Some boats kind of slip beneath the radar. There are around 10 Nimbus 305 Coupés already in the hands of satisfied Kiwi owners and importer Sports Marine has another five on order from the Sweden factory, but this one is the first we’ve had the opportunity to review.
- Improved handling
- Soft top and hardtop options
- 5mm hull plates
- Prominent spray rails
- Moulded GRP helm console and seat bases
- Southern-branded aluminium trailer
- 40-knots-plus with 175hp Yamaha
- New model
- 200-litre underfloor fuel tank
- Backs up well
- 19° deadrise bluewater hull
- Big, spacious cockpit and high sides
- High standard of finish
- Likes to be driven
- Fish and dive friendly
The 640 GT Sport is a soft top model with the Lazercraft DNA of old, but with welcome improvements to handling and stability, interior layouts and internal volume.
The 640 GT Sport which follows the Lazercraft 580, making it the second new Lazercraft model in production at Southern Boats’ Mosgiel facility. A hardtop version of the 640 is under development, and we can expect to see a range of Lazercraft trailer boats down to 5.8m in length, complementing Southern Boats’ range of mostly larger models and custom-builds.
Compared to earlier Lazercrafts, the most striking improvement with the 640 is the amount of interior volume, particularly noticeable in the cockpit. While the hull is similar to the popular Lazercraft 620/680 models, Southern Boats has taken the new Lazercraft’s beam out to 2.35m, gunwale to gunwale. The hull has a 19-degree deadrise at the transom, but the chines are wider aft than earlier Lazercrafts for better stability at rest, though they taper quickly towards the bow to minimise banging.
The entry is fuller than traditional Lazercraft models, which were a bit twitchy in a big following sea, but finer than a Southern. The 640 GT Sport’s high sides are very Southern Boats-like, but they add security to the cockpit. Strongly-built with 5mm hulls and 3mm sides, the Lazercraft 640 hull features two integral buoyancy tanks either side of the fuel tank, 5mm longitudinal stringers and a sealed, welded aluminium sole. The hull and cockpit are painted down to the prominent spray rails, which direct spray away from the boat.
Fish and dive
Lazercrafts were always regarded as cockpit-oriented bluewater boats. The 640 GT Sport fits the offshore mould nicely with its big, spacious cockpit and high sides. A 200-litre underfloor fuel tank provides ample range for day-trips; the hardtop version might be a better candidate for overnight trips.
The transom cutout and boarding ladder are on the starboard side so the helmsman can monitor anyone entering or exiting the water – an important safety feature. The boat’s 100-litre underfloor wet locker is big enough for dive bags or a couple of dive bottles, as are the cockpit’s full-length shelves, and the pipe shelf supports should make useful tie-down points.
For fishers, there’s a basic Manta bait table, four through-gunwale rod holders, a six-position rocket launcher and extra rod holders – one each side of the bimini top frame and four more on the bait station. A plumbed transom livebait tank has a clear window for monitoring the health of its inmates and a washdown pump is an option. The battery is on the floor, but it is well protected behind a painted aluminium transom door along with the fuel filter. There’s plenty of room for two batteries.
The bilge pump in the sump was on a float switch. Marine carpet normally covers the chequerplate aluminium floor, but it can be removed in a few minutes if serious fishing is on the agenda. The cockpit floor is flat; there’s good toe-room and the high sides provide a sense of security.
This 640 GT Sport was fitted with two sets of king and queen seats on composite bases with storage inside. A more usual layout is likely to be a single pedestal helm seat with a king and queen on the port side, or a pair of pedestal seats.
Inside the fully lined, composite-topped cabin, v-berths provide limited storage beneath the squabs, with more on the shelves. A custom acrylic hatch is large enough to make working the ground tackle easy and a power windlass can be fitted.
The moulded helm station has enough space for a multifunction display of modest size, plus engine gauges and perhaps a switch panel. The test boat was fitted with a Garmin Echomap 95sv and a GME G.Com VHF radio bracket-mounted under the dashboard.
The cabin top is reasonably tall to give seated headroom inside the cabin, so the correspondingly tall windscreen provides good protection from wind and spray. Clears are normally fitted between the soft top and screen when the weather cuts up.
Likes to be driven
A windy morning supplied plenty of Hauraki Gulf short chop to assess the Lazercraft’s soft riding credentials. It didn’t disappoint, making light of the choppy seas. Into a head sea the best tactic was to trim down the nose and attack the waves with plenty of throttle.
Indeed, the 640 GT Sport likes to be driven; the ride smoothed out with more speed as the hull did its job quietly and efficiently. Running with the wind and sea behind us, the 640 was unperturbed, tracking straight with no ducking or diving, even when we really pushed her along just to make sure. To be fair, we’re talking a gulf chop here, not big seas, but the changes to the entry seem to have improved the handling when running downhill.
With plenty of wind and a tallish cabin with a bimini top to catch it, I would have appreciated trim tabs, but shifting our crew around kept us on an even keel except in the worst gusts. The ride is generally good and the handling is assured, though the outboard was perhaps a hole too high – the propeller grabbed a bit of air in the tighter turns.
According to Bakker, this hull goes well enough with 115hp, but Family Boats will offer it with outboards of between 150hp and 200hp. This boat has a 2.8-litre four-cylinder 175hp Yamaha four-stroke bolted to the transom, which felt like ample power. Throttle response was sharp with excellent hole-shots and a good turn of speed at the top end. Gusting crosswinds curtailed our high speed run when we were perhaps a klick or two short of maximum speed but we still achieved nearly 40 knots.
This boat has a typically Lazercraft tapered transom, which means it backs up better than most outboard-powered boats, as the pointed transom rides up over the waves.
Southern Boats builds good quality Southern-branded aluminium trailers, one of which transports the Lazercraft on the road. It’s a tandem-axle multi-roller trailer, braked on one axle, with LED lights and a jockey wheel.
The Lazercraft 640 GT Sport weighs in at a manageable 1700kg on the road.