Review: ProCraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop

By: Kevin Smith, Photography by: Kevin Smith


Procraft specialises in value-for-money versions of a range of manufacturers’ boats. The Procraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop is a case in point.

Where does one go to find a really good deal on a boat these days? There are some very good value-for-money trailerboats on the market nowadays – and the latest ProCraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop from Coastal Powerboats is a case in point.

 

WHAT ARE PROCRAFT BOATS?

ProCraft 620 WA Hardtop

Coastal Powerboats is based at Tweed Heads-NSW and these guys are coming up with some really good, innovative and well-priced entry-level boats in both aluminium and fibreglass, namely its ProCraft brand. These boats are all built by reputable boating manufacturers and simply rebranded under the ProCraft name.

Why do that? Coastal Powerboats redesigns the boats to be as economically priced as possible, while still providing a boat that has a quality build, good motor and pretty decent layout for a boat that has more bang for its buck.

The ProCraft 620 Walkaround is exactly one of these boats and being manufactured by the Haines Group is already a good start when it comes to build quality.

At-a-glance it is not hard to recognise the basic boat as one of the original Haines Traveller walkarounds – again nothing wrong with that, as they were impressive back then. Besides the brand-name, the prime difference is the ProCraft is a hardtop version, which takes the boat to another level.

 

LAYOUT AND DESIGN

ProCraft 620 Hardtop

Climbing aboard, the less-is-more theory has most certainly been put into place on the ProCraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop. I don’t mean that in a bad way (like when you are supplied a hull with oars!), but rather less is more thanks to some clever reductions of fittings or accessories within the layout that normally smash a boat’s price.

At a quick glance the standard inclusions are satisfactory as is the layout to suit both fishing and family boating. For instance the ProCraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop’s transom setup still retains a full baitboard, livewell, rear lounger, transom door entry point and deck-accessed batteries and open bilge. Simple but clean and ready for a fish.

The deck is standard non-slip without carpeting, which is something I prefer especially when it comes to fishing and keeping the decks clean. The gunwales are a good height and have full-length sidepockets with bolstered sides and toe-locks. These have been kept simple and are not moulded sections, again to reduce costs. I have no quibbles with that as it’s still clean and neat. Something I would prefer are a few extra bracings for strength on the sidepockets.

Moving into the cockpit there is a colossal-sized killtank or storage hatch flush-mounted into the deck between the seats, as well as standard pedestal seating and a helm with good dash space for electronics at a nice angle that can be seen while seated or standing.

ProCraft 620 Walkaround deck

As reviewed, the boat had some nice electronics fitted which will add a bit to the end price – if you really wanted to save a bit more, these can be substituted with something a bit cheaper. The hardtop has a large screen and windows, flat sections to mount other electronics, as well as stainless steel rocket launchers and full-length grabrails on top.

Entry to the cabin section is open-plan and as per normal, there is plenty of storage space below the bunks. With the addition of an infill it would be comfortable enough to catch a nap in. It also has a solidly hinged hatch for ventilation and access to the bow and anchor hatch, although this area can also be accessed via the walkaround section.

Within the layout is just about all you need to get onto the water without having to blow excessive bucks, besides possibly a few personal accessories if need be. It’s setup to suit both family boating and fishing, and at 7m overall length with a full 2.5m beam, you’re getting a hell of a lot of boat both externally and internally.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

ProCraft 620 turning

As tested the ProCraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop was loaded with a 150hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard motor – the minimum horsepower rating is 140 and maximum is 175.

Like all of the higher performance Suzuki four-stroke engines, the 150hp pushes a big prop on a 2.50:1 gear ratio, giving good ballsy holeshot, getting up on the plane quick and with a bit of extra trim, maxing out at 36kts at 6100rpm. It’s not a lighting top end but has very good lowdown torque and a really good midrange cruise speed and economy. Let’s face it, how often do we drive at 40kts considering the cost of fuel nowadays as well as having the luxury of perfectly flat conditions to do so?

It was a busy day down on the Gold Coast with the start of school holidays, so every man, his family, dog and long lost relatives were out on the water, creating enough wakes and chop to match the foulest of days on the water.

The ProCraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop has some good characteristics underway, particularly the comfort of the ride. The hull has a reasonable deadrise of 22.5 degrees on the transom, varying up the keel to quite a sharp entry on the bow. This in turn does a good job at slaying nasty chop, at both mid-range and top-end speeds. It wasn’t a difficult boat to set-up the ride – just a matter of tweaking the trim to suit the chop and spray.

Having a fair deadrise there is a slight loss of stability, but as on any similar boat this is a compromise and well worth it for the softness of the ride. At rest I found the stability to be good and only when underway was there a bit of a list to one side. This is far from an issue and happens on most monohulls depending on how they are weighted, especially if your passengers are fighting anorexia and winning.

The easy solution is to position your gear and crew to suit. Or, one better, add a set of trim tabs to fine-tune the ride. Tabs are great for any monohull, so long as they are used correctly.

Being a fairly large boat I would say the 150hp is a good match and if budget allows, the 175hp Suzuki would be ideal with a bit more power in both the bottom and top-end. If you wanted to save a few more dollars the 140hp would also suit, although you sacrifice a bit on the power side, depending on what for and how you plan to use the boat.

 

THE VERDICT

ProCraft 620 boat

The ProCraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop starts at $55,990 for the bimini version and $64,490 for the hardtop model. Either way, it’s definitely an entry-level price for a sizeable boat that still has quite a bit going on when it comes to features and inclusions.

Similar boats can cost close to 100 grand and although these are significantly cheaper, I don’t feel that they have compromised on quality. Yes there are a few small things here and there that could do with a touch-up but nothing that’s a major issue to sort out.

So why the significant price difference? Top-of-the-range boats often include a number of extra standard features like high-end electronics and more of them; moulded internal liners in the transoms, cabins and gunwales; sealed cabins with internal plush linings; and, all sorts of accessories and more. Basically this is how the price reduction on the ProCraft is achieved – by taking away expensive standard features, while at the same time still managing to maintain good layouts and enough accessories to get you on the water in a decent boat.

 

HIGHS

• Big boat with value-for-money price tag

• Clean, simple layout but with good inclusions as standard

• Good ride in choppy conditions

• Decent fishing and family boat combined that can be blinged up over time

 

LOWS

• Sidepockets need a bit more reinforcing or bracing

• The rear lounger legs could be flush-mounted

 

PROCRAFT 620 WALKAROUND HARDTOP SEA TRIALS

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

FUEL BURN (LT/H)

1500

4.6

3.4

2500

6.8

11

3000 (on the plane)

9.7

13.5

3500

17.5

16

4000

23.6

21.4

4500

27

30.4

5500

31.9

50

6100 (WOT)

36

62

*Sea-trial data supplied by author.

 

PROCRAFT 620 WALKAROUND HARDTOP SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

ProCraft 620 Walkaround Hardtop price: $73,400

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Suzuki DF150TX, hull swish, bowladder, Raymarine c127, Fusion stereo system and baitboard

 

PRICED FROM

$55,990 w/ bimini; $64,490 w/ hardtop

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP

TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 7m

BEAM 2.5m

WEIGHT 900kg (hull and motor) DEADRISE 22.5°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (Day) 7

PEOPLE (Night) 2

REC. HP 150

REC. MAX HP 175

FUEL 200lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Suzuki DF150TX outboard motor

TYPE Four-cylinder four-stroke petrol outboard motor

RATED HP 150

DISPLACEMENT 2867cc

GEAR RATIO 2.50:1

PROPELLER 21in

 

SUPPLIED BY

Coastal Powerboats

14/28 Machinery Drive,

Tweed Heads, NSW, 2485

Phone (07) 5523 0072

Email info@coastalpowerboats.com.au

Web coastalpowerboats.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #459, November / December 2014. Why not subscribe today?

 


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