Glenn and Diane Shaw bought Extreme Boats Ltd about eight years ago.
Since then their hulls have developed a reputation for being solidly built and well finished.
Their most recent accolades were two ‘Boat Of The Show’ awards at the Auckland Boat Show, one for ‘Aluminium Fishing Boat under 6m’, courtesy of their 570 Sportfisher, while the 700 Game King topped the ‘Aluminium Fishing Boat 6-7m’ section.
An enclosed hardtop, seven-metre sportfisher, the 700 Game King, is the subject of this month’s Trailerboat Trial.
With many potential boat owners tightening their belts in the current economic climate, Extreme Boats is one company among very few that’s still expanding its business. They have employed a further 10 staff to make a total of 21 and opened a new plant in Whakatane, with the original facility in nearby Thornton now dedicated to fit-outs.
Extreme Boats are known for their willingness to customise their boats. The test model Play-Pen is owned by Waihi couple Lyn and Graham ‘Curly’ Rosborough. They are both keen anglers and the boat is well set up with this in mind.
I drove down to the Coromandel with the intention of launching out of Whangamata, but 40-knot winds eventually forced us to trail the craft around to Tauranga to get it on the water.
A Scott Robson design, the 700 Game King features a 5mm bottom, 4mm sides, cabin and decks, and a 6mm transom. The entry is fine, with no strakes on the hull, downturned chines and a 20° deadrise at the transom. Six fully seam-welded stringers run the length of the hull, with crossways frames at 600mm centres supporting the sealed 4mm chequerplate decks.
A feature of the construction is the use of a flat plate welded across the hull above the keel. This forms a chamber that is triangular in section, running the length of the hull. It is left open at the transom and vents through the anchor-well at the bow.
There are a number of advantages in this design: it adds considerable stiffening to the hull; is used to bring water to, and drain it from, the forward step-down and under-deck holds; and it also acts as a self-flooding ballast tank, filling with water when the boat is at rest, then draining rapidly as the hull lifts onto plane.
This is a valuable counter to the deep-V hull. Ordinarily, hulls with a fine entry and deep-V cut through the water nicely, but pay the price at rest, with the hull slopping around more. The self-flooding keel adds much to the stability of the hull at rest, allowing you to have your cake and eat it too.
The welding on the hull appears competent and robust. In most cases welds have been left unground, which may not look as pretty as a smooth-ground finish, but does leave the full ‘meat’ of the weld behind, making for a stronger result and allowing you to see exactly what you have in terms of weld quality.
The boat is fully painted, except for the decks, with Whakatane painter Goose Haddock having done an excellent job. The final fit-out on this particular boat was done at the Tauranga Marine Centre by Brett Marshall, perhaps better known in the classic car field. He spent 140 hours getting it just so.
The sealed decks form three buoyancy chambers, providing a total of 725kg reserve buoyancy.
Power and performance.
The recommended horsepower range for this hull is 130 to 250hp. The test boat Play-Pen is pushed by an Evinrude E-Tec 150hp outboard – towards the bottom end of the power range, but perfectly adequate, producing just over 30 knots at top-end revs of 5200 and a comfortable cruise of about 24 knots at 4200rpm.
The under-deck fuel tank holds 170 litres (larger tanks can be fitted if required) and the fuel port is fitted on the back of the transom – easy to access when filling and preventing any spillage inside the hull.
By the time we got the boat in the water at Tauranga’s Sulphur Point ramp, it was late in the afternoon and the strong winds that had forced us out of Whangamata were easing off. We experienced a half-metre chop in some areas – enough to show the Game King was a soft and dry traveller and seemed to have no handling vices. The Lectro-Tab trim-tab system fitted had a good display system, allowing the helmsman to see exactly where the tabs were set, and could be adjusted for the windage on the hardtop or load alterations as passengers moved around the hull.
Steering is a pleasant-to-use hydraulic system and visibility is good in daylight through tinted 6mm toughened-glass screens and side sliders (the corner curves are polycarbonate). Tinted ‘screens can reduce vision in low light conditions (the reason why charter boats are not allowed them at the helm station), and for this situation (and also when the windows mist up on those chilly pre-dawn winter mornings) owner Curly has had a hatch installed in the cabin top directly above the helm seat, allowing him to stand on the seat with his head out of the hardtop for better visibility.
It is easy enough to climb around the sides of the cabin to the bow with the aid of panels of Decktread, hand-holds on the hardtop and substantial bowrails. The hatch in the forecabin roof also opens out onto the foredeck, but there are not too many reasons you would need to get out there.
A Sarca anchor is permanently mounted on the substantial alloy fairlead, pulled by a South Pacific 800H anchor winch. This is set down into the foredeck and controlled from the helm. Access to the anchor locker is through a hatch set in the forward bulkhead. Other foredeck ‘furniture’ includes a tie-off bollard on the foredeck and, further back around the sides, heavy alloy mooring cleats.
The large chambers that provide the high level of reserve buoyancy leave no space for under-berth stowage in the forecabin. There is, however, space for the flush toilet in the bow. With the berth infills added, the forecabin converts into a comfortable double berth. Stowage is provided by two levels of side shelves around the sides of the forecabin, with extra room being provided here by making the shelves 100mm wider than the standard design.
Cabin lights are fitted; a hinged hatch on the back of the console gives access to the wiring and steering.
The forecabin is lined to the deck and has a nice wide entry from the wheelhouse.
A good-sized dash has a back lip (to stop objects sliding off) which also forms a grabrail. A dark marine-carpet cover on this does double duty by stopping items from sliding around as well as cutting internal glare on the inside of the ‘screen.
The helm is well set out, with retro white-faced dial gauges showing engine functions and flush-mounted switching and controls for the trim tabs and anchor winch. The electronic tasks were all handled by a Furuno Navnet unit, incorporating sounder, GPS plotter and 12-mile radar. Curly has boosted the sounder performance by having a two-kilowatt transducer fitted. VHF and sound system are flush-mounted overhead.
The helm seat is a comfortable bench, with internal stowage space for a kettle and cups. The footrest also has a built-in stowage locker. Behind the helm is the galley unit with sink, 28-litre freshwater system, fold-down gas cooker and storage space beneath. Recessed shelves in the walls of both sides of the wheelhouse provide additional stowage.
On the passenger side of the wheelhouse, a fore-and-aft bench seats three, with the centre section lifting to make a table (the owners never use this, so intend to build-in a lure cabinet here). An extension on the end of this unit can be folded out to form a single berth, and there are two storage lockers underneath. A sliding, locking cabin door offers security and weatherproofing for equipment left in the boat.
Two 200-litre-capacity holds have been built under the decks, one in the wheelhouse and one in the cockpit. These can be flooded and drained via the keel tank, or even insulated for fish stowage if required.
Out in the cockpit, grabrails are fitted to the trailing sides of the cabin. Side-shelves feature two levels of storage on one side and a rod/pole rack on the other. The sealed deck drains to a sump under the transom; water is emoved from there by a 2500gph bilge pump. Three batteries (two starting, one house) are in a protected locker up in the transom wall, along with the oil tank and filters. The port side of the transom wall has a half-height step-through leading out to a boarding platform, with non-skid finish and fold-down boarding ladder.
The starboard side of the platform is fitted with an auxiliary bracket, where the owner mounts a small outboard for trout trolling.
Other features include: a deck wash-down hose; low-level lighting for night fishing; a remote-controlled spotlight mounted on the front of the hardtop; a cockpit floodlight on the rear; and underwater LEDs under the transom which, as well as looking cool when the boat is on the water at night, help attract baitfish.
Overall, a nice, user-friendly layout, with all the fittings for comfortable fishing and overnighting.
As mentioned earlier, Lyn and Curly are keen on fishing of all types – a fact that was obvious when I first set eyes on the gunwales. I am a firm believer that you cannot have too many rodholders in a boat, but Play-Pen takes it to extremes (if you will pardon the pun), with eight along each side, two on the bait-station and six on the rocket launcher on the hardtop, for a total of 24! Curly explained that this gave plenty of options for rod placement, especially when trolling for gamefish.
A pair of telescopic outriggers has been adapted for the boat by Kieron Olsen of Northland’s Reel Rods. Play-Pen has already proven itself in action when Glenn Shaw of Extreme Boats took out the Whakatane Tuna Tournament this year with a 60kg yellowfin caught from this boat.
Other fishing fittings are the bait-station set up on the transom (the pole fitting can also be adapted to a ski pole), a plumbed live-bait tank set into the transom step-through, and a removable game chair (this has two more rodholders, raising the total to 26 when fitted.)
Curly and Lyn use insulated after-market fish bins to store the catch, bait and ice.
The ballast chamber along the keel helps provide a stable working platform when the hull is at rest or trolling. The deck is chequerplate covered with marine carpet, providing good footing. There is toe room right around the cockpit, and flat gunwale faces provide comfortable top-of-the-thigh support, making for comfortable fishing in diverse branches of the sport, including trout trolling, big game fishing, and deepwater bottom fishing.
Extreme boats supply their own trailers. The trailer carrying the 700 Game King is a galvanised cradle A-frame design. Mechanical cable brakes are fitted, acting on the front axle of the tandem rig. The trailer has double safety chains, a wind-down jockey wheel, a ‘cat walk’, and supports the boat on a pair of bow rollers and a further five pairs of wobblers per side. Suspension is leaf spring, and wheel arches are galvanised steel with chequerplate steps at the back. Submersible LCD lights are fitted, as is a dual-ratio manual winch.
Some useful additions to the rig are: Bearing Buddies (fittings that keep the bearings packed with grease, greatly extending their lives); feeding wheels that help centre the bow into the entry bay of the trailer; and a pulley on the trailer winch, greatly reducing the effort needed to load the boat – a good idea I had not encountered before.
The tow weight of this rig is about 2200kg.
All in all
There is not much I can fault in this rig. Smart-looking, well set up for a wide variety of fishing tasks, and comfortable to fish from, travel in and overnight aboard, the 700 Game King is a standout in aluminium fishing boats of its size.
Designer Scott Robson
Type Hard top monohull
Sides, topsides, deck 4mm
Rec. horsepower 130-250hp
Tow weight 2,200kg
Test engine Evinrude E-Tec 150hp
Trailer Agritech tandem
Base turn-key rigs from $89,000 (150hp E-Tec)
Price as tested $140,000
Test boat courtesy of Lyn and Graham Rosborough.
Sam Mossman - September 2008
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