Smuggler Kingfisher 670

By: Norman Holtzshausen, Photography by: Norman Holtzshausen


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When Smuggler Marine took over the moulds of the iconic Bonito range a few years ago, the plan was to improve on these popular boats, arming them with the latest specification to match current market trends. Smuggler has succeeded brilliantly with the Kingfisher 670.

Smuggler Kingfisher 670
Smuggler Kingfisher 670

Smuggler Marine is known for the quality of its finished product and owner Dave Pringle has rolled this through into the former Bonito range as well. The boat is beautifully appointed and we could not fault the workmanship anywhere. The hull, liner and deck fit together perfectly and with the inner cavities fully foam-filled, the hull is both quiet and solid. Of course, that foam filling makes the boat unsinkable and this model is therefore CPC rated.

Based on the 6.7m-long Bonito hull, the new Kingfisher 670 has a completely redesigned topsides and interior, giving it a new overall length of 6.9m. The beam of 2.4m, combined with the comparatively narrow gunwales, results in a very generous cockpit area.

The review model was mated to the Evinrude eTec 200hp direct-injection two-stroke and this seems a perfect match. Not only does the white Evinrude paintwork blend perfectly with the startling white gelcoat of the Smuggler, but the low weight and ready power output of the eTec is well balanced with the size of the boat. Although the hull is rated for engines between 150hp and 200hp, the upper end of the power range makes sense with the light eTecs.

The bow of the boat features the Smuggler-style enclosed fairlead, which holds the galvanised Manson anchor firmly and neatly. A hatch fully covers the auto capstan, while a stainless bow rail provides security for anyone heading onto the bow. Non-slip moulding on the deck's gelcoat provides secure footing, although the large hatch gives sufficient access to the bow and it should not be necessary to go out onto the foredeck.

The forward cabin has twin bunks, with thick and comfortable squabs. Fully carpeted, there are also wide, padded parcel shelves along either side. The infill turns the bunks into a generous double bed, although the padded edges of the single squabs could be uncomfortable in a double configuration. An electric-flush toilet is tucked into a hatch under the centre part of the bunk, with a close-fitting hatch cover to keep it well isolated from the cabin – family-friendliness at its best.

The review boat featured the bimini top on a stainless steel frame over the main cockpit, with clears and a rocket launcher fitted. An enclosed hardtop version is also available.

One of the advantages of buying a boat from a specialist manufacturer like Smuggler Marine is that it can customise the design to suit your individual requirements. The front seats on the review boat are one such customisation, having being specified by the purchaser to better suit his boating needs.

The helm side has a small 12V fridge under the skipper's seat, with a removable fish bin and squab forming a second seat behind that. On the port side, a king and queen configuration hinges up to reveal a large wet locker underneath. All the seats are luxuriously upholstered, with the helm seat also adjustable fore and aft.

At the helm

The helm station is well set up and a moulded footrest makes it comfortable place to sit for extended periods. A Lowrance HDS7 combination chart plotter and fish finder dominates the lower dash area, with the superb Evinrude iCommand digital gauges on the upper dash area, providing full engine management functionality. Controls for the VHF, Fusion stereo system, automatic windlass and Lenco trim tabs are all neatly positioned. A nice touch is the solid grab rail along the top edge of the windscreen, providing a good handhold at just the right height when tackling the rough stuff.

This bimini top is one of the best we have seen, with plenty of headroom and a good view through the clears. These wrap around the side to give shelter from wind and spray. In order to make this a true overnighter, the owner has elected to go with the clip-on backdrop for the bimini, although other options, such as a cabin doorway curtain, are also available.

Ready for action

The rocket launcher arch along the rear of the bimini sports more than the usual range of gear, starting with no less than eight rod holders. Six are in the usual position along the top and another two sit halfway down either side, where they can serve double-duty as outrigger holders. Two bright LED floodlights fill the cockpit with light for night fishing, while the anchor light and radio aerials are also mounted to the stainless steel frame.

Very sensibly, the main cockpit has a Nautilex vinyl non-slip tread glued onto the moulded deck. This is a great compromise between the luxury of a fully-carpeted deck and the practicality of a surface with no pile for fish scales or smells to get trapped in. A huge midline underfloor locker takes care of dive gear and other bulky items, such as extra-large fish.

Despite the gunwales being narrower than on some other models, they are still comfortable enough to sit on. Rod holders abound here, too, with three of set into the gunwale on either side. Together with those on the rocket launcher and the two on the bait board, the Kingfisher has an incredible 16 rod holders in total.

The side pockets, while relatively shallow, do have slots cut into the bracing strip which will hold nets, gaffs and similar items safely out of the way.

The moulded transom has a seat set into each corner, thanks to a custom-moulded fish bin forming the seat with a padded squab on the lid. However, these can be quickly moved out the way to give access right into the corners of the cockpit.

In terms of attracting your catch, a large bait board, with plastic bait bin under the removable wooden board, sits on a stainless steel frame at a comfortable height and a plumbed live-bait tank is tucked neatly under a hatch in the port-side boarding platform.

Sitting either side of the big Evinrude, the boarding platforms are relatively modest and no boarding ladder is fitted. However, the motor's cavitation plate could be used by swimmers exiting the water. There is also no step-through on either side of the transom, although the corner seats mean that it is a simple matter to step over onto those.

On the water

The review day was a rare sunny and calm winter's day, so we grabbed the opportunity to take the Kingfisher for a play. With a wind of around 10 knots, there was not much swell around, making it a pleasant afternoon on the water. And once the photos were out the way, it was time to have some fun.

This hull features three full planing strakes, plus a unique deep-chine lip which turns spray down and away. The result is a hull that tracks straight as an arrow, with precise handling through even the tightest turns.

I asked Pringle for his thoughts on deciding whether or not to opt for planing strakes: "I would never build a boat without them," he says. "The control and efficiency they provide more than compensates for any slight harshness of ride."

Throwing the hull around, I found it hard to fault his point of view. Although conditions were mild, we did find a few wakes to jump through. The hull is solid and cuts smoothly through these. When we did get partly airborne, I waited for the crash and bang that often results, but this hull seems to have little of that. The relatively deep deadrise of 21 degrees no doubt contributes to the smooth ride and soft landings.

Although there are trim tabs fitted, we had no reason to use them and the planing strakes should be enough to keep the hull level in most circumstances.

The Evinrude eTec 200hp provides ample power for this hull, with excellent acceleration and performance. Despite not measuring fuel usage, this motor is known to be fairly frugal and the underfloor 200-litre fuel tank could give an operational range close to 150nm. The iCommand gauges are customisable to show whatever performance information you require and the fuel consumption can be precisely monitored.

At rest, the boat settles down well on the water and proves stable, even with decent weight to one side.

This is a boat that the family will feel comfortable in, no matter what the conditions, and it is clearly suited for multiple roles. Nevertheless, the number of rod holders fitted seems to indicate it's primary purpose.

This boat is supplied on a standard DMW double-axle multi-roller trailer. The owner of the review model chose to go for the stainless steel brake option, ensuring years of trouble-free operation. The dry towing weight is around 1700kg – well within the capabilities of most popular towing vehicles.

The verdict

Smuggler Marine has produced another fantastic model. By taking the well-proven Bonito hull and improving the topsides, it has created a boat that ticks all the boxes. With a standard of finish that has to be seen, plus a solid reputation for after-sales service, this is likely to be a winner.

For more information contact Dave Pringle of Smuggler Marine, ph 09 838 9024 or visit smuggler.co.nz.

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