We love head-to-head boat tests at Fishing Monthly and we’ve done several over the years. Combine this with the fact that none of us have been out in a European-built Jeanneau trailerboat before and we had the elements of a great day on the water in Moreton Bay, southern Queensland.
We’re sure you’ll hear more from us about other models in the range in due course, but this test focusses on the smallest two Merry Fisher Marlins in the range – the 695 and the comparatively spartan 605.
Both are trailerable – although the 695 needs an OVERSIZE sign and kit to keep within regulations with a beam of 2.53m. The 605, at 2.45m beam, is good to go without it.
And beam is a big part of the equation to help describe the ride of these boats. Are they a 100km/h rocketship of the sea that’ll get you to the shelf in record time? Nope. Are they a super deep-V wave cutter? Nope. They are designed to travel with lower horsepower at slower cruising speeds and offer awesome stability at rest with wide, high gunwales.
So it was in interesting trip across to Moreton Island in a solid 15-20 knots of southerly to find a location where we could film these boats in action. Even though the keyboard warriors reckon every boat test should be done in gale force winds, you still need to be able to take photos and videos without trashing tens of thousands of bucks worth of gear. We pushed the limit this day and got it done.
Both the 605 (powered by a 115 Yamaha) and the 695 (with a 175 Yamaha) are a hard top, cabin boat with a fully enclosed cabin and side sliding doors on the larger rig. The smaller boat’s offset cabin and to offer proper walkaround (on the port side only) is augmented with a unique helm that’s slidable between the front of the cabin and the rear. Whether you’re moving back to traverse rough water or to stay close to your tackle while trolling, it’s a concept which is unique as it is well executed.
Interestingly, both boats run with 20” (L) rather than the more common 25”(XL) legs in boats of this size.
So, how do they ride on a nasty day in Moreton Bay with wind against tide? They’re like everything else – wet and nasty, although there is plenty of space to get away from the spray in the cabins of each boat and event the ability to let plenty of air through on the downwind sides.
Dave Cheveaux from Northside Marine (who supplied these test boats) is pretty accurate when he describes the Jeanneaus as the SUV’s of the sea. It rings especially clearly when you see them with loaded roof racks. The surf- and paddle-boards that we took for the test day looked just like the family wagon loaded for a week’s holiday at Fingal.
“These boats are all about cruising in comfort,” Dave explains. After all, he is an expert in cruising boats, selling Whittley at the dealership for years before their swap to the Jeanneau brand.
“You set the throttle and point them where you want to go, knowing that they’ll get there in safety and comfort,” he continued. And he said it while we were traversing Moreton Bay on a day where the 15-knot forecast was looking decidedly optimistic.
I’d mirror those sentiments with a slight warning. There’s always a comfortable speed to travel. Push these hulls too far and fast for the conditions and you’ll be like every other hull – beat up. Get it right and you’ll do it in comfort.
Economically and from a comfort point of view, these were both achieved at reasonably low revs, with the hulls enjoying the best of both worlds at between 25-35km/h. Obviously on a flat day, you can just let them rip, but like all boats, economy takes a beating as you drop the hammers.
Relax! You’ll get there cheaper and better shape to enjoy your day.
Our test tay ended up behind Cape Moreton to get out of the strong southerlies, and that’s where these rigs come into their own. Anchored in the lee of the headland, a couple of the group lifted the surfboards down, a few went for a paddleboard and others just took in the view. It’s easy to get in and out of the water with these rigs and a windlass made anchoring and retrieving in the wind pretty easy.
It’s also worth noting that these sized Merry Fisher Marlin models aren’t like a standard Aussie half-cab boat – you can’t really stretch out and sleep in there if you’re an adult. Worth keeping in mind if you’re into your overnight trips. Plenty of room for swags in the cockpit, though.
When the wind finally swung to the east, it was time to cruise back to Clontarf and enjoy a little more wind versus current. Made it back home dry as the sun set.
605 Marlin 695 Marlin
RPM Speed (km/h) Economy (km/l) Speed (km/h) Economy (km/l)
1000 5 2.4 6 2.5
2000 10 2.2 14 1.7
3000 15 1.2 22 1.3
3500 23 1.4 32 1.5
4000 33 1.8 28 1.3
5000 45 1.3 52 1.0
5300 53 1.3 58 1.0
Length 5.64m 6.72m
Beam 2.45m 2.53m
Hull draft 0.46m 0.51m
Hull weight 1027kg 1552kg
Max HP 115hp 175hp
Fuel 100L 200L
Freshwater 20L 50L