There is little doubt that in times of general belt tightening, we all want our boats to do just a little bit more. After all, a new boat is a major commitment, so unless you’re a dedicated racing or angling enthusiast, you probably want to enjoy a bit of cruising, a bit of fishing, a bit of sightseeing and the odd sporting drive. And for that, you don’t want complicated hull steps or exotic powerplants, but simple things like a spacious deck, a generous complement of seating and sufficient storage to spend the odd weekend away. It is therefore very timely that Quicksilver should have chosen 2011 to launch its Activ range.
Take your pick
The Activ range from Quicksilver consists of 10 models in eight hull sizes, from 4.3 to 6.75 metres in length. There are four configurations available to the UK boater (Cabin, Open, Walkaround and Sundeck) and all share a set of very distinct design traits, with attractively contoured cockpit fittings, muted colourways and spacious hull designs that carry a broad beam well forward of the helm toward the softly curved bows.
The 675 is the flagship of the Activ range and it comes in two different forms. The Open has a large, deep-set deck, comparable even to that of a sports fisher, so it immediately looks well suited to a life of varied British boating. By way of contrast, the Mediterranean-style Sundeck is appointed very distinctly as a sociable summer platform. It enjoys a considerably more lavish fitout and (rather optimistically for a UK boat) it seems that just about every element of that layout is geared towards that huge sunbathing space in the bow.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, on a lazy, sunny day, it is an immensely impressive feature. But surely that vast, expansive plateau in the bow causes problems for the headroom down below. Well when you step down below decks, the first impressions are positive. The cabin shares the same clean, angular mouldings and sculpted cushions as the top deck, and (because it matches the footprint of the sundeck above) it is also very well proportioned. But that low roof does prevent a six-foot man from standing upright. Certainly, it functions well enough as a place to get your head down or to stow your extra gear (and it even features a portable toilet) but it’s not a place in which you would want to loiter unnecessarily.
Back up in the cockpit, the positioning of the helm console is very clever. It is offset to starboard, providing easy access down the port side from the forward sundeck all the way to the swim platform at the stern. It’s well appointed back here too, with a generous three-man aft bench, a 12v point, a transom shower and a ski pole. And the fuel filler is also cleverly positioned on an external moulding, which makes for easy access from the pontoon and prevents the prospect of a fuel spillage within the boat. This is a good example of some very clear thinking design at Quicksilver and it is also evident elsewhere on the boat, with four large-capacity deck drainage outlets and nav lights on the bow moulding, well out of the way of the passengers, so they can be viewed without obstruction. These all seem like small things in isolation but when it comes to owning a boat long term, they tend to matter enormously.
Safe and sound
Get the 675 out on the water and you will quickly discover that this is an excellent boat to drive. With that top-rated 200hp Verado outboard on the transom, she is extremely rapid onto the plane and very quick witted in response to helm input. The driver is well catered for too, with a perfectly rigged throttle, and an excellent pair of bucket seats, each with a flip-up bolster. The dials and contols are all beautifully positioned and there is lots of space available should you want to supplement the dash with additional electronics.
It’s not all good news of course. The 135-litre fuel tank is a bit on the small side and the screen doesn’t provide quite the protection from windblast you might expect, but the boat’s surprising ride quality more than makes up for that. She is tremendously well mannered, even when compelled to tackle sizeable swells. You need to make sure you keep a firm grip of her, with an alert finger on the trim switch and a sensitive approach to picking the flattest path. But driven well, you can easily avoid getting too much air or taking too much impact on that big, blunt bow. The hull stays soundly planted, the momentum is rather impressively maintained and the occupants remain (if not entirely sheltered) very much comfortable and secure.
In some ways, the 675 Sundeck is a fine exponent of the Activ ethos. It gives you a broad beam for decent deck space, allied to deep, secure freeboards, a well appointed helm position and a serviceable cabin. It’s fun to drive, good to look at and sensibly priced. But for many, the ‘Sundeck’ configuration may represent exactly the narrowing of application that the Activ range is designed to sidestep - and this is where the Open version scores so well. In place of the Sundeck’s cabin and sunbathing pad, you get lots of extra deck space. You also get 150kg off the weight, which means you benefit from an extended cruising range, marginally lower running costs and a lower purchase price. Certainly, the 675 is a very decent hull and the Sundeck is an attractive package, but if versatility is really what you’re after, the 675 Open might be the more complete choice. Contact RIBS Marine for details.