Sailors, start your dreaming

Sure you could ski, or fish, but really the Quicksilver 645 Cabin invites you to either party or just sit back, relax and enjoy, writes David Lockwood.

Sure you could ski, or fish, but really the Quicksilver 645 Cabin invites you to either party or just sit back, relax and enjoy, writes David Lockwood.

It's midweek on Sydney Harbour as the latest European trailerboat saunters into view, kissing the sand before my feet like a breath of fresh air.

The boat has a rounded and graceful entry, and a cabin that's sleek rather than bulbous, while abundant use of faux (vinyl) timber trim softens the white fibreglass finishes.

But the cockpit is the biggest departure. The focus is on family flings and feasting. As such you need to think of the Quicksilver 645 Cabin as a destination rather than a conduit for some other activity. There's a ski pole for two sports and great access to the beach for picnics; however, the seating encourages you to park yourself and stay put.

Rather than a fold-down rear lounge or quarter seats - de rigueur on mainstream trailerboats - the cockpit is dominated by a U-shaped seating module that converts to a lunch setting with the supplied drop-in teak table, then a sun pad/day bed for apres-lunch snoozing.

This convertible cockpit-seating arrangement won the Quicksilver 645 Cabin a motor boat of the year 2012 award in a so-called Starterboat category. Priced from $58,200 with a 115hp Optimax direct-injection two-stroke outboard, our demonstrator cost $68,771 with the latest and greatest Mercury 150hp four-stroke engine outboard and factory options that create a luxury cabin cruiser.

With a modest hull measuring 6.33 metres, built of impervious vinyl ester resin, boasting self-draining decks and an outboard-engine leg and prop that tilt clear of the water, the Quicksilver 645 Cabin is promoted as an ideal mooring proposition. A dual-axle Dunbier trailer with breakaway brakes adds about $11,000 to the bottom line. Still, when you look at the inclusions and top finish, the 645 Cabin represents good buying.

Our test boat had a factory-fitted Sports Package with dark hull, freshwater tank and transom shower, and Sony stereo with MP3 jack. There were a Lowrance HD55 depth sounder/GPS fitted; an optional folding bimini, for shade, concealed in a rear-deck recess (canopy to be modified for local conditions in future); and an optional pullout 12V fridge underfloor in another dedicated storage compartment.

With fuel, family and fodder, you're set to go. But unlike such structured weekend family-boating sorties, we boarded with no real plans at all. Blue skies, light winds and a high tide on a sunny Wednesday were all the impetus we needed to zoom about the harbour with abandon and sample some cabin cruising Euro-style.

Within minutes, we were anchored at Reef Beach in North Harbour. Once the preserve of naturists, today it is home to just a few sunbaking backpackers who may well have come from Holland. The limpid water dotted with rocky outcrops and sand patches beckoned a swim. We found the swim ladder, transom storage that drains your wet gear, and the optional deck shower linked to 45 litres of water.

But without the togs, we weighed anchor. This was made easy by the moulded steps in the dash, the opening centre-windscreen pane, and the non-skid on the foredeck beside faux-timber treads ranging to the bow anchor locker. The split bow rail facilitates beach access, as was proven at Manly.

Performance-wise, the 645 Cabin owes a lot to the latest Mercury 150hp four-stroke outboard bolted on its tail. Claiming to be lightest in its class, but with the biggest displacement, the new 150 uses a big 3.0-litre block to generate a heap of torque for tow sports and, moreover, shunting crew.

Indeed, the new Mercury 150hp and Quicksilver 645 were doing it easy as we cruised the cliffs to Dobroyd Point and ducked into Crater Cove, home to a bunch of remarkable humpies built in the Depression era from sandstone. We gave Gowland Bombora, deemed one of the most dangerous spots on Sydney Harbour, a wide berth before heading to Grotto Point Lighthouse.

At 4350rpm and 27.1 knots, using 28.9 litres an hour for five hours or a 135-nautical-mile-plus range, the Quicksilver 645 Cabin is true to name, running swiftly to your lunch digs or preferred bolt-hole before diving in for dessert. Top speed en route to Manly was more than 34 knots and the ride remains smooth, dry and dignified.

Ironically, Quicksilver is owned by American marine multinational Brunswick Corporation, but built by its European division.

More from Collins Marine: see

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