Boating New Zealand Magazine
These Hamilton boat builders are known for producing some of the country’s best trailer boats, but as
Sam Stewart discovers, this one is in a league of its own.
Already halfway out the water, and still gaining altitude, things were about to get interesting.
Usually at this point there is a collective widening of eyes from everyone onboard as knees and teeth prepare for impact and the almighty thud that inevitably comes with touchdown.
Sure enough, after we descend from the heavens, Tristram Marine’s new 741 Offshore lands with a ‘bang!’ But it wasn’t the boat that made a noise.
One of the crew onboard had taken it upon themselves to create the sound effects you’d expect to hear when a 7.9-metre fibreglass boat re-enters the water after a quick trip into the stratosphere.
In fact, the crew spent the afternoon of Boating’s test making interpretive noises because coaxing a sound from the 741 proved about as easy as finishing Christmas Day with all the buttons on your pants done up.
Designed for fishing, diving and general extended exploring, the 741 is the first trailer boat produced in New Zealand to be entirely drawn on CAD (Computer Aided Design) software and have her plugs cut on CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines. Simply put, the human eye and hand have been eliminated from the initial foam moulding phase and replaced by robots which cut each line exactly as it’s drawn by the computer.
The result is a boat that’s “perfectly accurate”, and one Tristram’s managing director and designer Lance Fink says he’ll find it hard to beat.
“I’ll never design a better riding seven-metre boat than this. It floats right, it’s good at rest, and goes through water like butter.
“We just have the balance right with the beam in the chine, the stem shape and the planing strakes – I put a lot of work and effort into getting my planing strakes just right.”
No doubt some of you will think you’ve heard that all before and will hear it all again when the next model is launched but topping the 741’s ride will really be a tall order.
Her ‘proper’ fine-entry full bow has eliminated even the smallest sounds you typically get when running in even a slight sea and as mentioned, any hint of slamming or thumping over wakes and waves has to come from the people onboard hamming it up.
The bow works closely with the coved chines to give the 741 a nice amount of lift. Coming off a substantial launch wake we promptly ploughed into another wave but rather than bury the bowsprit, the 741 hauled herself back onto the plane, ready to tackle the next wave.
With spray shooting out the sides and away from the boat, you get the feeling she’s constantly asking for a bigger challenge. At 2300kg, she’s definitely solid enough to take it too.
“No Tristram will ever be the lightest boat on the market, but the weight is strength in the hull and that’s where it belongs and stays,” says Lance. “Having this weight also adds to stability which no other 22-degree vee boat will match.” He admits he was nervous putting a 22-degree deadrise on a hardtop in case it was unstable at rest, but the chines are wide enough and sit in the water so it isn’t a problem.
At the very bottom of the 741’s deep vee you’ll find a small, brass-covered keel. It’s a Tristram trait that keeps the boat on track and prevents any wandering says Lance. “It’s the same principle as an aeroplane having a tail. It’s not new and every trailer boat should have it.”
When cornering, the 741 likes a bit of speed and doesn’t need to be trimmed in too far, so the coved chines can really be leaned on and used for grip and lift. With the keel and straight vee working together, it makes for superb handling.
Trim tabs are standard but it is likely most owners will use them only to counter the wind effect on the hardtop.
Our review 741 is fitted with Yamaha’s new 250hp V6 four-stroke, sitting at the bottom of the power scale which stretches through to 300hp. Owner and dairy farmer Claude de Jongh is based in Kaiaua, on the eastern side of the Firth of Thames, and says for his type of boating it’s ample power. “There are some messy seas around Whitianga and I’m not going to be going flat out,” says Claude. “I prefer just to set a speed and stick with that rather than being on and off the throttles the whole time, and I’d rather have that bottom end power anyway.”
Out of the hole, the 250 Yamaha has a throaty purr which settles to a nice, unobtrusive rumble when the 741 is on the plane, cruising at 3500 revs and doing a comfortable 22 knots (41 km/h).
Her 270-litre underfloor fuel tank gives her a range close to 330km at cruising speed, making trips to the Mercury Islands, Great Barrier and Hen and Chickens easily achievable. However, if fuel consumption is the least of your worries, at full noise you’ll see 41 knots (76km/h) on the speedo.
A two-metre internal beam means six anglers can comfortably throw a line over and a couple of divers could happily don their gear. The interior space has been designed by the youngest Fink, Kingsley, and has more stowage than a container full of cargo shorts.
The cockpit underfloor swallows up to five dive tanks, with more space under the king and queen seats which also house a small fridge on the starboard side and gas hobb to port.
A single deck mould incorporates the dash, seat bases and transom which means finding a seam or join is pretty tough. It’s been said before, and it should be said again, the overall Tristram finish is second-to-none. Finding fault is near impossible and it’s something the Hamilton-based boatbuilders pride themselves on.
Every boat is a compromise, and because the 741 is a fishing and diving platform designed around the cockpit, the cabin has been kept to a minimum. Concealed by lockable double doors, the cabin’s vee berth would accommodate two people overnight and features a portaloo under the forward squabs. In the seated position, someone six-foot (1.98m) tall has
The 741 is Claude’s first new boat and he decided from the outset “it’s going to have everything in it”. This includes underwater transom lights so he can get piper bait if he’s out at night and blue strip-lights along the cockpit’s built-in side pockets.
Despite being a fishing boat, Claude didn’t want rocket launchers, claiming the four flush-mounted rodholders were sufficient and far easier to deal with than anything on the hardtop. “I’d also need a bigger shed if I had a rocket launcher, and I don’t think Lance will let me keep the boat outside,” he jokes.
Although it’s only natural to be protective over your firstborn, Lance says the 741 is ideal to be kept outside Pauanui, Marsden Point or Whitianga waterway properties.
If you’re in the market for a decent-sized fishing and diving boat, this is simply a case of ‘why wouldn’t you?’ She rides like a dream, looks great, there’s space for Africa, she will come with the fanatical finish Tristram is renowned for, and all for a similar price to many of the other alloy and glass options on the market.