Tops by name and nature, the terrific Top Ender series of tinnies from Quintrex helped transform Australian boating and fishing. The classic deep-vee hulls with flat floors and in-built fishing features combine seaworthiness and stability with serious casting and fishing ability. But of the seven Top Enders in the range, this 610 Tournament is the deserved flagship, a serious six-metre hull with open-water capability, just perfect for adventure fishing in the Top End and the many big estuaries, bays and open inshore waterways that surround our 35,000-plus kilometres of coastline.
– Top of the Top Enders
We have been reviewing Top Ender boats from Quintrex for some years now and the 610 Tournament is the epitome of them all. It meets the needs of those that want to run offshore to chase the pelagics or bottom-dwelling species as it is over that magical six-metre mark and has good stability at rest.
The aft-seating arrangement will allow three anglers to do the long distances in relative comfort, and there’s plenty of deck space to stow big ice boxes; just what is needed in the hot and tropical Top End.
PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
– Ready to roll from Hunts Marine
We priced the 610 Tournament rig at $55,820 with 175hp ETEC outboard on trailer, drive-away with registrations and safety gear, from Hunts Marine in Sydney. Hitch it up and head north.
You’ll need to add fish-finding electronics, a bundle of tackle, your GoPros and perhaps a pull-back bimini for shade at midday. But as tested the boat represented an excellent fishing foundation for big-water exploration.
Hydraulic steering is a big plus for this boat, as typically heavy ice boxes for drinks and fish tend to be the order of any day on the hot tropical waterways and uneven weight distribution fore and aft can take its toll on a skipper working with mechanical steer.
The six standard seating positions for the supplied seats will go a long way to sorting out any list port to starboard as people change fishing and travelling positions.
LAYOUT AND ACCOMMODATION
– Plenty of room to get the job done
An open-plan layout allows anglers to move about freely and with the console amidships all-round access to the gunwales is possible.
Many custom boats made with the Top End in mind have seat-pedestal posts inserted into the transom to further maximise cockpit deck space but such a design prevents the installation of live-bait tanks into the same area and renders the aft deck useless as far as hatch installation and access is concerned.
So Quintrex has seat pedestals inserted in the deck well forward of that bulkhead so that they fully swivel and they can be lifted out and placed in any of the other pedestal post holes of which there are six. This offers ‘fishability’ all around the boat and also easy access to the large aft kill tank.
The bulkhead overshadows a raised platform which is about 75mm above the deck in which a pair of funnels are installed to drain any on board water to the external scuppers. The central section has an angled panel that is held in place with Velcro tape and when removed the cranking battery, engine oil reservoir and isolation switch is located. The heavier items sit low down to reduce the centre of gravity and no doubt if twin batteries were fitted, the oil reservoir would find an ideal location topside on this platform.
A large kill tank in the form of a rotomoulded insert sits central in front of the raised platform and drains to the bilge. The cockpit liners are carpeted plywood with stowage pockets.
The centre console has a high grabrail on its top and a low profile one portside for the passenger seated or standing and with no Perspex fitted, larger marine electronics cabinets could be mounted and protected.
The Evinrude instrumentation sits in a neat carbon fibre look panel and the Lowrance GPS antenna on top enables them to function for fuel consumption predictions taking into account speed and distance.
The GX600 VHF radio is installed in the aft fascia above two large stowage shelves.
The forward casting deck has two hatches with the larger held down by an elastic toggle which slips over a knob on the upright of the bulkhead. Fly fishers will curse this set up because these appendages will constantly catch fly line as it drifts around on the foredeck. A simple fix would be their removal and the use of Velcro tape instead.
This hatch leads into general stowage space that has a carpeted floor to keep contents out of a wet bilge. With the carpet lined hatch sitting flat on the support structure water ingress will be an issue should the deck get wet.
A carpeted bulkhead at the forward end of the casting deck covers in that area where the rotaform anchor well is inserted. The aperture leading into it is quite small so manoeuvring a Danforth or reef pick style anchor in and out will be a hassle and these two types of anchors find favour in the Top End. An anchor stock tube welded to the higher than normal bow rail would alleviate this issue to some extent.
The forward casting deck is ample enough to stand two anglers back to back when fishing the edges of creeks but we would have like to have seen a seat pedestal post installed here for some comfort fishing for one angler.
MECHANICAL AND HULL
– Proven Blade hull design and strong construction
Standard hydraulic steering is going to be appreciated by all.
The hull is based on Quintrex’s ‘Blade’ design and cuts the water nicely. The hull has a good flare to the bow which reflects and turns down water and spray when wind comes over the forequarters.
Hull sides are 3mm and have minimal pressings to allow neat installation of decals and/or full side wraps whilst the bottomsides and transom are of 4mm aluminium.
The gearbox is swinging a 17-inch Viper propeller.
ON THE WATER
– Could easily handle a smaller donk
The 175hp ETEC was the maximum recommended engine for this boat with the recommended being 115. This combination proved to be ample to snap the Top Ender out of the hole with three people aboard and it would not be unreasonable to expect it to get on the plane and perform well with the maximum people rating of six.
Manoeuvrability with the hydraulic steering was a breeze and drivers will have no trouble getting to know this boat. We experienced a small amount of spray over the forequarters on our test day which is typical of all centre and rear mounted consoles. It’s the nature of the beast.
We had the hull planing at 9.5 knots which at that point the ETEC was consuming 9.7 litres per hour while running at 2000rpm. A slow cruise speed of 25.2 knots and 3500rpm saw a fuel consumption of 26.3 litres per hour (or a range of more than 100nm) and upping the cruise to 4500rpm and 33 knots fuel consumption was 43.1 litres per hour. WOT was 5600rpm and a shade over 39 knots and fuel consumption at 65.4 litres per hour.
The 610 Top Ender Tournament is a solid six-metre boat in typical centre console configuration. It will perform its function well in lake, river or sea and we can’t see too many people being unhappy with its performance. This one can be filed under ‘good honest practical boat’.
>> This is what a boat designed for the Top End is all about
>> Plenty of stand and cast room all round the console and foredeck
>> Aft seating across the beam for long distance cruising
NOT SO MUCH
>> Small anchor well
>> Water repelling seals on front hatches would be appreciated
>> Dark deck coverings attract excessive heat so footwear would have to be worn in the tropics
>> Another seat pedestal post hole in the forward casting deck would be welcome
Overall rating: Mechanical/equipment: 4.7/5.0
Packaging and practicality: 4.9/5.0
On the water Performance: 4.7/5.0
Value for money:
Weight: 681kg boat only
Engine: Evinrude ETEC 175hp two-stroke outboard engine
Fuel: 120 litres
People Day: Six