By: Rick Huckstepp

The cruise craft explorer 575 might just be the answer to your prayers, says Rick Huckstepp


At any ramp there are a number of boats that will stand out from the crowd, and just two of them are the Cruise Craft 625 Outsider and the 625 Explorer.
They’re the sort of boat that many might aspire to own. Certainly they’re not the cheapest boat on the block but they are models that exude quality in workmanship and design.
My well used adage of ‘Rolls Royces are never cheap’ works well here. Their popularity and desirability to own can be measured by the healthy resale price of these and other Cruise Craft models.
These two boats are by no means at the top end in trailer-sized rigs but they are large. And, for a variety of reasons, some people are precluded from crossing the line into the Cruise Craft 625 model ownership circle. A couple of these reasons are: its size could make it difficult to manage for older people at wind swept and swell prone ramps, and fitting it into some driveways and undercover stowage areas could be difficult.
If you’re sitting back wishing to yourself ‘if only’, the light at the end of the tunnel is reflecting off the Explorer 575 - a rig that will lay to rest those and no doubt many other concerns of pondering buyers.
This 575 has been modelled for 2006, and was released at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in 2005. Its predecessor has been on the water for about three years.

The revamp sees the helm station bulkhead moved forward 130mm with a stand-alone anchor well introduced.
This results in a roomy, workable cockpit for serious anglers and families that like some space around them on weekends at the beach.
The latter will find damp stowage space for togs, towels and the like under a central hatch in the deck between the swivel bucket seats.
Back inside the cabin, its liner, surround pockets and bunks are moulded in one for smoothness of lines and inherent strength.
This vee-berth is available with an optional infill to make a bunk which, at a squeeze, could fit two small adults for a kip.
It sits two or three comfortably with a leg well of decent size when the infill is removed. The usual stowage is available under the berth cushions.
The ugly spaghetti associated with the rear of a lot of helm stations is shrouded with a moulded fibreglass hinged and clipped lid, making for a neat finish in this section.
A two-tier step-up to get one’s torso through the ample cabin roof hatch to work the ground tackle is nicely designed, height wise, for the average person.
The cockpit liners are also fully moulded, featuring the same full-sized side pockets incorporating rod and gaff holders as this boat’s big brother.
The dashboard at the helm has also been improved, with an increase in size and the sensible location of instrumentation to enable the flush mounting of a couple of large sounder and GPS cabinets.
There really is nothing more frustrating than finding a sparse spread of instruments that make installation of serious fish finding and navigation equipment impossible!
Those very same serious anglers will appreciate the full size live bait well that sits in the transom, emulating its big brother in size once again.
A bait rigging station featuring a sink under the cutting board with rod holders inserted within rounds off a nice work platform.
A full beam drop down and removable rear lounge against the transom bulkhead makes the transition of this boat from fun to fishing machine a simple operation.

We took the 575 out on Moreton Bay on the eve of a strong wind warning.
Northerly winds of 20 to 25 knots and the threat of a thunder squall had the low tide waters rolling from a swell to a chop of green pea soup closer in so we opted for the calmer waters of the bay.
With a 140hp Mercury two-stroke, this rig was very sprightly. With correct trim, the mechanical helm was easy on the elbows and the boat very manoeuvrable at speeds.
If strength of the crew is one of the reasons you would look for a vessel of these dimensions do them all a favour and get hydraulic steering, which makes life so much more comfortable, especially when working at speeds just off the plane in tight confines, perhaps manoeuvring at jetties and piers or working around big seas.
Also noticeable was how dry the windscreen remained with so much wind and chop coming from the forequarters.
Some spray was generated when the rig was pushed purposefully hard into the oncoming sea but, all in all, the faces above the built-in grab rail surrounding the windscreen remained relatively dry.
Running along the chop and swell, the 575 tracked without error and was equally at home running with the sea, showing no broaching whatsoever.
Stability dead in the water was good and, moving about the boat, it remained at a good attitude, with the chines holding onto the surface.
With only the bare safety equipment aboard, stability would rise with increased payload.
Due to the prevailing conditions I opted not to wind the Mercury out to its limits but it feels like a ‘75’ boat without too much trouble. A comfortable cruise speed of 45km/h was realised at 3000rpm and, typically Cruise Craft, it was just a nice boat to be in. And the finish? Impeccable, as expected.

Looks and handles like its bigger brothers, the 625 Explorer and Outsider



Specifications: Cruise Craft Explorer 575

Price as tested:    $51,715.00
Options fitted:    Stainless steel targa bimini, front and side clears
     Sliding shade extension, stainless steel seat
     Frames, deluxe bait board, padded side
     coamings, live bait tank and saltwater
     deckwash, 27meg GME radio and aerial
Priced from:    $49,788.00 (BMT)

Material:    Fibreglass
Hull design:    Moderate ‘V’ mono hull
Length overall:   6.097m
Beam:     2.37m
Deadrise:    20°
Weight:    About 1740kg (boat, motor (130hp) trailer)

People:     6
Fuel:     160lt

Make/model:    Mercury   
Type:     V6 carburetted two-stroke
Rated hp:    140
Displacement:    2507cc
Weight:    184kg
Gearbox ratio:    1.87:1
Propeller:    19in

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

Originally published in TrailerBoat #203


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