BOAT TEST: BLUEWATER 600 CENTRE CAB
The new Bluewater 600 Centre Cab is a winning recipe for long-range, spacious and comfortable offshore fishing, writes Kevin Smith.
When it comes to the latest in plate-aluminium boats, the centre-cabs are steadily becoming increasingly popular. That's no surprise, especially when you see what's on offer in boats such as this, the Bluewater 600 Centre Cab, made by Queensland's Bluewater Boats. Our test rig was supplied by Brisbane Yamaha, a dealership that's notoriously picky about what it sells, and no doubt in the Bluewater 600 Centre Cab it's picked another winner.
At 6m in length and with a beam of 2.5m, this centre-cab with walkaround offers heaps of workable space and all the necessary standard fittings, so it's positively packed with fishability. The stern section has a standard layout with all the usual features, including boarding platform, transom door, foldaway rear lounge, livewell, heavy-duty baitboard, tackle stowage, access to pumps and motor fittings, rodholders and a good sized killtank, but all without encroaching on the available deck area, which is really important when it comes to fishing.
The selfdraining wet-deck is a great safety feature that also makes cleaning a whole lot easier. The gunwales on this boat are high and fully padded - making them far more comfortable for offshore fishing - and they have good-sized sidepockets and space to lock your toes in underneath. The only thing missing here for me would be gunwale-mounted rodracks - a personal preference of mine.
SLICK AND SPACIOUS
I didn't have to squeeze my way between the seats to get to the console or the rest of the cab. The console section is spacious, with the dual adjustable seating on pedestals and with a wide and level area for electronics, plus a full bimini top with rocket launchers and clears for extra protection from the elements. I appreciated not being squashed up against the side of the cab for a change when I was behind the wheel.
The small cabin is actually quite roomy once you're inside it - it's a great area for the family, storage space, or even an overnighter with the missus. The only issue here is that access through the small vinyl door is a little tricky, but hey - if it was larger you'd be losing space elsewhere.
As is often the case with a decent-sized cab, the walkaround section to the bow is compromised, but with the Bluewater's healthy beam the step-up walkaround section is actually pretty decent; it's an area that would be used on a regular basis. The anchorhatch is large and there's a full split-bowrail, although a few more grabrails in this section would be nice.
KNOCKING THE HAMMER
A boat can look great, but if it doesn't perform it's next to useless. Personally, I reckon good boating performance means you've got the necessary low-down torque to climb out of the hole in a hurry and the right engine package to cruise in the 3500-4000rpm range while maintaining good economy and a comfortable ride. In my book if the boat can manage high speeds and still handle it's an added bonus, but not a prerequisite.
The Bluewater 600 as tested had a 150hp Yamaha four-stroke, which I thought was a pretty good match. Out of the hole it was good if not exactly mind blowing, but through the mid-range and up to top speed it was very good indeed. If you want gutsy performance out of the hole, you can address that with a different prop setup. Throughout the speed trials the Bluewater's stability and general handling impressed, as did its comfortable ride through the homemade chop. The deadrise is variable on the Bluewater 600: it tapers back from a sharp entry in the bow to 17° in the stern, giving it soft entry into the waves and stability at the rear.
As far as fishing goes the Bluewater is well suited to all styles, from bottom bashing through to working lures offshore and trolling for the big stuff. The open, uncluttered stern is a comfortable workplace, and you could easily fish from the bow if need be. Stability is a huge factor for offshore fishing, and the Bluewater maintains its stability well, both through its speed range and at rest. Long days fishing out at sea would be a pleasure on this one.
So having said that, the Bluewater 600 may be only 6m long but it's definitely a "large" 6m, which makes it suitable for a variety of inshore and offshore conditions. It has a modern look and it's really comfortable to drive. Throw in the strength of a 5mm bottom and 4mm sides and this is a good all-round package at a competitive price - the kind of boat that's suitable for the serious fisho and his family.
On the plane...
Good offshore handling
Good all-round fishability
Well designed cockpit area
Dragging the chain...
Could do with a few extra grabrails around the cab
Cabin entrance is a bit tight
A bit more guts out of the hole
would have been nice
Specifications: Bluewater 600 Centre Cab
Price as tested: $70,000
Options fitted: Raymarine electronics, upholstery trim and cab lining, custom-cushions, back rest, dual-batteries, deckwash, livebait tank
Priced from: $65,000
Type: Centre-cab monohull
Length (overall): 6m
Deadrise: 17° variable
Rec. HP: 130
Rec. max. HP: 150
Make/model: Yamaha F150 AETX
Type: 16-valve, DOHC, direct-action, in-line four
Engine weight: 226kg
Gear ratio: 2.00:1
Bluewater Alloy Boats
Unit 4, 10 Brewers Street
Burpengary, Qld, 4505
Ph: (07) 3888 4715
174 Eastern Service Road
Burpengary, Qld, 4505
Tel: (07) 3888 1727
Originally published in TrailerBoat 263.
Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.