Review: Arvor 690 Diesel

We water test and rate the Arvor 690 Diesel, a finalist in the fibreglass fishing boats category at the 2016 Australia’s Greatest Boats awards.

Arvor 690 Diesel
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Arvor boats have long held a real fascination. They are classically European in design, with the timeless features of a seafaring classic. Some consider Arvor to be "gentlemen’s boats" with a traditional trawler-style pilothouse, wide walkaround sides, huge self-draining deck and all finished off with a safe, reliable and economical diesel shaftdrive. Arvor were one of the first production fibreglass boatbuilders to fit fully enclosed hardtops as standard. The Arvor 690 Diesel is no overnight sensation and in fact is quite modern, beautiful and very functional.

Shaftdrive boats have real appeal and are the norm among the professional fishing and skiboat fraternity. Arvor has stuck to their guns with the benefits of shaftdrives, and done it in conjunction with the bonus of Mercury diesels. The straightforward drive design, combined with the economy and safety of the 115hp Mercury 2lt marine diesel has real-time advantages, particularly in heavy usage and mooring applications.

Tim van Duyl said, "She provides easy passage making that with some personalisation could make a good small gameboat." Damn right, with a lockable cabin, great visibility and a huge cockpit with good freeboard leading to a very workable transom complete with kill and live bait tanks. The Arvor design has very full bows with strong shoulders creating an almost rounded foredeck with plenty of floatation. You could easily throw lures at a thrashing school of tuna from the bow and fight a big one with sure footing.

Arvor 690 Diesel photo gallery

While no skiboat out of the hole, you will be pleasantly surprised by the performance from the Mercury diesel. She takes a little while to get up on the plane but when she’s up there she’s got plenty of torque to hold her speed, even when climbing up the back of a large swell. Throw down the throttle and she supplies a good planing speed that will hold at a sensible 18 to 20kts all day, which is plenty for most offshore applications. The moderate-vee hull with broad shoulders and ensuing deep chines certainly pushes some water in a head sea, yet the moderate-vee shaftdrive configuration stays upright in turns aided by the torque from the big prop and rudder which keeps the hull upright – a bit like driving a cat or a three-wheeled motorbike.

Inside the lockable cabin Arvor has maximised the available space by providing twin upholstered bolster-style seats mounted to a fibreglass module for extra storage facility. The Arvor 690 Diesel has a small sink recess as well as a large vee-berth that is extended with a combination of lift-out and folding inserts, creating quite some sleeping room. The head room is terrific and the compact dashboard is well presented.

Overall, we all just love the Arvor 690 Diesel. Her unique mellow mix of cruiseability and fishability teams well with her safety, overall layout, stability and economy. The shaftdrive diesel configuration will ensure that Arvor boats are here for a good time, and a long time. Solid, dependable, safe and seaworthy – it’s an Arvor! 

Arvor 690 Diesel wheelhouse interior

Arvor 690 Diesel specs

Arvor 690 Diesel price: $103,520

Price as tested



Second (cockpit) helm, sea toilet, port side flip seat, rocket launcher, outriggers, Simard GPS/Combo, FUSION stereo







TYPE Monohull, shaft drive fishing boat

LENGTH 6.88m

BEAM 2.54m

WEIGHT 1600kg BM


FUEL 90lt

ENGINE Mercury Diesel 115



Arvor Australia

Unit 26/17-21 Bowden Street, Alexandria, NSW, 2015

Phone (02) 9319 5222




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Arvor 690 Diesel rating

Arvor 690 Diesel score


What the judges said

Fishing suitability

Classic trailerable cruiser / fishing crossover. Does a good job at that — even not bad for an overnighter. A good all-rounder that offers a relatively large fishing cockpit with a lockable cabin for protection from the elements. Small marine diesel engine gives adequate performance, but primarily offers economy. A gentleman's boat for safe, easy passagemaking that with some personalisation could make it a good, small gameboat.

She’s like a seagoing Volvo. The Arvor performs well in its role and will be a favourite of those who like marine diesel inboards and the sea-handling of a semi-displacement hull. She's a little ship! Economical, slow-speed diesel with traditional fishing boat style. Slow ‘n’ steady wins the race!



The asymmetric cabin is better for walkaround access. The second helm station is clever too. She's the Citroen CV of boats. While a traditional vessel by nature, the Arvor incorporates many modern tweaks and innovations - toilet onboard and waste storage is a nice touch, as is the aft helm station.

Love the pilothouse cabin. It gives more room for people without taking cockpit and bow space plus, less glare on the screen. Cockpit helm is handy while fishing. Marine diesel inboard is different, unique, and suits the cruisability of this style boat. Incorporated fishing aspect is also a nice touch.


Design and layout

Typically European design, but genuinely interesting and it grows on you. Pretty good overall. Nice deep cockpit, though that engine box "hump" is a real obstacle. Looks unique and has heaps of storage. Seats are top notch.

People have mixed opinions on the aesthetics of this vessel - 'boxy', old fashioned, even 'ugly' are heard. But I don’t mind that North Sea trawler-style look, and the cross ventilation in the cabin is great! Retro-styled Baltic fishing boat. Practical, utilitarian, with a monster bunk and limited cooking facilities.


Quality of finish

Finish and mouldings are good, as are the doors, glasswork and cleats — all solid and almost over-engineered. Neat and tidy with clean mouldings and serviceable fittings.

Always impressive in Arvor boats but some squeaks and rattles let it down — surprising for a high-volume production boat. Above average in terms of surface finishes and upholstery. Quality stainless throughout. By far one of the nicer finishes to a European trailer boat — simple, clean and neat.


Handling and ride

It’s a cruiser and cruises like it should… Takes a bit of water over the bow. Ride is firm to harsh at times. Possibly needs trim tabs as it’s very sensitive to movement and shifting weight when underway.

Prone to lurch up and down waves and really needs trim tabs. A thruster, like its big sister the Arvor 730 has, would also be a good option. Ride is solid and very good. You can’t beat a bit of weight going into a sea — perhaps I felt a slight broaching in a following sea though? I didn't push it to find out…

A bit tender and bangs at speed. Turns very well though, and in a short distance. Bow seems to want to steer downhill?


Stability at rest

Suitable for fishing and quite stable. As a boxy, heavy boat, the Arvor is stable at rest, although her relatively deep draft does magnify the rolling in a beam sea. Outclassed in its category. Stable at rest but sensitive underway. At rest the Arvor 690 D’s stability is pretty comfortable and well suited to fishing or relaxing in the cockpit.



Having a fully enclosed cab, the Arvor 690 D is just as good in the summer as it is in the winter. Sit back while at the helm and enjoy the wide open visibility throughout the cabin. Protection from the elements is excellent in cabin. Infills transform the cabin for overnighting. Storage is adequate but not a big feature

Good bow access, excellent berth space and helm layout. Dash a touch small for massive modern screens. Inside and outside helm stations are great and well laid-out. I liked the fact that all instruments are visible from both positions. Good helm position with a big door to the cabin. Very good head height too. The outside helm is great for trolling and docking.


Standard equipment

Self-draining deck, tiller-steer and a reliable, economical marine diesel. Big cabin for a comfortable ride on long voyages, plus an onboard loo to woo the family. These boats come into Australia fully fitted up and the standard of fixtures and accessories is excellent. I'd personally like to see a freshwater tank and basic cooker added.

The rear fold up seats are excellent. Great visibility from the well laid out helm, switch gear well positioned. High level of standard fitment. Generally above average in terms of fittings and deck hardware. A mellow mix of cruisability and fishability with not much needed to add.


Value for money

Sporting a marine diesel inboard, enough features and creature comforts to keep most happy for the day and being around the $100,000 mark – it’s not a bad deal. It has a niche appeal in terms of appearance and layout but generally good value for money in terms of cabin and overall concept. One of the Wow factors of Arvor boats is pricing. At around $100,000 for a shaftdrive diesel with room for the family and rear helm, it’s a bargain.

At a little over $100,000, this boat IS expensive, but arguably is also pretty good value for a vessel of this class. For the dollars, you get plenty of fibreglass for a harbour/dayboat that can fish offshore and all on just a whiff of diesel.



More inviting than exciting. Would suit the practical boatie who puts safety and economy ahead of speed. Packs in a lot of usable cockpit space. Wow is perhaps not the word to use here! Solid, dependable, safe and seaworthy are more fitting terms.

Economy one-to-one at 16 knots is fantastic, plus great value for money in this package. I believe it has appeal to a small focussed market in terms of applications and fishability, plus overnighting facility No big fuel bills. A unique look and crossover fishability and cruisability make it quite an attractive package.


How the boats are rated 

Judges at Australia's Greatest Boats Boat judges  
Meet the judging panel

The rating criteria 


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