QUINTREX YELLOWFIN 6500 REVIEW

The Quintrex Yellowfin 6500 Review – A tough plate boat with plenty of fishing room, nimble performance and a quiet ride!

The Quintrex Yellowfin 6500 HT has many strengths, among them the fact this sizeable package is able to be towed by most medium 4WDs and SUVs. This ‘launch-ability’ and ease of operation extends the fishing and boating exploration potential for adventurous fishos and holidaying family. Slipping the big-little rig into the drink is easy at the ramp or even a quiet corner of a beach somewhere. But this Yamaha-powered hardtop plate-boat was also refined when underway, with low running noise and a smooth ride.

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OVERVIEW
The Quintrex Yellowfin Hard Top range has really hit the mark in recent years. Looking back since mid-2016, we have tested them all. But there have been some new model designations to better reflect the boat sizes.

The 5800 is now the 6200, the 6200 is now this 6500, the 6700 is the 7000, and the 7400 has become the 7600. Now that you have that background, you can see we have tested this Yellowfin 6500 HT when it was the 6200 HT. So why are we back aboard?

For this revisit of the 6500 HT (nee 6200 HT), we had a 175hp Yamaha four-stroke outboard on the tail. That creates a quite different boat to those we have tested previously and we reckoned that engine pairing provides reason enough to go for a blatt.

Our Yellowfin 6500 HT review rig was certainly a well-balanced package for the keen angler wanting to step into a much larger trailerboat from, say, a smaller glass or alloy hull. You could do this without necessarily needing to upgrade your tow vehicle, as the Yellowfin 6500 HT weighs in under 2.5-tonne on trailer.

But don’t mistake that manageability with a lack of firepower. The Yellowfin 6500 HT will handle most conditions served up to it and will return its crew safely home after a long day on the water, even after the sea breeze kicks up. Hard Tops are great for that.

Along the way, you will enjoy a quiet and soft ride from a strongly-constructed production plate boat. Although the test conditions were pretty meek, there was no mistaking the wave-cutting prowess and quietness of this tight hull with 175hp Yamaha outboard.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
As tested, our Yellowfin 6500 HT rig was selling for $98,690 with a Yamaha F175 four-stroke outboard, Simrad NSS evo3 7inch Combo, Yamaha Digital LCD Gauge, Stressfree anchor winch, Volvo Penta (QL) Trim Tabs, Yellowfin Pro Seat Boxes, cabin infill cushions, Quintrex Alloy Alko electric-braked trailer (ATM 2600kg) with spare wheel and carrier, and cool custom vinyl hull wrap with a swordfish in all its glory.

That represents pretty good buying for a boat that’s got plenty of fishing room, offshore range (especially with the extra 65lt fuel tank option) and rough-water ability. The base model with this 175hp Yamaha outboard starts at $84,490. While rated for as little as a 150hp, we don’t think you can reasonably expect to get the best out of this boat with any less than 175 horses.

It’s good to see the base Quintrex Yellowfin 6500 HT has plenty of good gear. The long list of standard features includes a live bait tank with viewing window, kill tank, bait station, outrigger mounting plates, deck wash, integrated rod holders, catch and release for trailer retrieval, plus self-draining decks… the standard inclusions are many.

DECKS AND LAYOUT
Naturally, the hardtop is a real feature of this boat and the visibility through the glass is superb. Unlike some hardtops with framed sections of glass and big mullions, the driver’s view is in no way obstructed here.

There’s a rain wiper ahead of the helm, sliding windows for ventilation on the warmer days, while the height under the roof is excellent for taller crew — anyone 1.90m and under will have no issues.

When standing, you can see everything up to the boat’s nose including the anchor well and open winch section (refer to the image accompanying article). On the bright test day, there was no reflective glare in the screen, as the dash is blacked out. It’s also has ample real estate for mounting extra electronics.

Our test boat had a marine radio was mounted above the helm, a modest Simrad 7in combo unit in the dash, Yamaha LCD engine display, and switch panels to manage accessories, trim tabs and anchor winch. If you want more screen size, there is room for a large 12in combo unit installed in the vertical dash section, with a second unit on the sill of this boat.

Meanwhile, the Yellowfin Pro seats supplied were solid and comfortable in the driving position, with enough hip and legroom leftover when standing. A grab rail was fitted across the top of the dash for the passenger for those times when extra bracing is needed.

While the hardtop sides were a tad short, exposing the helm seats to some spray blow back, owners could overcome this with a set of extended side clears.

Note: The Southerner 6500 HT model in the Quintrex range provides an extra 300mm extension for protection in this regard.

There is a cabin hatch if you need to access the bow. It’s a reasonable size, plus you can walk around the cabin sides using the grab rails and bow rail and deck pads for grip.

Inside the open cabin are full-length cushioned bunks (optional infill) where you could have a nap if you needed. In the centre footwell is room for an esky or port-a-loo, say, with a privacy curtain. This way, the boat could accommodate a family day on the water, providing much-needed sun and weather protection and a rest area.

Cabin shelving above the bunks was provided and, overall, there’s plenty of room to store gear out of the way. All that was missing was a pie warmer for those colder mornings and winter days on the bay chasing a stubborn snapper!

Of course, this rig is more than capable of venturing out wide and is supplied with outrigger mounting plates as standard, four integrated rod holders welded inside the wide (28cm) top sides, and deep and wide side pockets along the hull sides.

Gunwale height of 700mm internally means anglers can brace their feet under the side pockets or the transom in bumpy conditions. The rocket launcher has pull-pin mechanism so they can be adjusted as required.

The non-return scuppers of the self-draining deck ensure that the angler is not constantly wet underfoot. A deck wash was fitted, enabling easy cleaning of the tread-plate floor. But the 110lt shallow underfloor kill tank won’t accommodate larger fish and the plate deck could see fish storage warm up on hotter days.

Thankfully, the helm seats allow for large eskies to be stowed underneath, which many prefer for storing their catch and as additional crew seats when trolling. Or add some of those trick zip-up fish bags if you’re chasing game fish.

The large bait board stands tall at 1100mm, but it’s rock solid with room to storage terminal tackle and has five more rod holders. There are oversized bollards on deck.

The area underneath this tackle station gives access to a rear locker housing the twin batteries and the oil tank up off the deck, tucked away from the elements.

The live bait tank in the rear port corner of the transom is easily accessed via a large hatch, and there was a berley bucket within easy reach, too. The rear transom door folds inwards, which is a bit awkward, with a heavy-duty boarding ladder swinging off the back.

But as the cockpit corners offer unobstructed fishing space, and the engine is tucked in tight to the transom, leading fish to the boat and a waiting net or gaff will be straight forward.

HULL AND ENGINEERING
The Yellowfin range comprises external 6mm plate bottom sheets, 5mm transom material and 4mm side sheets.

The internal sub-frame rib structure is made of 6mm stringers and 5mm horizontal ribs. Yup, the hull and build is solid.

With a sharp hull profile with a variable deadrise to 19 degrees at the transom, it will handle most offshore conditions.

ON THE WATER
The days of alloy boats slapping away and being noisy are behind us — at least with this Yellowfin. Sure, the test conditions were benign and never challenged the boat’s ability, but you could tell it was smooth and quiet. The boat points and runs straight, sits high and showed all the expected signs of performing well in the rough stuff.

In hard turns, the prop slipped a bit, but trim adjustments fixed this without any hassles.

Weighing 1065kg, the hull doesn’t feel like it’s likely to be pushed about in slop, yet it jumps to the plane quickly at 2300-2500rpm.

The sweet spot was 3500rpm, as is often the case, and at that economical setting the boat will provide more than adequate range for most offshore anglers targeting pelagics. See performance figures below.

VERDICT
The Hard Top on this Yellowfin is a point of difference, creating a plate boat for fishing in wet and bleak weather with exceptional visibility and protection. It also provides much needed shade on a blistering summer’s day.

The boat handles easily and is responsive with the 175hp Yamaha, so a 200hp will give a bit extra for carrying crew and gear albeit for a few extra dollars.

As it was, the rig rates as a good viable workhorse, getting the fishing job done with a minimum of fuss, using a practical deck area with plenty of room to move about, while also being easy to clean.

The factory-built Quintrex alloy trailer gives ease of towing and retrieval for anyone contemplating a bigger boat. The customised wrap also sets the boat apart.

This is a good honest Aussie plate boat for serious fishing and we’d expect the Yamaha/Quintrex package to provide years of faithful service and excellent resale value down the track.

PERFORMANCE
Conditions calm 5-10 knots variable/0.5m swell, two persons on board, ¾ fuel, minimal gear
RPM, KM/H (Knots), Litres per hr
1000, 9 (4.85 knots), 3.6
1500, 12 (6.48 knots), 5.7
2000, 15 (8.10 knots), 8.8
2500, 19 (10.26 knots plane), 12.9
3000, 28 (15.12 knots), 17.5
3500, 40 (21.60 knots), 21.7 – optimal cruise v economy w/ estimated range @304km
4000, 46 (24.84 knots), 28.7
4500, 52 (28.10 knots), 39.5
5000, 63 (34.02 knots), 46.7
5500, 69 (37.26 knots), 63
*Yamaha F175 spinning Yamaha Reliance Series 17in x 14¼ SS prop

RATINGS
Overall rating: Mechanical/equipment: 4.3/5.0
Packaging and Practicality: 4.4/5.0
On-Water Performance: 4.5/5.0
Value for Money: 4.3/5.0
X-Factor: 4.3/5.0

LOA: 6.25m
LOA (as tested with platforms): 6.55m
Beam: 2.40m
Weight: 1065kg
Persons Capacity: 7
Maximum Horsepower: 200
Minimum Horsepower: 150
Deadrise at Transom: 19 degrees
Fuel Capacity: 165lt (extra 65lt available by sacrificing the kill tank)
Bridge Clearance: Approx. 2.92m on trailer
Live Well: Approx. 60lt
Kill Tank: Approx. 110lt
Storage: Cabin storage, side pockets, glove compartment
Engine on Test: Yamaha F175 with Yamaha Reliance Series SS prop 17in x 14¼

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