By: Norman Holtzhausen

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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The New Zealand-made Surtees 6.7 Gamefisher is a perfect pocket-rocket for serious fishos seeking big-boat punch in compact package, writes Norman Holtzhausen.




Even from a distance this boat is striking, with its optional black hull and window trim nicely complementing the jet-black Suzuki 200hp four-stroke. Getting closer, the quality of the build is evident, with neat welding and finishing. The hull is constructed from 5mm alloy, with 4mm sides and a 3mm cabin.

For those unfamiliar with the Surtees brand, its boats have some unique features. Most notable of these is the self-flooding 380lt ballast chamber that runs along the length of the keel line. This fills with water when the boat's progress is halted, allowing the boat to sink slightly lower, thereby stabilising the hull at rest. When power is applied the chamber empties almost instantly, reducing weight and allowing the hull to rise onto the plane.

This feature allows all Surtees boats to have the best of both worlds - a very fine entry (18° deadrise at the stern) while forming a stable platform at rest. A shut-off gate also allows the water to be retained in the chamber for additional stability underway in heavy conditions. When launching and retrieving, the chamber can be closed while it is empty, causing the hull to float higher and making it easier to load onto the trailer.

Another unique feature is a trailer-catch, which allows for a single-handed launch and retrieve - a real bonus if you're short of a crew member.



Conditions on the test day were excellent for a boat of this type, with a wind of 25kts whipping up a nasty chop. We headed straight to sea so the enclosed cabin was well appreciated. Although a lot of spray was generated, the wipers were generally not necessary and the occupants remained warm and dry.

The flooding keel is not immediately noticeable as it responds so quickly. Coming to rest, the boat settles down immediately, and the manufacturer's claims about the stability of the hull are well founded. It feels more stable than most similar-sized boats, and would easily accommodate four or more anglers jostling for position.

Pushing the throttle up causes the boat to jump onto the plane, and again there is no discernible lag as the keel empties. The conditions were ideal for testing the boat through heavy swell, and she was a pleasure to drive. Trim tabs were fitted, although we found no reason to use them during our test.

The hull has no planning strakes but has wide downturned chines, which are made even wider through an additional strip welded to the hull, turning the spray down and forwards. The hull handles well, with the chines gripping the water in a tight turn to prevent side slip. On our return to the boat ramp we had a
severe cross swell, which the boat handled with ease, with no tendency to surf or self-steer.



Using the fuel management software on the Raymarine, which integrates with the electronics of the motor, we were able to watch the fuel usage at various speeds. While conditions were not ideal for optimum fuel economy, at one point we were running at a stable 19kts but using less than 16lt/h. Clearly this is a very economical hull to push along, and the fuel-efficient motor helps considerably.

The boat was supplied on a tandem-axle braked trailer, also made by Surtees. LED lights ensure the electrics remained trouble free, and the self-loading clip is fitted in front of the dual-speed winch.



The 6.7 Gamefisher differs from the same-sized Sportfisher in having a fully enclosed lock-up cabin. This has twin-hinged doors at the rear that can be clipped open with solid vibration-proof catches or closed to provide complete protection from the elements. The alloy hardtop is a good height, with plenty of headroom. Large windows provide unimpeded 360° vision, and Roca wiper units are fitted to the two main windscreen sections.

Both helm and passenger seats are plush, upholstered bench seats. Fold-up footrests allow a comfortable position to be achieved, while the seats are well padded, though not adjustable. Under the helm seat is a large storage locker while the passenger seat lifts up to reveal a lined storage tray. A 12V fridge is located in the seat pedestal and a wide, fully-lined parcel shelf runs either side of the cabin, with recessed drinkholders close at hand.

The helm position has a logical layout and the hydraulic steering is at a good height. The test boat was fully equipped, with controls for the automatic capstan, trim tabs, wipers, a full set of Suzuki dials, an electrical switch panel, a Fusion stereo system, and a VHF radio all fitted into the dash. A Raymarine A70 display on a pedestal mount completes the electronics.

The forward cabin contains two full-length bunks with well-padded, upholstered squabs. An infill section can be lifted up to reveal a marine toilet with electric macerator. The cabin is fully lined, and an oversize alloy hatch provides access to the foredeck area. A parcel shelf runs either side, and a small hatch provides access to the anchor-locker.

Access to the foredeck area is either through the hatch or by stepping around the outside of the hardtop. Grabhandles welded to the cabin roof, plus a non-slip surface on the footway around the cabin, make this safe enough. A bowroller keeps the anchor secure and away from the hull, while an automatic capstan takes care of the hard work of setting or lifting the anchor. Two welded alloy bollards are fitted for securing to a mooring.

The cockpit is spacious and well appointed. The wide gunwales feature numerous rodholders and sunk-in cupholders, a much better idea than the fold-out type that eventually breaks. Under each gunwale is a wide parcel shelf, and the gunwale itself is wide and as comfortable as a seat.

Although the cabin only has two seating positions, there are two further bench seats outside in the cockpit on either side of the door. These are well placed to keep the occupants dry while underway, and the vinyl-covered squabs lift up to reveal a hand basin with running hot and cold water on one side and a two-burner gas cooker on the other. The calafont for heating the water is hidden in a locker under the port gunwale.

The cabin roof has a framework that extends into the cockpit, and this has a clip-on sunshade section to provide extra shelter. A rocket launcher with six rodholders is mounted along the rear of the cabin, although it's difficult to access with the sunshade in place. A deck floodlight is fitted to enable fishing to continue after dark.



The transom features another Surtees innovation, a hinged seat that drops down to provide a padded perch for up to three people when required. This also forms the cover for the battery compartment in the transom (containing twin-batteries and cut-off switches) which is folded up when not needed.

The transom step-through on the port side has a livebait tank with a viewing window. A nice touch is the hinged gate for the transom which ensures it cannot be lost.

In the starboard corner is a clearly visible glass fuel filter, enabling any fuel problems to be diagnosed at a glance. This is tucked well away so there is no chance of damage.

The Portofino stern has a huge boarding platform, with a hinged ladder that swings up when not in use. A handrail stretches down from the transom to the platform, making it easy for swimmers to pull themselves up. Despite its size, the big Suzuki does not intrude, and the whole width of the platform is usable. The optional removable baitboard, mounted into the transom, does not intrude into the boarding platform either, thanks to the transom's width.

Under the floor is a 240lt fuel tank, giving a huge range thanks to the efficiency of the four-stroke Suzuki 200hp engine. The motor was so quiet at idle that we literally forgot to turn it off while we were taking photos. The filler for the fuel tank is right in the middle of the cockpit floor under the carpet, which makes gassing up a bit fiddly. In the rear of the cockpit is a large under-floor wet locker, which can be drained into the flooding keel when the boat is out the water.



This is a well constructed boat with lots of good features. It's big enough for serious offshore trips, yet it's still small enough for one person to handle.

It has a huge fuel tank that provides ample range while its economical 200hp Suzuki four-stroke should prove cheap to run. And when it's all said and done, the popularity of this New Zealand manufacturer with serious fishos across the Tasman probably says a lot more about this boat than we ever could…



Specifications: Surtees 6.7 Gamefisher



Priced from: $81,000 (with 200hp Suzuki four-stroke) ex Roughwater Marine

Options fitted: Raymarine A70 chartplotter/sounder; Raymarine; VHF radio; deck lighting; trim tabs; 12V fridge; hot water calafont with shower; gas cooker; EPIRB and fire extinguisher, plus more



Material: Alloy (5mm hull; 4mm sides; 3mm topsides)

Length (overall): 6.7m

Beam: 2.35m

Weight (hull only): Approx. 1000kg



Fuel: 240lt

Water: 75lt



Make/model: Suzuki DF200

Type: Multi-point sequential electronic fuel-injection 200hp four-stroke

Displacement: 3614cc

Weight: 257kg

Gear ration: 2.29:1



Surtees Boats

2909 State Highway 30

RD2 Whakatane

New Zealand

Phone: +64 7 322 8461




Roughwater Marine

Phone: (08) 8382 4884




Published in TrailerBoat 259.


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