Flipper’s current fleet is beautifully streamlined. It comprises just ten boats in five hull lengths across three product lines. There are four classical day cruisers; four Sport Top models and two Sport Console models. And to make things even easier to understand, they’re all outboard-powered boats of between 20 and 28 feet in length. That makes Flipper a very clear and focused company. It knows what it is and it knows what it does - and while the 640 hull is available in all three iterations (DC, ST and SC), that clarity of purpose is nowhere clearer than here, on the new Sport Console model.
Modern dayboating internals
This elegant seven-man runabout is designed primarily for recreational day trips and fishing enthusiasts, so it’s good to see that the freedom of movement on board the 640 SC is first-class. Despite the use of a very broad and accommodating helm console, Flipper has managed to engineer twin walkways that take you all the way from the aft swim platforms to the bow seating. While the narrower, elevated starboard walkway makes a useful embarkation point, the port walkway is as broad, safe and well contained as you could want – and despite keeping a pair of permanent stepping points free on either side, the aft bench (which mirrors the offset positioning of the helm) still offers the usual side-by-side seating for up to three people.
It’s interesting to note that there are also dining tables and sundeck infils for both the bow and stern, which means plenty of flexibility in how you choose to enjoy this boat. And more impressively still, this carefully considered layout means that you still get full access the whole way along the portside and out over the bow, even when the forward sundeck is fully rigged.
The practicality ramps up even further when you examine the storage. There are large, deep, properly lined storage solutions all over this boat and the space inside the big helm console is something really quite special. Plainly, its purpose to accommodate all your bulky dayboating gear and to provide the potential for a loo, but it’s so remarkably large that, with a one-way porthole, some cushions and an internal catch, it would happily function as an occasional berth for overnighting fans.
Back out in the fresh air, the helm’s firm, supportive, wipe-clean sports seats are very impressive and the lofty, wraparound, one-piece screen is also superb. It comes with some modest tinting, excellent warp-free visibility and a sturdy peripheral steel rim, which acts as a grabbing point both for those at the console and those on the move. The central throttle is also a neat touch, helping keep the lever out of the way of accidental knocks – and in addition to some handy storage nets for stowage of your small gear, Flipper has also considered your comfort when you stop. There’s a slide-out drawer fridge beneath the starboard side of the dash for immediate access to beers at anchor and there’s even a sink built into the co-pilot’s dash top for basic galley duties.
It’s not entirely perfect of course. Some of the forward lockers lack gas rams to help support their lids and there is also the odd exposed screw head inside the console storage space. But it’s a very user-friendly design, executed to an attractively high standard and imbued with a sense of modernity and cleanliness that few boats in its sector can match.
Fast but novice-friendly
We examined this boat among a fleet of 20 other test craft and it was immediately plain that the 640 SC stands out as remarkably quiet, dry, comfortable and refined. More to the point, it’s supremely easy to drive well. In stark contrast to a lot of interfaces on the market, the simple joystick control for the trim tabs is brilliantly easy to use and the fact that you’re so well protected at the helm and so comprehensively supported by the seats and the ergonomic purity of the driving position, encourages you to take advantage of the performance on offer.
She’s on the plane in just three seconds, before powering on past 20 knots in five seconds, 30 in eight, 35 in 11 and 40 knots in 15. The top-rated Verado 200 feels urgent at every point and the boat’s ability to harness all that power with intuitive and controllable responses is superb. In fact, such is the user-friendliness of this boat that, at the top end, hammering along at well in excess of 40 knots, you can wash off the best part of eight knots with the trim alone. The trim switch has the progressive traction of a brake pedal, enabling you to control with great deftness exactly how much or how little of the hull you put in the water – and that’s exactly how you would want a powerful, properly balanced sports boat to behave.
You could of course spec this boat with a more modest engine, closer to the recommended minimum of 115hp, but such is the test boat’s blend of pace and compliance, of balance and refinement, that it would be a great shame to change a winning formula. In fact, rather than reining in its poke, I would take the opposite tack and visit the options list to work out how best to maximise its considerable talents.
Like Bella and Aquador (which are both now part of the same company), Flipper seems to be riding a wave at the moment, with fresh designs, a radical new injection of modernity and some really impressive solutions to the needs of the leisure boater. While on the face of it, the new 640 SC might appear to be quite straightforward and traditional, this fast, refined and beautifully arranged day boat is another powerful stride in the right direction.
Flipper 640 SC specifications
LOA: 6.25 m
Beam: 2.45 m
Weight: 1,050 kg
Fuel capacity: 145 litres
People capacity: seven
Maximum power: 115-200hp
Test engine: Mercury Verado 200
Contact: Flipper Boats
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