Jack of All Trades

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Article by Rick Huckstepp, Photos by Rick Huckstepp & David Granville
Published in “Trailer Boat” – May 2002

It can’t bat and it can’t bowl, but the 6700 Allrounder – by new boatbuilder on the block, Lifestyle Boats – can do just about everything else….

It seems the race is on to build the perfect family fishing boat. indeed, given the number of educated buyers around these days so much more is required from a boat. Which is fair enough. If you’re going to part with a swag of your hard-earned, you want a boat that can perform as many duties as possible.

Boat manufacturers around the country are aware of this, and it seems more and more boats are being designed to be a serious fishing boat one day and a family entertainer the next.

LIFESTYLE BANDWAGON

The latest company to jump on the ‘jack of all trades’ bandwagon is Sunshine Coast-based fibreglass boat manufacturer Lifestyle Boats. While Lifestyle Boats is a relative newcomer to the new boat market, its production team certainly is not. In fact, its staff have worked for some of the better boatbuilders in the country, including multihull specialists like Kevlacat and Noosa Cat.

Lifestyle Boats has exploded on to the market with its 22ft fibreglass trihull, aptly tagged the 6700 Allrounder. Indeed, an allrounder is exactly what this boat is designed to be, as it has enough features to appeal to the serious fisho, yet enough creature comforts to keep the fairer sex happy.

Bi-fold doors provide access to a large cabin with twin bunks. The dash could be a bit bigger if wanting to mount a larger complement of electronics. Marine radios stored in the port side radio box are too far from the helm.
We were fortunate enough to drive two different 6700 Allrounders recently – one powered by a 115hp Honda four-stroke and another with Honda’s brand-new 225hp V-six four-stroke. Not many hulls can perform successfully with such a contrasting power range, so it was interesting to compare performance with two outboards at opposite ends of the power spectrum.

The Allrounder fitted with the 115hp is owned by Steve Evans from Solas Propellers fame, while the boat powered by the 225 was a brand-new boat about to be delivered to a dealer in Western Australia. Steve’s boat was completely finished with all the extras, including bimini top, electronics, etc. The other boat was in a relatively bare form, so performance figures may alter slightly once fully loaded.

A TESTING PROPOSITION

Steve’s boat was tested in and around the Southport Seaway while the other boat was tested offshore from Mooloolaba with quite a substantial swell running.

While the 115hp Honda would be at the bottom of the recommended power range, it still provided quite impressive performance figures and is quite an economical power option. Top speed with the 115 at 5600rpm was 54kmh while 4000rpm produced a comfortable cruise of 29kmh.

The Allrounder fitted with the 225 was, as expected, a bit of a rocketship. The big fourstroke is super-quiet and mid-range acceleration is more like a two-stroke than the four-strokes of old. Top speed offshore was 71 kmh at 5800rpm, while a 4000rpm cruise produced 53kmh. The big Honda’s VTEC kicks in at 4500rpm, at which time the Allrounder is fanging along at around 60kmh. We found the Allrounder to be responsive with both engines, although the 225 obviously provided much quicker acceleration out of the hole.

Stability was good both at speed and at rest, although we noticed a lot of water noise under the hull at low speed – probably more noticeable due to the quietness of the outboard. The ride in the choppy offshore conditions can be described as relatively soft – except in a head sea – when you knew you were in a multihull. Unfortunately, the full bow can’t quite cut it like a deep-vee monohull.

We managed to get the Allrounder airborne a couple of times off the big swells running off Mooloolaba on our test day. However, considering the air we got, the landings were very sedated. The boat kept an even trim and felt safe – even in the air.

INNER SPACE

One thing about boats in trihull configuration is they are big on space – especially forward. Cabin space is maximised due to the full bow of the trihull, unlike a monohull, which loses a lot of space up front due to its bow flare. This is particularly evident in the Allrounder, which, although a centre-cab, still has a very large cabin for a boat this size. The walk-around configuration of the 6700 Allrounder will not only appeal to the active stand-up fisherman, but will also makes life a lot easier when anchoring.

Two large hatches in the foredeck reveal twin anchorwells with ample space to store necessary ground tackle, as well as anchor buoys, fenders and the like. A big, high bowrail adds to the safety forward, and recessed lighting ensures sure footing while moving about the walk-around after dark.

On Steve’s boat, a set of clears are located from the top rim of the windscreen to the stainless steel frame of the bimini. The bimini is also anchored to the screen with stainless steel cable and fittings. The rear of the bimini attaches to a fibreglass targa that sports stainless steel rodholders and antenna mounts. An aft bimini extension from the targa provides additional shade in the cockpit but does make accessing the rocket launcher a bit of a pain.

The cabin provides good headroom and features a small double berth. An electric marine toilet is centrally located and storage is provided below the bunk cushions. Sidepockets on either side of the cabin also provide additional storage space. Bi-fold cabin doors with tinted glass can be locked for additional security.

OUTSIDE THE CABIN

Just outside the cabin on the port side is a radio box that houses a 27MHz VHF and CD player. While this box provides good protection from the elements, it is too far from the helm. Marine radios should be closer to the helmsman, so they can be reached and heard easily.

Seating for both the helmsman and passenger is provided by swivel bucket seats that sit atop insulated fibreglass boxes. Lifestyle has gone for a rather narrow bucket seat to maximise room in the helm area and to aid access to the cabin. Only problem is, if you’ve got a fair old butt like me, you’ll find these seats a bit squeezy.

The seatbox on the port side features a hinged lid that provides access to a small sink with a tap that is fed from a 60lt freshwater tank. Under the corresponding lid on the starboard side, a tray sits over the opening to an insulated icebox that may be drained to the cockpit via a bung.

The helmsman is treated with a hydraulically-operated stainless steel steering wheel. Electronics fitted to Steve’s boat included a Furuno FCV600L sounder and Navman 950 chartplotter. The dash featured a full complement of Honda gauges, Navman fuel-flow meter and keyless ignition.

A fuel-filler on the gunwale is used to fill the 200lt underfloor tank, which is also accessed through the cockpit floor via a stainless steel inspection port. This inspection port enables the tank to be dipped for an accurate fuel content reading and simplifies maintenance.

Inner walls divide short pockets with flush mounted hatches behind which water pressure pumps, batteries, isolation switches and fuel filters are located. Plumbed live bait tanks are located in each aft corner while a bait table above the transom bulkhead has a hinged cutting board and has provision for bait storage below. Overflow from the bait table drains into the enginewell.

Overall we thought the 6700 Allrounder was an extremely well-constructed package. With the two test boats being only the second and third boats ever built, there is obviously some room for improvement. That said, the Lifestyle team is definitely on the right track with the Allrounder and have indeed entered the race to build the perfect family fishing boat.



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