by Steve Lague

Baysport Boats is becoming renowned for building practical, family-friendly, boats at an affordable price. It is one of the only manufacturers of fibreglass boats in Australia that can compete with similar sized tinnies for price and has built its reputation over many decades from its original incarnation as Freedom Boats all the way to the modern renamed company, Baysport Boats. Over that time and the ensuing company changes, the builder has continued with the same philosophy.

Freedom also added a revolutionary “tunnel” to the bottom of its biggest model, the Freedom 6.4 Seasport. What the tunnel does is direct a greater flow of water over the engine propeller which in turn improves the performance and fuel consumption of the boat.
Another significant benefit is that the extra water pushes the boat on to the plane a lot quicker than a more conventional hull design with a centreline or Vee bottom.
It also makes the boat easier to handle, a great benefit for a boat aimed at new and inexperienced boaties, and enables it to be driven in shallower water than a similar sized boat.
Bayspsort 640 Sports 1The Baysport hulls remain mostly unchanged under the water today, albeit they have a modern looking superstructure and all the features boaties in the 2000s demand. We tested the biggest boat in the range, the Baysport 640 Sports, which is aimed at fishermen who want a boat that can also be enjoyed by all of the family. It has the same tunnel bottom as the Freedom 6.4 Seasport.

WHAT YOU GET
The layout of the Baysport 640 Sports is such that anglers can enjoy a day out on the water while the cabin, with V bunks, offers genuine overnight accommodation.
The test boat also was fitted with an in-fill that turned the V bunks into a sizeable double bed. It also had a built-in sink, built-in esky, and a fresh-water shower with a 60-litre tank that added to its appeal as a weekender.
Other equipment included an electric Stress Free anchor that is operated via a switch on the dashboard, Bimini and a picnic table.
In WA, all this equipment is provided as standard in a package that also includes a 140hp Suzuki EFI four-stroke engine and a Dunbier trailer at a cost of $66,350. Bayspsort 640 Sports 2
Bayspsort 640 Sports 13In other states the starting price is lower but much of the equipment mentioned is listed as optional.
Jumping onto the Baysport 640 Sports it is hard not to be impressed by the size of the uncluttered cockpit. While this is not a specialist fishing boat, it has definitely been designed with fishing in mind. The gunnels are nice and high, providing good support while fishing, and wide enough to accommodate a couple of rod holders on each side. There also is plenty of under-gunnel storage, with a padded finish, for extra rods and other bits and pieces and, importantly, plenty of room under the storage areas for your toes, enabling you to get nice and close to the side of the boat. There is a bench seat three-quarters the way across the back, which will comfortably hold two adults — three at a squeeze, with a large drystorage box underneath. This seat can be flipped forward for easy access to the batteries under the transom, or for those days when fishing is the priority, removed all together.
Bayspsort 640 Sports 6Talking about the transom there is a handy storage locker on the starboard side and a transom door and small swim/boarding platform with a built-in ladder on the port side. There also is a fresh-water shower for a quick rinse off after a swim.
There is an under floor locker between the helm and passenger seat that could be used as a kill
tank.
The helm area is simple and neat, though my only complaint is that there is not enough room for a flush-mounted fish-finder/GPS. While there is plenty of room for a stand-alone unit it means you need to take it off the boat after every use.
The driver and passenger seats are surprisingly comfortable and supportive. You really feel securely locked in when driving sitting down which is a nice feel and there is a foot rest for both the driver and passenger.
It also comes standard with a bimini which provides protection from the elements for the driver and passenger, although you may need to add a clear plastic curtain between the bimini and windscreen to keep everyone dry in rougher conditions.
Bayspsort 640 Sports 11The cabin is plain and does not offer a lot of privacy if staying over night. What it does though is provide a good, well protected spot for the kids to have a lie down during the day and adds lots of additional dry storage space. I am 185cm and the beds are big enough for me to sleep in comfortably, and that was without the in-fill.
The only access to the anchor is through a hatch in the cabin and while it was not that difficult to get through, it could become more of a challenge if the cabin was full of gear which made the addition of an electric anchor seem like a very good idea.

POWER
The 640 is rated to a 175hp but the test boat was fitted with a 140hp Suzuki four-stroke engine.
On the day we tested the boat we were greeted with lake-flat water and no wind but the 140 provided more than enough power to get the Baysport 640 Sports along very nicely.
Bayspsort 640 Sports 18
Bayspsort 640 Sports 16 With the motor turning at 4000rpm it felt relaxed and comfortable and had the boat cruising along at 37km/h (20 knots) and there was plenty of power left. Pushing the throttle as far forward as it would go, we doubled our speed to 75km/h (40 knots), with the engine spinning at 6500rpm. There wasn’t a fuel consumption gauge, the Suzuki outboard only comes with basic analogue gauges, on the boat but at that speed, if you are the owner, you don’t want to know either. To get more sophisticated gauges you would need to buy an electronics system that can be paired to the engine.
I would want to test the boat in rougher conditions before making a definitive decision but after
spending about an hour playing around in the boat off Hillarys it would be hard to justify fitting a more powerful engine.

ON THE WATER
As I said previously we had perfect, flat conditions on the test day so it was hard to really get a feel for how the hull handles the conditions. But with a 21deg deadrise you would expect it to offer a smooth and dry ride.
Bayspsort 640 Sports 19The conditions did enable us to fully explore the benefits of the tunnel bottom. From a standing start it seemed to take only seconds before the 6.0m hull was up and on the plane. It was very quick.
Turning was also a little different to a more conventional hull design. It felt as though it dug in quicker, gaining more grip, and therefore reacting to steering inputs more quickly. The hydraulic steering system was light and easy to use at all speeds. The boat also felt as if it sat flatter through the turns, making life a little more comfortable for the passengers. No matter how hard we threw the boat around there was never any cavitation (air pockets around the propellor) which meant you were getting full horsepower to the prop all the time.
I really like the wrap-around seats which locked you in place, even when turning hard, vision was good and the throttle was within easy reach.
I prefer to stand up when driving and there was plenty of room between the seat and the dash as well as enough head room for this to be done comfortably.
At a standstill the tunnel bottom also made the boat feel quite stable. While there were only two of us on board, it barely moved as we walked around the boat, or both stood on the one side together.

ON THE TRAILER
The Baysport 640 Sports comes with a dual-axle Dunbier roller trailer with mechanical disc brakes.
Getting the boat on and off the trailer is a breeze. The only trap for new players with roller trailers is undoing safety chains too early. You need to make sure the trailer is in the water before undoing anything to ensure you do not end up with the boat on the ramp instead of floating in the water.
Bayspsort 640 Sports 3The 640 with the motor, trailer and half full of fuel weighs just over 1500kg which means it can be easily towed by any six-cylinder family vehicle and most medium-sized SUVs.

OVERVIEW
This is a great value-for-money package. Looking around the boat, both on and off the water, it was hard to find fault with the workmanship and it felt solid. It was an easy boat to handle and drive making it ideal for the not-so-experienced skipper and is versatile enough to keep most of the family happy.
It would make a great day boat, and you could even stay overnight and get a reasonable night’s sleep.

POSITIVES

  • Bayspsort 640 Sports 20Value for Money
  • Ease of use
  • Size of cockpit

NEGATIVES

  • Dash area not big enough
  • Only access to bow through cabin

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: (as tested) $66,350
Length Overall: 6.4m
Beam: 2.45m
Recommended HP: 115-150
Max Rated HP: 175
Fuel capacity: 170 litres
Water capacity: 60 litres