BOAT TEST: CRUISE CRAFT 575 EXPLORER

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: RICK HUCKSTEPP, LOU MARTIN


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Cruise Craft are noted for excellence in the quality-build of their craft, says Rick Huckstepp, who notes this standard extends down to the 575 Explorer, among the brand’s smaller cuddy models

BOAT TEST: CRUISE CRAFT 575 EXPLORER
CRUISE CRAFT 575 EXPLORER

 

SWEET EXPLORER
In the under-six-metre line-up of fibreglass boats is Cruise Craft's 575 Explorer. It's the second smallest of the Explorer range and presents as a pretty tidy package.
We checked this model out, fitted with a 130hp E-TEC, at BRP's media day on the Gold Coast recently.
The common denominator across the entire Cruise Craft range is excellence in quality of finish and this boat is no different.

 

UNDER A FAMILIAR ROOF
Featuring the boatbuilder's typical forward-positioned raised cabin roof, one has ample head height under the 575 Explorer even when sitting at the forward end of the V-berth.
Another asset is the roof hatch on the forward brow of the cabin roof that allows one to stand over the anchor well when working the ground tackle and thereby taking a lot of strain off the back. Also, by securing oneself through the roof hatch aperture alleviates the need to walk around the cabin.
A lock pin split bollard is located between the sturdy bowsprit moulded into the top liner, while the anchor well, with a hinged hatch secured by a latch, has enough volume for a Danforth or grappling anchor.
The sturdy stainless steel work on these boats is of an exceptionally high quality and this is evidenced by the bowrails that run aft to near the end of the cabin walls.
Although a tight squeeze, one can walk around the outside of the cabin, foot over foot on a non-slip surface moulded into the gelcoat, aided by the bowrail and ample handholds along the bimini frame. This frame features a six-pot rodholder and a pull-out shade awning that extends aft from the fixed bimini.
Taut clears run from the bimini to the windscreen which is traced by a handrail assisting those standing next to the skipper underway. Another grabrail is rebated into the brow of the dash above the cabin entrance. This dash top is recessed, too, securing items left here from sliding off onto the deck.

 

I-COMMAND THEE
The 575 Explorer's helm dash has E-TEC's I-Command system featuring two gauges rebated into the moulded brow of the sloping dash which has enough flat and vacant space to fit a rectangular electronics cabinet with an eight-inch screen.
There is a large moulded panel rebated into the cabin liner at the righthand side of the skipper with a number of angled fascias that host the remote gear shift, key start and EPIRB, and forms part of the sidepocket which runs aft to the transom bulkhead. An insert in the liner on the passenger side features the same sidepocket design, a rebate for the fire extinguisher and a smaller sidepocket situated near the left elbow.
The inside of the hull at the back of both of these sidepockets feature rod/gaff/boat hook racks made from heavy nylon.
Seating on the 575 is fully swivelled 360? with forward and aft sliders mounted on stainless steel frames under which large iceboxes can be stowed and slid out when required. This framework is strong enough to use as the anchor for the iceboxes which can be strapped in place to prevent them marching across the deck in rough seas.
In the deck, between the vertical seat frames, is a kill/stowage tank that drains to the bilge.

 

TWO TO A SQUEEZE
Down in the 575 Explorer's cabin there is enough room on the V-berth to sleep two adults at a squeeze. This is achieved with an infill placed over the spacious leg well that has two steps at the fore end allowing one to stand through the roof hatch.
Against the transom bulkhead is a fixed cushioned backrest servicing the removable seat base which swings under and covers the front to the bilge. This seat is ¾-beam and allows for the half-height transom walkthrough which is closed off by a thick nylon, hinged door. The area below this is sealed with a flush-mounted hatch which accesses the crank battery. The engine oil bottle lives back under the bulkhead and is filled from a dedicated port on a projection in the portside corner of the outer transom wall above the adjacent swimout and its rebated telescopic fold-up ladder.

 

PRESS PRESSED
Unfortunately, we were limited to the waters we could test run this boat due to the fact there were 25 other journo's running amuck in a variety of boats including this one.
The 575 Explorer proved to be amply armed with horses, though, and if you wanted extraordinary speed you could opt to maximise the horsepower to the recommended 150.
The E-TEC 130 was plenty and jumped the boat out of the hole with three large adults aboard effortlessly. Top-end speed of approximately 74kmh is attainable at 5600rpm where the engine was consuming 39lt/h.
Typical of Cruise Craft, this boat remains reasonably level in hard turns rather than angling right over into them. This puts it in good stead for hard cornering in waves offshore and good tracking during bar crossings. At rest it has the stability that Cruise Craft anglers enjoy around this country - minimum rock and roll.
While heavy-sea performance couldn't be tested, the Cruise Craft 575 Explorer seemed to perform well in some of the wash generated by all the other boats thrashing the waterway to foam and froth! We can only leave that part of the test to you.

 

WHAT WE LIKED
All the features of a bigger 685 but downsized
Nice finish with exceptional quality all round
Capable of being towed by a large family sedan

NOT SO MUCH
This rig gets a clean slate

 

 


Specifications: Cruise Craft 575 Explorer


 

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested:                                     $64,700
Options fitted:                                      Targa, bimini and extendable shade, pump, radios, rear lounge, and padded coamings
Priced from:                                                           $56,000

GENERAL
Type:                                                     Monohull
Material:                                                   GRP
Length overall:                                      6.09m
Beam:                                                      2.37m
Deadrise:                                                 20°
Weight:                                                    1800kg (BMT)

CAPACITIES
Fuel:                                                       160lt
People day:                                             6 to 450kg
People berthed:                                       2
Rec. min. HP:                                          115
Rec. max. HP:                                         150
Rec. max. engine weight:       220kg
Max. load:        759kg (motor, luggage, people)

ENGINE
Make/model:                                           Evinrude E-TEC 130
Type:                                                      Direct injected two-stroke outboard
Rated HP:                                               130
Displacement:                                        1727cc
Weight:                                                  183kg
Gearbox ratio:                                       2.25:1
Propeller:                                               17-inch Viper
VELS rating:                                        3-star

SUPPLIED BY
Wynnum Marine,
31 Fox Street,
Wynnum, Qld, 4178
Phone: (07) 3396 9777
Email: info@wynnummarine.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #239

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