A millennium of difference – the Quintrex 600 offshore
By Dave Moran
The horizon wasnât a straight line anymore, it was jagged with sharp edges here and there, and a couple of tall white/grey spikes seemed to be moving as if in formation like ducks over a pond.
As the 125 HP of the Mercury outboard rushed us closer to this horizon the jagged shapes took on their own individual identities. Larry Ellisonâs Katana hung off the pin end of the course, dominating the mixed salad of craft that covered the full spectrum of the working manâs tinny to billionairesâ floating palaces. Coutts helming Alingi and Dickson Oracle were playing their final cards to establish who would clash with Team New Zealand for the Holy Grail of yachting, The Americaâs Cup. What a spectacle for a family to enjoy while out in the absolute splendour of Aucklandâs Hauraki Gulf when the wind is soft on your face and the sun high in a clear sky.
When Gary Hatton of Auckland Marine Centre offered me the latest Quintrex 600 Offshore model to take for a spin over the weekend, it was an ideal time to take the family and friends out for one of lifeâs most enjoyable pastimes â¦ boating and with a little luck, some diving.
The Quintrex story: Is one that you have to sit up and take notice of especially if you are considering an aluminium boat. Manufactured in an impressive complex covering 6.4 hectares on the Gold Coast, Australia Quintrex has established itself as the largest manufacturer, and has the largest market share of aluminium boat in Australia, producing over 12,000 units annually. Many are exported to the USA, Europe and Asian markets and New Zealand.
Quintrex management has set a building standard that is not negotiable; each boat package out of their factory has to meet a stringent quality criteria. These standards proudly qualify for accreditation to carry the CE standard for exporting into Europe and Asia and ABYC (American Boating and Yachting Council) to meet American standards.
What separates Quintrex boats from the crowded aluminium boating market besides its trademark planking sides is its Millennium Hull. The manufacturing process to create this hull has been developed exclusively by Quintrex. The process involves incorporating complex compound curves through a unique stretch forming process that provides beautifully curved flared upper and lower bow hull sections.
Hull design is all about compromises. The ideal hull will allow you to get up on the plane quickly and maintain your planing speed at an economical fuel consumption rate. Be able to handle a choppy sea at speed and ride over and down swells without the fear of the boat taking its head and screwing off sideways or never rising out of a deep trough. Have stability when on the move and when stationary. The Millennium hull is definitely a step in the direction of the perfect hull if such a thing is possible. The bowâs leading edge has a knife edge entry (60 degrees) for cutting into an incoming choppy sea. From the hullâs leading edge it is beautifully curved up to the gunwale and backwards towards the stern as it slowly evolves into a planing hull. The planing surface length has been increased with the addition of the Maxi Transom, which provides for your motor fixing and boarding platform. This design concept has a number of advantages. It helps the boat to get up on the plane at lower speeds. The boat will perform and plane like a larger hull without the weight penalty. Because of the extra stern buoyancy, you are able to install heavier 4-stroke and direct injection 2-stroke engines without major negative effects in boating performance.
The keel is unique to Quintrex. It is a âUâ shaped 30 cm wide aluminium extrusion. Besides providing a strong durable extrusion that can take a few crunches on the beach or rocks, the top edge of the âUâ acts as mini rails that grip the water and help maintain the boat to travel in a straight direction. This extrusion also helps the boat not to lose its head when travelling down a large ocean swell.
To embrace the demands of what a boatie is looking for when considering a boat that they feel safe in when travelling some distance offshore, Quintrex has beefed up the Offshore 600 by having the hull plating increased to 5mm thick and sides 3mm. The sides are noticeably higher than any other six metre boat on the market. It would take a decent sized wave to slop over these sides! Quintrex have always been recognised for building very stiff hulls due to their integrated internal rib construction method which is in that very important space that you donât see under the floor deck plate. To comply with ABYC standards for positive buoyancy 2.2 cubic metres of foam has been installed around the underfloor 110 litre fuel tank.
To also increase the safety features of the 600 Offshore, self-draining scuppers have been installed. These outlets are about 40 mm diameter and are intended to quickly remove any water that may be dumped in by a rogue wave.
The deck which is referred to, as a âsplash deckâ, is not sealed to the hull so some water will end up below, where it is pumped out by the bilge pump. The aluminium decking is covered with a button down marine carpet, which can be easily removed to access the deck or to completely remove from the boat for cleaning after a big day out pulling in the big ones! The carpet, beside being easy on the eye on a sunny day also provides the added features of cutting down sound, avoids toasting your toes on a hot blistering day plus giving you sure footing when moving about the boat.
Letâs play: The sea conditions were very reasonable, a slightly confused surface with a light swell running underneath. With four adults, three children, one set of dive gear plus the usual picnic stuff we had a reasonable weight on board. The 125 HP Mercury had us up on the plane without effort and we were soon cruising at a very comfortable 25 mph at 4200 RPM. The motor maxed out at 5000 RPM with us hitting 35 mph. I found the Canadian Telefex Seastar hydraulic steering took a little time to get used to. It took a fair turn of the wheel to have the motor respond, but after a time it was no problem. On our particular boat the flush mounted Mercury throttle was installed too close to the wheel, causing you to watch out for your knuckles when the throttle lever was pushed forward. This problem could be easily fixed.
Seating is twin pedestal revolving vinyl cushioned seats mounted on square aluminium box sections that also provide dry storage. The skipperâs seat is adjustable fore and aft to allow you to find your most comfortable steering position. No raised footrest is provided, but with the cabin curtain unzipped, you could rest/brace your feet on the end of the cabin bunks while seated. The passenger has a very solid handrail to hang onto in rough sea conditions. Visibility through the smoked perspex windscreen was excellent and the angle and height of the screen was perfect to keep your face from being wind blasted.
When at cruising planing speed, I felt the need to bring the nose of the boat down to allow the bowâs cutting face of 60 degrees to slice through the water, thus giving a smoother ride. The motor tab buttons had the motor angle firmly down as far as she would go. The installation of a wedge on the motor bracket, providing a few extra degrees of travel would make a huge difference.
The Millennium hullâs flared bow and the substantial gunwale ensure a very dry ride even for those seated at the stern.
The fibreglass dash panel contained all the necessary engine instruments plus electrical switches for navigation and at anchor lighting and accessories such as the VHF marine radio. To eliminate any confusion, these sideway operating switches (not traditional operation of up and down for off and on) could be labelled which way is off!
The very wide dash panel is fantastic for mounting your electronic toys – heaps of room. Carpet can be added to this area to help prevent âstuffâ from sliding around. A small upturned lip on the leading edge would also help prevent small items falling to the deck.
I found the huge deck area was a joy to gear up for a dive – in fact two or three guys could be gearing up, no problem at all. Itâs when you are gearing up that, as a diver, you really appreciate a stable boat. The hull design of flattening out to a 15 degree deadrise at the transom provides this stability. Sitting on the very wide non-bum pinching topsides the boat hardly moved, it was an easy backward roll to start my dive.
Getting back on board was relatively easy even with all your gear still on. Climbing back on board with all that weight (instead of passing it up before you get back on board) could be made a little easier if the ladder was angled out a little instead of handing straight down. But âno worries mateâ if you are fit and strong!
With its radiant heat cured brilliant white two-pot marine epoxy finish and green and red graphics, the Quintrex 600 Offshore is very pleasing on the eye.
Sales of Quintrex boats by Auckland Marine Centre have truly cemented the Quintrex brand in the New Zealand market with sales of over 130 boats during the last year. Their dinghy to five metre range of boats is particularly strong. Delivery of your new boat is no problem, in fact it is probably a quicker turnaround than most New Zealand manufacturers. You can write up your order and you can usually pick up your boat in 10 daysâ time!
The tall white/grey spikes had done their final spinnaker run for the line. History had been made, a landlocked country, Switzerland will compete with Team New Zealand. New Zealand skippers on both boats, itâs an amazing competition!
Quintrex love competition too and their design team, like Team New Zealand, try to stay one step ahead of their competitors.
Take one for a test drive.
1. The skipperâs corner is very user friendly. Instruments are mounted on a purpose designed fibreglass dash panel. Instruments include: MPH, RPM, motor hours run, motor tilt angle, fuel and compass.
2. Stern section. Note: the fold down seat that can easily be folded back to allow for even more room when fishing or gearing up for a dive: Rod holders port and starboard. Note on the starboard gunwale the extra black fitting which is for holding and supplying power to your âat anchorâ light: Solid aluminium bollards: cut away transom to allow the motor to be fully tilted high out of the water: clipped down marine carpet and carpeted side panels.
3. Letâs get back onboard. Note: length of dive ladder, which provides ease of getting your first foot onboard with the assistance of the parallel twin above water hand rails: bracket for mounting transducer, speed and water temperature devices: motor control cables etc encased in spiral plastic tubing.
4. She has a solid nose! Note the extended cantilevered bowsprit, ideal for keeping the anchor from crashing into the hull. Solid split bowrail, providing plenty of hand grips to ensure your safety when working in the bow area: large deep, open anchor well: large cabin hatch, ideal access to anchoring duties: fold out bimini providing ideal protection when out on the water enjoying those long hot days of summer.
5. Letâs go diving! The super-wide gunwales are very bum comfortable for the fully kitted up diver or the fisherman who wants to rest his legs. Note the carpeted sides and storage for rods, spearguns etc.
6. A fully kitted diver can climb back onboard using the well-placed handrails and dive ladder. Note the width of the maxi transom and at the waterline the self-draining scupper outlet.
7.The walk-through transom has plenty of room for the diver to get on and off the boat. Note the latched back transom door, no annoying removable sliding panels on this baby.
8. Zipping up the surrounding black button down curtain can enclose the cabin. Between the bunks there is adequate space for storing dive cylinders and gear down low thus lowering the centre of gravity for the boat. The full length removable vinyl covered squabs cover large dry storage areas, ideal for protecting dry clothing and weekend supplies: plenty of natural light through port and starboard perspex side panels.
Price: On trailer, ready to go of the boat tested: $55,000 including GST.