Nereyda 650 Walkaround

By: Norman Holtzhausen, Photography by: Norman Holtzhausen

Nereyda 650 Walkaround Nereyda 650 Walkaround
Nereyda 650 Walkaround Nereyda 650 Walkaround
Nereyda 650 Walkaround Nereyda 650 Walkaround
Nereyda 650 Walkaround Nereyda 650 Walkaround
Nereyda 650 Walkaround Nereyda 650 Walkaround

When the iconic Sea Nymph brand re-emerged as Nereyda in 2011, the new owners used the opportunity to refresh each of the designs as they set up a new production facility. While retaining the proven hull and cabin layout, the latest Nereyda 650 Walkaround shows a number of improvements that move it, once again, to the front of its class.

Nereyda 650 Walkaround
Nereyda 650 Walkaround

The Neyreda 650 Walkaround boasts a very practical cabin design that has long been popular on American boats but has found less favour in New Zealand in the past. According to Gary Stephenson of Auckland's Brokerage Marine, Nereyda's exclusive dealer, the current soft baiting revolution means there's now call for a cabin configuration allowing an angler to easily move along the entire length of the boat. At the same time, this model manages to retain a full-length forward cabin, ensuring it's a good all-rounder for serious fishing, overnight trips or just family fun.

The boat looks impressive with a high-quality gelcoat finish that gleams in the sunlight.

This latest Nereyda model will dispel any misconception that Chinese-made boats suffer from poor quality, with a standard of finish that rivals the best of local production. Even close examination of the joins and seals found no cause to fault any of the workmanship, and the standard of materials used equals the best in the industry.

The striking, deep-blue hull colour, white decks and topside offset by bright graphics create a good first impression as one moves closer. The raked stainless steel arch, sporting five rod holders and forming an extremely sturdy mount for the bimini top, adds to the ambiance, as does the deep-blue bimini canvas top. We didn't have the optional clears fitted, but these would ensure complete protection from the elements for the occupants.

The ins and outs

Hanging off the back is a gleaming white Evinrude E-TEC 200hp V6 engine. These economical and light powerplants have gained a reputation for reliability and, with no service required for three years, maintenance is simple and low cost. This boat comes as standard with a 170-litre underfloor tank, which should be more than enough, even for an extended overnight trip.

Around the front of the boat, the now-popular split bow rail is practical and stylish, and is high enough to provide a decent level of support to anyone standing in the bow area. The Nereyda topside design features an extended bowsprit moulded into the deck, with an optional anchor winch hidden beneath a fibreglass hatch. The bollard features a locking pin, enabling the anchor rode to be locked in place so there's no need to rely on the winch to take the strain while at an extended anchorage. Access to the bow area is easy — simply walk around the sides of the cabin along the recessed, non-slip tread area.

Inside, the forward cabin is still extremely roomy despite losing some space to the walk-around deck. In fact, the only practical difference is that the space above the lined and upholstered parcel shelves is partly enclosed. There is still adequate head-height and plenty of room to move about in the cabin. The squabs form two full-length bunks and, with the optional infill, create a comfortable double bunk. Although the review boat didn't have a toilet fitted, this could be located in the cabin if required. The light, patterned upholstery is bright and cheerful, while the whole cabin is well lit thanks to the newly-designed windows on either side and a tinted acrylic deck hatch.

Comfort zone

Back in the main cockpit, the fully-upholstered helm and passenger seats are new strut-mounted units, adjustable for both height and forward-and-back movement. A moulded footrest provides a superbly comfy riding position for skippers of any height.

The dash layout is clutter-free with a pair of Evinrude gauges monitoring all engine functions. These are supplemented by a fuel gauge for the underfloor tank. Awaiting a purchaser's preference, the review boat had no other electronics fitted. The optional bimini top has plenty of height for six-foot-plus occupants and the stainless steel rocket launcher is both stylish and robust.

One minor niggle with the helm setup is the throttle lever is too close to the sport-style steering wheel, causing banged knuckles while operating the throttle with one hand and steering with the other – this could be easily rectified, though. The hydraulic steering was super-smooth and light to operate.

Sensible luxury

This boat may be too luxurious to consider dirtying it up with fish bait, but the cockpit is nevertheless set up to accommodate some serious fishing. As well as the five rod holders on the stainless arch, a further four rod holders are fitted, two into each gunwale. The gunwales also have moulded recesses with stainless grab handles and a padded parcel shelf runs the full length under each side. The deck floor is unlined, with a non-slip tread pattern moulded into the gelcoat.

In the stern, two movable padded fibreglass bins form a bench seat right across the transom; lift up the padded squabs and inside each is a wet or dry storage bin. Nereyda has a fantastic system of padded inserts that drop into either side of the transom to provide backrests for the bench seats. A stainless grab handle on each enables the insert to be easily lifted away, revealing a moulded step-through to the boarding platform.

Out the back, the gleaming white Evinrude complements the looks of the boat. A boarding ladder is mounted on the entirely-sensible starboard side. It's amazing how many boats fit this item onto the port side, where the skipper cannot easily watch swimmers as they come aboard. If conditions require a rapid departure, this can cause unnecessary delays or danger for swimmers due to the proximity of the propeller.

Ease of movement

This being my first experience of a Kiwi-designed walk-around, I was keen to see how this model compared to the American Trophy boats that are well-known for this type of layout. Obviously on a 6.5m boat there won't be a huge space available for the walkway, but I was impressed by how easy it was to move all the way around. The boat's maximum road-legal beam of 2.5m assists with this and the walking surface is practical.

The step up from the cockpit onto the foredeck is assisted by a half-height step, and with some practise it would be feasible to use this boat for the soft bait fishing style for which centre consoles have become popular. All the deck areas feature a moulded, anti-slip grip pattern set into the gelcoat. Drains on the walkways on either side of the cabin allow any water that gets onto the foredeck to drain out the side rather than into the cockpit.

A purr and a roar

Heading out onto the water I was interested to see how the motor performed on this big hull. The 2.6-litre V6 started with a purr and soon had us roaring along. The hull is rated for between 150 and 225hp, but the 200 seems just about perfect. The holeshot performance was excellent, and maximum speed in the conditions was over 35 knots. Although Evinrudes are a little noisier than some four-strokes, they excel in terms of lower overall weight, faster revving and lower servicing costs while maintaining almost equivalent fuel economy and low emissions.

With three strakes either side, the hull design is unchanged from the original Sea Nymph model. The top-most strake is positioned close to the wide chine and together they help to keep spray down. The boat powers through waves well, with its 22-degree deadrise giving a soft ride. Conditions were somewhat unpleasant with a confused chop bouncing us around, but the boat took it all in its stride and easily cut through everything.

The ride, even in these conditions, was soft and relatively quiet. We were able to go to full throttle in conditions that slowed down the smaller photo boat and maintained full control despite the occasional swell trying to throw us off course. Worthy of note, also, is the fact the hull and windscreen remained dry.

A touch of class

At rest the hull proved extremely stable, as would be expected from a boat this size and weight. There was minimal heel with crew weight over to one side, and this is a boat that would inspire confidence on the worst seas. The hull is foam-filled between the deck and hull mouldings, ensuring plenty of reserve buoyancy, rigidity and sound-dampening.

The boat is supplied on a New Zealand-made Hoskings tandem-axle braked trailer, with an all-up towing weight of around 1850kg.

At just under $70k for our test model, this an attractive package for those wanting something with a touch of class at a reasonable price.

For more details contact Gary at Brokerage Marine on 0800 FUNAFLOAT or visit their website at

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