REVIEW: BAR CRUSHER 620XS REEF SPORT

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: RICK HUCKSTEPP


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Fishing boats don’t come much better than the latest offering from Bar Crusher. Why is the 620XS so good? Rick Huckstepp decided to find out

REVIEW: BAR CRUSHER 620XS REEF SPORT
BAR CRUSHER 620XS REEF SPORT

It wasn't too many years ago that centre consoles were rarely seen on our waters; open boats were predominantly tiller steers. Fishing has evolved over time and it's the styles that we do and the tackle we do it with that has seen further evolution in what we do it from.

That evolution just does not stop! As fishing becomes more extreme, so do the lengths boat manufacturers go to, to provide the ideal platform.

We tested one of these boats recently on Westernport Bay and marvelled at what can be achieved with some innovative design and the gumption to continually step outside the square to produce a boat that will stand out amongst the many plate boats on the market.

 

 

VERY ROOMY

The Bar Crusher XS Reef Sport at 6.2 metres in length has plenty of fishing room and it is this length that helps the hull bridge the troughs between steep chop and soften the ride. Immediately we went onto the plane, the soft ride of this hull stood out like the proverbial you know what!

Viewed side on, from aboard the plane, you can see another attribute that aids this impeccable performance; that is the deep forefoot of the keel which is well forward that has a sharp degree of deadrise running up to the chines. This slices open the top of chop rather than have the crest of the wave hit further aft where the deadrise is not as acute, the latter causes a boat to 'bang' or 'pound' uncomfortable when on the plane. Bar Crusher have trademarked the name 'Waveslicer' to register this design technology.

 

 

The wind on the day was not strong, so we were unable to see how much spray comes on board when wind is on the quarter. No doubt it would to some extent; after all is said and done, there aren't too many centre consoles that don't get damp from time to time. In fact, we don't know of any. It's the nature of the beast. One tends to put up with that to get the fish-ability.

Considering the hull bottom was smooth with no strakes, no side slippage during high speed tight turns must also be attributed to the deep keel line that is giving the soft ride.

Also different is the hull bottom compared with other brand boats but is a feature on all Bar Crushers and that is the Quickflow water ballast system which allows up to 600lt of water into a void which then forces the deep V of the hull to sink lower into the water so chines rest on the surface. Maximum, attainable stability at rest is the result and this system is similar to that used on big offshore fishing trawlers to improve the work environment in often horrendous seas.

 

 

SERIOUSLY SUZUKI

With 150 horsepower of Suzuki four stroke on the back, this is a serious, but fun machine and is definitely no sissy! Hole shot was a 'hang on with two hands affair' and acceleration was blindingly quick to 77kmh which was WOT at 6000rpm. Back at a comfortable cruise of 32kmh, Suzi' is running at 3500rpm, and is all nicely quiet throughout the rev range.

The tough build of the 620 is as impeccable as the on water performance. It features checker plate deck and casting platform that will still look good after a decade of abuse. Seats are fixed to bigger than usual 75mm posts that can take the heaviest of loads and fit snugly into hard rubber sleeves rebated into the deck at strategic positions. When a seat is not used a checker plate topped blank is inserted to keep rubbish out of the hole.

 

 

CONSOLE COMFORT

The design of the centre console which is mounted more toward the stern for comfort's-sake has had a lot of thought put into it. The remote shift for the Suzuki has been kept off the side of the console and binnacle mounted on the topside. This allows for long grab handles for skipper and passengers each side of the super structure. We would have liked to have seen these complimented by one on each gunwale for further security of those standing there.

 

A rack fitted here will hold cold drinks in their coolers. The console has a tinted Perspex wind screen supported by a high rise rail. Immediately aft of the screen there is a deep pocket running across the console to place general items and then there is a carpeted tray on its top. In the sloping fascia leading down to the helm wheel there is another pocket in which a radio is mounted with room for other gear that might need to stay dry.

Instrumentation runs across the fascia and switching including that for the trim tabs are installed here. The bottom edges of the console are rebated so the deck inside may be flushed while the fuel-filler is located under that in the front side and this allows for a reliable check of fuel levels with a dip-stick.

 

 

GET A GRIP

Two big grab handles run down the front of the console for people moving about alleviating the possibility of them grabbing the windscreen should they over balance.

A manifold sits up from the deck and runs from under the console to under the transom bulkhead carrying looms from the batteries and engine. It is a pity this is not underdeck but it has been placed thus for a reason. That is, Bar Crushers registered design 'Rigideck' substructure occupies a lot of the void below deck and its integrity would likely be compromised by any intrusion through it. In the deck behind the helm seat, a kill tank is manufactured which may be drained to the bilge or to the sump that sits aft of it against the back of the transom bulkhead. If at anchor, the kill tank is emptied by releasing the water to the sump which has a bilge pump to sea.

 

 

FOR THE FISHO

Bar Crusher utilises a strong rear bench seat system on its models. It is sturdy enough for a few people to stand on and fish if they wish and when it is lowered, a shelf across the bulkhead is revealed that holds a pair of batteries, the pump system for the live bait tank nearby and deck wash. A neat electrical board with isolator switch and circuit breaker is also installed here.

With the seat down the half height walk through transom door is exposed and a nylon pull out door opens the aperture to access the boarding platform. It is fitted with a drop down step system and left and right hand grab rails are within easy reach when using it.

 

Rod storage won't be an issue with the 620 either. It has four moulded alloy types recessed in each gunwale and if you get the optional bait board, you will fit another three in it.

The forward casting deck has a large hatch with a gutter installed around three sides that drains deck water off onto the lower deck. This is great for keeping gear as dry as possible alleviating the necessity to remove gear daily to dry and protect it.

 

 

TACKLE DRAGGING

Alloy at the bow end of most boats comes in for an absolute hammering due to sharp-edged anchors and rough chain. To give it longevity of life, Bar Crusher have crafted a chain and anchor feed plate and guide from heavy plate alloy over which the ground tackle may be dragged.

A Sarca anchor is held onto the chain-slide by a pin to prevent jumping out and has an elasticised snub with a clip holding it tight to stop rattle.

Two tubes support the bow rails, acting as grappling anchor stock holders and the large anchor well is complimented by two bollards each side at its aft end.

If another anchor rope was secured to one side then positioned central through the chain slide would jump free and up over the hand rail when the boat was pitching fore and aft in heavy seas. It's something to keep in mind and a central bollard would fix the potential problem immediately.

 

 

CONCLUSION

Overall we were impressed with the XS620 Reef Sport. It's a very credible boat that most people would be proud to own. It was a pity about the good weather though, as this boat has a lot more to offer than we could note on the particular day.

 

 

WHAT WE LIKED

The ride gets 10/10

The build and finish

Fishing stability is brilliant due to the ballast system

 

 

NOT SO MUCH

Bollard positions at anchor may need addressing

A couple of hand rails on gunwales adjacent to centre console would be good

 

Specifications: Bar Crusher 620XS Reef Sport

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $64,000

Options fitted: side hull paint, GME radio, trim tabs

 

 

GENERAL

Material: Plate alloy 5mm bottom sides 4mm topsides

Length overall: 6.7m

Beam: 2.35m

Deadrise: 19º

Weight: 1550kg BMT

 

 

CAPACITIES

Fuel: 200lt

People day: 7

Rec. max hp: 140

Rec. min hp: 174

Max transom weight: 280kg

 

 

ENGINE

Make/model: Suzuki DF 150

Type: Four-cylinder four-stroke

Rated HP: 150

Displacement: 2867cc

Weight: 220kg

Propeller: 19in

 

 

SUPPLIED BY

Bar Crusher Boats,

25-31 Ventura Place,

Dandenong South, Vic, 3175

Phone: (03) 9702 8555

Email: mattu@barcrusher.com.au

Web: www.barcrusher.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #244

Find Bar Crusher boats for sale.

 


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