Top Crew Comfort in Quest of Catch

Coraline 620 SF

The Sunday Times, January 5, 2008

Coraline 620 SF

The Coraline 620 SF is that rarest of centre consoles - it offers full protection to driver and offsider. That alone would put it on a lot of short lists but this WA-built plate aluminium boat has a lot more going for it.

With a 6.2m hull length (6.7m overall), linked with the practical maximum beam of 2.5m, this is a spacious boat. It is well able to absorb the big console and leave abundant area for fishing, which, pretty obviously, is the 620's number one task.

The console is shaded by a long hardtop that supports a vast area of clear in-fills. There is the fairly common filler between windscreen and hardtop, raked well forward to reduce leaks, and the virtually unheard-of side and rear panels. With these in place, two people sit in a see-through cabin. Not that you would do it too often but it is a wonderful option to have for sloppy cross-seas on the way home.

Two or three second-class passengers have a lounge aft that might be damper but that puts them in the minimum motion zone. Most days I would take that one.

With lots of people preferring to stand, the Coraline caters well for this. The typically massive hardtop supports provide secure hand holds, and there is a purpose-built rail across the hardtop's rear.

There are plenty of rails, too, for when the boat stops moving, though they are less vital than on some of the competition: the Coraline sticks to the water very well when the motor stops. Three weighty people on one side gave the boat barely a list worthy of the name.

Wherever you wander there is somewhere to put things: the side pockets extend right around the bow. Very sensibly they are lined with carpet, inhibiting the tendency of oddments to roll and cutting out most of the rattles. This good idea was extended to the top surface of the dash, whose combined grab-fiddle rail makes it effectively another pocket.

There is other dry storage in the console, under the main seat and in a transom locker. A big self-flooding under-deck tank handles the wet storage and is available for ballasting if you have a team of heavyweight anglers.

The 620 is usually powered between 115 and 150hp, and the differing power and choice of two or four-strokes are almost solely responsible for variations in price: the boat comes very comprehensibly equipped as standard.

This includes non-skid finish in the right places, hydraulic steering, offshore safety gear, a 26mHz radio and Furuno plotter and sounder.

The drop-in bait board is also standard, as is the very good deep-tread boarding ladder, Some boat ladders look OK on dry land but are painful to actually use.

Like almost all WA-built aluminium boats, behaviour downwind was predictable - effectively hands-off - and that's good because it is the direction we mostly travel in.

Into the sea, with adjustment to the power trim, the ride was above average. The driving position being set well back helped the good sensations, of course, but it was an outright good result.

The clear screens were in place, but no spray found it's way onto them: their task was to blunt the wind, and that is what they did.

Fuel capacity is a practical 200 litres, giving the sort of flexibility WA boats need. I belong to the generation that remembers boats of this size typically having two or three 20-litre portable tanks - and thirstier motors.

Although aluminium boats are bought mainly for practicality rather than aesthetics, the builder has provided both in the 620. The basic metalwork is of a high standard, there is a profusion of curves and the preparation and execution of the paintwork is excellent. The builder also made sure the paint should last, with raw rubbing strips and rails within the footprint.

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