A New Millennium
Boating New Zealand Magazine
With more cockpit space and a revamped interior, the new Tristram 691 Millennium M2 is sure to appeal.
It takes a bit of courage to change a model as successful as the Tristram Millennium 691, a mainstay for Tristram Marine for more than 10 years. But that’s what the Hamilton-based trailerboat builder has done with the new Millennium 691 M2.
While little has been altered where it counts – the well proven, well behaved, deep-vee hull of the earlier model remains – Lance Fink and the Tristram team have somehow managed to tweak the deck moulds/internal liner without affecting the 691’s attractive lines; the new boat looks at least as handsome as the previous model.
Motivated by customer feedback and complemented by experience gained through the building of other models in the Tristram range, the improvements to the new 691 are evolutionary, as indicated by the M2 (Marque Two) moniker.
The biggest difference between the two Millennium generations is a marked increase in cockpit space for the M2. This has been achieved by a bit of clever rearranging. The windscreen has been pushed forward a tad, its rake altered slightly, and the separately moulded dashboard console is gone.
The space occupied by the fire extinguisher in the previous model now houses the boat’s stereo head unit and VHF radio with the fascias cleverly tilted to facilitate operation and to make their LCD displays easier to see.
A stylish new dash has been moulded into the bulkhead with new anti-glare vinyl eyebrows and a classy graphite fascia, in this case housing a series of Yamaha digital gauges and a Simrad GPS-plotter-sounder.
The dash layout has allowed the helm position to shift slightly forward, giving more cockpit space without impacting on space in the forward cabin.
For a boat of this size, there’s good space up front with sitting headroom in most of the fore-cabin and ample room for a chemical or electric toilet under the squab between the V-berths. As is normal with Tristram boats, the interior décor is tastefully understated and the finish excellent. A large Weaver hatch gives good access to the foredeck and anchor locker with its capstan, both neatly concealed under a moulded fibreglass hatch.
The original Millennium 691 and many other boats in the Tristram range have pull-out cockpit carpets – useful when full-on fishing was the aim. This feature makes it easy to keep carpets free of fish goo and makes wash-down a breeze. The new Millennium has gone a step further, actually stepping down the working cockpit by 50mm to separate it from ‘clean’ areas further forward. The new cockpit sole is like a shallow tub with good-sized drains in each corner, a non-slip surface and pullout carpet.
A saltwater shower head is fitted in the starboard corner under the seat squab where there’s also a moulded sink. The sink can be converted to a livebait tank if desired and the ski pole can be changed out for a custom bait board.
A huge, moulded underfloor locker fills most of the space under the cockpit sole (the earlier model had long, narrow lockers either side of the cockpit) and the aft locker offers easy access to the bilge, oil reservoir, battery, through-hull transducer, fuel filter, steering pump and trim tab actuators.
In these and other ways the new boat is more fisher-friendly. Four stainless steel rodholders are standard and a rocket launcher is an option.
Tristram call their stylish, raked Bimini top a ‘targa’. It works well and is supplied with a black canvas top and clears all round, plus a back drop cover to fully enclose the cockpit. The front panel zips out and there’s the option of a removable extended canopy to further shade the cockpit. The targa top folds down to fit under the road cover for long-distance towing and garaging.
The 691 M2’s new seat units are another big improvement. King and queen seats are now an integral part of the deck mould, rather than moulded separately and glued on. This has allowed Tristram to make use of the space below the cockpit sole and has resulted in a claimed three-fold increase in under-seat stowage. They’re certainly cavernous spaces, each side big enough to swallow several small children. The seats are hinged across the back and can be secured with a strap while the squabs are wide, deep and comfortable.
The increase in stowage space under the seats, along with the huge underfloor bin, will be welcome, and there’s also built-in rod stowage and shelving under the boat’s coamings. Dedicated water-ski stowage under the coamings is an option.
“Most families stow the skis and other water toys up in the cabin,” Tristram Marine’s Kingsley Fink explained.
More than meets the eye
Changes to the M2 that are harder to spot are those that have taken place below decks.
The new model’s fore-and-aft girders are both wider and further apart than they were in the previous 691. Amongst other benefits, this has opened up the space above the keel to accommodate the large underfloor locker and the lowered cockpit.
Also different is the position of the M2’s larger 275-litre fuel tank which has been shifted forward to compensate for the extra weight of today’s popular four-stroke outboards.
We ran the new Millennium with five adults aboard and half a tank of fuel. There was plenty of space with no one having to stand. Even with a tight engine, the boat felt sharp and responsive, while its hydraulic steering took any effort out of helming the boat. Trim tabs are standard and work well when there’s a cross-wind.
Surprisingly, given the boat’s 22-degree deep-vee hull, the 691 is nice and stable at rest, its chines submerging to provide plenty of buoyancy.
The 691’s hull reassures with its predictable handling and tenacious grip in the turns. The helm position is good and the boat is a pleasure to drive. We’d have no hesitation heading over the horizon for an extended fishing or diving trip in the 691 M2.
The review boat came on a braked, dual-axle trailer, its winch post angled to perfectly match the lines of the 691’s bow. Rollers each side ensured precise positioning of the boat on the trailer, which proved a breeze to launch and retrieve. Indeed, the whole package exhibits the sort of build quality and attention to detail that Tristram Marine’s customers have come to expect.
The new Millennium 691 M2’s evolutionary changes should meet with general approval since they’ve made a good boat even better, without radically changing the look and feel of the previous model.