By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

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Rick Huckstepp inspects the quality Cruise Craft 625 Explorer that electronics manufacturer Furuno Australia uses as its test boat




This isn't the first time a Cruise Craft has hit the pages of TrailerBoat; in fact the 625 Explorer and the 685 Outsider have had plenty of ink in the past. While the adage of 'if it ain't broke, why fix it?' holds true in the case of this model, we needed another excuse to get aboard this boat and Furuno was it.
Furuno have been searching around for some time looking for a work boat on which to install, display and demonstrate their wares. Cruise Craft's 625 Explorer fitted the bill with a number of attributes that were too good to go past.
With many of the electronics company sales representatives driving smaller 4WDs, the gross boat-motor-trailer weight of 2300kg put this model on the money - tow-capability wise. Go bigger in the length overall and instead of looking down the barrel of a Mitsubishi Pajero or Nissan Navara option at around $50K, the daunting possibility of having to fork out $80K for a LandCruiser had the wallet shuddering - $30,000 is a lot of toy money if you have it.




We were at Port Stephens during the week between the Inter Club Tournament weekends and Furuno were on the water running dealer training for their retail outlets, the employees of which gravitate to this picturesque part of the world to get their 'hands on' training with a wide range of Furuno electronics.
Other than the radome, plenty of signage and more buttons and knobs on the dashboard than the space shuttle, not a lot is different on the outside.
Cruise Craft, though, has done a number on the bilge in the aft end of this boat to accommodate a range of transducers for on-screen comparisons of depthsounders. Neatly tucked in compartments around the stringers are five transducers. For those that want the gory details, fitted therein was a 600W bronze through-hull, a 1kW M260 wet box transducer, a 2kW-200kHz transducer, and broadband adjustable 2kW-82kHz and 2kW-50kHz transducer. Oh - and there was just enough room left for the bilge pump!
As with every model in Cruise Craft's range, the finish is impeccable and it is common knowledge among those that either have this brand of boat or aspire to, that you can expect nothing less.
So, let's take a closer look.
The V-berth on this boat has a removable infill allowing it to be used as a double bed for two adults; those on the large size might find it snug. As a day boat, six may get aboard and there is plenty of room to put bags and food stuffs on the full padding. There is plenty of wide stowage on the walls of the cabin in the surround pocket and more under the infill where a portable toilet may be installed.
Those manually handling the ground tackle will like the layout of the forehead of the cabin roof. It opens on the radius allowing one to get right on top of the anchor well for the best leverage possible when hauling rope. The Furuno boys opted for an electric winch in this boat.
The rear of the helm station bulkhead is bristling with black boxes from which an array of cables and wires emanate. These are the units that drive the headsets and they are neatly installed out of the way.
The swivel slidable seats are mounted on a rail frame under which 70-odd-litre ice boxes may be stored. When they are retained in position (although not fitted in the test boat) this opens up the entire cockpit to anglers without having to maneuver around obstacles. Between these frames a good sized killtank is installed in the deck and the aperture to the cabin has a press-stud secured curtain to keep out prying eyes.




With the standard Suzuki instrumentation fitted, the balance of the dashboard space was taken up with large and small headsets which were either dedicated depthsounders or combination of depthsounder/chartplotter/radar units. The autopilot was within easy reach of the helm which was covered in a canvas awning supported on a quality stainless steel frame.
Due to a weighty radome on the top, extra bracing is advised and should be ordered at the time of making the decision to buy this model boat. The framework caters for the extra cabling keeping everything neat and tidy with a sock in which the cable is secreted as it travels across the canvas to the vertical support. There is a rodholder rack built into this canopy which also has an extendable shade that runs well out into the cockpit. For those long hauling or having a low roof on their stowage area, the frame is hinged and quickly undone to drop back into the cockpit. Quality Reelax outriggers compliment the game-fishing arsenal fitted to the Cruise Craft. They were 4.5m in length and when removed, can lay flat on the deck into the cabin for safe transit.
In the work area full-length sidepockets will hold plenty of tackle and in this boat rodholders are mounted on the inside of the hull above the pockets.
Hand rails are neatly rebated into the inside edge of the coamings and the livebait tank is easily accessible in the starboard corner of the transom bulkhead while a removable bait-rigging station sits central over the top. Entry to and from the boat is via a half-height hinged nylon door in the bulkhead on the port side. A telescopic fold-down ladder rebates into the flat boarding deck. When deployed, it sits vertical to the deck and takes some effort to traverse. Alright - I'm an old fart, but so are a lot of other boat owners. A redesign having a ladder at an angle for easy usage would be appreciated by many - including me.
Out on the water the Cruise Craft will not disappoint. The writer has had these models in all sorts of seas from those wide of Bermagui well over the continental shelf to rough short-sharp chop in storm havoc on Moreton Bay and plenty in between.
They have very good stability dead in the water on the drift and also at anchor. They also offer a dry and soft ride and there is power left over with the big Suzuki on the transom. This model engine has an offset drive shaft which allows for lower gearing, in which case larger propellers may be utilised. The one fitted to the test engine was 21-inch which pushed the Cruise Craft to 42kts.
There is plenty of holeshot on tap should you want it but, in actual fact, unless towing skiers or carrying excessively heavy payloads, you won't need the 200 horses.
On the helm it is a breeze and the weakest of the family won't have any problem with the hydraulic steering.
As with quality Australian-manufactured boats, the dollars spent at the time of purchase are recouped to a large extent should you look after your investment - Cruise Crafts hold their value.




It's a Cruise Craft so expect the best




Time for the vertical ladder to go





Specifications: Furuno Cruise Craft 625 Explorer




Price as tested:                         Approx $120,000
Options fitted:                           Radar, full-electronics package, 5 x transducers, canopy, extendable awning, bait table, outriggers, autopilot, bunk infill, and winch
Priced from                              $80,000 approx




Length overall:              6.54m
Length on trailer:                       7.7m w/ engine vertical
Beam:                                       2.45m
Weight:                         Approx 2300kg (BMT)




Fuel:                                         195lt (normally 240lt but reduced for extra transducer space)
People overnight:                      2
People day:                              6
Recommended HP:                   150 to 175
Rec. max. HP:                           200
Max. transom weight:                 294kg




Make/model:                      Suzuki DF200
Type:                                        V6 four-stroke
Rated HP:                                200
Displacement:                           3.6lt
Weight:                         263kg
Gearbox ratio:             2.29:1
Propeller:                                  21in
VELS rating:                           3-Star




Furuno Australia




Cruise Craft Boats Pty Ltd,
1308 Lytton Road,
Hemmant, Qld, 4174
Phone: (07) 3390 4877
Fax: (07) 3390 5756



Originally published in TrailerBoat #229

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