BOAT TEST: FI-GLASS 640 WARRIOR

By: John Ford


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New Zealand’s biggest boatbuilder reveals its biggest model and John Ford sets it loose.

BOAT TEST: FI-GLASS 640 WARRIOR
FI-GLASS 640 WARRIOR

 

TEST: FI-GLASS 640 WARRIOR

Fi-Glass has been building boats in New Zealand since 1958, the 11,000-plus boats it's produced in that time making it one of the country's most successful marine manufacturers. The 640 Warrior is the largest model in the Fi-Glass range, and it's elbowed its way into the local market into a highly competitive and well-serviced sector.

The 640 is a smart-looking half-cabin that sits atop a moderate 22° deadrise hull with reverse chines and planing strakes - Fi-Glass markets it as its "longitudinal variable deadrise hull for cleaner entry into the water and faster nose-down planing."

When you first step aboard, a huge open bulkhead leading into the forward cabin immediately catches your eye. This gives the boat a feeling of spaciousness, and while it's a bit unusual it underlines the 640's credentials as a family boat. The layout lets you keep an eye on the kids in the cabin, and whether you're simply lounging around or enjoying dinner, the massive open area lets everyone get involved.

Up to four adults can be accommodated on the well-padded seats, while headroom is sufficient, if a bit mean (especially in the bow area). The seating can convert to a huge bed with ample legroom. There's a storage shelf along each side of the cabin but no storage in the space below the seats, as that area is fully foam-filled. The cabin is well lit with two narrow windows each side and a large clear hatch that opens for access to the bow for anchoring or mooring. A non-skid section is moulded into the seat that allows you to stand through the hatch, and this would suit most people well. A low bowrail offers limited protection when accessing the unlined anchorwell, and the bowsprit, bollard and T-cleat are all well made, heavy-duty items.

Back in the cabin the driver gets a height-adjustable sliding seat, while the passenger gets a comfortable back-to-back item that lifts to reveal a large, moulded storage area. A further sizeable storage area, or potentially a killtank, can be found under the floor between the seats.

At the helm a series of user-friendly Mercury gauges ensure everything's going according to plan, while there's also space for large navigation screens. The three-spoked wheel has a comfortable, soft grip. One minor quibble here is the placement of the controls. They're set high on the side-console and I found they could be nudged with my elbow in rougher conditions, causing the boat to surge forward in a disconcerting manner, and believe me, with a 200hp Mercury it sure has plenty of go!

The cockpit in general is roomy, with a full-length shelf below each padded coaming, while the bimini is fitted on quality stainless steel and incorporates a six-up rocket launcher.

The stern boasts removable quarter seats and underfoot is a quality removable marine carpet. A canvas cover hides the bilge area, while the sidedecks feature two rodholders and a short grabrail on each side. For ease of access, the transom has a boarding platform with a stainless ladder. Rather unusually, there's a plumbed livebait tank on the external platform.

 

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

Once underway, the driving position offers great views forward through the swept-back three-piece screen. The seat is well padded and gives good support and driving is comfortable either from a seated or standing position. The steering is light, thanks to the Sea Star hydraulic system. With a 200hp Mercury two-stroke the Warrior shows spirited performance. It jumps out of the hole with ease, screaming forward to a top speed of over 43kts (80kmh) at 5300rpm on flat water.

With a hull design that lifts it high, the Warrior feels easy to drive but it can be a bit flighty - especially at top speed, where it can display a tendency to "chine walk". This feels a little disconcerting, and may have something to do with the design of the bimini, which seems to want to lift the boat. Perhaps it would benefit from fitting trim tabs; in any case, with this easily-driven hull, 200hp could well be a bit excessive.

In smooth water the Warrior steers nicely; biting in on the chines, it feels safe and predictable through turns. It settles happily into a cruise speed around 3000rpm at 21.5kts (40kmh). Heading out to sea we had a nasty close chop on a 1m swell. With some trim the boat is soft across the chop and could achieve speeds of 27kts (50kmh), at which point the solid construction of the hull became clear - no banging with the spray thrown well clear. At these higher speeds into the sea there was a tendency for the chines to bite in and throw the boat into a sharp turn, but at average speeds it tracks well.

 

 

THE WRAP

The Fi-Glass 640 Warrior is a boat squarely aimed at a family market and it boasts some clever design innovations that many will find to their liking. The finish is of a high quality and it's obvious that significant thought has gone into the layout. This is a family boat with a bit of character, from a trusted name that's now been in the game for a couple of generations.

 

 

On the plane...

Plenty of room

High quality finish

Foam-filled hull

Well priced

 

 

Dragging the chain...

Throttle position

Flighty at speed

External bait tank?

 

 

PERFORMANCE

10.7kts (20kmh) @ 2000rpm (planing)

21.5kts (40kmh) @ 3000rpm

33.4kts (62kmh) @4000rpm

43.1kts (80kmh) @ 5000rpm

46.9kts (87kmh) @ 5300rpm

 

 

 

 

Specifications: Fi-Glass 640 Warrior

 

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $65,490

Options fitted: 200hp Mercury

Priced from: $55,000 with 115hp Mercury

 

 

GENERAL

Type: Deep-vee monohull

Material: GRP

Length: 6.4m

Beam: 2.3m

Deadrise: 22° variable

Weight: 800kg

 

 

CAPACITIES

Fuel: 140lt

Recommended HP: 150

Max HP: 225

People: 7

 

 

ENGINE

Make/model: Mercury 200hp EFI

Type: Electronic fuel-injected, V6, two-stroke

Displacement 2507cc

Weight: 166kg

Gearbox ratio: 1.25:1

 

 

SUPPLIED BY

Avante Marine Silverwater

210-212 Silverwater Road

Silverwater, NSW, 2128

Tel: (02) 9737 0727

Web: www.avantemarine.com.au

 

 

MANUFACTURED BY

Fi-Glass Products

247 Dyers Road

Christchurch

New Zealand

Web: www.fi-glass.co.nz

 

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat 266.

 

Find Fi-Glass boats for sale.

 


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