Surtees Boat Reviews

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Boat Review Date: May 2019
Author: Mike Brown


Surtees is the New Zealand boat builder that pioneered auto water ballasting for trailer boats. It also carries on the New Zealand tradition of superb welding techniques: the company employs a lot of welders, but just one of them does every centimeter of weld in an individual boat. And he or she is proud of the result. Proud enough for every Surtees to have a ten year warranty.

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The cockpit is the home of the Surtees’ main purpose: fishing. The sheer number of rod sockets (half a dozen of them with accompanying drink/sinker cups) makes this clear. All the ancillary items – bait tray, live bait tank, chequer plate deck and so on are present.

The side decks (coated in non-skid material) are exceptionally wide, giving toe room with thighs against them, and also keeping body weight a little further inboard. The main means, though, of keeping this deep-V hull upright at rest is the ballast tank. 330 litres of ocean fill the tank within an instant of stopping, gluing you to the water, and are as quickly ejected when the throttle opens. There are times, though, when you might want to keep some of it, and the design allows you to do this. Extra weight low down can smooth out big seas.

The 610 has a closed hardtop – inevitable in a boat from the chilly isles – but there is no shortage of ventilation through the forehatch. Forward vision is ensured by a windscreen wiper. A fabric extension gives useful extra shade.

There are just two purpose-built seats on board, both swivels. The driver’s is pedestal mounted, the navigator’s on an esky frame. Under it, naturally, is an esky that provides a mount for an informal third. The main seats have a basic look but are actually very comfortable and well matched with foot rests. The cabin ahead has a soft curtain-style bulkhead. Inside it has child sized bunks convertible to a double bed with the provided infill, and space for a chemical toilet.

The boat abounds with places to put things. Side pockets are full length, the transom has both deep and shallow lockers, twin batteries consuming some of the space, and there is the under bunk volume. Boarding from the water is via a scuba ladder and through a neat door. This slides vertically to disappear ahead of the bait tank.

The 130hp Yamaha felt close to an ideal match with our hull. Nothing excessive about it, but would give easy cruising in the mid 20s with a full load of anglers. Acceleration was crisp, steering – and hence maneuverability – light.

The test had a gentle ending: the trailer is equipped with one the simplest and most effective auto catch and release devices I have come across. These gadgets are fast becoming must-have items, and for good reason: driving on and off without assistance beats the alternative hands down.   


Price as reviewed    $89,990

Price from              $75,000

Length                   6.1m

Beam                     2.26m

Fuel capacity          200L

Motor fitted            130hp Yamaha