REVIEW: Northbank 600C

By: JOHN WILLIS, Photography by: JOHN WILLIS

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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The rugged waters of Cape Jervis and the Backstairs Passage make an ideal testing ground for one of Australia’s finest boats – the Northbank 600C

 

Croweater Confidence - Northbank 600C

I had a friend of a friend ring me for advice on a new boat the other day. He’s a keen fisho with a young family living in Adelaide and prefers to fish the big blue waters of the Backstairs Passage, Kangaroo Island and the rich offerings of the Southern Ocean. During the working week, he fishes the close local grounds for snapper, whiting, squid and tommies with the occasional trip to the legendary waters of the Eyre Peninsula, Coffin Bay and Whyalla. Having a relatively young family his ideal boat needed the size to carry a load, feature some creature comforts and, of course, grunty horsepower for holiday water sports. Sound familiar to you?

What really amused me was that he was coming to the Melbourne Boat Show to buy his new dream machine. My advice was to stay home and visit his local dealer, Christies Beach Marine, the local agents for the wonderful croweater-built Northbank 600C. I had just previously spent four days in the wild and windy waters of Cape Jervis, fishing in that boat, and had absolutely no hesitation in recommending the locals as a premium choice. It was a perfect fit for size, price range and performance.

Factory

Northbank are lovingly crafted in South Australia by a proud and passionate team

In a previous review, I described the Northbank DNA as the ‘Good Ol Boys’. They build good tough boats the old way, with methods that have proven to span the test of time since the inception of fibreglass boat building over 50 years ago. Yep, Northbank combine these construction principles with contemporary design. They are full bodied deep-V boats with high freeboard, excellent seagoing abilities and accommodating layouts combining to make the Northbank 600C an exceptional piece of nautical eye candy.

The Cape turned on the conditions that make it famous: rough. (There’s a reason why there’s a windfarm at the top of the hill!) The result? Let’s just say that if I were in the market for a new boat, the 600C would be very high on the bucket list. Its size, layout and quality suits my lifestyle exceptionally well and certainly provides every prerequisite as a travelling angler with an interest in both fresh and saltwater. The 600C presents in a size and weight that makes it quite easy to tow even with the family sedan or, in my case, a Ford six-cylinder ute. Its hull weight of 1100kg is an indicator of the construction strength and when combined with the weight of its 150-litre underfloor fuel capacity, a tandem drive on trailer and up to 200hp outboard capacity the package presents a realistic overall loaded towing weight well under 2400kg. It will require breakaway systems on the trailer but, realistically, you would certainly want them anyhow. The size and weight is well under the capacity of most mid-range 4x4s and SUVs.

Northbank 600C 5

South Australia turned on perfect testing conditions

There’s something simple yet sophisticated about the Northbank DNA when combined with a Naval Architect CAD/CAM-designed and broad-bodied 21-degree deadrise. It combines a comfortable ride with terrific stability. The overall size and layout seems to fit like your favorite old pair of jeans.

Whilst modern transom designs present some wonderful work stations, I like the simplicity of a full engine well, such as the Northbank. Our demonstration unit was fitted with the 175hp Suzuki powerhouse, but many will opt for the secure mindset offered by twin outboard installations as an option. There is a live bait tank molded into the starboard side and an optional rear door providing access from the boarding platform and ladder. Northbank have added an optional hinged bilge divider which protects the batteries switch and pump gear and gives it a presentable flush finish but still allows toeholds and deck drainage.

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Down back the Northbank 600C is simple but well laid out 

The cockpit is big, deep and voluptuous with the high coamings giving a terrific feeling of security and allowing plenty of space for deep-side pockets all-round. They are built from solid fiberglass, so they can be used as foot treads for boarding as well. There are recessed grab rails each side for added safety and molded inserts for the EPIRB and fire extinguisher up front and readily at hand.

The standard 600C comes with a basic flo-coat floor with clip-in or glued carpet options. Our demo boat had the carpet glued-in, which would be my preference other than some removable tube matting. Underfloor on this boat was foam-filled (optional) and also a 150-litre fuel tank, which is certainly adequate considering the conservative fuel consumption of modern outboards. There is also a large kill tank – not quite large enough for a jumbo SBT, but a reasonable size.

The forward bulkhead and helm is a bit like me – simple, strong and solid. (I’d like to say attractive too!) The dash is appealing in its simplicity with plenty of room for electronics and accessories, plus, the flush mount engine controls are easily at hand. Northbank gain extra points from me by providing fibreglass seat boxes for their very comfortable, polished aluminium framed upholstered seats, a much stronger and more functional option than pedestals.

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Stainless steel work is solid and well made

Out front is a curved safety glass windscreen with a stainless steel frame. Overhead is a full set of bimini and clears, combined with the rocket launcher that gives plenty of function and shelter from the chilling Cape Jervis gale. The hatch to the deep-V berth is quite accessible even for big heifers like me. Inside the cabin there is plenty of room for an overnighter for two. There is a tonne of storage under the upholstered bunks and in the twin side pockets either side, which add to the construction strength.

Out in front is a neat bow sprit combined with a deep anchor well. Our demo unit had a Stress Free cotton reel style winch; it copped a beating, but was well and truly up to the task. There’s a very solid stainless steel split bow rail defining the shapely low line cabin and a strong fore hatch for access out to the bow if required.

Northbank 600C

The ride is good thanks to the deep-to-moderate 21 degree deadrise

The hull has a 21-degree deadrise with three sharp strakes and a moderate chine which combines with a nice sharp entry and a full 2.42-metre beam. It is reminiscent of some of the great deep-V hulls of the past, but with some additional modern flare. We were forced to belt home one afternoon facing a head-on 25-knot northerly with opposing current and the hull simply tucked in and toughed it out with a minimum of fuss. You don’t face such conditions without throwing some spray in your face, but we never felt threatened and returned to the safe harbour dry and warm – you simply can’t ask for better than that.

She tracks straight, true and very sure-footed. Yes, there are some softer hulls available, but none that combine such a workable package as the 600C. In my mind, the Northbank 600C Cuddy Cabin is close to the construction strength and detail of many of the ‘boots and all’ commercial boat class, yet with a terrific combination of strength, shape, features and weight. This "good ol boy" will be by your side as a great friend through thick and thin – and what a party you’ll have along the way! 

 

HIGHS

· Big, deep deck room

· Simple yet versatile layout

· Suzuki power

· Ride and stability

· Fishing weapon!

LOWS

· Rear door a little small (optional)

· You knacker yourself climbing over the deep coamings!

 

Northbank 600C

PRICED FROM

$72,990 

OPTIONS FITTED

Stress free winch free fall, Garmin electronics suite, Fusion stereo, Carpet glued in, Bimini with clears and stainless rod rack, Bow rail, Deluxe bait board, Dunbier elec brake upgrade and foam filled hull. 

PRICE AS TESTED

$84,888 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPe cuddy cabin

LENGTH 6.3 O/A

BEAM 2.42m

WEIGHT 1100kg 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (NIGHT) 2 (DAY) 7

FUEL 150L 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Suzuki DF175

TYPE Multi-point sequential EFI inline four-cylinder four-stroke

RATED 175hp

DISPLACEMENT 2.867 litres

WEIGHT 220kg

GEAR RATIO 2.5:1

PROPELLER 3x15x21R Suzuki stainless steel three-blade propeller 

MANUFACTURED BY

Northbank Marine

25 Liston Rd, Lonsdale SA 5160

PHONE (08) 8381 1444

WEB www.northbank.com.au

EMAIL info@northbank.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #483, October 2016. Why not subscribe today?

 


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