REVIEW: POLYCRAFT 530 BOWRIDER

By: Rick Huckstepp


Rick Huckstepp took the Polycraft 530 bowrider for a spin and found it was perfect for rough and tumble boating

One of the more recent boats coming from the Polycraft factory at Bundaberg in Queensland is the Polycraft 530 bowrider.
This boat has the same beamy design base as the 530 centre console from the same company.
Constructed with a hollow shell of polyurethane averaging a thickness of 12mm throughout, the void in between may be filled with flotation for survey purposes, in which case a certificate of buoyancy will need to be issued. The bow and transom remain the same as the centre console version in that it has an open, angular anchor well, with an inspection plate within, giving access to the void at the front of the shell. The transom has a heavy-duty alloy insert that braces the back section, on which the outboard motor is bolted.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The centre section on the deck of the bowrider section lifts up, exposing the leg well, which has a drain plug to a gutter that runs aft, under the fuel tank and into the bilge at the bottom of the engine well without entering the shell.
Should this be used as a fish kill tank, any smells will be kept out of the hull.
Squat cushions make up the seat bases either side of the leg well and, while they seem too short with legs in the well, they actually impart a good degree of safety, keeping the centre of gravity low in that section of the boat and the bodies within that area sheltered behind the coamings.
When the well is covered, it can be used as a casting area, allowing anglers to enjoy stability from this already steady hull.
The seats lift up and expose very rigid polyurethane stringers that are filled with foam. Hey presto! Two ready-made purpose-built ice boxes materialise, freeing up all of your deck space.
The two modules that form the helm and passenger stations are moulded polyurethane and are bolted and sealed to the inner shell each side of the walkway. The helm seats are on top of boxes made of the same material, with a port on the fore front for stowage within.
Teleflex manual steering pushed and pulled the 115hp four-stroke Suzuki, and the windscreen, while seated at the helm, provided plenty of shelter for those behind.
Against the transom bulkhead a fold down bench seat performed well as an elevated casting platform. It is propped by fold down struts and held two large adults without any flexing. It was carpeted and optional cushions attach here should you convert it from a fishing platform to a seat for family comfort.
On the deck against the transom bulkhead a hatch exposed about 140lt of stowage space.
This void is at the end of the channel that drains the leg well in the bowriding area. A poly fuel tank of 130lt is located forward of this on the same level.
Due to the slightly sloping inner liners, these boats do not have protruding side pockets and coamings encroaching into the cockpit, so fishing is best done standing and leaning into an aft corner.
No doubt pocket inserts could be installed but one would have to check with the manufacturer on any untoward effect such a modification might have on the hull’s structural integrity.

HANDLING
Out on the choppy Broadwater with 25 to 30kt of wind, this hull was a joy to handle. Considering the lousy conditions, very little spray lifted over the bow and the handling is as direct as it can get as a result of aggressive edge tracking style chines that dig in and hold on.
Hard turns at high speeds had this hull holding flat, which increases the feeling of inertia for those within.
Such handling at speed usually always necessitates a full trim in of the engine leg, in which case excessive torque is felt at the helm.
If you have a family that likes to take over the helm and throw the boat about you should definitely go for optional hydraulic steering.
With no GPS at hand a correct speed rating was not possible, but this boat in this engine configuration feels like it could attain a speed of at least 70km/h.
Hole shot was good and, if you are into rough and tumble boating, you will appreciate the toughness of these hulls. Scratches can be sanded back and the colour of the hull permeates the entire shell.
You can drill and tap the gunwales and decks to install all manner of fittings and accessories by using pilot holes and stainless steel self tapping screws.
Any holes you purposely make that need covering can be easily welded with the same technology used in car bumper and panel repair shops.
You will otherwise struggle to hole these boats. They are very tough indeed.

WHAT WE LIKED
Low profile bowriding section
Built-in iceboxes

NOT SO MUCH
Needs side pocket inserts

 

Specifications: Polycraft 530 Bowrider

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested:   $32,600 
Options fitted:   Cushion set
Priced from:   $31,600

GENERAL
Material:   Low density polyurethane
Length (overall):  5.3m
Beam:    2.4m
Deadrise:   17.5°
Weight:   780kg hull only

CAPACITIES
Fuel:    130lt
People:    6
Rec/max hp:   115
Rec/min hp:   90

ENGINE
Make/model:   Suzuki
Type:    Four-stroke EFI
Weight:   189kg
Rated hp:   115
Displacement:   1950cc
Gearbox ratio:   2.59:1
Propeller:   17in

SUPPLIED BY
Polycraft Industries Pty Ltd,
89 Childers Road,
Bundaberg, Qld, 4670.
Freecall: 1800 336 603
Phone: (07) 4155 2457
Fax: (07) 4155 2088
Email: polycraftind@bigpond.com.au
Website: www.polycraft.com.au

Originally published in Trailerboat #204

 


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