With a history dating more than 30 years, the latest generation of Yellowfin aluminium-plate sportfishers are testimony to the design quality and performance of aluminium bluewater trailer boats available in today’s marketplace.
Yellowfin boats boast a lengthy bloodline stretching back to the late 1970s when sport and game fisherman Wayne Osborne went shopping for a trailerable bluewater fishing boat. Disillusioned with what was on offer at the time, he decided to build his own boats under the brand name Yellowfin.
In its early years, Yellowfin had something of a chequered history, so let’s fast forward to Yellowfin becoming one of several aluminium boat brands in the Telwater stable (the Gold Coast builder also responsible for Quintrex, Stacer and Savage.) After a brief revival, it shelved the Yellowfin brand to focus on bigger things and on the shelf Yellowfin remained for several years.
The GFC really hit smallish, so-called plate aluminium boat builders hard, putting an inordinate number of them out of business and leaving a gaping hole in the fishing sector where plate boats have always been popular. So, as things financial started pointing in the right direction again, Yellowfin was dusted off, updated and re-released.
It’s history that I fished from the original Yellowfins quite a lot and, looking at a 2010 Yellowfin, there’s no way this boat doesn’t owe plenty to its illustrious ancestors. Interestingly, a lot of the things we take for granted in plate boats these days, if not perhaps actually invented by the original Yellowfins, were certainly popularised by a range of boats which, in their day, really were streets ahead of their opposition.
Plate boats have come a long way since then of course, and today things like wide side decks to properly support the legs when fishing and transom workstations have been a norm amongst plate boats for decades. (Thankfully) I can report that the reborn Yellowfins haven’t strayed away from being exactly the kind of damn fine fishing boats they were originally. It’d be a crying shame if they had strayed!
One thing has moved with the times though and that’s the new Yellowfin hull. Early Yellowfins were typical plate boats in that they could be brutal to their occupants if driven unsympathetically.
This boat is a very definite improvement on that, thanks to subtle tweaking of both the interior structure and the underwater shape. If the layout of 2010 Yellowfins closely follows standards established by earlier ones, their hull reflects that there actually has been considerable improvement to the standard plate aluminium design since Yellowfins were perhaps the finest fishing boats available.
In the 6700C (cabin) Yellowfin, a grid system of stringers below decks and sensibly wide top decks deliver formidable structural integrity. There’s never the slightest hint of a graunch or groan, whether driven with a sensible, sensitive hand on the throttle — or the kind of posing-for-the-shooters stuff that inevitably goes on when the boating press assembles. A 2010 Yellowfin hull has fairly-sharply-raked bows and a 20-degree deadrise at the stern sloping up to downturned chines. The outboard is mounted on a central pod, the bottom of which sits 5cm or so above the hull’s bottom sheet, and which is integrated into the transom with a boarding deck each side.
As for at-rest stability, I’m told my 60-odd kilos are no test of how any boat sits in the water, so I’ll report no disconcerting movement underfoot with some far heftier boating journos moving about aboard during a Yellowfin press day I attended last year.
Deck height in 6.7 metre hulls comes up against an undeniable compromise. Set high enough to self-drain without water running into the aft corners when someone heavy’s standing there, the boat becomes wobbly. Set low enough for good at-rest stability; and when someone heavy stands in an aft corner, water runs onto the deck. When I went investigating, I found the dry deck in the Yellowfins can be attributed to a pair of bespoke valves tucked away under the transom. The deck drains off into a big gutter across the inside of the aft bulkhead and thence into these valves.
Hydraulic steering is (thankfully) on Yellowfin’s standard equipment list and the hull steers confidently at both planing and trolling speeds. Before moving away from the hull’s on-water performance, yet another notable aspect is how effortlessly it moves from displacement to planing speeds. It’s actually quite difficult to discern precisely when the hull begins planing somewhere below 6 knots, so gentle is the transition. The 6700C Yellowfin I tested was powered by a 200hp Mercury Optimax high pressure direct injected two stroke outboard and the mid-range torque it delivered worked well with the hull’s low planing speed to make travel offshore both more comfortable for passengers and easy work for the helmsperson.
After easing back on the throttle to crest a steep swell, you don’t need to give the 6700 Yellowfin hull a big handful of throttle to get it moving again, and this plus silky-smooth transition to a planing attitude no doubt contributes considerably towards the high marks the hull earns offshore. Interestingly, the new Yellowfins don’t come prepackaged with certain brand outboards, electronics, or even important ancillary fittings such as deck washes and trim tabs. This is (I think) a good thing in a market segment where potential owners are likely to be experienced people with their own definite preferences in such.
It’s a savvy piece of thinking if seemingly one at odds in some ways with the set interior configurations offered…which brings us to the interior and a damn fine job of setting out a boat for people who, post economic crisis, may still harbour preconceptions about custom building as an attribute of the plate aluminium genre.
Savvy marketing or not, these new Yellowfins will sink or swim on buyers being happy with their interiors. While on-water performance offshore leaves nothing to be desired as plate aluminium boats go, what about the interior then?
An incredibly-difficult aspect designers of a boat like this face is that everybody has their own notions about how a bluewater fisher should be configured, and satisfying such a particular clientele can be a nightmare. I guess not everyone will agree with me about how good the Yellowfin interior is, although that is the nature of the beast…
Having a 135L drained overboard fish pit set into the deck in the centre of the cockpit is good. Personally though, being a bananabender with an occasional penchant for barefoot fishing, I’d opt for the (optional) carpeted deck over the checkerplate underfoot here.
Apart from that, the fisherman in me felt very much at home. Those wide side decks overhang big pockets along each side. The central work bench only needs a knife slot to be perfect. To starboard, a transom door and flip-up boarding ladder are both standard equipment. As is a (spilling overboard) 65L live-well to port in the aft bulkhead.
10 rods can be racked up between the overhead rocket launcher and workbench and, with four side-deck rod holders, this boat just about has rod storage covered for all bar folk who habitually overflow them however many are available.
I think most Yellowfin owners would fit a small clip-on curtain to hide the batteries, fuel filter and etceteras mounted centrally in the aft bulkhead. Similarly, it’s hard to imagine setting a 6700 cabin Yellowfin up without fitting clears between the windscreen and bimini top.
Inside the cabin is very basic, with carpeted stowage bins each side and painted metal elsewhere. A hardtop option is still being looked at while the bimini top seen here is already an option.
Inside the helm area will offer complete spray protection if clears are added and I crossed a regular off my whinge list once satisfied both the helm and passenger are well catered for and secured by an appropriately placed grab bar. To my mind, a properly-sited grab bar is a critical aspect of offshore travel in any trailerboat. If you regularly carry more than two aboard this boat though, you’ll have to add extra seating.
Outrigger plates in the side decks come standard as does a reinforced anchor winch mount. Armchair bucket helm and passenger seats atop stowage lockers with EPIRB and extinguisher lockers built in are also standard, as are twin batteries, an isolator switching, and a quality fuel filter.
The options list is short. The bimini seen here, the two-tone paint seen here, and a VHF radio are it for our test boat. Personally, I’d consider trim tabs and a deck wash as essentials alongside the necessary electronics while budgeting.
With a quality trailer underneath, the Yellowfin 6700 cabin becomes precisely what bluewater fishers who might buy one are looking for — a highly-mobile yet entirely practical means to access hotspots inaccessible any other way. With an all up towing weight around two tonnes, it requires a big 4WD or small truck to tow. Although so too does every other trailerable boat that’s a realistic proposition for bluewater fishing.
As a 6.7 metre fishing boat for people without this need for mobility, the 6700 Yellowfin Cabin deserves consideration regardless of preconceived notions or bias regarding ‘glass or plate aluminium. In any terms, this is a bluewater fisher which sits comfortably amongst the leaders in its class.