BOAT TEST: INTEGRITY 350 MARK II
After a couple of days gadding about the Gold Coast, JOHN ZAMMIT sings the praises of an aptly named Integrity entry-level long-range cruiser
I'm often telling my partner, mostly in jest, that we should sell our home, buy a boat and live on board. While she loves boats and boating nearly as much as I do, at this stage and, for various reasons, it's unlikely she'll agree. However, when the day arrives, one of the boats that will definitely be on our wishlist is the Integrity 350 Mark II.
I recently had a close look at the Integrity on the Gold Coast and had the opportunity to put the boat through her paces. I came away with the view that, for a cruising couple, anyone considering a boat to live aboard, or for those that have come to the realisation that there is more to boating than just going fast, you could do a lot worse than have a serious look at Integrity 35 Mk II.
Now let me tell you right from the start, if you're one of those people looking for the latest in whizz-bang gadgetry, pod systems, or cosmetic enhancements then this is not the boat for you. On the other hand, if you're after a classically styled, no nonsense, value-for-money vessel, with a practical layout and low maintenance, then look no farther.
This is a back-to-basics boat without the bling. Let's start with the fundamentals. She's a 10.85-metre long (that's 35ft6in in the old money), trawler-style, displacement cruiser powered by a single engine and driven by a conventional shaft and prop protected by a long deadwood keel and a shoe running below the prop to a large rudder.
Peter Hill, the national sales manager for Integrity Motor Yachts, the Australian distributor, told me the object behind this entry-level model was to bring back affordability for Australian boaters by keeping everything straightforward and simple. The engine is the Cummins Diamond Series 6BT, a six-cylinder 5.9-litre with standard analogue gauges, coupled to a ZF marine gearbox linked to Morse cable controls located at the twin stations, in the flybridge and the saloon.
When I initially boarded the Integrity 350 Mark II at Sanctuary Cove Marina and looked around I must admit I was a little surprised.
These days, most late-model boats confront you with the latest technology, electronics and gadgetry. Here, I was on a boat that seemed so simple and straightforward it was, at first, almost disconcerting. However, once I got over that and understood what she is all about, I discovered she really works!
Don't get me wrong, the Integrity 350 is by no means spartan, coming standard with all the stuff that makes life easy like bowthruster, 4kW generator, air-conditioning, flybridge bimini, breezeways, depthsounder, flatscreen TV with DVD, VHF radio, Raymarine sounder and the like, but in terms of design, engine mechanics and controls, it's all tried-and-true technology and relatively simple. As one of my traditionalist friends would say: she's put together "like a proper boat".
All unnecessary cosmetics like timber capping on the bulwarks, popular on this style of boat and they do look nice, have been left off. According to the distributors they're the types of things that add to cost and maintenance. Even so, she's still a good-looking boat, well proportioned, with nice lines and a timeless profile. In fact, during our test, we got lots of admiring glances from people on boats going by and, even on the marina, we had a passersby stop to make unsolicited comments on how good she looked.
With walkaround decks, it was safe to wander while underway and the large flying bridge extending back over the cockpit is a great area for guests to lounge about when docked, anchored or fair-weather travelling.
Stepping through the large rear door from the cockpit into the saloon you'll find a well laid-out living area that belies the boat's size. An L-shaped dining/lounge area to starboard incorporates a folding table that drops down and, with an infill added, converts to a double bed. Forward is the lower helm station with a companionway door that gives the skipper unfettered access to the sidedeck.
Opposite the saloon's portside dining area is bench seating and ahead of that the galley with expansive Corian bench top incorporating twin-element electric cooktop and sink with flickmixer tap. Below is a refrigerator with built-in freezer and loads of drawers and storage. There is also an over-bench cupboard housing the microwave oven and even more storage above that. I have to say there is no shortage of storage spaces, the boatbuilder seemingly making use of every nook and cranny with things like the icebox under the portside bench seat.
Underway, the Integrity 350 handled well, the large rudder makes the steering responsive and precise, and she can spin like a top - very easy to handle and the large keel keeps her tracking true.
We were fortunate enough to stay onboard and test the boat over a couple of days. Unable to venture out through the seaway with seas up to 3m and a 2m swell both days, she was instead given a good run on the Broadwater, which was pretty choppy and had a fair bit of wash to go through from the amount of boat traffic around.
Accommodation on the Integrity consists of a roomy master stateroom forward with an island queen sized bed and plenty of strorage and hanging space. The second cabin to port has a three-quarter bed with some drawers and shelving, while the dinette in the saloon also converts to a double bed.
Opposite the second cabin is the bathroom accessed either from the master cabin or the hallway. It incorporates an electric head, basin with flickmixer tap and a shower. The bathroom is a bit on the small side, it seems the builders have incorporated two doors here and I'm not sure that's necessary, perhaps even a bit ambitious. Also, if I were cruising long-term, I'd look at the possibility of fitting out the second cabin as a chartroom or office.
You get to the engineroom through the teak and holly floor in the saloon by one of three panels. A small hinged hatch allows for a quick visual inspection while two separate lift-out sections are for those times you need clear room to one or both sides of the engine, and there is plenty of room to climb down and get right around all sides. One thing I did notice, though, was that the standard fuel filters did not have glass inspection bowls, not a major concern but I would replace them ASAP.
Driving from the lower helm is quite comfortable standing or sitting on the built-in helm chair. All dashboard instrumentation and gauges are within sight and easy reach. The test boat was fitted with a Raymarine electronics package incorporating a C120 screen with GPS/plotter, 24nm radar, fishfinder and autopilot.
For those times the skipper needs a bird's eye view or wants to take advantage of pleasant sunshine then take advantage of the flybridge. All instrumentation is duplicated up top under the standard fold-down bimini, which on the test boat was fitted with optional four-sided clears. There's a single central helm chair with bench seating along both sides. The bench seat cushions lift to reveal storage and you'll find more stowage in the forepeak accessed by doors either side of the helm.
Directly behind the helm chair is a built in-table for nibbles with more storage underneath - as I said earlier, the builder has storage space everywhere possible. As the flying bridge extends well back over the cockpit there is a huge expanse of open area where you can fit a davit and stow a dinghy, but I think it works as is, just a great spot for sitting in the sunshine. Our test Integrity 350 had no floor coverings in the flybridge and all that white fibreglass got a bit glary after a while ? I would have carpet fitted up here.
Back downstairs is the cockpit with another icebox, plus a cupboard for fenders and lines. With the cockpit under cover you can leave the saloon door open on hot days or warm nights to get that nice breeze coming through, and without getting wet if it happens to be raining, as it was for a while during our test. But not even dud Gold Coast weather could put a dampener on our Integrity 35 Mk II test. A great way to go. Slow.
The Cummins 6BT engine maxes out at 2600rpm, with the sweet spot around 1800rpm. According to the specs, that's where the engine produces maximum torque of 726Nm and gives a speed just under 8kts using a touch over 17lt/h of fuel. Winding up to 2500rpm saw 11kts before easing off when water started getting in under the cover of the stern-mounted dinghy, which was set a bit too low. A simple fix. Otherwise, it's all good and just a nice way to go.
Integrity has been manufacturing boats in China since 1981, from the entry level Integrity 350 right up to the 62ft Integrity 626. In Australia, they are represented by Integrity Motor Yachts, located at Horizon Shores Marina on the Gold Coast. The bottom line? If you are thinking of long-range cruising, a liveaboard, or even a floating holiday house somewhere along the coast then take a good hard look at this no-fuss boat.
Specifications-INTEGRITY 350 MARK II
PRICE AS TESTED
Raymarine electronics package, four-sided clears for flybridge bimini, cockpit carpet, swim platform-mounted 2.7m RIB tender and outboard
TYPE: Displacement monohull
LENGTH OVERALL: 10.85m
WATERLINE LENGTH: 9.96m
MAKE/MODEL: Cummins Diamond Series 6BT5.9SW
TYPE: Six-cylinder turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 220
WEIGHT: 508kg (dry)
GEARBOX (MAKE/RATIO): ZF 63A / 2.0:1
Integrity Motor Yachts,
Horizon Shores Marina,
Cabbage Tree Point Road,
Woongoolba, Qld, 4207
Phone: (07) 5546 2999
Fax: (07) 5546 2111
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