VIDEO: Atomix 600 Targa

By: Matthew Jones, Photography by: Matthew Jones

The new 600 Targa features a few functional improvements and adds a versatile new model to the popular Atomix 600 range. We took it from Auckland to Omaha to check it out and found a lot of family boat for the money.

Atomix Boats kindly supplied the newly-released 600 Targa as a support boat for our 42 nautical mile race from Auckland's Half Moon Bay to Omaha a couple of months back (May issue), and it had no trouble keeping pace with a bigger and more powerful boat. Conditions were sunny and calm with half a metre of NE swell, which the solid hull comfortably took in its stride.

On arrival at Omaha, a building afternoon sea breeze whipped up some short, sharp rattle-finders for the performance test, which the 600 Targa lapped up, rattle free. Opening the brilliant 150hp Mercury four-stroke to WOT was possible in both directions, clocking 40 knots on the GPS. This hull/engine combo felt happiest around 27 knots (which is right in the sweet spot in terms of fuel consumption) using 0.93 litres per nautical mile and enabling a lot of water to be covered quickly.

A lot of boat

The boat is not entirely new — for good reason. The well-proven 600 hull (of which over 300 have been sold since its launch in 2009) remains unchanged. Customer feedback has seen some improvements introduced above the waterline, however, with an enlarged cockpit (thanks to a new outboard well design to cater for four-strokes), the ability to access the bow around the sides, a lockable cabin door and increased dash real estate to mount bigger electronics.

Bringing together the best of New Zealand design and boatbuilding know-how with cost-effective Chinese production, Atomix manufactures its boats in a purpose-built facility in China, under the supervision of a qualified and highly-experienced New Zealand boatbuilder.

The boats are entirely composite-constructed using resin-infusion techniques from precise computer-cut moulds for stiffness, strength and weight reduction. Atomix says with this method it achieves a 50/50 fibre to resin mixture, creating an immensely strong six-metre boat weighing less than 1.5 tonnes on the trailer. Closed cell foam is used throughout the hull for buoyancy, which also makes for a quieter ride.

When you export your boats worldwide, having your manufacturing facility in China makes good sense to take advantage of lower production and shipping costs. To the consumer this results in a lot more boat for your money. All Atomix Boats are CE certified and are backed with a five-year warranty.

Family fun time

The design brief was to create a family-orientated day boat, and Atomix has hit the mark well. The roomy cockpit, with seating for six and swivelling helm seats, creates a social layout for a relaxed atmosphere — although (as tested) the seats swivel all too easily and could do with stiffening up.

Nice high sides should help keep any little ones safe, and an integrated ski pole should keep the big kids entertained. Hydraulic steering is standard for smooth manoeuvres with skiers in tow.

Sliding back the large cabin door gives good access to the private space within. There's good headroom while seated, and with the infill it's a great, safe place for the kids to hang out, take an afternoon nap or for secure storage while on shore. The floor is self-draining, so the water sports enthusiasts can also use it as a changing room. It's minimalistic, making it easy to clean and could be carpeted for greater comfort if required.

The area below the berths is filled with closed-cell foam, making the boat quiet and buoyant, with the trade-off being no under-berth storage space. Unusually, there's no storage shelves in the cabin, although there is shelving either side in the cockpit.

Fisherman friendly

The Atomix crew are mad keen fishermen and divers and like to fully test their new releases. This very boat chased game fish in the 2013 National tournament and has seen plenty of on-water action to date. "We've had it out on the Manukau Harbour and up to Tutukaka in conditions that most other people wouldn't want to be out in," says Richard Cains, general manager of Atomix Boats.

Our test subject is the prototype, but Cains is very happy with the design. The only change planned is the removal of the moulded gauge mounts on top of the dash for greater aesthetics and increased visibility.

A fully-moulded internal cockpit liner means there's nowhere for fishy bits to hide and will make for an easy clean up at the end of a fishing trip. Self-draining scuppers (with bungs) and an automatic bilge pump are on hand to dispatch any shipped water. The new outboard well design has added an extra 190mm of usable cockpit length over the previous model.

The dash has also been remodelled to allow for bigger instrument displays, which easily copes with a Humminbird 1158c Di 10.4-inch GPS/fishfinder combo with plenty of space to spare — the angle of which means the target species below can be viewed from the cockpit. There are no gauges required, as all the information is integrated within the clever Humminbird unit, which also features down imaging. This nice option adds around $6000 to the base price. In the interests of good times and safety, the optional Fusion stereo system and VHF radio are also neatly located within easy reach.

Seriously serious

A large underfloor storage bin has been made as big as possible to forgo the need for cockpit-crowding chilly bins. There's small, removable underseat storage bins under each transom seat, which could keep fishing tackle out of the way. A removable bait board is standard and has four rod holders — it attaches to the integrated ski pole so can be removed when not required. The optional rocket launcher overhead caters for another five rods, with two more on the sides and four in the gunwales, which means the 600 Targa can hold fifteen rods — more than enough for even a seriously serious fisherman and his mates.

Those same mates will like the automatic capstan, which is a standard feature. The Portofino transom and port-side step-through allow easy access on board. Large cleats on either side double as hand holds, but the boarding ladder itself is a little flimsy for my liking. Optional LED underwater lights were also fitted to lure in the fish after dark.

A 127-litre stainless steel fuel tank is mounted amidships for good balance, and with the fuel filler on the side you don't have to block the entire gas station forecourt while fuelling up, saving on dirty looks.

Taller blokes won't suffer any headaches underneath the well-proportioned, optional bimini top, which also folds down for garaging. Visibility from the helm is good, either seated and sheltered looking through the screen or standing and taking in the salt air and sea views looking over the top. The wrap-around handrail comes in handy and clears can be optioned in for greater weather protection.

The last word

Atomix Boats' 600 Targa is an attractive and sporty-looking boat, and with 150hp on the back possesses great performance to match. With six seats in the high-sided cockpit and a lockable front cabin, it lends itself well to family fun, and is production built to a price point that represents very good value for money.

For more information contact Atomix Boats on 0800 ATOMIX or visit

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