Boat Review Date: September 2012
Author: Mike Brown
The Chivers 206SF is the hard core offshore fishing version of the Hammer Head in Chivers’ shark series. Layout is raised deck runabout, which gives good protection to the driving position and ensures a big share of the length is given up to fishing room.
The presence of just two seats makes for a thoroughly uncluttered cockpit. Two seats in a six-metre boat rated for six occupants might seem tight fisted, but that is apparently all most customers want. And these are excellent seats: swivelling and sliding armchairs, with the right resilience for vigorous driving and with lifting bolsters for stand-up driving.
The raised foredeck creates a lot of volume forward, but this is purely storage rather than habitable space. What it does allow, though, is easy access through a fore hatch to the anchor – if you choose not to take the review boat’s optional power windlass. The driving area is sheltered by plenty of wrap around of metal and curved windscreen, topped by a Bimini carried on a hefty folding Targa. The Bimini extends well aft of the Targa, but carries its rocket launchers on the rear edge.
The 206, like most of the other Sharks, has an automatic water ballasting and de-ballasting system that allows a 22-deg deadrise without the chines coming out of the water at rest. This gives it what aluminium boat owners of the past could only dream of: softness at speed plus stability when stopped. And not grudging stability – two light-heavyweights moving at random, sitting on coamings, disturbed the 206 hardly at all.
Its very strong sub structure, featuring a massive central box girder, provides natural space below the deck for large tanks disposed for best trim. The fuel tank holds 260L, and the pair of catch tanks 140L each. If you are looking for best possible stability, flooding the catch tanks as well as the ballast compartment will practically nail the boat to the water.
Above deck storage is generous too. Besides the space forward for bulky items, the seats are mounted on lockers and there is another large one central in the transom. Long side pockets cater for minor items.
The detail of the 206 has been thoughtfully worked out. The dash has plenty of area – the Lowrance HDS10 plotter-sounder fitted had a lot of space left around it; the fuel filler is in the centre of the motor well for filling from bowsers on either side; the bow and side rails are of exceptional section to give real security; everything that might take wear has been left unpainted: rubbing strips, rails, cleats, lips of anchor well. The boarding ladder is an extra long scuba type. The removable bait board is in a class above average: without being bulky it manages to fit in a container below the cutting board for keeping the bait out of the sun as well as a set of rod sockets.
Our boat was powered by an Evinrude E-TEC of the recommended maximum 175hp. For the serious fisherman it would be a pity to power down. We managed 36 knots, 25 or 26 of which would be useable on most days. But some days with friendly seas you would be able to use most of them; if you have to travel 25 or 30 miles in each direction, any time you can shave off increases the time with hooks in the water. Review day did not provide friendly weather, but 25 knots gave a more than acceptable ride.
Would you need a new car to pull it? The 206 with its tough structure and 5mm bottom plating is not an especially light boat for its size, but a towing weight of 1745kg means a long list of vehicles competent to tow it.
Price from $74,900
Price as reviewed $84,890
Hull length 6.1m
Fuel capacity 260L
Towing weight 1745kg
Motor fitted 175hp Evinrude E-TEC