by Dom Wiseman

Innovation in aluminium boat building is hardly new. In fact there are multiple companies using proprietary manufacturing processes to build aluminium craft that ride remarkably like fibreglass boats. It has traditionally been a difficult thing to do, but advances in technology have enabled companies like Quintrex to develop some very sweet riding boats.

Innovation for Quintrex is in their DNA and before this new Apex Hull which we will look at closely shortly, they first developed the flared aluminium bow in 1968, followed that with the Millennium Hull in 1999, the Blade Hull in 2011 and now in 2017, the Apex Hull. It has been in development since 2016 and while the Blade Hull will remain, I expect the Apex to catch on quickly. It is that good.

IMG_9751

WHAT’S ONBOARD

The new 630 Freestyler platform is designed on this new Apex Hull and is multipurpose craft with equal parts sports, entertainer and fishing boat. This is what the modern buyer is looking for and Quintrex, assisted by their dealer network have been nimble enough to develop and implement quickly. It’s a large craft at 6.33 metres overall with a 2.43 metre beam. It’s a sleek looking boat with a pickle fork bow and go fast attitude. The deck line is quite straight yet compliments the tower and windscreen beautifully.

IMG_9831The width forward available due to the Quintrex 630 Freestyler’s Apex Hull design has added considerable space up front and the bow seating has a full side coaming, back rest against the bulkhead just in front of the newly designed front window and sloping backrest at the bow. The storage ahead of the drivers’ position is difficult to get to with a small hatch mounted on an angle around your leg height restricting the room to move items in an out. A better design and one seen on fibreglass bowriders is access via the rear backrest in the bow area. The anchor locker was also located under the bow seating which I believe will be moved to a more traditional space at the bow.

The dashboard is quintessentially Quintrex with an understated moulded plastic construct with an angled area for gauges, in this case an Evinrude Icon linked to the 175hp G2 engine. For a family who aren’t likely to be serious fishermen, the dashboard is quite enough, however, keen anglers will be a little disappointed with the space available for fish finder/chart plotter set ups of any size. The steering wheel is though quite flashy in stainless steel and leather. There is a wide walkway in between the twin adjustable pedestal seats for the driver and passenger. They do a great job of absorbing any bumps and keep you supremely comfortable by wrapping right around your body. The passenger gets a small nook for phones and a closable Perspex lid. It’s quite deep and is capable of handling a camera or any other large items that you need to keep safe.

IMG_9842Either side of the boat features the trademark Quintrex plastic paneling which while very functional and hides the sidewall of the hull, it somewhat takes away from the overall appeal of the boat for me. I don’t have another solution and will concede that this is merely a personal opinion. That said they provide a shelf and cup holders plus spaces for optional speakers which are crucial on a boat like this with fun at the centre of its purpose.

There is a large amount of space in the cockpit, which is also 80mm deeper than that possible on the Blade Hull. Storage is located under floor for skis and wakeboards. The ski locker goes a long way forward so even some fishing rods may fit in here. Along the transom there is a 2/3rds bench seat which folds away when not in use. The starboard side of the transom houses an access way and door. I like the idea of, but really think that most people will still climb over the hull to re-renter the boat so this space could be better used by a full width bench seat. The entire cockpit is covered by that beautiful tower.

IMG_9852

There are rod holders standard located in the port and starboard corners plus a fitting for a ski pole in the transom centre.

POWER

The Evinrude engine used on all Quintrex supplied Boat/Motor/Trailer packages from the factory is in this case a 175 horsepower G2. These new engines were released recently and reviewed here. They are both fuel efficient and powerful and I was impressed by the acceleration provided on the back of this boat. We were able to achieve over 40 knots on the Broadwater which is capably over 70 kilometres per hour. How quickly we got there was quite a sight.

IMG_9827

The engine operation while being efficient is also super quiet. At idle it’s hard to believe the engine is running and under throttle, while you can hear it winding up, it’s not overbearing.

The 175 weighs approximately 230 kilograms with a maximum allowable limit of 295 kilograms on this hull. This opens up the option of a 200hp power plant, although with the performance of the 175hp, I doubt it would be necessary at all.

ON THE WATER

The Apex Hull is the most unique feature of this boat and the new construction allows some interesting angles that work very well to deliver an impressive ride. The construction method also adds a little extra weight which doesn’t hurt either. It is however the topsides that I think go a long way to delivering a better aluminium boat ride. They are almost box like and run all the way to the bow which creates a very stiff hull. In addition they are also fully welded in this boat again adding stiffness. Combined with the curve achieve in the bottom sheet and resulting chine, the hull seems to cut through the wake efficiently.

IMG_9648

How does this translate on the water? Well, we did things I would never dream of doing in any aluminum hull previously. Crossing wake and waves, large ones even, at speeds up to 60 and 70 kilometres per hour and I was bracing for the worst yet to find myself sadly let down by the lack of banging and twisting I’d come to expect from any aluminium boat. Landings were smooth and it sliced the water like a hull weighing much more than the stated 800 kilograms dry. Cornering was also impressive as the longer hull held on well through a turn with minimal skipping. It does turn flatter and some people will appreciate that feeling despite the accompanying increase in G forces.

Upon looking at the hull straight on, you notice the added flare and the shine that does an efficient job of keeping spray away from the boat. The flare also carries further forward maintaining more contact with the water delivering a smoother ride. Again I think the extra weight helps here too.

Overall the hull is capable of leaping onto the plane and delivering a ride not dissimilar to that of a fibreglass hull.

TOWING

This boat can be matched to a trailer made in house by Telwater and would weigh approximately 1.5 tonnes. This puts it in the medium to large family car for towing. It is often the beauty of aluminium boats in that you do not have to upgrade your car to correspond with the new boat.

OVERVIEW

I like the concept of the ‘all terrain’ platform of the Quintrex 630 Freestyler. I love the new Apex Hull. While many have similar riding aluminium boats, not many have the presence and market clout of Quintrex, so I expect this to take off quickly for the company. The 630 Freestyler will appeal to families looking for a manageable big boat with multiple personalities catering for literally anyone that steps aboard.

 

+

Versatility

Ride

Appearance

 

Plastic side pockets

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: with 200hp $69,990 incl trailer (price supplied by Caloundra Marine, QLD)

Construction: Aluminum

Length Overall: 6.33m

Beam: 2.43m

Max hp: 200hp

Construction: Topsides 3mm, bottom 5mm, Transom 5mm

Capacity: 7 people

Weight on trailer: approx 1500kgs

Engine as tested: Evinrude G2 E-TEC Two Stroke DI 175hp

Fuel Capacity: 120L