TR 618 Swift

By: Norman Holtzhausen, Photography by: Norman Holtzhausen

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Launched at the Tauranga Boat and Leisure Show in September, the TR618 Swift is the first completely new hull design from TR Marine in Tauranga

TR 618 Swift
TR 618 Swift
  • Wide chine keeps the hull level
  • Full-length side pockets with rod racks
  • Suitable for the occasional sleep-over trip
  • Plenty of storage
  • Comfortable and safe cockpit

The TR 618 Swift is a basic fibreglass cabin boat that competes well in the fishing market. Although it has all the features you would expect, the price is kept down by eliminating luxury extras that increase cost and weight.

First impressions

The 618 is a fairly striking boat, with a high freeboard all round and a good standard of finish. The review boat is finished completely in white, with a black buffer strip to prevent damage. The decals are discrete and stylish, and the whole package looks really good.

We were reviewing the first boat out of the mould, and for testing purposes it had been fitted with a two-stroke Johnson 115hp V4 motor. As an independent boat builder, Zillwood says he can fit the purchaser’s choice of motor, with his recommendation being the Mercury 135 Optimax.

It is supplied on a custom-built single axle galvanised trailer, which is unbraked. With an all-up weight of 1340kg and low wind resistance due to the lack of a high roof, this will be easy to tow with a reasonable family-sized car. The beam of 2.36m also makes it easy to manoeuvre, and the overall length of 6.18 metres means there is lots of space inside.

Internal layout

The cockpit is well laid out, with two pedestal-mounted seats for the skipper and passenger. Further seating is provided by two loose fish-bins, secured with Velcro to the carpet, with squabs fitted. A padded backrest is hinged against the transom, behind which you’ll find the battery.

Elsewhere there is a stainless folding boarding ladder, a grab-handle, and fuel filler in the transom.

A hatch in the middle of the carpeted cockpit floor lifts up to reveal a wet locker area, with the 150-litre under-floor fuel tank located further forward. Wide, lined side-pockets provide plenty of storage space – long enough to hold fishing rods and foam-lined rod racks, screwed to pre-fitted mounting blocks in the hull. Four rod-holders are fitted into the gunwales.

This is a very comfortable and safe cockpit for fishing, with space under the parcel shelf for your toes to hook under and the thigh-height gunwale.

The forward cabin is fully carpet-lined and includes full-length upholstered bunks that are comfortable to lie down on. An infill is available to create a double bunk. The centre section forward lifts up to reveal a canister toilet, with a plumbed version an optional extra.

A tinted acetate hatch provides access to the anchor well, which has a split cover enabling it to be closed even when the anchor is deployed. The bollard has a securing pin to lock into the chain, and a stainless fairlead protects the gelcoat. There was no anchor winch fitted, but could be accommodated.

The helm station

The helm position is comfortable, thanks to the pontoon-mounted fully upholstered seats. The conventional steering worked adequately, but hydraulic steering is an option. The review boat had basic instrumentation fitted, with speedometer, rev counter and tilt gauge for the Johnson outboard.

A Garmin F60 fishfinder was fitted, but there is space for a larger unit to be installed on the wide dash. Convenient cubbyholes are fitted on either side of the cockpit for keys, cell phones and the like. Although the sides of the cabin moulding lack additional bracing they proved stiff and did not rattle when under way.

The test drive

We headed out over the slight chop and put the boat through its paces. Although the hull is not foam-filled it was remarkably quiet. The strakeless hull is very smooth-riding, cutting through waves with ease. Launching off some of the harbour chop was controlled, with a smooth and relatively soft landing.

The hull has a very wide chine, which does an excellent job of turning away the spray. Despite the open cockpit we had no problem with spray inside, and hardly even took any on the windscreen. The cockpit serves as a good shelter, and when seated the skipper and passenger are tucked snugly behind it.

The wide chine helps compensate for the lack of strakes when turning. We found that turns at speed produced surprisingly little lean, with handling reminiscent of a pontoon boat. The hull heels over just until the chine bites and then leans no further. We tried some very tight turns and the boat remained remarkably upright.

Thanks to those same chines it is extremely stable boat at rest.

The boat is rated for a motor up to 150hp, and the 115hp V4 Johnson provided adequate performance. We got to around 30 knots in the conditions, and acceleration was reasonably good. It is up to the purchaser to specify their preference for power plant.

The boat we tested featured a cuddy cabin with a bimini top and clip-on clears, and a fibreglass hard topis in pre-production.

Overall this is a great entry level boat and a quiet ride – a large amount of boat with a surprising number of features for the price. Of course the hull has numerous sealed airtight compartments to ensure it is unsinkable, and comes with a five-year warranty on the hull.

For more information contact Terry Zillwood at TR Marine, ph 07 552 4588, 027 208 2272 or email


LOA 6.18m
Beam 2.36
Weight 1340kg
Fuel capacity 150L
Recommended engine Mercury Optimax 135hp
Trailer Single axle custom galvanised trailer


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