Review: Bass Strait Ocean Pro 600


BASS7.jpg BASS7.jpg
BASS1.jpg BASS1.jpg
BASS2.jpg BASS2.jpg
BASS3.jpg BASS3.jpg
BASS4.jpg BASS4.jpg
BASS5.jpg BASS5.jpg
BASS6.jpg BASS6.jpg

Watch the Bass Trait Ocean Pro 600 offshore fishing beast do a fair dinkum “working boat” test.

Review: Bass Strait Ocean Pro 600
BASS STRAIT OFFSHORE PRO 600

 

BASS STRAIT OFFSHORE PRO 600

The Bass Strait Offshore Pro 600 has been very popular among commercial operators, particularly abalone divers who constantly demand extreme performance from their boats, often with big payloads.

However, the package is also popular with serious recreational fishers, who these days travel further and further offshore in search of their pelagic prey. Of course, the package can also be opted up with family creature comforts if required.

 

INTO THE SWELL

Our test was held off Phillip Island, in Victoria, and as we passed under the San Remo Bridge and rounded the eastern entrance, we were confronted by the majestic beauty of Cape Woolamai. The high cliffs of the Cape appeared through the half-light like a medieval fortress guarding the approaches to the Bay, and from then on this noble six metre craft really started to show its true character.

This is where Antarctic swell meets a fast running outgoing tide through shallow, uneven channels. It's a battleground for lesser boats but the Bass Strait 600 just charged on in confident comfort, taking the lead through the sharp, uneven terrain, and giving me the first insight into this hull's real integrity.

As we powered around the corner under the Cape to where the swell evened out without blinking an eye, no one doubted we were riding a thoroughbred! The boat was itching to be unleashed and run hard into the wonderful metre and a half swell.

Our demonstration package was powered by a Mercury 225 OptiMax. On calm water, it hurtled us along comfortably at a wide open throttle and a very fast 86kmh at only 5500rpm. It just loved cruising at a very economical 54kmh at 3850rpm, and I must admit that the more I use OptiMax engines, the more I like them.

I'd like to point out that my business partner recently updated his Mercury 250EFI with an OptiMax 250 and achieved over double the fuel efficiency over his existing model, combined with a huge increase in power throughout the rev range. That's a true test of advanced technology from direct experience in proper working conditions.

 

PERFORMANCE

Our Ocean Pro 600 test boat has the performance to match the engine, and vice versa. It was hard to find fault with the hull at all. The big deep-vee bursts out of the hole and onto the plane with the confidence you need for dangerous bar crossings. Once on the plane, it cuts smoothly through even the worst chop without banging or crashing, and the simplicity of the fit-out means you're not worried about loose items coming unstuck.

The hull has no bad habits and reflects all the traditional benefits of its 22° deadrise. It's slightly rounded and variable at the keel, and has three hard strakes with a slight reverse chine approximately 75mm wide. These lift and track the package comfortably through all conditions, while the sharp forefoot and entry cuts through chop like a swipe from a broadsword.

It's obviously a very strong boat with considerable hull weight and integrity that still manages to flirt with a very playful attitude! Not only does it like to run like a thoroughbred, it turns as surely and boldly as a high country stallion. It feels light and comfortable through turns, with no hint of cavitation or slippage. The package comes in single and twin configurations, and while I enjoyed the performance of the single engine, many hardened offshore adventurers may prefer the added security of a twin-engines.

 

BUILT TOUGH

Every model is hand-built to commercial survey standard and the manufacturer deliberately supplies a minimal finish with no flash moulding, creature comforts, or upholstered trims. The Offshore 600 is simply a hard-core workboat!

Ground tackle shows off the commercial pedigree. There are big, strong cross bollards, and a one-piece stainless bowrail.

Bass Strait Boats fits varying bowsprit configurations according to customer preferences, and this varies from manual ground tackle to SARCA-style fittings, and all of the different forms of capstan or cotton reel style electric winches.

The anchor hatch is large enough to allow suitable drop on the rope or chain without bunching, although there's no access to the bow from the cabin, so an electric winch is obviously a preferred option. There's a non-skid walkway around the cabin but you wouldn't get me out there in any adverse conditions!

The windscreen is big and strong, utilising an aluminium frame and 6mm safety glass. A big and strong Jesus bar is standard and a wind-deflector is available as a recommended option. One of my criticisms is the fact that I nearly lost my sunglasses from the windage over the top of the windscreen at high speeds without the deflector. One tends to stand up while driving a boat of this nature and I guess it's not often that you travel at 86kmh on the water! That said, it's a very dry boat and we got no spray back through the helm, even in the rougher offshore conditions.

 

ELECTRONICS

The Ocean Pro 600 has a very large and simple dashboard that's angled in front of the helm, with all instruments within easy view of the driver. This type of layout is particularly effective when you're confronted with big seas, since it's always important for instruments to remain visible at a glance.

I really liked the adjustable steering column and stainless spoked wheel that drove the Seastar hydraulic steering. However, I don't like pedestal-seats in any boat that's built for rough water, and I would prefer to see the strength of more functional fibreglass seat boxes.

You'd have trouble flush-fitting larger GPS/sounder units, but the dashboard has an expansive flat surface where these can be top-mounted. Our demonstration boat was fitted with an impressive Humminbird 1197C combination colour side-scanning sonar/GPS/plotter unit with a 10.4in display, and its display was nothing short of sensational.

Other instruments included: six-gang waterproof switch panel; key start; Mercury SmartCraft digital and analogue displays; multifunction gauges; and a GME VHF-radio.

Our test boat was also fitted with a premium quality bimini cover with a stainless rocket launcher combination.

 

LAYOUT

The Offshore Pro 600 is a dedicated, seaworthy workboat with a matching interior layout. The short cuddy-style bunks are fully enclosed to aid the compartmentalised flotation but they don't allow full length sleeping. The cabin's storage only.

The package provides ample storage through its sidepockets, and the amount of underfloor room is just amazing. Up to four fishboxes can be stored under the floor with an access point in the cabin step. This obviously keeps the load low in the keel, and central in the boat. It acts as ballast, aiding performance and stability, and there's a separate wet-storage area under the floor toward the rear.

The transom has storage compartments on both sides that house the battery systems and oil bottle if required. Our demo boat was also fitted with a large and strong cutting board that extended out over the large enginewell, with custom-stainless rodracks. It also had a livebait tank with a clear inspection port.

Dive doors are becoming very popular among recreational users and this boat has a large door that pivots off strong stainless hinges. All deck areas felt extremely solid and were simply speckle-coat finished.

Another feature of this boat is that it can be towed with a large family sedan, despite being a big, powerful offshore capable package. The loaded towing weight when fitted to a Dunbier aluminium trailer is under 2000kg, and this also saves on expensive breakaway brakes, although if my budget permitted I'd consider this.

 

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

We took the Ocean Pro 600 out to sea to face its namesake, Bass Strait, to prove its abilities in real conditions - and let me tell you that it was out in the slop that the package really excelled.

Our photographers demanded plenty of air to raise the excitement for a DVD we were filming, and time and time again we launched the boat off the top of swells. It mattered not whether we ran into the swell or back into a following sea, the Offshore 600 took it all in its stride with a confident and very predictable attitude. If the hull had any faults we certainly would have found them - there were none!

To add to the exceptional performance, the ride was as soft as I've experienced in the six-metre class. Indeed, on many occasions we launched the hull up to a couple of metres out of the water. It's stupid stuff I know, but I couldn't believe just how soft and even the boat landed.

 

WHAT WE LIKED

 

  • Great performance
  • Powerful and predictable
  • Soft dry ride
  • No frills finish
  • Big dashboard

 

 

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • No cabin hatch
  • Wind in face (standing)
  • Pedestal seats



PERFORMANCE

With three passengers and 19in Enertia S/S propeller

• 15kts @ 2850rpm

• 20kts @ 3000rpm

• 24kts @ 3200rpm

• 26kts @ 3500rpm

• 29kts @ 3850rpm

• 32kts @ 4000rpm

• 38kts @ 4500rpm

• 42kts @ 5000rpm

• 47kts @ 5600rpm (WOT)

 

BASS STRAIT OCEAN PRO 600 SPECS

Bass Strait Ocean Pro 600 price: $79,700

Price as tested

Options fitted:......Mercury OptiMax 225, Dunbier aluminium trailer, registration, safety gear, Humminbird 1197C sounder/GPS/plotter, GME marine radio, baitboard, snapper racks, bimini/rocket launcher, bowrail

 

GENERAL

Type: Monohull with 22° deep-vee

Material: GRP hull

LOA: 6.6m (incl. bowsprit and engine)

Beam: 2.3m

Deadrise: 22°

Loaded towing weight: Approx 1950kg



CAPACITIES

Fuel: 215lt

People (day): 7 adults

Rec. min HP: 150

Rec. max HP: 250

Hull weight: Approx 1000kg



ENGINE

Make/model: Mercury OptiMax 225 outboard motor

Type: Direct fuel-injected 60° V6

Rated HP: 225

Displacement: 3032cc

Weight: Approx 104kg

Gearbox ratio: 1.75:1

Propeller: 19in Enertia S/S Propeller



SUPPLIED BY:

Phillip Island Marine,

14 Beach Road,

Rhyll, Victoria, 3923

Phone: (03) 9998 4813

Web: Pillip Island Marine

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #255, April 2010.

 


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.