2014, December; Broken Bay: This is a top line offshore fishing mini-battlewagon with all the experience that long-time builder Quintrex (since 1945) can pack into it. Matched with a potent new-release 250-hp Evinrude on the transom, it delivers impressive features and performance.
From the visual-appeal angle, it’s a personal thing of course, but I do like to see a bit of colour on a boat and this Quintrex 690 Trident not only offers some brilliant green graphics on its topsides, but they are matched by the exchangeable colour panels on the side of the mighty 250 hp Evinrude G2 outboard that dominates the view from astern.
A quick summary of the G2 will help position the engine in the context of this review of the Quinnie itself. Evinrude started the G2 program some five years ago and developed a totally new design. It retains only the V6 configuration and the basic injectors of the advanced direct-injection fuel delivery system that gave the first-generation E-Tec outboards such a revolutionary balance of performance, economy and environmental friendliness.
Essentially, only recently developed computer simulation programs enabled more precise evaluation of how the fuel-air mixture ignited inside the cylinder, and that led to new porting and ignition design for higher efficiency. The new injection/combustion design is called ‘PurePower Combustion’ and offers claimed improvements of up to 20% in torque and up to 15% in fuel economy over rival four-stroke outboards.
Practical aspects of owning the G2 Evinrudes have been considered too, with the first service not required until after 500 hours or 5 years operation; other neat touches are an integral oil tank that gives about 100 hours running and a tube running up from the gearbox into the engine area that allows easy checking of the gear oil.
Apart from these powerhead developments, the G2 outboards offer a stronger, simpler, cleaner mounting and rigging system, an hydrodynamically superior gearcase shape (it’s asymmetrical to offset engine/prop torque), lower-level water pickups for improved cooling, and integral hydraulic or power steering.
With initial G2 models offering power levels at 200, 225, 250 and 300 hp in a 3.4 litre 74-degree V6 configuration, the new Evinrudes also carry a striking external appearance that looks both aggressive and contemporary. The quite tall powerhead side panels are exchangeable and come in a variety of colours so you can match them for blending or contrast with your boat. Custom colours or graphics are possible too.
And that was done on this Quintrex with the green graphics of the hull extended and complemented by the green side panels of the outboard. The overall effect was quite an eye-catcher and typically draws admiration anywhere the boat goes. Of course, if you prefer a more traditional look for your boat, other panels will tone down the visual impact.
Spinning a four-blade 18-inch pitch prop, the 250-hp G2 fairly hurled the big Quintrex on plane and ran it out to an impressive 78.4 kph at 5,440 rpm. From an on-plane 37.8 kph at 3,000 rpm, the Evinrude gave particularly strong mid-range acceleration as the improved torque of the new powerhead design showed its mettle. Fast cruising at 65.8 kph and 4,500 rpm would run you home or out of trouble real quick, and at all speeds the steering was light and responsive.
The G2 comes with standard integrated hydraulic steering (about a $1,500 option for an add-on after-market equivalent) and is also available with optional power-assist for the hydraulics at about $500 (an after-market version could be around $4,000). This 250-hp G2 had the power-assist and it certainly made steering light and easy for such a high level of power. It still had a good level of ‘feel’ though, so you could sense the 690’s reaction as you carved through turns or just cruised along.
Swooshing through turns was the most fun though, and it was remarkable how well the hull, engine and prop partnered for turns that were far cleaner and tighter than I’d expected. There was no slipping or lurching even when I had the wheel held for exceptionally close turns; the prop held on perfectly with no ventilation and the hull retained its grip in quite extreme situations. That’s all and well for having fun, but it also means the overall rigging and set-up are excellent and give full confidence that the Quintrex would behave itself in just about any conditions. It’s one of those sought-for combinations where adverse circumstances would have the crew crying for mercy long before the boat.
The power-assist can be turned on and off and, even with it off, the ‘native’ hydraulic steering remained relaxed to use. On long days at the wheel, it would stay pleasurable to steer the Quinnie. The overall driving position was good too; the seat is adjustable fore/aft and has a flip-up bolster. Sliding the seat forward allowed me to sit back with my spine supported by the backrest whilst retaining a relaxed reach to the wheel. The throttle/shift controls were also well placed – and that remained true when I slipped the seat aft a bit and stood to drive for a while.
I prefer standing to drive in many conditions and, especially with a boat like the 690 that’s designed for offshore work in rougher waters, you can better brace yourself with your feet apart and your posterior firmly planted against the bolster when the boat is moving around as it reacts to swell and chop. Having all that power at my fingertips was re-assuring and would mean in coastal waters you could position the boat at any instant exactly where you wanted on a wave or when running a bar.
There was a pleasing response also to use of the G2’s trim; it wasn’t finicky at all and the hull would behave at just about any prop-thrust angle, but equally it wasn’t difficult to sense the angle that gave the best performance at various speeds. Helping to trim the boat, the 690 had a set of Volvo trim tabs fitted.
These work differently to most tabs in that they do not have the usual plates that extend laterally aft from the transom to form an extended running surface and that trim the boat by angling up and down. Instead, Volvo uses much smaller plates that extend vertically downward to deflect the water streaming back along the hull’s running surfaces. The deflection of each tab provides added lift that raises that side of the back of the boat, and pushes down the opposite bow side.
With either approach to trim tabs, you can quickly trim the boat side-to-side by lowering either tab. The Volvo tabs did the job well on the 690 and it quickly became an automatic reaction to use them to keep the boat level as the crew moved around or as the boat was affected by cross-winds. In combination with the G2 trim, you can keep the hull perfectly balanced in all conditions – and change it as often and as rapidly as required.
Visibility all round was good and the helm position was well protected behind a screen on top of the cuddy cabin. The dash panel was well laid out and featured a Lowrance HDS12 colour display which combined a GPS chart plotter and a fish-finder sonar - with optional (not fitted in this case) radar. It’s NMEA 2000 compatible and so can be integrated with other similar standard onboard systems.
To the right of that was a smaller Evinrude digital display which is also to NMEA 2000 standards. Evinrude offer these displays at various sizes – 3 inch (as on the 690), 4.3 inch and seven inch – and they can present either digital or analogue readings such as rpm, speed, engine water temperature and/or pressure, oil level, fuel consumption, engine trim, external air temperature, and even more including onboard engine diagnostics.
Both the skipper and first mate get comfortable seats that swivel and which are mounted on top of lockers that have recesses on their inner sides for items such as a fire extinguisher or EPIRB, and with drop-down hatches facing aft that reveal tackle storage drawers. Behind the seats, a large open cockpit has a non-slip patterned alloy sole with spacious storage side pockets and a large kill tank underneath a hatch at the rear of the floor.
Across the back is a clever arrangement that makes great use of the space. There’s a fold-away three-quarter-width lounge behind which is a large hatch to storage under the aft deck including access to the battery; above that is another useful open storage slot and then to starboard is an entry passage from the boarding platform that’s equipped with a drop-down swim ladder and grab rail.
Centrally above the aft deck is a bait prep workstation with five rod holders, and there are more holders in the side decks along with strong bollards in the transom quarters. A hatch in the port aft deck is for a live bait tank which features a clear viewing panel so you can readily check the condition of the bait from the cockpit. Throughout the 690 were plenty of storage spots including large compartments under the cabin floor where carpeted panels lift out for easy access.
The cabin on this 690 was bare although neatly finished with side storage pockets. There’s enough room for camping overnight or for shelter in bad weather – or for kids to rest or play. Long side ports admit plenty of light. A bimini above the front of the cockpit provided welcome shade, and a tubular targa arch carried a set of rocket launcher rod holders.
A centre screen section folds forward on top of a large hatch in the cabin roof that in turn hinges to starboard so you can quickly and safely move forward and handle mooring duties that were assisted on this 690 by a power anchor winch. The anchor locker is big enough for serious chain and rope lengths and the deck hardware upfront is strong and intelligently located.
The hull itself is made of serious stuff too with 5-mm plate for the bottomsides and 3-mm for the topsides. The stem carries a quite sharp entry to cut through the swells and pressed-in strakes and pronounced chines are key factors in the good handling. This is a big boat at just on seven metres and has high topsides with plenty of forward buoyancy for a safe, dry ride in most conditions.
Anglers will quickly identify and appreciate all the thoughtful touches that are either standard or available as options. To obtain the full details you really need to see the boat, so contact your nearest Quintrex dealer and discover how this famous Aussie boat builder really does live up to its tag line of ‘Boating Made Easy’.
SPECIFICATIONS: QUINTREX 690 TRIDENT
Length: 6.96 metres
Beam: 2.48 metres
Weight (boat only): 1,030 kgs
Capacity: 8 persons
Fuel capacity: 200 litres
Power: Evinrude G2 E-Tec 3 250 hp
Top Speed: 78.4 kph