- The Husky R6… combines all the graces and practicalities of a family boat with rapid performance, good handling and quick steering.
- Its capabilities exceed its size, and its build quality, which is just as evident behind the scenes, is reassuring.
- … what makes this boat even more unusual is its 37K starting price tag, making the Husky a hugely tempting bite to start boating with.
- The R6 is not your usual bowrider, mainly because it was built in Finland and not America.
PBR takes the apparently unassuming Husky R6 for a spin in ‘testing’ conditions to find out what makes this Finnish bowrider unusual…
Within five minutes of driving the Finnmaster Husky R6 I got the feeling I might have been here before. Memories of a convertible BMW Z4 roadster that I used to own came flooding back. It was a great car that I did not intend to buy, but being a pocket rocket roadster my girlfriend loved the sight of it, and within an hour of owning it I truly loved driving it.
Apart from its thick utilitarian aluminium construction, the Husky is very similar. Initially it is unassuming to look at, and blatantly solid with no frills, bells or whistles to grab your attention. Sitting in it for the first time it does not really grip you to start with, as like the BMW there is not a massive array of instruments, just solid construction and good ergonomics. But when you pile on the power for the first time, the world of the R6, like that of the Z4, takes on a new meaning. I will go so far as to say that the biggest engine option of a 130hp Yamaha F130 makes it insanely quick off the mark. This engine takes the hull of this 5.8m boat close to its limit, which may make it sound tenuous but it certainly isn’t. The match and balance of engine and hull is pretty much faultless as the Yamaha weighs just 172kg, which fits well with a light aluminium boat displacing 890kg. When you first power up onto the plane, the Husky feels well poised. It will plane at around 13 knots if you wait and let it settle – and this boat did not have the optional trim tabs. Once you start pushing up into the 30s, it will want a bit of leg trim, but like any well-balanced hull it does not want much. If you are hitting any chop at speed on a straight course it generally pays to trim the leg halfway, or even all the way down in the case of really steep chop, otherwise the boat’s fairly generous beam not surprisingly can take a bit of slapping on the forward sections of the chines.
The test day was pretty blustery, which, combined with the sneaking menace of long-range ferry chop, meant that driving the Husky R6 flat out kept you focused. It will hit its top speed of a shade under 40 knots in next to no time. I tried to time the acceleration from 20 to 35 knots, but due to the lively sea conditions and the fact that it took the blink of an eye to hit this speed, I gave up. The throttle response from the Yamaha F130 is impressive, with bags of low-down power delivery, so much so that if you forget to trim the leg fully back in, the R6 will cavitate when you take off again. It is a case of not being lazy and thinking about what you are doing next, especially when throwing the boat into a series of tight turns. Arguably, cornering is the most exciting aspect of the R6 as its response to the wheel is exceedingly quick, so much so that initially you have to adjust to it before you don your maniac’s head, otherwise you could overcook it on the turns. If you do, she will slide a touch, which can add to the driving experience, though I would not advise it with the mother-in-law on board. When turning hard it is a case of keeping the outboard leg fully trimmed in or it will be cavitation time when you try and power out.
Like any bowrider, the R6 has a fair bit of beam, which can make it easy to come down off a wave on a tight turn landing on a chine flat. Being aluminium, the boat can soak up this accidental user abuse far more easily than the crew will. The transom deadrise is 18 degrees, so this boat is in medium-vee territory, which helps with the boat’s efficiency as a milder hull profile at the stern will provide slightly more hydrodynamic lift than a sharper deep-vee hull. The downside, as I found out, is that if you are hell-bent on wave cresting in short, sharp chop at speeds over 30 knots with the boat airborne, you will feel it on occasions. You will also appreciate the firm but comfortable grip that the wrap-around seats provide, and being aluminium, it easily shakes off this sort of white-knuckle use.
Stability at rest and underway is a key point in the design of a boat built for social water sports, hence its medium-vee hull with a relatively wide beam of 2.29m. If you build this sort and size of boat with a deep-vee hull it will lose these essential qualities while increasing the draught in the process.
The internal space is hugely generous for this size of boat. If you need to, you can squeeze five in the cockpit, and if you are of a mind to, a couple more in the bow section. The available space is maximised and storage is not lost, thanks to the typically Scandinavian approach to internal design, which makes use of every available inch of space. Forward of the helm and navigator’s seats are two storage lockers, accessed by heavy-duty perspex doors inside the forward walkway. These doors open and shut with reassuring heavy-duty precision, secured by equally hard-core catches. The ‘glovebox’ is also in the same vein, housing both a 12V auxiliary socket and a Bluetooth stereo. To access the bow section it has a very solid two-piece opening set-up, which when open is secured by the most determined magnetic catches that will actually keep the two-piece bow gate secured open at 30 knots.
The bow section is no less impressive, as apart from being covered in textured aluminium flooring with boarding steps on both sides, it actually has a pulpit gate. This is a feature generally found on bigger Scandinavian boats, which Husky have embellished with a concealed telescopic bathing ladder hidden beneath the textured pulpit platform – a great MOB feature. The aft quarters of the boat are no less impressive as the engine is flanked by two aluminium bathing platforms, one with a ladder and shrouded by a neat stainless ski pole. Under the aft bench seat a large internally lined locker conceals the battery and nav light pole, as well as enabling access to the bilge courtesy of two panels. Weather protection comes from a discreet bimini that folds away into the GRP moulding behind the bench seat, which with additional side sections creates a fully enclosed cover. I am reliably informed that it will work at 30 knots, which, considering how easily the central cover section can be deployed, means you have a credible plan B if the rain catches you out.
The R6 is not your usual bowrider, mainly because it was built in Finland and not America. Its capabilities exceed its size, and its build quality, which is just as evident behind the scenes, is reassuring. It is one of the few boats whose character would not be compromised by the smallest engine option, in this case a 100hp Yamaha F100. With today’s relationship with the euro, what makes this boat even more unusual is its 37K starting price tag, making the Husky a hugely tempting bite to start boating with.
Fuel figures (Yamaha flow meter)
RPM Speed (knots) Fuel consumption (mpg)
3500 19 6.6
4000 23 6.3
4500 30 6.1
5000 33 5.4
5500 37 5.2
6000 39.7 4.2 (WOT)
The Husky R6 is a formidable bowrider insomuch as it combines all the graces and practicalities of a family boat with rapid performance, good handling and quick steering. It is very well made for a boat of its size, as not many brands build their small boats to the same standard as their bigger siblings. It is also very well priced with all engine options, though the small extra cost for the biggest 130hp option is a no-brainer.
What We Thought
- Fast responsive handling
- Solid build quality
- A lot of space for the size of boat
- The seats are too low and are not adjustable for height, meaning that when driving it fast or in any degree of chop you will need to sit on the flip-up seat bolster to get a better view. Hopefully height-adjustable seats will become an option.
- LOA: 5.86m
- Beam: 2.29m
- Transom deadrise angle: 18 degrees
- Power options: Up to 130hp (Yamaha)
- Displacement: 1060kg (dry) with 130hp Yamaha F130
- RCD category: C for 7
- Test engine: 130hp Yamaha F130
Price as Tested
£43,000 (inc. VAT)
39.7 knots – sea conditions moderate, wind F3 gusting F4 with 50% fuel