Fi-Glass Warrior

By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford


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Christchurch’s biggest boatbuilder reveals its biggest model, the Fi-Glass 640 Warrior, and Trade-A-Boat sets it loose...

Fi-Glass Warrior
Fi-Glass Warrior
  • Plenty of room for the family
  • High quality finish
  • Foam-filled hull
  • Comfortable to drive with excellent visibility
  • Feels safe and predictable in turns

Fi-Glass has been building boats in New Zealand since 1958. The 11,000-plus boats produced in that time makes it one of this country’s most successful marine manufacturers.

The 640 Warrior is the largest model in the Fi-Glass range. The 640 is a smart-looking half-cabin that sits atop a moderate 22° deadrise hull with reverse chines and planing strakes. Fi-Glass markets it as its "longitudinal variable deadrise hull for cleaner entry into the water and faster nose-down planing".

The huge open bulkhead leading into the forward cabin gives the boat a feeling of spaciousness, and underlines the 640’s credentials as a family boat.

Up to four adults can be accommodated on the well-padded seats, while headroom is sufficient, if a bit mean (especially in the bow area). The seating can convert to a bed with ample legroom.

There’s storage along each side of the cabin but none in the space below the seats, as that area is fully foam-filled. The cabin is well lit, with two windows each side and a clear hatch that opens for access to the bow for anchoring or mooring. A non-skid section is moulded into the seat that allows you to stand through the hatch. The bowsprit, bollard and T-cleat are all well-made, heavy-duty items.

Back in the cabin the driver gets a height-adjustable sliding seat, while the passenger gets a comfortable back-to-back item that lifts to reveal a large, moulded storage area. A further storage area, or potentially a killtank, can be found under the floor between the seats.

At the helm a series of user-friendly Mercury gauges ensure everything’s going according to plan, while there’s also space for large navigation screens. The three-spoked wheel has a comfortable, soft grip. One minor quibble here is the placement of the controls. They’re set high on the side-console and I found they could be nudged with my elbow in rougher conditions, causing the boat to surge forward.

The cockpit is roomy, with a full-length shelf below each padded coaming, while the bimini is fitted on quality stainless steel and incorporates a six-up rocket launcher.

The stern boasts removable quarter seats and underfoot is a quality removable marine carpet. A canvas cover hides the bilge area, while the sidedecks feature two rod holders and a short grabrail on each side. For ease of access, the transom has a boarding platform with a stainless ladder. There’s a plumbed live-bait tank on the external platform.

Handling and ride

Once underway, the driving position offers great views forward through the swept-back three-piece screen. The seat is well padded and gives good support, and driving is comfortable either from a seated or standing position. The steering is light, thanks to the Sea Star hydraulic system.

With a 200hp Mercury two-stroke the Warrior shows spirited performance. It jumps out of the hole with ease, screaming forward to a top speed of over 43kts (80kmh) at 5300rpm on flat water.

With a hull design that lifts it high, the Warrior feels easy to drive but it can be a bit flighty – especially at top speed, where it can display a tendency to "chine walk". This feels a little disconcerting, and may have something to do with the design of the bimini, which seems to want to lift the boat. Perhaps it would benefit from fitting trim tabs; in any case, with this easily-driven hull, 200hp could well be a bit excessive.

In smooth water the Warrior steers nicely; biting in on the chines, it feels safe and predictable through turns. It settles happily into a cruise speed around 3000rpm at 21.5kts (40kmh). With some trim the boat is soft across the chop and could achieve speeds of 27kts (50kmh), at which point the solid construction of the hull became clear – no banging with the spray thrown well clear. At these higher speeds into the sea there was a tendency for the chines to bite in and throw the boat into a sharp turn, but at average speeds it tracks well.

The wrap

The Fi-Glass 640 Warrior is a boat squarely aimed at a family market. The finish is of a high quality. This is a family boat with a bit of character, from a trusted name that’s been in the game for a couple of generations.

See the Fi-Glass Warrior for sale.

Specifications

Type Deep-vee monohull
Material GRP
Length 6.4m
Beam 2.3m
Deadrise 22° variable
Weight 800kg
Fuel 140L
Recommended hp 150
Max hp 225
People 7
Engine make/model Mercury 200hp EFI
Type Electronic fuel-injected, V6, two-stroke
Displacement 2507cc
Weight 166kg

Performance

10.7kts (20kmh) @ 2000rpm (planning)
21.5kts (40kmh) @ 3000rpm
33.4kts (62kmh) @ 4000rpm
43.1kts (80kmh) @ 5000rpm
46.9kts (87kmh) @ 5300rpm

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