs.
Stability at rest for fishing is very good, as it is when on the move and working through both slow and fast troll speeds. The E-TEC is also a good performer on economy at low speeds, and this again is a win for long days of trolling. In my opinion the 620 is a great all-rounder on the fishing side.
Testing a boat in unfavourable conditions is great because you get a detailed impression of its true performance. All boats have their pros and cons, and we all have our own personal likes and dislikes. On the Formosa Tomahawk 620 Centre Cabin, the likes definitely outweigh the dislikes, especially if plate-boats and hardcore fishing are up your alley.
The selection of quality boats out there these days is just phenomenal, and when it comes to making that buying decision, well - I just don't know! The only advice I can offer is to try before you buy - and this one should definitely be on your list!
ON THE PLANE
- Great fishability
- Cabin with full walkaround
- Strength evident in welds
DRAGGING THE CHAIN
- Prefer anchor hatches with lids
- Could do with rodracks in the gunwales
- Rod access in the rocket launcher was restricted due to bimini
Specifications: Formosa Tomahawk 620 Centre Cab
Price as tested: $59,900
Options fitted: 150hp Evinrude E-TEC, coloured paint, DELUXE multiroller trailer
Priced from: $56,900
Material: Plate-aluminium 5mm bottomsheets; 4mm sidesheets
Length: 6.35m (not incl. bowsprit)
Freeboard (floor to gunwale): 730mm
Weight (boat only): 1000kg
Max HP: 175
Make / Model: 150hp Evinrude E-TEC
Type: Two-stroke direct-injection EFI
Gear ratio: 1.85:1
Starting system: Electronic
Australian Marine Centre
3491 Pacific Highway
Springwood, Qld, 4127
Phone: (07) 3808 7333
Originally published in TrailerBoat #257, May 2010
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