BOAT TEST: TAHOE Q6SF BOWRIDER

By: JOHN WILLIS, Photography by: JOHN WILLIS, KEVIN POULTER


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Family, fish and ski, the Tahoe Q6SF caters for all these elements in a high-quality Yankee-built bowrider, writes John Willis

BOAT TEST: TAHOE Q6SF BOWRIDER
TAHOE Q6SF BOWRIDER

 

TAHOE TAKES A BOW
Mention the word Tahoe to any American and the mind drifts to the beautiful and ever-popular resort named Lake Tahoe. Situated high in the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountain range, Lake Tahoe is the playground of America! This, the largest freshwater Lake in North America, presents a summer wonderland of water-sport activities to a huge population. And, a toy all too fitting for such a demanding American market is the aptly named Tahoe Q6SF Bowrider, now available in Australia.
Tahoe boats are part of the huge range of imports from the Tracker Boats family of products that include familiar brand names like Sun Tracker, Nitro and Mako. Among the Tracker mix, is a premium range of bowriders and deckboats. The vee-bottom bowriders, in particular, are extremely well suited to the Australian family/fish and ski enthusiast.
Unlike many bowriders, the Tahoe Q6SF actually rides very well in some challenging conditions. Port Phillip Bay offers ideal waters to test boats, as the short chop is a true challenge and one that the Tahoe came through with high praise. The hull is an interesting combination of a relatively deep-vee of 20-degree deadrise, with a wide 2.45m beam and an overall length of just over six metres.
The boat has good lift from a standing start, with a planing speed of 26kmh at a very low 2200rpm. I expected a full horizontal running plank on the keel but was surprised to find that the vee extends all the way down. There are two strakes that are relieved in the mid sections of the hull, as is the smallish reverse chine.
Technical stuff aside, there is a nice combination of old and new ideas in the hull design and it works well!
The Tahoe has all of the standard equipment that purchasers have come to expect from the huge available selection of bowriders, and while its finish is to a very high standard, I found the selection of a polar white deck gel coat and white upholstery to be very glary in sunny conditions. However, maybe I am just getting old! In any case, the manufacturers do provide a range of colour options - the red colour inlays and decals look great!

 

STATIONARY STABILITY
It didn't take long to appreciate the stability of the boat at rest. Good hull design is enhanced by flotation bulbs moulded under the large boarding platform allowing any number of passengers to move around the boat freely without everyone spilling their refreshments, or toppling overboard. The boarding platform is also fitted with a swing-down, telescopic, stainless steel ladder and of course, a properly positioned ski hook. 
While we are on the subject of refreshments, the Tahoe caters well to the entertaining owner by providing iceboxes under the rear lounge, and under the thickly upholstered and very comfortable bow cushions. There are convenient drinkholders and grab handles in all the right places.
Sliding into the helm seat ias a pleasure. I was pleased to see that the safety glass windscreen is at exactly the right height and is high enough to give the operator a sense of comfortable enclosure. Even as I pushed it through the chop, there was not one bit of spray!
The helm is fitted with a full set of attractive, silver-rimmed instruments that are all set into a neat and well laid out dashboard. Again, the upholstery is premium and the helm and passenger swivel seats have flip-up bolsters and adjustable length. The driving and passenger positions are safe, comfortable and dry, and the helm is ergonomically designed for comfortable control with everything at your fingertips. The engine controls are flush mounted and I was pleased to see a digital depthsounder, plus an attractive and comfortable tilt steering wheel.

 

ON PERFORMANCE
The Tahoe Q6SF tends to wander a little at slow speeds. If price were no option, I would look at upgrading to a Bravo III duo-prop sterndrive that I'm sure would enhance the power and remove the wandering action.
Make no mistake, though, there is no shortage of power! The MerCruiser 5.0-litre MPI V8 supplied exhilarating performance throughout the rev range. It has a more than satisfying top speed of 80kmh (or the old 50mph).
The boat handles beautifully whether in steep turns on the river, punching into spine splattering chop or running downwind with the swell. It does it all with a minimum of fuss and does not display any of the bow-up attitude that condemns many competitors.
Thankfully, the industry now demands a foam-filled hull, virtually as standard. This is not only a terrific safety measure but also really helps give a solid feel to boats on the water. The Tahoe is no exception to this rule. The ride is quiet and smooth, with very soft landings when you hit the rough stuff.
The Tahoe Q6SF planed us quickly at 26kmh and a low 2200rpm. A low-speed cruise of 42kmh was attained at 2800rpm, a fast cruise of 68kmh at 4000rpm, and a top speed of between 79 and 80kmh was realised at 4800kmh, trimmed with two passengers.

 

PLUSH AND PRACTICAL
Layout of the interior is roomy and practical. There are no surprises in the bowrider layout; it is well designed and very comfortable. The bow is missing a suitable anchorwell and bow fitting (I don't think the yanks use anchors!). That said there are nicely positioned mouldings for storage in practical positions, a good amount of storage in the under-floor ski locker and a nice, big, comfortable, full-length rear lounge. The Jensen radio/CD player is neatly enclosed in a glovebox in front of the passenger, and the twin speakers are recessed in the rear cockpit.
A lovely big rear sun lounge hinges up to allow excellent access for engine service, but I was a little disappointed in the sidepockets in the cockpit - they are virtually nonexistent! Sidepockets would really help the overall presentation of the boat and provide more storage for all essential boating accessories.
The manufacturers and dealers provide a full set of options and accessories, and this boat was finished with a nice bimini with stainless steel frame. I can see the boat fitted with a stylish wakeboard tower to complete the fast, sporty appearance and functionality.
Our test boat was fitted to a fully imported, colour coded, tandem trailer that did the job nicely and looked great on the road. I drove the boat onto the trailer easily on the well-angled Patterson River boat ramp.
The Tahoe and Tracker websites are exceptional! In fact, you can design your own boat with all of the accessories and options on the comprehensive website at www.tahoesportboats.com
As a package, the Tahoe Q6SF is a very good boat. Its looks are stunning and its performance is more than pleasing. I'm getting very meticulous on the detail when reviewing the vast number of bowriders that now grace our market, however, this Tahoe is up there in the top of the class!
At the time of writing, the price of all imports are continually fluctuating due to the unstable exchange rate, so I will have to leave it up to the purchaser to do their own price comparison. My only advice to buyers is to water test all of the boats on your short list. Your long list will quickly shorten and I have no doubt that the Tahoe Q6SF will certainly remain high in the picking order.

 

WHAT WE LIKED
Suits Australian conditions
Top handing and a dry ride, even in adverse conditions
Foam-filled hull
Stability at rest
Drinkholders and grab handles are in the right places
Practical and comfortable interior
Plenty of storage options
Skipper wants for nothing at the helm
Plenty of options and accessories to trick this boat up

NOT SO MUCH
No anchorwell or bow fitting
Sidepockets virtually nonexistent
Wanders a little at low speeds

 

 

Specifications: Tahoe Q6SF

 

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested:   $54,000 w/ hp, tandem trailer, regos, and safety gear
Options fitted:   Bow filler-cushion, bimini, depthsounder, tilt steering, Jensen stereo remote, tandem two-axle brake upgrade

GENERAL
Type:    Monohull 
Material:    GRP hull w/ composite stringers and foam flotation
Length overall:   6.25m w/ swim platform
Beam:    2.4m
Deadrise:    20°
Towing weight:   Approx 1800kg on tandem trailer

CAPACITIES
Fuel:    170lt
Max. load:   770Kg
People day:    9
Rec. min. HP:    190
Rec. max. HP:     300
Weight:    1300kg (hull w/ 4.3lt motor)

ENGINE
Make/model:   MerCruiser 5.0-litre MPI V8
Type:    Alpha I sterndrive
Rated HP:    260
Displacement:  5lt
Weight:     433 kg w/ Alpha 1 sterndrive               
Drive (Make/ratio):  MerCruiser Alpha 1; ratio 1:47
Propeller:    Aluminium 19in

 

SUPPLIED BY
Next Generation Marine,
152-154 Canterbury Road,
Kilsyth, Vic, 3137
Phone: (03) 9761 5855
Email: joffsfurniture@bigpond.com
Web: www.trackerboatsaustralia.com.au;
www.tahoesportboats.com

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR
Tracker Boats Australia Pty Ltd,
97 Park Road,
Mandurah, WA, 6210   
Phone: (08) 9581 5020

Originally published in TrailerBoat #239

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