Tough customer

Rick Huckstepp | VOLUME 26, ISSUE 3

It’s been a couple of years since Telwater relaunched the iconic Yellowfin brand, but judging by the merits of the 6200C, it’s here to stay.

I can still remember the original Yellowfin boats at the ramps in the Northern Territory, one of the hardest boating environments you’ll find in this country. Back in the ’80s, Yellowfin was a house hold name in boating circles, especially among commercial barra fishermen and pro crabbers.

Built from heavy-gauge alloy plate, Yellowfin boats were bashed and smashed until their paintwork largely disappeared, yet they soldiered on with little structural failure. That was what they were designed for – to take years of beating on the high seas without the need for constant repairs.

In 1981, then-owner Bob Caruthers sold out to a group which continued to manufacture them under the same name for nearly a decade. But time went by, trends changed, and Yellowfin got shelved in favour of new models. Then, a couple of years ago, Aussie boating giant Telwater resurrected the brand.

Yellowfin’s revival was lead by the 6700, 6200 and 5700 models in cuddy-cabin and centre-console configurations. Since its introduction, the model range has essentially stayed the same, but it’s evolved into what we have reviewed here: a twin-pod application (although single-engine formats are also available).

THE BUILD

As mentioned, the build remains the same as the original models, with bottom sides of 5mm and topsides of 4mm. The 2.4m beam and 20-degree deadrise at the transom remain the same across the Yellowfin range.

The transom bulkhead of the Yellowfin 6200C is fitted with a door on the starboard side. The door is hinged horizontally and converts into a step onto the deck. Looking at this feature as a fisherman (well, how else would you look at it?), once the boarding ladder is put into the water, a large fish could easily be dragged through this space onto the deck.

Under this companionway, the looms from the helm station come from the starboard side of the boat, across the deck and up into the central area of the bulkhead, where two cranking batteries are housed on a shelf, along with the battery-isolation switch. Cleverly, the fuel filter is installed under this shelf, so if there is any leakage, it spills onto the deck and away from the electrical connectors.

The bait-rigging table has rod stowage and can be removed to free up the transom area. The port side of the transom bulkhead features a 65lt plumbed livebait tank. There is also an option for a berley pot and muncher, recessed into the boarding platform immediately aft of the bait tank.

A 135lt kill tank in the central deck is plumbed to drain astern, and there’s a robust manufactured hinge on the hatch. In the boats of old, these decks were landing platforms for 44-gallon drums of fuel, which were rolled off the back of trucks and onto the boats as they sat in the water. We didn’t have any fuel drums available, so we took it on faith that the supporting frame under the deck plate of our review boat had the same structural integrity.

There’s plenty of stowage space on board the Yellowfin. The side pockets are cavernous and the overhanging coamings are some of the widest we’ve seen in trailerboats of this size. They are about 300mm in width at the forequarters, and they taper only slightly at the aft end.

While this adds some serious rigidity to the gunwales, the coamings are a good place to sit and fish during smooth seas. They’re also good for bolting on downriggers, outriggers and extra rod holders.

The height of the coamings in relation to your thighs is perfect for maintaining good balance when in serious fishing mode. And the coamings protrude into the cockpit space just enough to ensure that your feet aren’t coming up against the hull sides while you’re getting your balance.

Outrigger mounting plates are standard on the cabin walls for those who want to mount the outriggers higher rather than on the gunwales; the latter tends to restrict movement to and from the bow.

AT THE HELM

Yamaha’s digital instrumentation is fitted across the dashboard above the helm and occupies any available space that might have been used for flush-mounting electronics cabinets. There is, however, plenty of room to gimbal-mount depth sounders and chartplotters. Of course, this isn’t going to suit those who prefer flush-mounted electronics, which reduces the possibility of theft when the boat is unattended.

Standard on the 6200C is a rocket launcher, which is mounted on the aft shoulders of the cabin walls and isolated from the optional bimini. Solid bases for the tubular frame are welded to the superstructure; the struts can be bolted on, and up to six rods can be stowed across the top.

That said, the weight of your fishing gear will dictate how much you want to test the flex of the frame. Excessive flexing causes aluminium to harden, become brittle and eventually crack. That might not occur in this case, but putting four rods and reels up here in the 50lb class would make me a little nervous.

There is a wrap-around, Perspex-style windscreen with an aluminium frame. Considering that this boat is designed for heavy seas, it would have been good to see a grab rail around the screen as a standard item.

The seating is made by Telwater and consists of a robust tubular-alloy frame on modules, which can be easily unbolted from the deck brackets if required. There is a bin on the inside edge of each seat module for a fire extinguisher or an EPIRB and a small storage space in front.

The deck continues on the same plane into the cabin, which has a low vee-berth. Under the deck, there is a shallow stowage space, deep enough to store a single life jacket. The low-profile berths result in good head height in the cabin, so crawling through to work the ground tackle from the hatch in the roof isn’t an issue. The serious offshore angler will appreciate the simplicity of this area, as it would be a good site to build tackle cupboards and rod racks.

There are ample hand and bow rails in 32mm tubing all about the boat, with two anchor stock tubes mounted at the bow point.

POWER

The twin 100hp Yamaha four-strokes seemed a perfect match for the 6200C, with excellent hole-shot and acceleration to 6100rpm, where the rev limiter cut in at 74km/h. It happily cruises at 3700rpm for a speed of 41km/h, while at 4000rpm the Yamaha instrumentation was displaying 46km/h.

We tested the boat a day after a strong wind warning was issued for the Gold Coast and although the warning was not in force at the time, the residual sea was ideal to put the 6200C to the test. Absolute slop was coming from all directions; there were swells up to 1.5m and 15kt of southeasterly to put some sea on top of that.

We ran out of the Southport Seaway and it became apparent there was something different about this hull. There was no jarring or banging at the bottom of the swell after getting airborne – it just didn’t happen.

Pushing wide 12-15km offshore through these sloppy conditions when standing at the dashboard was quite comfortable – even more so when standing behind and holding the helmor passenger seat.

The hull also afforded a dry ride. Only a minimum of spray found its way onto or over the screen, even with wind on the quarter. Frankly, we were impressed.

The scuppers comprise a ball floating up to block a tapered neck system draining a deep gutter running abeam of the aft deck. It proved to be 100 per cent effective when backing down hard into the oncoming sea. When the deck was doused by the odd wave splashing over the transom bulkhead, the water dissipated immediately.

Running home through the Seaway, the Yellowfin 6200C proved it had no issues with a following sea and it behaved as it should – well mannered indeed.

We were especially impressed with the boat’s powerplants. That extra motor is the comforter for many heading to sea, but with the increasing reliability of four-stroke outboard motors, breakdowns are much less of an issue.

The most common problem to beset modern motors is contaminated fuel. The serious offshore boater might contemplate installing a dedicated tank for each engine, so they can switch tanks if they pick up some gremlins at the service station.

While a grab rail around the windscreen should be standard on a rig of this stature, and while some boaters will insist on flush-mounting electronic cabinets as an anti-theft precaution, overall, we have to admit we were impressed with the Yellowfin 6200C. Its sturdy build is a great match for the twin-pod set-up and it handles well in sloppy seas.

But don’t take our word for it, take a closer look at this ’Fin yourself.

SPECIFICATIONS: YELLOWFIN 6200C

Overall length: 6.94m

Beam: 2.4m

Weight: 940kg (boat only)

Maximum recommended hp: 230

Standard hp: 150

Maximum engine transom weight: 294kg

Maximum load: 924kg

Fuel: 200lt

Engine: Yamaha F100D

Type: Four-cylinder, four-stroke, DOHC, 16-valve

Displacement: 1596cc

Gearbox ratio: 2.31:1

Price as tested: $75,950 (price supplied by Yamaha Pitmans Marine)

For more information, contact Yellowfin Boats. Website: www.yellowfinboats.com.au.


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