REVIEW: BAR CRUSHER 640HT

By: Bernard Clancy


Bar Crusher’s 640HT fishing machine is sure to lead to tall tales at the pub, writes Bernard Clancy

First impressions are often the ones that stick. And from the moment you jump aboard the Bar Crusher 640HT, you see things that look good and as though they’ll work.
And so the fisherman in you finds himself saying, "Ah, I like that…And that… And that." Yep, there really is a lot to admire about the newest and biggest Bar Crusher of them all, especially the oversized windscreens at one end and the enormous amount of fishing room at the other.
I’ve never been a fan of the small, fold-down windscreens on smaller Bar Crushers and the 640HT’s sister boat, the 640C, but they’ve been designed that way so the boats will fit under average-height carports. The 640HT’s huge five-piece screen and hardtop is simply first class. Fair dinkum, rebuild the carport – this boat’s worth it.
Vision is excellent and headroom is more than adequate for people of most heights. The downside to that, of course, is that the eight-pot rocket launcher on the hardtop’s trailing edge is out of reach of shorter people.

WORK HORSE
So Bar Crusher solved that problem by welding a footrest to the back of the chair boxes, which doubles as a step up to bring the rods within reach. As I intimated earlier, there are a number of nice little touches like that. For example, on the trailing edge of the hardtop is not one grabrail but three individual ones so that in rough weather each crew member hangin’ out the back has his own very solid bar to cling to. And there are a couple more on the side pillars as well. Great in big seas.
In fact everything about the Bar Crusher is solid. For example, the sub-floor is super stiff with full depth stringers and cross frames for superior strength and durability. Then welded on top of that is a durable, light, and easy to clean tread plate aluminium floor. Carpeted? No way. This is a workboat!
And it will work fairly comfortably, too, due to its unique water ballasted construction method which allows the boat to be built with a deeper vee (in this case 18 degrees of deadrise) than other aluminium boats and still maintain excellent stability and a softer ride while underway.
The cockpit is very workmanlike, too. Working from the Suzuki 200 four-stroke, which is mounted on a pod incorporating a full width tread plate platform, you can get aboard via a portside transom opening with a simple lift-out "door" panel. It’s easy to use and effective. If you’re in the water or on the trailer a two-step very solid swing down ladder gives easy access. Grabrails either side go from chine level to gunwale height. A removable Teflon berley pot is inserted through the platform on the starboard side.
A black aluminium baitboard features three small rodholders and a Teflon cutting board insert. The livebait tank in the transom is a good size and has an acrylic cover. A full width transom seat swings up to get out of the way when the action’s on and it also serves to protect batteries and oil bottles high on a shelf under the transom. Very durable rubber panels stuck to the seat really won’t do much in the comfort department but there is a padded backrest panel on the transom.
The thigh-height gunwales are extremely wide and have eight especially crafted aluminium rodholders inserted at regular intervals between rubber non-skid pads. The side pockets, carpeted on the bottom, are the longest I’ve ever seen on a trailerboat. They’ll hold a mountain of gear. And the underfloor fish bin behind the 300lt fuel tank is enormous.

COCKPIT
The control station beneath the hardtop is functional. Both bucket seats are made of durable moulded foam with arm rests that slide forward and back and swivel around to the rear. They’re mounted quite high on open fronted boxes. The black carpeted dash panel immediately in front of the skipper has all instruments in front including the Letrotab trim tab controls, which are clearly marked for ease of operation. Beneath them is the marine radio, Navman Fish 4500 and Navman Tracker 5500 and, although the compass is mounted in the right corner of the dash, it too is easily visible. It’s a great setup. A switch panel left of the helm covers everything and the control level is dash-mounted to the right. The skipper has a footrest but the passenger has to use the lip of one of the four cascading open shelves immediately in front.
The 640HT has a fully enclosed cabin accessed through twin black timber doors. You have to step over the fuel filler cap in the floor, which would be better off being recessed. It’s a pity there are no retaining straps to keep the doors open but they’d probably only be in the way in that position, anyway.
You step down into the white-painted cabin. There are blue vinyl bunks, small parcel shelves, no linings, except for a black carpet square against the forward bulkhead, tread plate floor and a slide out panel that hides the wiring behind the instrument panel. The parcel shelves really do need some padding for back support.
A wide glass hatch on gas struts gives good access to the bow and the Maxwell HRC-6 windlass and open anchor rope well. The Sarca anchor sits neatly in place on the bowroller between the solid split bowrails.
The twin bollards either side of the rope locker look as though they’d pull a ship backwards.

PERFORMANCE
The trick to getting the HT to perform at its best is to give plenty of engine trim out, almost to the point of porpoising and prop cavitation. I was amazed at the difference. With its nose up the boat flew to 80km/h at 6000rmp and cruised at 50km/h at 4000rpm. But put the nose down and the boat becomes sluggish and the steering quite heavy. Our test was conducted in about 10kts of wind and the boat performed very well through all manoeuvres, especially jumping out of the hole, although in tight turns it did tend to chine-steer a little.
The 640HT backs down very well, so long as you remember to close the manually operated self-draining scuppers. It showed no sign of dropping in the stern as the water ballast tunnel filled.
The boat sits on a custom-built Easytow trailer, which combines roller and Teflon strips.
There’s no doubt Bar Crusher is throwing out a real challenge to other manufacturers of six-metre fishing boats with the 640HT. It’s built well (great paintwork too), performs well and is highly practical. It’s no beauty queen but gee it’s effective.
They’re built to work, and this well sized craft gives every indication of doing just that.

WHAT WE LIKED
Huge windscreen
Fishing room
Wide gunwales

NOT SO MUCH
No retaining straps on cabin doors
No padding on cabin parcel shelves
Fuel filler in floor

 

Specifications: Bar Crusher 640HT

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested:  $82,950 package
Options fitted:    Navman 4500 and 5500, trim tabs, windlass, lighting
Priced from:    $65,000

GENERAL
Material:    Plate aluminium (5mm bottom, 4mm sides)
Length overall:   6.8m
Beam:     2.47m
Deadrise:    18°
Rec max HP:     200
Hull weight:    1250kg
Weight on trailer:   2100kg

CAPACITIES
Fuel:     300lt

ENGINE
Make/model:    Suzuki
Type:     DF TX four-stroke
Rated HP:    200
Displacement:    3614cc
Weight :    263kg
Prop:     3x16x21 stainless steel Suzuki

SUPPLIED BY
Bar Crusher Boats,
Dandenong South, Vic.
Phone: (03) 9702 8555
Web: www.barcrusher.com.au

OriginallY published in TrailerBoat #208

 


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.