Review: Surtees 610 Game Fisher HT

By: Steve Raea, Photography by: Steve Raea

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With the Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop (formerly the Surtees 580), this famous New Zealand aluminium fishing boat manufacturer is well into revamping its boat range.

The Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop follows the manufacturer’s course of slightly lengthening its fleet of aluminium fishing boats as part of an overall revamp. All the plusses of the preceding Surtees 5.8 remain, and the lengthening adds to the length/beam ratio, improving the overall aesthetics of an already great boat.



Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop

The new Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop is 325mm longer overall than the original Surtees 5.8 Game Fisher introduced in 2009. While the aesthetics that result from the hull extension are not as marked in the 610 as they are in the smaller 575 Workmate (see our Surtees 575 Workmate review), they are noticeable and serve up a surprising gain in aft cockpit volume where it is most effective.

In discussing the key drivers for the model revamp, Surtees Managing Director Phil Sheaff says a relatively simple yet considered hull extension across the range was an effective way to add customer value and improve on-the-water performance without messing with inherent design values that have served the brand well for over two decades.

Pushing the Surtees 5.5 out to 575 restored the balance in Surtees’ entry-level models but in turn created a similar problem upstream with the new 575 and the existing 5.8m Game Fisher.

The differences between the two models are considerable – the Surtees Game King is a much bigger and heavier boat and carries a hardtop yet, on paper at least, the size difference is marginal. Hence Surtees Boats’ decision to carry the hull extension program across its entire model range.



Surtees 610 Gamefisher HT

Construction of the Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop is exactly as it was with the former Surtees 5.8m Game Fisher and is a robust build with a solid 5mm aluminium hull, 4mm topsides and transom and 3mm cabin top and sides.

At the heart of the Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop build is a triangular self-flooding ballast chamber formed by a flat plate section welded across the top of the keel vee. While the primary purpose of the self-flooding chamber is to provide additional stability at rest and a more comfortable and measured ride in choppy conditions, it effectively creates double-skinned protection of the hull.

The effectiveness of this design is such that Surtees Boats has been able to utilise a relatively deep-vee (19.8° at the transom) hull form and mitigate the tendency of deep-vee designs to be uncomfortably tender at rest.

The Game Fisher hull utilises a variable deadrise design that sits up on its reverse chine rails while, forward, tapered spray rails effectively channel wash down and away from the hull for a surprisingly dry ride. The litmus test is the amount of spray that finds its way back into the cockpit. In the case of the 610 it is virtually nil.



Surtees 610 Gamefisher HT floor

There is a good storage up forward with twin parcel shelves and under-berth stowage and capacity for an optional electric toilet fitted under the squabs. The cabin is well finished with grey lining, smart black-fleck squabs and a large rectangular deck hatch for man-size access to the anchor and capstan. A chain locker hatch is mounted into the forward bulkhead while the cabin half-bulkhead makes easy work of getting in and out of the cabin.

The helm station provides a sensibly-sized facia for the engine instruments, switch panel, flush-mounted VHF and stereo, single wiper control and remote switch for the stainless steel Lewmar capstan.

Larger navigation instruments are easily mounted on top of the dash. The hardtop is fitted with five panes of 4mm toughened safety glass and provides excellent weather protection, good visibility and ample headroom.

Surtees Game Fisher models can be optioned with a range of seating plans to suit owners’ intended usage though pedestal soft riders are most practical in the smaller models because they maximise cockpit space for fishing.

The cockpit layout has been carefully considered and carries solid foot and handholds where they’re needed. There is a plethora of rodholders spread between the six-gang overhead rocket launcher, Surtees’ custom aluminium baitboard and on the cockpit coamings and transom.

Surtees 610 Gamefisher HT transom

Attention to detail is evident with generous use of rubber deck tread on the coamings and transom and forward of the windlass. There is ample storage with a pair of full-length cockpit shelves and a fold-down transom locker that doubles as a bench seat if required.

The checkerplate sole provides a solid non-skid platform underfoot with a large under-floor fish bin located immediately forward of the 150lt under-floor fuel tank.

The cockpit is fully sealed and drains to a 2000gal/h bilge pump located in a sump under the transom. An optional cockpit washdown can be installed into the transom and utilises the same pump fitted to the livebait tank on the port side transom.



Surtees 610 Gamefisher HT on the water

The morning of our review was picture-perfect, even if the sea was flat. This was the Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop’s first outing and the team at local dealership West Coast Marine had worked a miracle to get the boat ready for its first run.

We headed out beyond the breakwater and turned left, running parallel with the coast in search of a little lift to excite the cameraman. There was none, but it didn’t matter. It was a glorious morning.

With the relatively big 150 Suzuki outboard motor sitting off the back, the Surtees 610 Gamefisher’s holeshot was impressive and quickly propelled the boat to an easy 25kts at 4000rpm and into the cruise groove. The Game Fisher skipped along beautifully, rattle-free and solid underfoot.

The Ultraflex hydraulic steering was precise if not a tad firm. The Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop is very responsive to engine trim and dialled in correctly, the hull glides across the surface on its aft chine with not a hint of backwash in the cockpit.

The Game Fisher’s deep forefoot is well proven and made light work of the low swell rolling in from the Tasman.



• More bang for your buck

• Sharp new graphics

• Mid-size comfort and performance at entry-level price



• Room for improvement of interior hardtop metalwork

• Work commitments on a Friday



Surtees 610 Gamefisher Hardtop price: $79,000 (price as tested)



Dual batteries, windscreen wiper, livebait tank, Furuno 1870 plotter/sounder, VHF, infill squabs, softrider pedestal seats, Lewmar anchor winch and 150hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard motor



MATERIAL Aluminium (hull 5mm, topsides 4mm, cabin top 3mm)


BEAM 2.26m

WEIGHT 580kg (dry) 1300kg (on trailer, approx)





REC. HP 100-150

FUEL 150lt underfloor

WATER (ballast) 360lt



MAKE/MODEL Suzuki 150 outboard motor

TYPE Four-stroke outboard motor


PROPELLER 15 x 21 three-blade stainless steel



West Coast Marine

3 Cody Place, New Plymouth.

Phone 06 759 0939







See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #252, April / May 2015. Why not subscribe today?

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