Alex Whittaker finds out whether the P6 is more than a Scandi commuter …
Scandinavian boats, so the story goes, are designed for safe all-weather commuting around sub-Arctic archipelagos. They are also ideal for cruising to quirky wooden houses perched on remote islands for summer Scandi fun. The pilot house-styled Finnmaster P6 is such a vessel, but its updated workboat lines lend it a cheery aspect. It is also a good fit with capricious British weather. The P6 has a reasonably fine entry but not a particularly deep V hull, which blends to a deadrise of 18 degrees at the transom. I wanted to find out whether this 20-odd-foot P6 was yet another capable Scandi dayboat, or perhaps a bit more …
Stern boarding platform
I have played with similar but earlier Finnmasters, like the 6100 MC. In comparison, the new P6 easily has the best boarding arrangement. The flat rear boarding platform extends well back, either side of the outboard, giving an easy foot fall[SB1] . There are two usefully sized lockers set flush into the deck ‒ handy for warps and both substantially hinged. This theme of convenient storage is repeated throughout the boat. However, it was the uncluttered entry and high handrail around the engine that got most marks from me. To my mind, previous models were a bit encumbered and just not as foot-friendly ‒ an important point in a family craft. Even the well-supported stainless boarding ladder manages to keep out of the trip hazard zone, as do the sturdy but stylish rear cleats.
One steps down into the self-draining rear cockpit. The stainless rail on the top of the rear bulwark is pleasingly high and gives a feeling of enclosure. The first thing to note in the cockpit is the nifty integrated fender stowage set into the starboard bulwark. This keeps the rear deck wonderfully uncluttered at sea. The next thing of note is the large tinted-glass sliding rear cabin door. Like the forward cabin door, this has an anti-guillotine safety feature. How this might stand up in a boisterous sea I was not able to determine.
While the boat designer gets the plaudits for the clever use of light and space, whoever styled the external cabin roof gets the Oscar. Such a tallish cabin shape could easily have come out like Postman Pat’s van: rectangular, utilitarian and boxy. However, the P6’s cabin roof really does disguise utility. Its stylish overhang reminded me of a Samurai helmet. Since there are no side decks, the internal volume of the cabin is maximised. Despite this, I immediately got the point of the long stainless handrails on the roof ‒ they are ideal for pulling the boat towards you from a pontoon. They could also act as roof racks for inflatable paddleboards.
Entering the P6’s impressive cabin delivers a Tardis moment. All that toughened Pilkington glass yields a vast panoramic view and an instant feeling of space. As a compact chap, I had no chance of grazing the deck head ‒ it was all over 6-foot high. The two large sunroofs, complete with shades and bug screens, really do open out an already joyously expansive interior. Without these thoughtful apertures, the cabin, with its acres of glass, could easily have become as hot as a greenhouse. However, on one of the hottest days of the summer, with both cabin doors and both sunroofs wide open, the cabin was amazingly cool and airy. Stepping down onto the cabin sole, one is greeted by a single seat to starboard, with its footwell forward. Just ahead, the helmsman’s seat can fold flat down. There is a simple sink below, but no cooker. The helm seat has an integral flip-up bolster, so you may drive standing if you wish with your head out of the starboard sunroof. I really liked this option but noticed that the steering wheel does not articulate. Frankly, the helm seat, like the others, does not offer much lateral support. However, the sturdy helm footrest at least keeps the driver planted when banking into a turn. Also, the throttle lever has a comforting ledge to support your arm. And by the way, one can configure all five cabin seats forward to face the action.
Dinette and bunk
The dinette to port has a three-leaf wooden table on a tough high-low base. Finnmaster say that the P6 ‘provides the opportunity to stay overnight’, which means the dinette and other (supplied) cushions can form a bunk. The dinette can accommodate three seated crew. A nice dash of Scandi practicality means that all the seat and bunk cushions have their own integral hard bases, so setting up the double bunk is very easy. It also means that infills do not have to be stored. Once set up, the full-beam bunk measures an impressive 2.16 by 1.18 metres. Just note that this only delivers two berths, so overnight crew must at least be chummy. Earlier Finnmasters, like the 6100 MC, did tuck in a third quarter-berth up at the front of the cabin, running under the foredeck, but this concept has not been carried forward to the P6. So to recap: you can take five persons aboard, you can seat five in the cabin and three at the table, and two can sleep in the bunk.
Forward of the dinette is the navigator’s seat with its folding backrest, which makes up the dinette. There is a grab handle and two beverage holders to port, with a lockable console ahead. This has a 12v outlet inside ‒ handy for a phone.
At this point I started to ponder the P6’s overnighting credentials. To find any cooker, fridge, cabin curtains or pumped water I had to take a rueful look at the options list. These additions bump up the overnighting price a bit but greatly add to the boat’s flexibility. Having only two berths struck me as a significant factor to add to the mix if one was considering family overnighting.
Helm ergonomics are good and I immediately felt comfortable with the placement of the controls and switches, and the trim tab controls fell naturally in front of my throttle hand. The test boat was fitted with a Garmin multifunction display and the usual two Yamaha outboard engine and speed gauges. Seated at the helm, the mullions at each corner of the cabin are slim enough not to impede the outstanding panoramic visibility. Even when totally enclosed in the cabin, with the hatches and doors shut, you feel part of the seascape ‒ a neat trick for an enclosed helm. There is a large pantograph-style windscreen wiper on the helm windscreen only. This is backed up with hot-air demisters on both front screens. Overall, I felt confident that this little ship would get me and my family crew home safely in filthy weather.
The step up from the cabin to the bow cockpit is hinged and gives easy access to the forward bilge and seacocks. In my opinion, the bow cockpit is one of the star features of this boat. As well as being stylish, the split pulpit rail is reassuringly high. There is another clever fender stowage station, this time retained by a stainless rail, and there is an opening locker on the intermediate platform up to the pulpit. On the pulpit platform there is a hinged lid on the anchor rode storage space. Unfortunately, this locker lid cannot open ‘over centre’ and can slam shut on you. Most usefully, given this boat’s 24/7 all-weather mission, there are LED mooring lights tucked under the anchor hatch. The large stainless cleats are placed usefully either side of the pulpit and thus do not present a trip hazard. Indeed, the whole cockpit is a highly practical space. One can spring from the helm and be instantly working this handy front deck ‒ ideal for anchoring, coming alongside or picking up a buoy single-handedly.
For a relatively small conventional boat, the hull does not feel overly ‘tender’ as you step aboard. However, I did feel the need to distribute my crew within the cabin to effect a neutral balance underway. Naturally, when driving her ‘one up’ she does lean a little to the driver’s side. With three aboard, the Yamaha F130 gave us a good flying start, with 5 seconds to planing speed and then about 10 seconds to 20 knots. She ran well at 4500 revs, with a cruising speed of 23.4 knots on the GPS and a fuel burn of 6.9 gallons per hour. Wide open throttle came up at 5700 revs for 36 knots and a fuel consumption of 11.2 gallons. There was a tendency to lean slightly to port at higher revs above the 4.5‒5 k mark, but I put this down to minor outboard torque effects and felt it could be easily tweaked out. I didn’t feel the need to cancel it out with the fitted trim tabs.
I thought this was a superb boat. The P6 would have me reaching for my cheque book if I was in the market for such a capable all-rounder. She is a versatile little craft that inspires confidence. In bad weather you would batten down the hatches and punch your way home cocooned in the security of the cabin. More of a dayboat than an overnighter as supplied, you have to raid the options list to make the P6 a capable weekender ‒ but she can certainly do it!
- Quart in a pint pot
- Versatile, well thought out, practical
- Year-round capability
- Airy, tall full-beam cabin
- Excellent dual sunroofs
- All bunk infill cushions are supplied
- Safe-working front cockpit
- Easy boarding and disembarking
- Safe panoramic view from helm
- Windscreen wiper as supplied
- Large glass cabin doors
- Well-thought-out storage
- Excellent fender stowage
- Fire extinguisher standard
- Hull can take more power than tested option
- Attractive price
- Only two berths in one double bunk
- Cooker, fridge, curtains and pumped water are costed options for overnighting
- No porta potti facility
- Twin-battery facility is a costed option
- No beverage holders in the dinette
- Helm seat does not swivel to face dinette
- Anchor hatch does not stay safely open over centre
- Length: 6.35m (20.8ft)
- Beam: 2.29m (7.5ft)
- Hull draught: 0.45m (1.5ft)
- Weight: 1140kg (2513lb)
- Max. persons: 5
- Berths: 2
- Category: C8
- Deadrise: 18 degrees
- Fuel capacity: 150L
- Water (optional): 10L
- Engine as tested: Yamaha F130
Test day conditions were ideal for family cruising ‒ no wind and not rough at all. Figures were taken with three adult crew on board, with around 75 litres of fuel, no fresh water but three heavy camera bags.
GPS Speed Revs / GPH
- 6.5 1700 1.0
- 7.1 2000 1.2
- 8.4 2500 2.2
- 9.3 3000 3.2
- 13.8 3500 4.5
- 17.7 4000 5.4
- 23.4 4500 6.9 Cruise
- 30.9 5000 8.8
- 33.8 5500 10.8
- 36.0 5700 11.2 WOT
As tested with Yamaha F130 outboard: £49,000 (inc. VAT)
Tel.: 01758 703013