by Steve Lague

Atomix boats have been available in Australia for the last three years and during that time more than 100 changes, mostly minor, have been made to the superstructure of the boats to make them more suitable for the Australian market. The aim of the importer, Tony Spiteri of Hi Tech Marine, was to broaden their appeal. To achieve this many of the changes have centred on improving the refinement of the boat. The one thing he has not touched is the hull design. World-renown New Zealand naval architect Brett Bakewell-White designed Atomix boats to handle blue-water conditions. To achieve this the boats have a steep deadrise, reverse chines and portifino pods built into the transom on either side of the motor to push the boat onto the plane quicker than a conventional hull. The added bonus of the pods, which do intrude into the cockpit space a bit, is they also provide added stability at rest.
He also added a spray deflector, a 30mm ridge under the gunnel that pushes water away from the hull to help keep the boats dry.
Atomix boats are designed in NZ with the moulds also built there. The hulls are then built in China using resin infused GRP, which produces a better finish and is stronger than traditional hand laid fibreglass. It offers a range of sizes and models but its 600 is the most popular, both here and in New Zealand. Here, we test the 600 Targa.

WHAT YOU GET
The Atomix 600 Targa comes as a BMT (boat, motor, trailer) package, though you can change or upgrade the engine or electronics package. They even offer a choice of trailer brands and designs.
The test boat was fitted with an upgraded electronics package, an electric anchor and an upgraded Mercury 150hp four-stroke engine with the top-of-the-range VesselView 7 engine management system. The extras added $10,000 to the cost of the boat, lifting it to $64,990.
Forward, there is a split bowrail that allows passengers to disembark directly on to a beach or wharf – a great feature if you use the boat more socially than for fishing. It also makes it easier to get to the anchor.
The cabin is a light and roomy space with upholstered bunks and backrests around the V-shaped berth. Because of the two-piece construction method Atomix uses, the finish in here is as good as any competitor. As in many boats of this size and configuration, a large hatch in the roof provides light and extra ventilation as well as access to the bow. The cabin is an ideal place for young ones to have a rest during the day or for two adults to sleep overnight if needed (it is not something you would want to do regularly). There is also room to fit a portable toilet. What it does not have is storage space under the bunks (this is because of the two-piece construction method and the fibreglass stringer system that is foam-filled giving the boat neutral buoyancy). The cabin can also be secured with a lockable solid fibreglass sliding door, something you will not find on too many other boats in this size and price range.
Atomix 600 Targa 5
Atomix 600 Targa 2I really like the helm of the 600 Targa with the wrap-around glass windscreen and high sides making it a safe and secure space. The driver and passenger seats are premium-upholstered pedestal bucket seats on gas-lift mounts that can swivel 180deg. They also have a built-in bolster that you can lift and lean against if you prefer to stand. On the passenger’s side there is plenty of storage space moulded into the side for valuables and things like sunscreen as well as a grab rail in case it is a little rough. It does lack a footrest, because of the sliding cabin door, which means, for most of us, that your feet a dangling in the air.
The helm is very well set-up. There is a large dash area that can house two seven-inch screens side by side as well as have enough room for a marine radio and audio system. On the test boat it had a Simrad NSS 7 multi-function display sitting alongside the new top-of-the-range Mercury engine management system. The VesselView 7 was developed by Simrad and is compatible with the NSS 7 and when the two are paired can be used as a fishfinder and GPS as well as an engine management system. The helm area is big enough so you can drive seated, though I did find the top windscreen frame was in my vision, or standing up easily and comfortably. There is a footrest for those who prefer to sit.
The large Targa provides good shade for the driver, passenger and those who elect to stand directly behind those seats. There is a rather large gap between the top of the windscreen and the bimini and on the test boat this has been left open. You can fill it with optional clears, which is something I would do. On the test day we did not get any noticeable spray over the windscreen, though we did get a bit on it, but on rougher or windier days there would be a chance of copping a shower from the odd wave.
Atomix 600 Targa 20
Atomix 600 Targa 4The cockpit is big enough for two people to fish on one side comfortably – you could fit three by removing the back seat that fits neatly between the engine well and side of the boat. The gunnels are nice and high for leaning into when fishing but there are no recesses for you feet. There is storage for boat hooks and extra rods on the sides and a small shelf for your other bits and pieces.
There is a large kill tank in the middle of the floor that can also be used for general storage but this is one area where the boat lacks. With no under bunk storage in the cabin and no storage under the driver or passenger seat there is no real place for keeping safety gear like lifejackets other than in a bag in the cabin.
On the test boat there is a bar across the transom where you can fit a bait board. There is a storage locker in the transom for the twin batteries and electric switches. Again, there is no storage across the transom.
There is a ladder on the port side of the boat with a couple of well-placed grab rails to make it easy to get out of the water but there is no transom door.

POWER
The recommended power for the Atomix 600 is between 90 and 175hp and it comes standard with a 115hp Mercury four-stroke outboard. The test boat was fitted with a bigger 150hp Mercury and after spending several hours testing the boat the 150hp felt like a good fit. It certainly did not feel over powered and even when going flat out it remained reasonably composed, even in the choppy conditions.
Holeshot was just a few seconds and it only took a quick squirt of power to get it up on the plane.
Running at 8 knots (15km/h) the motor was ticking over at 2200rpm and using 10.8-litres of fuel an hour. At 3000rpm the boat was on the plane and moving along at 16 knots (30km/h) and using 15.5L/hr. Comfortable cruising speed was 20 knots ( 37km/h) with the motor spinning at 3400 and fuel economy of 20L/hour. Top speed on the test day was 38 knots at 5400rpm and burning 52.0L/hr. A quick look at the engine management system revealed the boat had reached a top speed of 41.4knots previously.
Atomix 600 Targa 21ON THE WATER
The last Atomix boat I tested was the 600 centre console and while it was very dry and stable the ride was a little hard in rougher conditions so I was keen to see how the slightly heavier Targa, it weighs about 180kg more than the Atomix 600 CC, performed. By more good fortune than anything else the conditions were reasonably similar this time round with a small chop on the water, caused by an easterly breeze, on the water off Hillarys.
The big difference, and improvement, between the two hull designs was that where the nose of the centre console tended to lift on the chop the Targa sliced through it making for a much more comfortable ride.
The rest of the drive experience was very similar. The spray rails do a good job of pushing the water away from the cabin and cockpit keeping everyone dry. We did get the odd bit of spray over the top but it was only minimal.
The hydraulic steering, in combination with the premium steering wheel with the spinner, made manoeuvring at low speed a breeze. The boat remained reasonably flat through turns with no signs of drift.
Cruising at 20 knots the boat sat nice, slicing through the waves without any crashing or bashing which would make the trip out to your favourite fishing spot an enjoyable part of the day.
Atomix 600 Targa 15
Atomix 600 Targa 12ON THE TRAILER
The test boat sat on an Atomix customised dual-axle aluminium trailer with a multi-roller set up. It uses a torsion bar suspension set-up, which eliminates the need for springs and the maintenance that comes with them, and has solid aluminium guards over the wheels. The multi-roller system makes it easy to wind the boat onto the trailer using the winch but the boys from Hi-Tech Marine prefer to drive it on or off.
They also offer customers the option of picking trailers from some of the leading brands around the country including Dunbier, McKay and Boeing.
The trailerable weight of the Atomix 600 Targa is about 1850kg which means most medium-sized SUVs will be suitable for towing

OVERALL
The Atomix 600 Targa is a boat that could be used for fishing or by the family for day trips and just enjoying the water. The finish is excellent (the hull build is so consistent that Hi-Tech marine use shoot-through-hull transducers with all the electronics they fit) and the ride is soft. They are an easy boat to drive making them a great proposition for boaties without a lot of experience and they are very affordable with packages starting at $54,990. They also come with a 10-year structural warranty for complete ease of mind.

Atomix 600 Targa 24POSITIVES
Good value for money
Well finished
Rides well and dry for this configuration

NEGATIVES
Lack of storage space
No live bait tank
No foot recess on sides of cockpit

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: (from) $54,990 (as tested) $64,990
Length Overall: 6.0m
Beam: 2.3m
Deadrise: 23deg
Power recommended: 90-175hp
Engine Fitted: Mercury 150hp four-stroke
Fuel capacity: 145-litres
Passenger capacity: 6
Trailerable weight: 1850kg (approx)