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Warren Steptoe was at the launch of the 2003 Quintrex models on the Gold Coast.

As has become the norm for one of Australia's most innovative and progressive boat builders, Quintrex's annual update brings several new models, plus a raft of changes aimed at enhancing safety and amenity right across their range.

650 Offshore
570 Legend
 

Perhaps the most significant change is to the way flotation material is fitted into Quintrex boats. In hulls from 4.5-metres long up to their largest 6.5-metre models, foam buoyancy material has been relocated from under the deck to the sides of the hull where it hides behind flat carpeted panels Quintrex call ‘enclosed side pockets’.

These contain more flotation than can be fitted under the deck and, being located higher in the hull, make the boat capable of supporting itself complete with motor and the recommended passenger load in an upright position after swamping. This meets the highest international safety standards and is a proactive move towards increased safety in Australian boating.

There are a couple of side benefits too. Quintrex boats fitted with the new enclosed side pockets we tested during a recent press day were quite noticeably quieter on the water than other metal-hulled boats. Another side benefit is that with flotation material moved to the sides of the hull, underfloor space previously occupied by foam is now available for storage. Quintrex is utilising this space with new rotomoulded storage areas set into the deck between the bulkheads.

We were also pleased to note that the ‘toes in under’ leg support along the sides of the cockpit, so critical on rough water, hasn’t been compromised by the new side pockets. There’s plenty of space between the side pocket and the deck for your feet to go underneath.

To maintain positive flotation meeting international standards, smaller Quintrex models with thwart seats will now be fitted with larger dimensioned thwarts containing the necessary amount of flotation material.

Other changes introduced in 2003 model Quintrexes include a progressive redesign of underfloor fuel tanks throughout the range to meet the US AYBC standards. This involves the addition of expansion chambers and meeting specific criteria for filling and venting.

Then there’s the new Maxi 2 transom, an upgrade to Quintrex’s innovative Maxi Transom originally introduced largely to support the added weight of four-stroke motors – although the extension of the bottom sheet it entailed also significantly improves static trim and general performance in several areas. The Maxi 2 transom forms a curve from each corner of the chine to the motor mount pad, whereas the original Maxi Transom ran in a straight line. It’s a change apparently made primarily for aesthetic reasons.

The last major change to appropriate models from 4.5 up to 6.5-metres long is what Quintrex are calling a ‘washdeck’. This is simply a deck free of nooks and crannies making it easier to wash down after time on the water. There are strategically sited drain holes to facilitate drainage.

610 Freedom
 

Other changes to all 2003 Quintrex models (except the economical CV range) are a switch from bollards to metal cleats, recessed cockpit lighting, new auto bilge pumps, new higher set navigation lights and stronger alloy core hatches. Models with bucket seats have also gained new reversible seats with a squab that swings over so the seat is as comfortable facing aft as it is facing forward.

Bullhorn hydraulic steering is now standard fitment on certain models too and the Maxi Bracket, which can be fitted with a variety of accessories such as a berley bucket and folding ladders, will be fitted as standard on several appropriate models.

New models are a 435 (4.3 metre) Coast Runner runabout, a baby sister for the perennially popular runabout range; a new 570 Legend (5.75-metre) centre-console; a 6.1-metre 610 Freedom Sport bowrider; and a pair of cuddy cab offshore fishers 6.1 and 6.5-metres in length.

The 435 Coast Runner came after feedback from Quintrex dealers. Quintrex has always claimed to be a customer driven company and this boat is proof of that. It’s a neat little boat cramming much fun into a compact package.

Having run a Quintrex centre-console myself for two decades, I guess I’d have to confess a soft spot for Quintrex centre-consoles. However, it’s not just personal bias, eminently fishable centre-consoles have been core business for Quintrex ever since the configuration became popular here back in the late 1970s. 570 is a new designation for Quintrex, the Legend tag on the centre-consoles merely an acknowledgement of the type’s place in history.

Quintrex’s bigger hull range ascends from 455 to 475, 500, 530, 570, 610 and now 650, these numbers being approximations of the boat’s length minus a decimal point. Along with these new standard lengths come increases to the height of the sides and in the beam of some models to bring them into line with others of the same size in the model line-up.

(Top and above left)
Quintrex's all new 650 offshore
is their biggest hull yet.
(Top and above right)
The tiny 435 Coast Runner
500 Freedom Sport

On the press day there were two 610 models, a Freedom Sport bowrider and an Offshore cuddy cab, plus its bigger sister the 650. Six point one metres is a big bow rider and the 610 Freedom Sport continues yet another Quintrex innovation by being easily convertible from a family fun boat to a serious sport fisher. At 6.1 metres, the new 610 extends sportfishing opportunities well offshore, while for family fun, the sheer size of the 610 Freedom Sport opens up many possibilities on water too open for comfortable family boating in smaller models.

Quintrex did introduce a new 6.4-metre offshore fisher last year but kept it fairly low key while development continued. This year’s 650 Offshore shows the results of those 12 months of hard work.

Now it’s a very well executed and thought through boat, which retains a Quintrex character with planked sides and a flared bow, whereas the development model’s flat sheet sides looked more like other so called plate offshore fishers. Refinements go much further than this though. I tested the development model and found a few points needy of attention so I am delighted to report that they have all been dealt with.

Detail changes to individual models are too numerous to mention one-by-one but there were a couple of standout refinements, which to my mind make great boats even better. The 500 Top Ender console has been enlarged to contain extra storage, a new dash fitted to it and this popular boat fitted with a new plumbed livewell in the bows.

The 500 Hornet Trophy we tested in Club Marine Volume 17 No. 6 now has a completely flat bow casting deck, a definite improvement over the previous arrangement, which had a step up to a pair of hatches over the anchor well. There’s also a new console, dash, and screen and a livewell set into the aft casting deck as standard.

Already the biggest boat builder in the southern hemisphere in terms of production volume, for some time now Quintrex has been moving towards establishing the brand in the lucrative US market. Although at present still feeling its way onto new ground, the US reaction to these Aussie icons has been one of almost disbelief. Apparently the Americans never envisaged aluminium boats featuring such advanced designs and sophisticated configurations.

Here in Australia of course Quintrex is a colossus, especially amongst the fishing set. And looking at where Quintrex is going in 2003, there’s no way that’s going to change.