REVIEW: CRUISE CRAFT EXECUTIVE 700

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: RICK HUCKSTEPP


Cruise Craft’s Executive 700 is definitely a boat capable of doing such short and long hauls in classy comfort

We whip-driven boat testing scribes often, have a limited time to devote to a boat test. This is driven by a number of factors, time and tide being a couple of them. Three hours is usually enough to get the feel for a boat and anything out of the ordinary or untoward usually surfaces during that time.
Larger boats primarily designed for specialised usage often require a little more attention to get their full potential to paper should the opportunity arise.
When opportunity knocked recently, Cruise Craft’s Executive 700 was on the other side of the door requiring some extended individual attention. Having been released at the Brisbane Boat Show it has proved to be a crowd pleaser and has many friendly attributes. The Nichols family have been building boats since 1946 and large fibreglass cabin cruisers have been churned out of their factory since the late 60’s many of which still grace waters around this country. The huge success of their Explorer, Outsider and Resort range in recent years gobbled up their already huge resources at their South East Queensland factory. With a revamp of the company’s structure and a crystal ball for evaluating the future in recreational boating, the Cruise Craft team conceived the Executive 700 which was taken off the back burner and put into the mould.

RESPONSIVE RESCUE
Unfortunately the weather was lousy when the day came for me to test out this slick looking cruiser. My wife Anne, who possesses no sea legs whatsoever, joined myself and daughter Lauren and her friend Adam, aboard at the normally sheltered harbour of the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club. The swell running in Moreton Bay was pouring through the entrance causing a fair amount of consternation for boat owners with their pride and joy moored therein. It promised to be ugly.
Plan A was to steam south/southeast to Peel Island and anchor in its lea at Horse Shoe Bay. A fairly calm anchorage when winds of 20 to 25 knots are blowing from the northern quadrants of the compass.
Plan A was usurped by Plan B which entailed a scouring sea search three kilometres off Wellington Point for possible occupants of a four metre aluminium centre console I located running at full throttle on full lock, atop of a metre and half of steep chop. I managed to get in close enough with the Executive to check no one was lying on the deck and with a 40 hp four-stroke screaming on its stern it was most likely to run its course for perhaps hours, erratic as it was.
Full 360-degree circles around the skipper-less vessel widened with each lap until Lauren heard a wolf whistle coming from northeast of the hapless tinnie. Running a direct course toward the direction of the sound, I spotted a hand in the air among the white water and chop which by now had the tops cracking off them with what must have been 30-knots of wind. A smaller vessel nearby picked up the two survivors and ferried them ashore while the Executive maintained station on the still out of control motorised flotsam.
With water police advised, Raby Bay Sea Rescue on the way and wind blowing the small boat into water, which was now only half a metre deep on top of reef, I ceased from being the day watch and headed south. With diminishing depth the tinnie would have run aground and come to some sort of terminal grief at speed. The moral of this story is if you don’t want to attach the kill switch lanyard to yourself or don a life jacket in these or any other conditions at sea, learn how to wolf-whistle or face possible death by drowning!

HIGH END HANDLING
The upshot of Plan B was the realisation that the Cruise Craft Executive 700 is extremely manoeuvrable for its size. It feels like it’s turning in its length when a fist full of throttle power is applied to the Mercruiser and out to the duo-props. At full lock such handling in 1.5 to 2.0 metre following, beam and head on seas does nothing to phase the 700.  It also draws a shallow draft with the depth sounder showing 0.5 metre with the leg trimmed half up and touching the reef during the latter part of the above exercise.
Steaming south, the open parts of the bay turned up following seas to 2.5m that were cracking on the top. There was no broaching at all at trolling speeds of around 8km/h and the boat felt comfortable and safe running in these conditions at speeds of 16 to 32km/h. A couple of large waves came over the top of the cabin which did produce a few drops of water through the roof hatches as the Executive bridged the troughs and ploughed through steep waves. With the side storm clears installed, only the very aft of the dining area got water from over the top.

CREATURE COMFORTS
In the relatively serene conditions behind Peel Island we dropped anchor in three metres of water and set about the chores that normally would have been undertaken during a calm journey. The DVD player came in handy and occupied the youngsters while gear was unpacked, isotherm fridge loaded and refreshments installed in the removable ice box that acts as a platform for the skipper to mount when not sitting on the foldaway helm seat.
There is stowage aplenty on this boat, under the expansive galley and throughout the aft cockpit liners.
While the V-berths are great for day trips you’ll appreciate the infill which makes a good bed for two large adults over-nighting or holidaying for extended time. The stand up shower cubicle incorporates the head, the contents of which are macerated and pumped to a large cartridge forward of the leg well of the v-berth. It is valved and easy to install and remove with minimum mess and odour. Cold and hot water showers can be had here and also taken on the massive swim out astern, via a secreted hand piece. Still astern, a stand up bait rigging station with rod holders was inserted into the swim-out end and while fishing might not be your bag, it stowed and secured our two-man Crazy 8 tow tube nicely. A foldaway telescopic ladder assisted swimmers to board and exit the boat. As I write, the Executive is having a stainless steel BBQ station built for this section of the platform.
Back through the half transom bulkhead gate, a corner lounge provided creature comforts and a contoured table was sturdy enough for four people to dine at. This table dropped down to form a double berth of about three-quarter size and two large adults can fit here with a squeeze. The base cushions are constructed with high density foam so one might add a soft overlay if sleeping more than one night, for added comfort. With classy side windows in the cabin and two large Maxwell hatches in the cabin roof, plenty of ventilation flowed through the boat to the rear berth, for cool sleeping conditions during the night.
The galley featured a methylated spirit two-burner cook top and a microwave oven and hot and cold water to a sink. Plenty of condiment jar and drinking vessel stowage was offered by a long rack on the cabin liner above it. The forward end of the galley module housed a CD/DVD player and there was ample volume from speakers installed around the boat for all to party on to.
Due to weather conditions I didn’t bother taking the 700 to full throttle. At 3400 rpm it cruised at 50kmh and down low in the rev range it had enough torque to power onto the plane with ease. At 3200rpm it settled into its comfort zone at 48kmh. The 5.0l Mercruiser MPI was more than capable of running this boat fully loaded with people, supplies, water and fuel
This boat is classified to carry seven people. This number would be fine on a day trip and four adults would be comfortable for an overnighter. And for two? Well how many supplies can you carry? There is enough room for about seven days refrigerated and ice boxed supplies and in many coastal areas replenishment of stores and fuel is now within easy reach for those sea-based. When it comes to the Cruise Craft Executive 700 it’s really a matter of how much annual leave you have up your sleeve!

WHAT WE LIKED
Plenty of ventilation for cool comfort.
Engine noise minimal.
Big galley and good sized shower and head.
Stable and soft riding in poor conditions.

NOT SO MUCH
Sail tracks that proved weak in tough conditions.
Small amount of leakage from roof hatches in adverse weather.

 

Specifications: Cruise Craft Executive 700


HOW MUCH?
Price as tested:     $138,750.00
Options fitted:     Trailer, extendable sliding cockpit shade,
                          27meg and VHF radio, Bravo Three leg 
                          Rather than Bravo One, chart 
                          Plotter/depth sounder combo.
Priced from:     $117,291.00

GENERAL
Material:     Fibreglass
Type:      Moderate V mono hull family cruiser
Length overall:    8.61m
Beam:      2.5m
Deadrise:     20°
Weight:     2700kg (boat, motor, fuel and water)

CAPACITIES
People:      7
Freshwater:     130lt (approx)
Petrol:      240lt (approx)
Hot water system:    20lt

ENGINE
Make/Model:     Mercruiser 5l MPI
Type:      V8 fuel injected petrol four-stroke
Rated hp:     260
Displacement:     5lt
Weight:     463kg with Bravo Three leg
Gearbox ratio:     2.43
Propellers     Dup-props

SUPPLIED BY
Cruise Craft Boats Pty Ltd,
1308 Lytton Road,
Hemmant, Qld, 4174.
Phone: (07) 3390 4877
Fax: (07) 3390 5756
Webe: www.cruisecraft.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #201

 


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