Purekraft 650XC

06 Dec 2017, Honda Marine

Purekraft may not be a familiar name to some Kiwi fishos – yet – but the design team behind the name has certainly earned its spurs. Sam Mossman investigates.

Most boaties will have encountered boats designed by Mount Maunganui-based Hall Marine Design (HMD).

Jarrod Hall established Hall Marine Design (formerly Maxwell and Hall) in 2007. A degree in marine design has seen Jarrod become the driving force behind the company’s growth and development. With a love for all types of fishing, Jarrod was quick to establish HMD as a leading aluminium- boat design company. 

As well as designing craft for many well-known New Zealand boat builders, HMD has designed numerous custom and one-off craft for customers around the world. Their boats may be found on the water in the Pacific Islands, North America, Europe, Asia, India and Australia.

Working with Jarrod are marine designers Nate Bougen and Kieren Thomas (both of whom grew up in the Bay of Plenty), and Blaise Pillot, a French-born naval architect.

Besides designing boats for others, HMD expanded into producing kit-set aluminium boats for others to assemble under the name Purekraft. The aluminium plates are CNC cut, and the kit-set delivered as a flat pack to reduce shipping costs. Customers can construct the boat themselves, or have a qualified boat builder complete the hot-work and fit-out.

However, HMD was regularly being asked for finished Purekraft hulls, so after meeting Steve Scott, head of New Plymouth engineering firm Rivet, a partnership was formed to build boats under the Purekraft brand. The first hull, a 550 Centre Console, was shown at last year’s Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show in Auckland, and a new 650XC centre-cabin model has just been completed and launched, so I drove down to Mount Maunganui to check it out.

Purekraft Honda 200

Stem to stern

The Purekraft 650XC is a centre-cabin design with high sides and
a sheerline rising toward the bow. It has an 18-degree deadrise at the transom and features a self-flooding keel-line ballast tank (180- litre capacity) and downturned chines. Stainless fittings are used in many cases, all insulated from the alloy hull to avoid problems with dissimilar metals.

Two steps up in the bulwarks will put you on a forward casting platform in the bow, where a bulkhead forms an easily-accessed anchor locker. A helm-controlled Maxwell capstan does the hard work.

A deck hatch covers a storage hold, and another hatchway in the front face of the centre cabin reveals storage for dive bottles. (This space can also, apparently, be converted into a toilet.) The decks, foredeck and gunwales are all covered with various Ultralon products.

This boat is loaded with clever design ideas. For example, one of the steps up to the bow platform has a built-in grille to drain away any water running off the forward platform and discharge it through a scupper in the hull’s ‘shoulders’. The open-backed centre cabin has sliding side-doors, offering the option of cabin-like protection when closed or better ventilation and easier communication when open.

The centre cabin shelters two adults comfortably and features a VHF and GPSmap XSV multifunction display by Garmin, a Fusion sound system, USB and 12-volt charging ports, controls for the anchor capstan and Zipwake trim-tabs, Ultraflex steering, outboard controls and the usual switching.

Hella lighting is used throughout, including two cabin lights with red/white options to help preserve night vision, along with five LED white task-lights that can light the cabin and cockpit.

A comfortable bench seat unit has stainless footrests and roll-back bolsters. The backrests pull away (there are racks for them overhead) to disclose storage space for galley items. This
is supplemented by two storage drawers and a Waeco fridge in a third one. Fold back the seat bases and beneath them are a single- hob gas burner and a freshwater sink with a 45-litre tank.

Behind the centre cabin is a bench seat for two passengers, which swivels back to bring a wooden table top into play, also disclosing an 85-litre ice box underneath. The quality of the upholstery – by Dobsons Canvas of New Plymouth – is excellent, and includes padding on the gunwales as well as the seating. The addition of a swing-out rubbish bin built into the side is another indication the boat is well set up for entertaining.

Two side shelves are fitted along each side, one housing a wash-down hose. The sealed decks drain to a sump fitted with a 1200gph bilge pump, and a locker in the transom wall houses the two-battery system. A step-through is fitted in the starboard side of the transom with boarding platforms behind, including grab rails and a boarding ladder recessed into the starboard side’s platform.

The whole rig looks very smart, with a painted interior featuring textured Raptor paint for high-wear areas, vinyl upholstered roof panels, and an external wrap with unique graphics.

Purekraft cabin with Honda 200

On the water 

The 650XC is rated for 175-225hp and the test rig is powered by a 200hp, four-stroke Honda spinning a 16-inch pitch propeller, fed fuel from a 150-litre underfloor tank.

With a dying nor’-wester, there was a decent sort of a swell running outside the Tauranga Harbour entrance. I was using HMD’s smaller 550 centre-console as a camera boat and was very impressed by the softness of its ride. So, as may be imagined, big brother the 650XC handled the sea very well, its 18-degree deadrise, downturned chine, relatively steep entry, and the rising sheerline in the bow, cutting though the sea like an axe.

The conditions were not conducive to really opening the rig up though, so we ran back inside the harbour to get the performance figures, which are displayed in the table at the end of the article. (It is worth noting that these were recorded running against the wind and tide, so will be on the low side of what is achievable.) The guys were still trying various props on the big Honda, but this engine is book-rated up to 6000rpm and we were only 50rpm shy of that figure, indicating a decent match with the propeller being used.

Fishing fit-out 

The design inspiration extended to the fishing fit-out, too. There were the now-standard fittings, such as: a six-position rocket launcher on the hardtop; four through-gunwale rod holders; a live- bait tank built into the transom step-through; and a bait-station on the transom featuring a removable cutting board, storage drawer, four more rod holders, knife slot and two drink holders. 

Handily, a fish measure is painted across the transom, while inside the transom wall is a clever modular tuna-tube unit capable of holding two skippies. It is fed by a 3700gph pump and drains out of the topsides to prevent water staining on the transom. This whole unit can be removed when not required and replaced by storage for another couple of dive tanks.

The cockpit is a decent size, with padded gunwales to lean on when playing fish. A forward casting platform allows full walk- around, to follow fish if necessary. The keel-line ballast tank aids stability, and the full Ultralon deck covering provides good footing.

We pulled into a sheltered spot near Matakana Island and the boys had a bit of a cast with some soft-baits while we had lunch, catching and releasing a bunch of small kahawai while we nibbled, slurped and enjoyed the spring sunshine.

So, with divers well catered for by the boarding platforms, ladder, grab-rails and transom step-through, and a fishing layout that provides for most disciplines (and which can be easily customised), this is a pretty useful fish-and-dive machine, whilst also being well setup for relaxing with drinks and snacks or lunch in a sheltered anchorage. 

Honda 200Hp stern

On the road 

The test boat is carried on an alloy trailer also made by Rivet Engineering. Alloy is great as a material, enabling the weight of the trailer (and, in turn, the total tow weight) to be reduced. Rivet has done the construction right, with backing plates and gusseting adding strength to the C-section frame. This tandem-axle model has hydraulic brakes and uses Teflon skid bars and benches
with just a single keel-entry roller. The trailer also features: alloy wheels; a dual-ratio manual winch; submersible LED trailer lights; and a wind-down jockey wheel. Tow weight is 2120kg with full fuel tank (about 1970kg dry). 

The final wash-up

With a sharp-looking finish, good sea-keeping and some clever design features, the Purekraft 650XC is right up there, combining the shelter of a cabin boat with the fish-ability of a full walk- around. I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more about the Purekraft brand.

Honda 200HP performance chart   

- Article from New Zealand Fishing News, November 2017