Surtees 575 Pro Fisher
Several of the latest Surtees boats are heading west from the Land of the Long White Cloud and BARRY WISEMAN looks at a centre console that has been built with the serious fisher in mind.
Perth's Chivers Marine, long-time timber, GRP and plate aluminium boat builder in its own right, will soon be stocking the Surtees brand of award-winning vessels. They are built with a 10-year warranty at its headquarters in Whakatane on the shores of the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand’s North Island.
Stocks of cabin boats to suit our conditions are on order and should arrive at the Chivers Bibra Lake premises in time for summer. Each will be fitted with Yamaha outboard engines now that the dealership is a sole Yamaha agency following the recent decision by BRP to stop making the Evinrude E-Tec and Gen2 motors.
Initiating its launch into the Surtees brand, Chivers' man at the helm, Luke Chivers, invited me aboard the Surtees 575 Pro Fisher Centre Console, having had its matching Yamaha 115hp four-stroke engine fitted only hours before. And what a terrific combination this is.
The dry weight hull of 585kg has a recommended maximum rating of 115hp and even though you could fit a 90hp on the transom this rig performed smoothly. Heading west towards the north end of Garden Island in Cockburn Sound as the predicted 15-20 knot easterly started to pick up, the 575 Pro Fisher took it in its stride, with the odd touch of the trim button to raise or lower the bow. There was no call to work the trim tabs fitted to the transom.
Increasing our speed to 28 knots, and knowing that icy cold easterly was giving us a good boost from astern, I quite expected a wet face when we turned the wheel while dropping back to 23 knots, but needn’t have worried. There was no spray on the full-length glass windscreen either. The ride was exhilarating and dry, unlike some other centre consoles I've been on. It was most noticeable on this Surtees 575 Pro Fisher that the sharp entry and flared bow was doing what it was designed to do – throw the spray wide and down, so much so during our test run that the wind was not able to whip the water up and over us. The Yamaha 115hp motor had lots more power to give, however due to a knee injury and pending surgery I was happy with our top speed nudging 30 knots, dropping back to complete tight figure-eight turns with ease.
OUT THERE SOMEWHERE
Living up to its name, the Surtees Pro Fisher will be appreciated by boating anglers and with an overall length of nearly 6m, the 575 would be well suited for towing north to fish Shark Bay or Exmouth. It can be pulled by the average family sedan with no huge fuel costs, both on the road and water. The Yamaha 115hp is a very economical motor and with the centre console configuration the wind drag while towing on the road is virtually nil.
As the manufacturer claims, this 575 is “Built to Fish”. You have 360-degree access around the boat, including past the heavy duty pipe work of the console, wide gunwales to park yourself at while dangling a line, lots of under-deck storage with the rear kill tank big enough to take a spaniard or two, live-bait tank on the transom plus large storage lockers across the back, good-sized baitboard with rod holders and the starboard marlin board comes with a purpose-built berley bucket. The aluminium munching handle that accompanies this feature was stored in a below deck hatch on the review vessel, along with a very sensible manual bilge pump.
The wide gunwales come complete with non-slip grip from the bow to the transom, a great safety feature. Also with safety in mind, all Surtees craft come with a floodable ballast tank running bow to stern along the keel. Some 200 litres of water can be held in the tank by a spring-loaded door built into the transom. This extra weight helps lower the centre of gravity when in a running sea or drift fishing, reducing any rocking effect. On a smooth sea, opening the rear door allows the water to escape making the boat lighter and more responsive.
During our sea trials the 575 Pro Fisher was a very agile mover and shaker, living up to the manufacturer’s claims.
The Surtees CC comes with or without the T-top, however this package had the works, including full-length windscreen, solid grab rails and rocket launchers. In our hot summer climate the canvas T-top makes good sense, as demonstrated on the cold, but sunny, August day we tested it. It was one of the few clear days these past few months and while we soaked up the conditions, shade was thrown over most of the deck during our day out.
The vessel comes with a dual battery system, including a deep-cycle battery for the instruments. In this case the 575 was fitted with a Simrad Go9 combo sounder/GPS along with a Garmin VHF marine radio and antenna. As mentioned, electric trim tabs are fitted on the transom, plus bilge pump and deck wash.
Surtees has built a strong reputation on providing everything anglers need – ample rod holders, good-sized anchor wells, plenty of grab rails and decent fish stations/bait tables. The 575 Pro Fisher deck is made from heavy duty chequer-plate aluminium and the outside hull and side decks are coated with Nyalic, a protective covering to guard against salt water corrosion. The review boat also had painted sides. The nyolic polymeric resin clear coat can be applied to industrial, agricultural and marine machinery, painted or raw metal. The Surtees guys etch clean the bare aluminium before applying the coat and when dry it gives a silver colour appearance to the aluminium. If scratches occur it’s far simpler to repair than two-pack paint, which can be a nightmare to fix when salt water gets underneath.
The Surtees 575 Pro Fisher CC with its matching Yamaha 115hp motor is an agile performer and would be economical to run. I'm also looking forward to checking out the cabin boat versions Chivers Marine has on order.
- Judged Best Specialist Fishing Boat up to 6m at the New Zealand Boat Show.
- Ideal rig for heading to northern waters and would handle inshore and offshore expeditions in the south.
- Full walk-around deck and easy to clean down.
- Excellent match with the Yamaha 115hp motor but you could go as low as 70hp.
- Good protection from the sun with the T-top.
- Dive ladder and walkthrough transom door incorporated into live bait tank.
- Single-axle Dunbier trailer for easy handling and storage.
- Wide side decks and plenty of storage lockers.
- No cabin protection so select your good days to head out wide.
FACTS AND FIGURES
- Model: Surtees 575 Pro Fisher Centre Console
- Overall length: 5.75m
- Beam: 2.15m
- Bottom: 5mm
- Sides: 4mm
- Dry weight: 585kg
- Fuel: 125-litre underfloor tank
- Trailer: Dunbier single axle
- Manufacturer: Surtees Boats, Whakatane, New Zealand. www.surteesboats.com .
- Agent: Chivers Marine, 31 Port Kembla Drive, Bibra Lake, WA.
- Phone: (08) 9434 1822
- Pricing: As tested $74,650. From $55,720.
Test boat supplied by Chivers Marine.
1 New Zealanders voted the Surtees 575 Pro Fisher CC Specialist Boat Of The Year Under 6m.
3 Some 200 litres of ballast water keeps the vessel low in the water.
4 The solid T-top is a must for West Aussie conditions.
5 Roomy access past the console to the foredeck casting platform.
6 A double bench seat for skipper and passenger behind the beefy dash, featuring a nine-inch Simrad combo.
8 The transom includes a large locker and fold down seat.
12 A berley bucket is built into the starboard marlin board, while a Yamaha 115hp four-strike provides ample power.