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Cruise Craft answers the call with a variety of craft. They are moderately priced, have years of heritage as a family company since 1946, and constructing fibreglass craft since 1967. If safety is a prime concern with the “tin lids” Cruise Craft feature foam-filled hulls for added floatation, plus they’re dinki-di Aussie from bimini top to keel



It is a timeless conundrum: "What do I want in a boat and what will I be really using it for?"
Is it just for my use, or will there be family and mates involved? (There'll always be mates involved!) Will it be used just for fishing or leisure? Will watersports be a prime concern, or will it be a combination of all of the above?
If you're anything like me, you'd be wanting a craft that can handle a bit of everything. A boat that can handle a few of the boys for a day's fishing, be used heaps during the summer for towing the kids on inflatable water toy,s as well as lounging around doing jack.
Cruise Craft answers the call with a variety of craft. They are moderately priced, have years of heritage as a family company since 1946, and constructing fibreglass craft since 1967. If safety is a prime concern with the "tin lids" Cruise Craft feature foam-filled hulls for added floatation, plus they're dinki-di Aussie from bimini top to keel.
The Cruise Craft 575 Outsider will go a long way to answering that difficult question - especially for a family. Trailer Boat sourced a new 575 from Coastlife Marine at Wyong just north of Sydney, and we hooked up and headed to the Gosford boat ramp to sample the 2006 model on Brisbane Water as it flows into the lower reaches of the Hawkesbury River.
The 575 is the smallest of the three Outsider walkaround models, but it's certainly not short of the pedigree that's made Cruise Craft range such a well-respected name in Australian marine circles. It possesses everything to make it a strong option for the family who wants a craft for a variety of uses.
Unless you clamber aboard via the trailer, boarding is via an access door port rear onto the spacious deck. This also makes an ideal swim platform as the two step stainless steel ladder is recessed into the back deck. Underneath the transom bulkhead the battery, bilge pump, deck wash pump and oil tank are hidden, and they're - all easily accessible. Included in the bulkhead is a generous live bait tank than can be optioned up with plumbing and sitting proud was the deluxe bait board with raw-water deck wash hose attached.
Of cantilever design, a rear seat is folded away in the transom. It doesn't intrude when not in use and swings out with two sturdy hooks attaching to points at the front of the transom. Optional padded combings along the gunwales offer more support as they are just the right size for getting purchase against your thighs when leaning over the side.
Another feature that aids in surefootedness and peace of mind is that there is room under the gunwale storage racks to slide your feet for added balance.
In the cockpit there are two seats on aluminium pedestals, and both swivel although only the captain's rest can be moved forward and aft. Beside both seats are two storage compartments - one for keys and phone with larger space at the bottom next to the gunwale storage for bulkier items.
Instruments consist of large Bombardier tacho as well as trim and fuel gauges with a slanted space in front where a flush-mounted fishfinder and GPS combo can be fitted, directly in front of the helmsman. There's waterproof switches including bilge pump and optional bait tank plumbing and 27 Meg radio.
A handy feature in the cabin is a removable shroud that covers the wiring for the instruments and steering. What it loses in headroom makes up for ease of access, tidiness and for waterproofing purposes.
There is plenty of space on the v-bed and an overnight expedition is certainly not out of the question. There's a generous hatch that big Shane proved is built for all sizes. The hatch is moulded to form a seat that comes in handing for throwing a line off the bow while your mates use the deck behind. Also the prow is a moulded part of the hull as well adding for strength with a generous stainless steel bow rail as standard that doubles as a handrail for the walkaround that is easy to negotiate.
One thing that is missing is the lack of drink holders around the craft. Sure in this day and age of responsible boating, manufacturer's may wish to paint a positive picture but just because it fits a can or a bottle doesn't necessarily mean it has to contain alcohol!
With its foam filled hull it loses out a bit on storage space compared to other hollow hulled vessels. While that provides peace of mind in flotation fixes it limits the amount of gear like skis and wakeboards that you may store out of toe tapping way unless everything is placed on the V-bed up front as so often happens.
Under the fully carpeted floor is a reasonable kill tank or icebox but most of the underfloor space is taken up by the centrally located 160litre fuel tank that is accessed by a screw panel. There is also a deep storage well in the centre of the V bed but along the side there are smaller spaces for little nick knacks as unseen available space is again taken up with the foam core
Sitting in the comfortable upholstered seats there is plenty of protection from the elements while under power with the four piece wraparound screen also giving good vision when giving the legs a rest. This craft had an optional bimini with Max adding they are designing a set of wraparound clears that will be available shortly.
For extra support there is a moulded foot rest for captain and passenger while behind the seat are two stainless grab rails that are handy for others to stand while underway but if sitting down is the option there is the folding bench seat that hooks to the front of the transom.
There are four rod holders around the gunwales while there were a few more on the bait board. A rocket launcher is an option.
At 5.712 metres it's a craft that is easy trailerable but light enough at around 1700kg not to need a Mack truck to tow. It can be put in the water one-out plus it is offers decent handling qualities that like it's name suggests will let you go outside even with a swell running.. The added safety is in what you can't see with the foam filled hull that adds to the confidence of owning a sure footed craft constructed to handle rough stuff.
Fitted with a 150hp Johnson two stroke it would be interesting to see how it would handle four blokes of varying size from straw-weight me to man mountain, Shane, our craft master from Coastlife along with our snapper Bazz and Max Wicks who had organised the test.
With over 300kgs of weight just in passengers, the Outsider didn't even wheeze hesitate or burp when the question was asked to get on the plane. It did it effortlessly being remarkably responsive, Max explaining that the strake and chine design enables the ease of physics transfer to get us motoring
On full noise 100kmh is attainable with the Johnson spinning over around 5000 rpm. For pleasant motoring and better fuel economy it ticks over at 3000RPM at around 60km/h.
The crew were keen to demonstrate the boats handling and it wasn't long before Shane had us pirouetting in the briny and no mater how hard he threw it into a turn it tracked well and held its line with very little tendency to cavitate. Sure it did do it a couple of times but Shane was really pushing it. The surprise was the lack of spray in the turn as it isn't noticeable until the rear third of the craft with none coming over the gunwales - even in very hard turns. It was the same when hitting a swell or wake with no one in the boat copping a drop. The ride through swell, chop or wake is up there with the best. Very smooth and no need to really brace your body as the hull absorbs the impact sensationally well. 
We even got a fish in while we were out. With three adults there is no trouble moving about the deck, casting and baiting up. Also the moulded seat in the forward hatch is a real bonus for a relaxing fish. I even managed to jag a Sergeant Baker on a squidgy! 
We were fishing in the adjacent to the narrow channel that runs out to Pittwater and this is used by a variety of craft, one of which was a huge passenger catamaran. The wakes that swept passed us amply demonstrated the crafts stability at rest. With its 40cm draft and 2.37m beam we weren't a wine cork bobbing about and  it was back to steady afloat in no time.
If you want a more fishing orientated craft the similarly priced sister 575 Explorer may be what temps but as for the Outsider it is a definite top of list option for a family all-rounder that will serve you many happy times. Indeed this craft isn't just a cruise as the name suggests as it can head outside to fish, drag the rellies and kids behind at pace or just relax on a calm bay.




Specification: Cruise Craft 575 Outsider




Price as tested: $53,926
Options fitted: 150hp Johnson two-stroke, Bogey trailer with brakes, bimini, live bait tank plumbing and deck wash, 27 meg radio, stainless steel boarding ladder
Priced from: $49,276 with 90hp Johnson two-stroke, trailer and regos




Type: Deep-vee monohull cuddy cabin
Material: GRP
Length overall: 6.097m including bow sprit
Beam: 2.37m
Draft: 40cm
Deadrise: 20 degrees at transom
Weight: 1720kg with BMT with 175hp




Rec/max HP: 135/175 outboard
Fuel: 160lt
Capacities: Six adults
Accommodation: Two adults




Make model: Johnson 150 V6
Type: Fuel-injected two-stroke
Rated HP: 150hp
Displacement: 2589cc
Weight: 186kg
Drive: 1.86:1 outboard




Coastlife Marine,
300 Pacific Hwy, Wyong North, NSW.
Phone: (02) 4353 3644

For your nearest dealer call Cruise Craft
Phone: (07) 3390 4877



Originally published in TrailerBoat #197

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