By: Rick Huckstepp

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Bar Crusher is one of Australia’s premier allow plate boatbuilders. Rick Huckstepp tests the 560C and concurs




In the line-up of plate alloy boats there are a group that sit in the upper echelon when it comes to quality workmanship and practicality.
Bar Crusher is one of those that are high on the ladder and a test on Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, on the gloomiest of days showed us just why.
These boats are manufactured in Victoria in one of the most well thought out and laid out facilities we have seen for some years.
Unfortunately, the manufacturer preferred we didn't photograph inside their facility, but you can rest assured the place runs like a Swiss watch and there is more to these boats than meets the eye - especially under the welded deck!




To get a better idea of their commitment to quality, check out their brochure.
While it has all the various model specifications, it features 13 pages of facts on the pros and cons of the different makeup of various types of alloy boats. It really does make interesting reading if you are heading into the alloy boat market.
From the outset, the first thing you notice with these boats is the design and quality of workmanship.
The decks and boarding platform at the transom are constructed with alloy checkerplate which, from experience, ages well when knocked around in a harsh work environment.
The side sheets on the 560C are 3mm thick and extend past the transom bulkhead. They are finished with piping with rebates for handholds when boarding using the sturdy ladder which lifts up and folds onto the platform. As designed, the angle of the ladder can be changed by using rubber grommets in between it and the transom proper so boarding will not be an issue for many. The rest of the boarding platform remains clutter free with the exception of a removable nylon burley bucket which comes with its own muncher.
Stepping onto the boarding platform one easily negotiates a half-height transom aperture which features a nylon slide-in safety door. Once inside, a full beam fold-down bench seat can be lowered to access the twin battery installation in the bulkhead, along side of which is a small amount of stowage space. When folded up, this bench seat becomes a barrier to the walkthrough transom.




In the top of the starboard side of the bulkhead, a moulded tinted Perspex hatch opens to a large livebait tank. The hatch is held closed by elastic toggles.
A bait rigging station, which has rodholders and a removable cutting board, stands on a single post and the entire assembly is easily removed for cleaning.
Centrally located under foot at the aft end of the cockpit deck is a large killtank that is bunged to drain to the ballast compartment in the keel. These voids are used extensively on steel-built fishing trawlers to offer increased stability while at rest and underway at slow speeds. It fills and keeps the chines low in the water and the contents jettison quickly when accelerating onto the plane.
Aft of the killtank against the rear of the transom bulkhead, is a short pit hosting a bilge pump and one for the livebait tank. Its plumbing passes through the ballast void to the bottom of the hull.
Typical sidepockets run down each side of the cockpit. At the end of the starboard sidepocket, a fuel filter with a water sedimenter is installed high up so that a hose may be utilised to drain the contents into a removable container.
The fuel tank is located over the ballast cavity and the top of the tank forms part of the deck. It has a fuel filler on the deck so the level inside may be easily viewed and the tank dipped for volume of contents. This style of tank is classed by marine surveyors as an external tank so complies with commercial survey requirements.
With pedestal seats being narrow in profile minimal deck space is taken up and they have elevated floors within and rebates on the outer shell that allow the deck to be completely washed down while keeping the contents dry.




While the cabin on the 560 is a cuddy rather than half-sized, it slopes up from the bow end sharply so there is plenty of head height when sitting on the V-berths near the opening to the helm. To enable comfortable sleeping for two, optional extensions may be used on the aft end of the berths that take the sleeping platforms out to 2.1m in length. When not in use they are neatly stowed under the berths inside the base frames.
The aperture leading into the cuddy is very open and large as is the access through the cabin roof via a long and wide alloy hatch. From here one stands close to the anchor well gaining good leverage to work the ground tackle. All Bar Crushers come with an anchor well wall bracket for mounting one of Stress Free's drum winches which fits the wells in all models nicely.
The helm station hosts Suzuki instrumentation, and Navman's chartplotter and depthsounder flush mounted. A radio was slung underneath and should you wish to use external gimbal mounted instruments, a flat-top dash is capable of hosting medium (up to eight-inch screen) cabinets across its beam.
Of note is the strength of the windscreen assembly on these boats. The frames are custom made and the front and side panes are hardened glass. They have been kept purposely low-profile to give the strength required to resist tonnes of water should it come over the front during horrendous seas.
These boats are fitted with side clears, but none from the front windscreen to the alloy hardtop. The hardtop is collapsible, though, and may be swung down and attached to the top of the screen by rubber toggles. This allows for a relatively dry ride through big seas and rain while reducing the wind resistance of the cabin.
With the aid of gas struts the hardtop is quickly and easily collapsible to achieve this and further, it may be detached by the hinge on the targa and folded back into the cabin for long hauling or stowage under a low port. Should you be really cramped for height, the windscreen also folds back to offer the lowest profile possible.
Hinging on almost anything that swings on the Bar Crusher is from the custom fit of heavy alloy tube through high-impact resin pivot points which reduces any onboard rattles and alleviates corrosion between metals.
Fitted with Suzuki's 140hp four-stroke outboard, the 560C was powered to the maximum recommended level and with two people on board, had no issues with holeshot.




If one looks at the long length of the hull to the forefoot and its angular entry at the bow, one can see how these hulls exhibit the behaviour they do when working in rough waters such as bar crossings. The hulls track dead straight in an oncoming or following sea with no broaching to worry about and they slice the top of chop as they travel through it, and softly so.
One of the reasons the manufacturer claims is responsible for the gentle entry through rough water is the sheer hull with no strakes which generate resistance when landing at speed. Bar Crushers are designed with sheer sides coming off the keel line all the way to the swept up spray chine at the forequarters.
Many boats with flared bows deflect a lot of upcoming spray, but the downside is the harder landings. Hence on the Bar Crushers, compared with flared hulls, you might get slightly more spray generated, but you won't be running up the bills at the chiropractor! The ingenious clears and hardtop design put paid to any spray issues when deployed correctly.
Conditions on Port Phillip Bay were about a metre of short chop rolling from the south ahead of heavy rain and wind squalls. Running into it, along and with it was effortless and with engine trimmed in, the hull tracked like it was on rails.
The conditions were not conducive to full throttle testing, but at 5000rpm the GPS clocked us at 48kmh and back at 4000rpm we managed 37kmh. A slow cruise at 3000rpm will have you loafing along at 20.5kmh, and with four-stroke economy, the 150lt tank will see you spending big days on the water out wide.
These boats are extremely well made and with a multitude of purposes in mind. Heavy-duty sea handling and longevity of life are just two of them. In many cases, the human body will break before anything on this hull does.




Impeccable craftsmanship
Collapsible hardtop and screen




Perhaps the only thing was the installation in the sidepocket of the fuel filter rather than being outside of the cockpit




Specificications: Bar Crusher 560c




Priced from:                                $55,000 (depending on different dealer fit-up and freight costs)




Material:                                             Marine grade plate aluminium
Bottom sides:                                     4mm
Top sides:                                          3mm
Length overall:                                    6.1m
Beam:                                       2.25m
Deadrise:                                            18º
Weight:                                              1300kg (dry) BMT




Fuel:                                                  150lt
People day:                                        6 to 450kg
People night:                                      2
Payload:                                             680kg (people, luggage and motor)
Rec. max. HP:                                     140
Rec. max. engine weight:        230kg




Make/model:                                      Suzuki DF140
Type:                                                 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder four-stroke outboard
Rated HP:                                           140
Weight:                                              186kg
Displacement:                                     2044cc
Gearbox ratio:                                   2.59:1
Propeller:                                           21in




Bar Crusher,
25-31 Ventura Place,
Dandenong South, Vic, 3175
Phone: (03) 9702 8555
FaX: (03) 9702 7155



Originally published in TrailerBoat #231

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