Our test boat was the fully optioned hard-top version of the 6.35 Commander and while a critical eye might feel the 'roof' loses brownie points aesthetically against the same hull topless, the excellent shelter a fully enclosed helm area afforded was all good on the day.
Boating nous and impressive standards make Streaker's flagship an attractive buy
Having been impressed with Streaker's Walk-Thru models, when their flagship 6.35 Commander came up for test I approached it with high expectations. And found nothing to be disappointed about.
Streaker boats come with complete inventories in 'tow away no more to pay' (their words, not ours) packages starting in this 6.35m hull with a sub $85,000 boat-motor-trailer (BMT) deal powered by a 200hp two-stroke Yamaha outboard, and topping out at $103,900 for our test boat with its 225hp four-stroke Yamaha and hard-top.
Even the lowest-priced Commander comes standard with things other makes list as options. Things like a Lowrance colour sounder and GPS, two-way marine radio, Maxwell anchor winch, removable aft seating, bimini top, stainless steel bait board, boarding ladder and windscreen grab rail, hydraulic steering, navigation and interior lighting, and a 50L tank supplying pressurised freshwater to a small sink portside next to the passenger seat, which flips over to become a galley with a single-burner stove.
The added $18,000 brings an upgrade of a 225hp Yamaha four-stroke and the hard-top, plus plumbing for the live bait tank and deck wash, a berley bucket, upgraded dual frequency sounder, a sound system, Bennett trim tabs, another battery, deck carpet, a tackle locker under the helm seat and telescopic outriggers. An interim model has that without the hard-top for around $95,000. All of them come with too-often-overlooked or extra cost details such as a mounted trailer spare wheel, battery isolation, side deck rod holders and safety gear for six.
Yet what impressed most wasn't these inventories so much as the overall quality of the components and how well it all came together, thanks to something we invariably warm to it in boat tests—plain, old-fashioned boating nous/commonsense/experience, whatever you choose to call it. Stuff 'no more to pay'. Sure, it's a good thing, but is easily achieved compared to putting together a boat you can step aboard and go boating on without encountering (cheap) component failures down the track. Boats like this one are an ignore-at-your-peril demonstration why buying decisions should never be based purely on price.
Cheap boats are a dime a dozen at present while our financial crisis floods a buyers' market with boats. Boat builders the likes of the Nichols, Haines and, in this case, Savage families have survived industry turmoil to become dynasties by applying cross-generational expertise. Which is exactly why brands like CruiseCraft, Haines Signature or Traveler and Streaker deserve due consideration; especially by boat buyers struggling to compare low purchase prices against more expensive but ultimately better investments.
Leaving the pulpit (no, even Streaker doesn't include one in their inventory) to venture out onto Port Phillip Bay for a reality check about Melbourne weather after some recent pleasant experiences, the 6.35 Commander's high-sided, flared bow, 20° deadrise hull handled a sloppy day on the Bay very well, thank you. The trim tabs and hydraulic steering helped, but this is a tightly assembled boat to begin with, one with a fine set of sloppy water manners notable for a lack of complaint from either the hull or the passengers on an ordinary kind of day. Our test boat was the fully optioned hard-top version of the 6.35 Commander and while a critical eye might feel the 'roof' loses brownie points aesthetically against the same hull topless, the excellent shelter a fully enclosed helm area afforded was all good on the day.
As we've come to expect of Yamaha's big four-strokes, the 225's seamless power delivery complemented the hull nicely, making this one of the more enjoyable boating experiences (despite an average day) of recent memory.
We had to find some calmer water to run our performance figures and took the opportunity to start opening hatches and poking into things. Often during boat tests, this is when we find ourselves going 'mmmh'. But not in this boat. It turned up a string of pleasant surprises.
In the deck between the seats, there's a built-in icebox—something too many boats come without. Down aft in the cockpit, a hatch lifts to reveal a removable fish box—built-in fish pits are good if they drain overboard, but being able to remove the box for a thorough clean is better. In the hard-top roof, there's a big hatch—hard-tops are great in bad weather, but can turn into steam baths on hot days if there's no way to get air inside. Ditto for the cabin, which just manages enough bunk space to sleep two—being able to spend a couple of days aboard comfortably is expected of even serious fishing boats this size—and for cruising couples staying aboard and wishing to cook up their catch, there's the stove and sink.
Although a portable toilet is one of very few things on Streaker's options list, I've never met a boating lady who considers toilets optional. Nor have I met a keen fisho who doesn't look for more rigged rod storage than any boat provides—and this hard-top version of the 6.35 Commander loses the overhead rocket launcher that comes on the bimini version.
The extra shade canopy fitted over the cockpit to our test boat (removed for the photo shoot) blocks rocket launcher access anyway, so some fishos may choose a soft top because of this. A centre cushion that changes the removable aft seats into a (removable) aft lounge is about the only option on a very short list (along with the loo). Which, with the possible exception of the hard/soft top choice, makes all the decisions involved with buying a Streaker 6.35 Commander easy ones.
WORDS & PHOTOS: WARREN STEPTOE