Since they bought the business a decade ago, Glenn and Diane Shaw have built Extreme Boats (www.extremeboats.co.nz) from a small company with just two designs on the books, to a busy operation offering 22 models.
By combining a high quality, targeted product with a strong marketing drive, Extreme has continued to expand, even in these difficult financial times, with sales increasing by 28% last year.
Demand for their product has Extreme Boats currently employing 20 staff, with workshops in Thornton and nearby Whakatane providing pretty-much a ‘one-stop shop’ operation. Exports to Australia are now approaching the level of New Zealand domestic sales, and the company has a good toehold in New Caledonia as well. Extreme will manufacture 120 hulls this year, and their workshops are more or less at capacity.
Naturally, the use of two plants is not the most efficient way to go, so the company recently purchased land outside Whakatane where they are building a single large production base to streamline construction and provide space for further expansion.
The quality of Extreme’s build is demonstrated by regular appearances on the winner’s podium at the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show. This year, the 850 Game King joined the long list of Extreme winners when it took out the ‘Aluminium Fishing Boat of the Show’ open class. But the 850 is a lot more than just a ‘show pony’, as I found when I travelled to Whakatane to put it through its paces.
The 850 Game King features a 6mm bottom and transom, 5mm sides and a 4mm deck. The entry is fine, with no strakes on the hull, substantial downturned chines and a 20° deadrise aft. Eight fully seam-welded stringers run the length of the hull, with full-height transverse frames at 1200mm centres and a sealed, 4mm chequerplate deck. Extreme Boats supplied a reserve buoyancy figure of 1347kg.
A feature of the construction is the use of a flat plate welded across the hull just above the keel. This forms a triangular chamber running the length of the hull that’s left open at the transom and vents through the anchor well at the bow. In addition to stiffening the hull, this chamber is a pathway to flooding and draining the under-deck holds via bungs. It also acts as a self-flooding ballast tank that fills with water when the hull comes to a halt, adding stability at rest to compensate for the deep-V design. It drains rapidly as the boat lifts back onto plane under power.
Power and performance
The test boat had been kindly towed to Whakatane by Karl (Gurnard) Rastrick of Master Tech Marine, Extreme’s Tauranga dealer. The 850 Game King is rated for 250-300hp and the test boat was pushed by one of Suzuki’s flagship DF300 outboards. This V6, four-stroke unit was swinging a three-blade 17-inch pitch prop. The outboard was so smooth and quiet that I could not hear or feel it running. This model is available with the Suzuki Precision Control (SPC) fly-by-wire throttle and shift, and the test boat was fitted with the flush-mounted version – smooth, positive and easy to use. This, in conjunction with Ultraflex UP Series hydraulic steering (with destroyer-type wheel), made the boat an absolute pleasure to helm.
On calm water the top-end performance was 60kph (32.4 knots) at 6000rpm, squarely in the middle of the 5700-6300rpm listed full-throttle operating range, indicating a good prop choice. At more reasonable cruising revs – 4000rpm – we were running at 40kph (21.6 knots) and using 35 litres of fuel per hour.
Approximating a game-trolling speed of 10kph (5.4 knots), fuel usage was a very reasonable six litres per hour. The big Suzuki is equipped with a ‘lean burn’ facility that has the capacity to fine-tune fuel use after it has been running at the same revs for some time, further reducing the amount of fuel used, but during test day we did not travel for long enough at fixed revs for this to kick in. Fuel capacity in the underfloor tank is 350 litres.
The day of the mid-winter boat trial was one out of the box. After a prolonged period of closures due to heavy weather, the Whakatane Bar was calm, but an offshore southerly of around 10-15 knots meant that finding a decent sort of sea to try the hull in was just a matter of heading further offshore.
Make no mistake, the 850 is a big boat, and with its 20° deadrise it absolutely ate a one-metre chop pretty-much without noticing. I really expected a boat of this size to helm a bit like a launch, but that was not the case. It handles like a smaller trailer boat, albeit on a grand scale. A soft, dry rider with no vices, but somehow still managing to feel pretty sporty. Love it.
The bow can be accessed around the cabin sides or through the hatchway in the forecabin roof. A Rocna anchor is permanently mounted in a dual-channel fairlead and a helm-controlled Maxwell capstan handles the anchor-pulling duties, feeding the ground-tackle into an anchor locker in the bow. The locker can be accessed through a hatchway in the collision bulkhead. Deck Tread panels, substantial bow rails, two mooring cleats and a substantial crucifix bollard complete the bow furniture.
Those who are used to seeing aluminium trailerboats with utilitarian painted metal finishes or, at best, marine carpet glued onto the sheets, will be impressed with the effort Extreme has gone to in finishing this boat. This includes sewn lining and padded upholstered panels made from quality leather-look vinyl. Out in the cockpit, the topsides are painted – but not before the visible welds have been ground smooth and the corners radiused for a glass-like finish. High quality marine fittings are used throughout.
The Marinedeck 2000 system is used for the cockpit sole and inside the hardtop. Touted as a ‘green’ alternative to tropical hardwoods, it is basically agglomerated cork, highly compressed, and bonded with a urethane binder. You may think of cork as soft and easily damaged, but this product is tough and hard wearing. Using a computer-controlled cutting machine and appropriate caulking products, Extreme Boats has created good-looking, fully-customised decking.
The forecabin is a spacious ‘passion pit’ big enough to sleep three adults full length. There are two levels of side shelves with padded faces and an electric flush toilet under the berth. The wheelhouse offers good all-round visibility through toughened glass front panels and side sliders (the curved quarters are polycarbonate), aided by a Roca wiper.
Electronics and switching, trim-tab rockers and other controls and switches are flush-mounted, with the centrepiece a Garmin GPSmap 5012 multi-task unit. This is a touch-screen model that can bring up engine gauges, GPS, sonar etc – a pretty cool piece of kit. Overhead are a GME GX600 VHF and a Fusion MS-IP600 sound system with ipod docking.
There are numerous grab rails in all the right places, including two overhead. The comfortable, adjustable helm seat is set on a gas-shock pedestal, while the passenger side is a bench with Engel fridge underneath. The rear bench seat has plenty of internal stowage (supplemented by shelving), and between the two, a substantial teak table can be raised or lowered electrically to form another berth.
A large hold under a hatch in the wheelhouse sole drains to the keel, and LED cabin and task lighting is fitted. The galley features cupboard and drawer storage, as well as a sink with 100-litre freshwater capacity to which an optional califont can be fitted. A single-element gas hob retracts into the sink unit for stowage, and a Spinflow griller-oven adds to the cooking options.
The cabin door is a bi-fold toughened glass model, and toughened-glass cavity windows retract into the rear bulkhead, opening up the wheelhouse and aiding ventilation and communication between helm and cockpit.
The cockpit has been left open with just a small bench seat set against the cabin bulkhead – a good spot for a gas bottle. This leaves plenty of work space for fishermen, but there are quite a few pleasant surprises tucked away. There’s a pull-out freshwater shower behind one hatch and a fold-out trash bin set into the side wall opposite. There are four fold-up cup holders, four low-level cockpit lights and two floodlights, two levels of shelving running along each side, and a large under-deck locker. Other fittings include two mooring cleats per side for a total of six, a removable canvas shade extension off the hardtop, and a pole/rod rack under the overhang.
The deck drains to a sump under the transom wall, fitted with a 3000gph bilge pump. The transom wall itself houses two batteries, with plenty of space for a third or even more. A freshwater sink is set into the transom top, and a step-through with drop-door gives access to the boarding platform. The fold-down ‘T’ ladder and grab rails give divers and swimmers easy access from the water and allow access to the boat when it is on its trailer.
The stability afforded by the ballast tank adds to what is already a steady hull with lots of cockpit room. The Marinedeck cork decking offers good footing and the gunwales provide top-of-the-thigh support to fishermen, with mid-thigh support across much of the transom. There is good toe-room all around, allowing anglers to stay on balance when leaning on the sides for support while fishing.
Heavy nylon gimbal-pin inserts fitted to the boat’s through-gunwale alloy rod holders – six of them – can be adjusted to suit the type of angling required. This is a great idea. There are two further rod holders on the bait-station, an eight-position rocket launcher on the hard-top, and a five-position vertical rod rack on the rear of the cabin wall.
The bait-station has in-built task lighting for night fishing; the tray folds upward and can then be removed for easy cleaning; there is a knife tray underneath. Any goo drains overboard.
Under the transom step-through is a live-bait tank with ‘fish TV’ window. The excellent Oceanblue fold-out outrigger bases have been fitted on the cabin sides, and a leader dispenser built into the transom wall. Outside the transom are two in-built tuna tubes, each fitted with a 2500gph pump. Catch stowage could be taken care of in the underdeck hold or with an after-market ice bin.
Extreme boats makes its own trailers. The 850 is obviously a big boat and over-width regulations apply. It was carried on a galvanised cradle A-frame design, gusseted for strength. It has tandem-axles with leaf-spring suspension and uses a Carlisle Sensabrake system that operates on all discs. The tow weight is given as 3.4 tonnes; the 2.5-litre Nissan turbo diesel ute it’s towed behind seems to handle it fine – on the flat at least.
Other trailer features include: submersible lights; a wind-down, dual-wheel jockey; dual coupling; parking brake; and dual-ratio manual winch. The boat was carried on nine pairs of wobble rollers per side with skid plates and a keel roller to aid loading and unloading.
All in all
This is a cleverly designed, beautifully finished and highly detailed rig. It's sea performance is excellent and all the goodies are there to make a very comfortable recreational game or general fish-and-dive machine.
Built-in tuna tubes and a fold-down boarding ladder are features of the stern layout.
The transom step-through has a built-in livebait tank beneath; a freshwater sink is set into the transom top.
A Rocna anchor is permanently mounted in a dual-channel fairlead, and a helm-controlled Maxwell capstan handles the anchor-pulling duties. The forecabin is a spacious ‘passion pit’ big enough to sleep three adults full length.
The cabin door is a bi-fold toughened glass model, and toughened-glass cavity windows retract into the rear bulkhead, opening up the wheelhouse. The comfortable, adjustable helm seat is set on a gas-shock pedestal. A substantial teak table can be raised or lowered electrically to form another berth.
The Marinedeck 2000 system is used for the cockpit sole and inside the hardtop.
The bait-station has in-built task lighting for night fishing and the tray folds upward and can then be removed for easy cleaning.
Configuration: enclosed hardtop
Bottom and transom: 6mm
Deadrise: 20-degrees at transom
Recommended hp: 250-300hp
Test engine: Suzuki DF300
Prop: 17-inch pitch
Fuel: 350 litres
Trailer: EBL tandem axle
Tow weight: 3.4 tonnes
Basic key-turn: $180,000 (Suzuki DF300)
As tested: $220,000
Test boat courtesy of Master Tech Marine, Tauranga.
This article is reproduced with express permission of
NZ Fishing News
written by Sam Mossman - 2011
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited
Originally published in New Zealand Fishing News