BOAT TEST: ATOMIX BOATS 600CC


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Combining Kiwi know-how with pocket-friendly pricing, the Atomix 600CC is a great option for those wanting an affordable fishing boat without compromise.

BOAT TEST: ATOMIX BOATS 600CC
The Atomix 600CC. Fibreglass fishing boats for the budget-conscious.

Atomix Boats first hit the water across the ditch in New Zealand in 2006, and its products have undergone continuous improvement in subsequent years. Its latest models demonstrate significant evolution from early designs, and the 600CC shows how well the company responds to emerging trends.

Centre-consoles have become increasingly popular thanks to the emergence of fishing with soft plastics. Since this technique usually involves the boat drifting with the current and the angler working their bait down the length of the boat, a traditional hardtop or cuddy-cabin layout severely restricts the angler's options. A centre-console is the solution, maximising the boat's fishable area.

The Atomix 600CC is based on the brand's well-proven 6m hull, designed by the award-wining Bakewell-White Design Group. The moulds are made in Auckland using CNC machines to precise standards, before being sent to the production facility for use on the production line.

The hulls are constructed using the latest resin-infusion techniques, producing hull and deck packages that are strong, light and long lasting. All boats are built to the international CE-quality certification and come with a five-year warranty.

The boats are sent from the factory partially rigged before being shipped back to Atomix Australia for customisation and completion. The result is the best of both worlds - Kiwi design and customisation with the cost-effectiveness of an in-house, purpose-built manufacturing operation.

Having experienced a number of Atomix models, we were keen to see how the 600CC would stack up.



AS SEEN ON TV

It was an exceptionally fine autumn morning when we headed out with two matching Atomix 600CCs. The vessels were finished in red and black respectively for the Kiwi TV show, Export Gold Match Fishing League.

The Atomix 600 hull has a distinctive shape, with a rounded deck profile that has been carried through on the centre console version. The bright graphics and sponsors' logos offset the sparkling white gelcoat, and a gleaming T-top with black awning finished the package.

The boats were both powered by Mercury OptiMax 150hp two-stroke outboards. This 2.5lt V6 motor provided an efficient and light powerplant in a cost-effective solution. Although four-strokes have become prevalent in the recreational market, the fuel economy of modern direct-injection two-strokes is not far below that of their heavier and more expensive four-stroke cousins.

Pollution is another area of contention, but the OptiMax has earned a Carb 2 rating for emissions. The motor also comes with a three-year factory warranty, which is automatically extended by a further two years provided the engine is serviced at the specified intervals by an authorised Mercury dealer.

Before setting out we examined the vessel in detail, starting at the bow. The boat featured Atomix's distinctive split-bow stainless steel safety rails. These allowed access through the bow area - useful if you nose up to the beach or a crowded dock. A galvanised 7kg plough anchor hangs off a bowroller in the stainless steel fairlead. Hidden under a hatch is a South Pacific automatic windlass. A nice touch is the self-latching stay that holds the hatch open if access is ever needed.

As you would expect on a centre-console, the clearance down the sides is ample, with the high gunwale providing good support. The uncarpeted floor has a textured tread moulded into the gelcoat. This is comfortable on bare feet while also providing secure footing when wet. A small step adjacent to the console did cause us to stub our toes a couple of times, although you would soon enough remember it was there.



THE COMMAND CENTRE

The console unit itself is fairly wide, providing a generous dash area. The review boats both had Lowrance HDS8 displays fitted. With the optional Navionics Platinum chart installed, this product is capable of producing brilliant 3D chart displays with the low noise and clean target resolution characteristic of broadband sounder technology.

Above the Lowrance are the Mercury SmartCraft gauges, which provide detailed diagnostic information for the motor, as well as analogue displays of speed and engine revs. The windlass control and a power socket complete the top of the dash. A VHF radio is fitted below the Teleflex hydraulic steering unit.

The throttle control is fitted to the right and, as is common with most centre-consoles, is mounted in a vertical aspect rather than the more standard horizontal. This does require the friction control to be cranked up slightly more than usual otherwise the weight of the handle can cause the throttle to move when coming off a wave. However, it was easy to use and caused us no problems in practice.

A large locker beneath the dash provides a dry storage area for jackets and other gear. Seating is provided for two people via a double bench, although while underway it is used more as a lean seat.

Although centre-consoles do not provide much in the way of shelter from the elements, a stylish T-top from Cover Systems is provided on these boats. The frame is brushed aluminium and can fold down to enable the boats to fit into a garage or carport.



FISHERMAN-FRIENDLY

The cockpit is well served with two wet storage lockers under the decks. It is self-draining through scuppers in each corner, and bungs have been thoughtfully provided to close these off in rough sea conditions. There are no sidepockets, but several rodholders are spread around the gunwales. A baitboard fits into two rodholders mounted in the transom.

The stern of the boat is neatly finished, with seats moulded into the step-throughs either side of the oversize outboard well. A small hatch in the front of the well holds the battery switch and the fuel filler pipe. The port side seat has a hatch that reveals a large storage area ideal for buckets, hoses and the like. A stainless boarding ladder folds neatly into a recess moulded into the port side boarding platform.

An ingenious option, designed specifically for the match fishing league, is the livebait tank that clips into the outboard well. Custom-made from plastic, it does not impinge on the operation of the outboard in any way.



ON THE WATER

Having finished our inspection it was time to head out, as we were on a tight schedule.

The boats performed well in the inner-harbour chop, riding smoothly. A 23° deadrise at the transom provided a smooth ride and comfortable landings. The solid 'glass hulls were rigid and quiet, with little crash or bang when they landed. The planing strakes held the boat high out of the water and also assist through tight, controlled turns.

The OptiMax 150hp seemed an excellent match for these hulls, as the package rides in a well-balanced manner. A lower power option would still be adequate. We quickly got up over 30kts with three blokes on board, although conditions did not allow us to push the limits. The three of us did our best to disrupt the balance of the boat but found that we could move around anywhere we liked with very little impact on the boat's trim. Despite the relatively high deadrise it was also very stable at rest regardless of the weight distribution.

While we were not able to test the rough-weather capability of the boat, doing high-speed runs through the downwash of the hovering helicopter highlighted the fact that these boats, like all centre-consoles, are realistically fair-weather boats. There is limited shelter behind the console and the T-top provides no respite from the wind.

There is, however, an optional clip-on clear section that can be fitted between the console and the top of the T-top to give the driver better protection. An additional option would be wing-clears to give side protection from wind and rain.

Despite the lack of cabin protection, Atomix does a good job of turning the spray away, and since helicopters are not a normal part of fishing these are likely to be dry hulls.

Properly equipped, this boat would make an awesome pocket rocket for gamefishing, although the lack of shelter may be an issue for an all-day expedition. The 140lt under-floor fuel tank will give a good range - certainly well beyond a typical day's fishing.

We decided we needed to test the boats' suitability for purpose, so started flicking soft plastics around Auckland's North Shore. The first fish came aboard within a couple of minutes, and a couple of reasonable pinkies were soon resting in the wet locker. Up to four anglers can actively work lures, one on either side flicking their lure forward then walking back down to the stern.

As much as we were enjoying the fishing, the appeal of a coffee and a belated breakfast overcame the desire to stay out, so we headed home. The boats are supplied on a fully galvanised custom braked tandem trailer with submersible LED lights. With a towing weight around 1250kg only mechanical brakes are needed and the rig can be towed by a modest family car.



THE WRAP

Overall, this is an impressive boat for a relatively modest outlay. Often any issue with quality is only evident a few years down the line, but Atomix has been around long enough now to dispel any lingering doubts. A five-year hull warranty and the CE quality mark should give any buyer peace of mind.

NB: This boat was tested in NZ conditions.



On the plane...

  • Spilt bowrail for easy access
  • Smooth, quiet ride
  • Excellent stability for a centre-console
  • Economic, environmentally friendly power from the Mercury



Dragging the chain...

  • Limited protection from the elements



Specifications: ATOMIX 600CC

HOW MUCH?

Priced from: A$44,990



GENERAL

Type: Centre-console

Material: Fibreglass

Length: 6m

Beam: 2.3m

Weight: 1250kg (approx. BMT)

Deadrise: 23°



CAPACITIES

People: 6

HP Rating: 90-150hp

Fuel: 145lt



ENGINE

Make/model: Mercury OptiMax 150hp

Type: Two-stroke

Weight: 195kg

Displacement: 2507cc

Gear ratio: 1.87:1

Propeller: Flo-Torq II

 

SUPPLIED AND DISTRIBUTED LOCALLY BY

Atomix Boats Australia

360 South Rd

Richmond SA 5033

Tel: (08) 8443 3487

Web: www.atomix-boats.com.au

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #286, September 2012.

Find Atomix boats for sale.

 


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