Melbourne-based Streaker Boats is one of few Australian boat builders to manufacture and sell trailer boat packages without a retail network, and with almost 40 years in the business, it is by far the largest and most successful company in the segment.
Streaker has achieved much of this success on the back of three things: separating the manufacturing and retail sides of the business, building quality boats and assembling well-executed packages that have ensured a lot of repeat and word-of-mouth business.
Geography might be a problem in terms of not having a national dealer network, but this does not appear to have been detrimental to the company and its growth. Streaker Boats was recently lauded as Marine Manufacturer of the Year and Retailer of the Year by the Victorian Marine Association.
These years of experience have also ensured that Streaker knows what to do when it comes to designing and building boats to that are so much at home on the unpredictable, choppy conditions encountered on Port Phillip Bay.
The 6100 Navigator reflects this. It loves to get up on top of the chop and use its speed to optimise the on-board comfort for all. Our test day produced some typically choppy conditions, with a freshening south-westerly breeze churning up a good, harsh chop, with the occasional bigger wave or two thrown in for good measure.
While some might think that a 20-degree vee hull will naturally take the crunch out of such a short, sharp chop, the boat driver needs to know how to adapt the speed and hull trim to allow the vee design to work to its best effect.
I know it’s instinctive to slow down as water conditions deteriorate, but throttling back too much without compensating with engine trim can allow the boat to trim too high at the bow, causing it to drop into some of the bigger waves. This can produce some hard, jarring thumps when the water hits amidships.
I started the test off a bit slow, making a few easy runs over the chop at about 3000 to 3500rpm, which worked out to 20 to 25 knots (37-46km/h). But after opening the throttle a bit more, I found the Navigator really loved the bumpy conditions. From 4000 to 4500rpm at 30 to 34 knots (55-63km/h) this boat showed its true colours and at full throttle it was absolutely outstanding, despite the rough conditions.
The hull generates plenty of natural lift and at anything over 4000rpm it skimmed across the tops of the chop whether we chose to run with, into or parallel to the conditions. I loved this and so did the boat.
The power was well-matched and the prop completely suited, providing outstanding acceleration and refusing to let go unless the engine was over-trimmed under initial acceleration or in tight turns.
Throttling back and trimming the engine allowed the fine entry and the lightly flared bow to do their job for a good, comfortable and dry ride.
SPACE TO SPARE
It’s difficult to fault the helm console. It’s well set out and there is abundant space for the compact multi-functional instrumentation and electronics that are required on trailer boats today. The two Yamaha engine gauges were set into the top tier, while the main accessory switches and the Lowrance HDS5 sounder/GPS/plotter was mounted in the main centre tier, where it is just about spot-on.
The gloss black finish to both consoles (the storage bin and drink holders on the passenger’s side and the driver’s helm console) is a stark and effective contrast to the rest of the white interior. It also resolves the issue of reflected glare from the consoles onto the windscreen.
The layout of this boat is such that it should appeal to any boat buyer (fisho or family use) looking for something in the 6m market.
The walk-through foredeck and screen provides unquestionably the safest and easiest access to the deck hardware and forward anchor locker, while the cuddy cabin itself doesn’t waste boat space.
This boat isn’t an overnighter, so the cuddy is basic. The two bunks are just big enough for someone to get a little rest, but they are primarily there for the dry storage space underneath. Of course, they also offer extra seating space for kids – or adults if need be – as there is adequate headroom inside the cabin.
Shelf storage is provided in the cabin sides, which is probably the best spot to keep life vests dry and readily accessible.
The foredeck hatch hinges completely open along one side, so there is nothing in the way if you want to get in or out, or just fish from the front.
I wasn’t too keen on the hinge nuts acting as the screen stoppers, as I believe over the years, and with some harsh treatment, this could stress the hinges and the through-deck hardware. A dedicated rubber stopper or two would be a better long-term option.
With minimal space dedicated to the cuddy cabin, the main cockpit is generous, with plenty of room to freely work the sides and rear quarters for fishing enthusiasts. For general comfort, the main seating comprises two forward pedestals and single rear quarter seats, with the cuddy vee bunks as an overflow option. There is also ample room left over for a couple of ice boxes or water toys.
Admittedly, the test boat had been targeted more for the fishing rather than the family boating market (read that as a transom bait and cutting board, alloy rocket launcher, recessed rod holders and pedestal seats, with a recessed tackle box), although the seating options do allow for the pedestal seats and bases to be swapped for combination forward and aft seat pedestals, incorporating storage lockers.
The full-length moulded side storage bins offer excellent toe spacing along each side and have adequate height and depth to hold everything from rods, boat hooks, gaffs and nets, to the usual spare coils of rope, fenders and the like.
The under-floor space is largely devoted to the generous 184lt fuel tank, but there is an insulated ice box up front and space for a shallow drop-in storage bin aft.
Each of the aft quarter seats lift out, with the cushions stowed in the side bins. There are aft boarding platforms off the transom either side of the engine, while a folding telescopic ladder helps for access from the water.
While the water conditions and weather were not exactly conducive to a great day out on the Bay, I had a lot of fun behind the wheel. The 6100 Navigator and the 150hp V6 Yamaha four-stroke is a very good match and the set up of the rig, including the four-blade Solas prop and Sea Star hydraulic steering, couldn’t be faulted.
The boat did everything asked of it, with exceptional acceleration and a good dry ride that can be partly attributed to the neat bow flare. The highlight of the on-water test was the way the boat performed when given a free run.
Open the throttles and the hull likes to get up and run across the top of the chop, with hardly a concern for the way you want to take on the conditions.
There is nothing fancy about this hull – it’s just the proven 20-degree deep vee, with three lifting strakes of varying lengths each side. It’s a formula that’s worked for years, so why change it?
There is plenty of room in the cockpit; the cuddy cabin does its job as a dry sheltered space, while the walk-through screen and full-length cabin hatch provide about the safest way to use the anchor, bow sprit and deck hardware.
The Yamaha 150 four-stroke is the premium engine option and by selecting something from the Yamaha Saltwater two-stroke series, you could make some savings. Similarly, the trailer is a premium model, and there are other options there. However, remember that the ‘as tested’ price quoted is a special Streaker pack, which already reflects a discount.
SPECIFICATIONS: STREAKER 6100 NAVIGATOR
Length: 7.2m (incl trailer and motor)
Deadrise: 20 degrees
Approx tow weight: 1800kg
Trailer (as tested): Easy Tow ‘Custom’ tandem axle
Test engine: 150hp V6 Yamaha four-stroke
Max power: 200hp (two-stroke)
Max power: 150hp (four-stroke)
Capacity: 7 adults
Price (as tested): $67,970
More information: Streaker Boats,
tel: (03) 9729 8288, www.streakerboats.com.au.