REVIEW: STREAKER 5.85 SPORTS CRUISER

By: Bernard Clancy, Photography by: Ellen Dewar


Bernard Clancy believes the new Streaker 5.85 Sports Cruiser is a departure from their trademark style of fishing boats, but well worth considering all the same

Leon and Paul Savage have added an intriguing new craft to their line-up of Streaker boats called the 5.85 Sports Cruiser. Intriguing, because this boat could be regarded as something of a departure from their traditional style of many years.
The brothers have been building a limited range of trailer boats since the early 70s, and their target market has been fishermen and families. Their biggest hull is 5.85 metres and underpins this latest boat to join the stable, the sports cruiser.
This hull has been very successful indeed, because Streaker has considerable return business. They value look after their customers and they keep coming back, trading their old Streaker for a new one.
The Sports Cruiser is an extension of the company’s basic philosophy – it’s aimed at the older cruising/fishing couple and perhaps younger families who want to spend a few nights on their boat in enclosed waters or bays and inlets around the coast.
It’s a very brave move, because it represents an invasion of the territory that Whittley (mainly) has called its own for many years. The Streaker, which packages for $64,500, fits somewhere between the Whittley 550 and 580 which sell in the $56,000 to $63,100 range.
Price comparison, of course, isn’t everything. Packages are always different and often (frustratingly) incomparable and different things appeal to different people.

EYE CATCHING
The Streaker is a good looking boat, the top deck molding looking the part. Sometimes manufacturers fall for the temptation to create a somewhat ugly "bubble" foredeck to ensure sufficient headroom in the cabin but Streaker has managed to avoid this. Of course in a boat this size there is more compromise than in a larger vessel simply because there is not the space to accommodate idealism. That given, the cabin is still very serviceable. Head height is excellent and the roof is fully lined, so no condensation drips. Access to the bow through a very long and wide hatch is quite good too.
But let me divert for a moment. In a boat this size you must accept the fact that you will be making and stripping the v-berth "bed" completely night and morning because while the cabin is a "bedroom" at night it is very much a livable area during the day. For example, the head or porta potty is located under the foot of the "bed" on the starboard side bunk under the helm bulkhead. It’s very easy to get to during the day but a real struggle if the bed’s made and someone’s snoring on the other side. Again, that’s part of the deal on a small cruiser. There is however plenty of storage room under the bunks for the doona and the parcel shelves surrounding the cabin are wide and lined. The bunk cushions and back rests are covered in an attractive dark blue fabric and look quite chic. A nice touch is a little square cushion over a non-slip pad at the point where you put your feet when you want to access the bow. This is quickly removable so you don’t have to put dirty, wet or sandy feet on the cushions.

DROPPING THE ANCHOR
While access to the bow is good, Streaker has been clever enough to fit an anchor winch to the boat as standard to alleviate the need for someone to be continually crawling backwards and forwards through the cabin to tend the anchor. And while the anchor hatch is quite large, the implement itself sits on a bowsprit nestled between a split bowrail which incorporates two fender holders. Nearby pop-up cleats are very handy indeed.
The cabin’s interior is large enough for a small, removable pedestal table which can also be used in the cockpit. It is quite bright with natural light coming through the wide bulkhead opening, side smoked Perspex windows and the front hatch. The night light is large and quite powerful. A beige curtain pulls across the wide bulkhead opening for privacy. Access from the cockpit is via a sloping ramp, rather than a set-down arrangement and seems far better.
Stepping into the control centre you immediately notice the five-piece glass windscreen and its re-inforcing stainless steel grab-bar above the fully molded dash which accommodates a Lowrance LMS 332 GPS-sounder combo, Yamaha twin-unit digital instruments in an upholstered panel, compass front and centre, Clarion CD waterproof player, toggle switchpanel and key start. Below that is the sports helm, marine radio, 12v power outlets and anchor windlass controls. The layout is excellent although the padded, upholstered (beige) panel surrounding the Yamaha instruments seemed a little incongruous.
The bucket seats are comfortable and mounted on storage boxes. Two cup holders are molded into the dash either side of a small smoked acrylic topped glovebox in front of the passenger. The stainless steel footrests for both chair occupants were strong but need non-slip surfacing.
A small plumbed sink is at the passenger’s left elbow and should prove useful but you’ll still need a bucket for the dishes. Beneath that is the fire extinguisher. Flip the seat back and there’s a one-burner butane stove. Beneath that is a storage compartment.
The skipper’s seat, also mounted on a box, simply has storage compartments built in, including a set of tackle drawers. Both seats swivel and although there is no forward-aft adjustment Streaker likes to custom-fit their boats to their buyers needs so measures this when the boat is being fitted up. Between the seats is a reasonable sized underfloor storage bin which could be used as an ice chest.
Large speakers for the Clarion sound system are fitted at the ends of the very long side pockets which are fully molded with padded panels above and below.
While the test boat was fitted only with a bimini and windscreen clears, each boat comes with a complete set of camper covers.
Gunwales were high as befits this style of boat with in-built grabrails. Pop-up cleats were fitted both amid-ships and at the stern with twin small gear boxes in the transom corners. Right across the transom is a fold-down bench seat which is fastened in the down position by one simple bolt and three fold-away legs when raised. Two drink holders are built into the seat at either end. Simple yet very effective. In the centre of the carpeted floor is a fitting for the cabin table and there are half a dozen coaming lights.

STREAKER SIMPLICITY
The stern treatment is simple but effective. Rather than have a "walk-through" stern door Streaker have built a two-tier or stepped transom which wraps around the engine well and doubles as a swim platform and step-over for easy access to the boat. There’s a pull-out shower head in the transom and a telescopic ladder is built into the swim platform.
One of the excellent points of difference between the Streaker and comparable boats from competitors is the provision for fisherfolk, in the form of tackle drawers in the rear of the skipper’s seat box, three rod holders and a larger cockpit.
At 1.91 tonnes, the boat is well within the range of medium 4WDs and the larger crossovers.
The Sports Cruiser was no slouch when it comes to performance either. Powered by a four-stroke Yahama 150 it notched a top speed of 75 km/h at 5700 rpm and cruised comfortably at 37km/h at 3400 rpm. This seemed quite sufficient power and you’d probably only need more if you were into towing seriously heavy skiers.
Unlike many hulls, the Streakers love plenty of trim out and ride better with nose up. Driven sensibly this boat will handle quite lumpy conditions because it’s built on a hull designed for offshore conditions rather than inshore work. As a cruiser it works well and will attract many fans, particularly those who already love the marque.
Perhaps it is marginally less polished than the comparable Whittley product in some respects (who’ve been at this caper for eons), but it is still a very well built boat, a heck of a lot better than some we’ve tested and a worthy addition to the Streaker stable.   
Oh, and one other thing … the sports cruiser features a new foam-filled GRP stringer system which eliminates wood from the basic boat structure apart from the floor which is still GRP encased marine ply. This construction method is now being used on the company’s 585 and 545 models and is another example of Streaker’s philosophy of continuous improvement on tried and tested hulls rather than change for the sake of fashion.

WHAT WE LIKED
Build and finish
Transom treatment
Rod holders and tackle drawer

NOT SO MUCH
Footrests need non-slip surfacing
Small sink

 

Specifications: Streaker 5.85 Sports Cruiser

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $64,500 package (includes Dunbier trailer, CD/stereo, bilgepump, Lowrance LMS332C sounder/GPS, marine radio, full camper covers, compass, safety gear, registration, Porta-potti, anchor windlass)
Priced from:   $60,000

GENERAL
Material:    GRP
Length (overall):   5.85m
Beam:     2.4m
Deadrise:    20°
Rec. max HP:     175
Weight  (hull):    900 kg
Weight (on trailer):   1.9 tonnes

CAPACITIES
Fuel:     146lt
Water:      46lt

ENGINE
Make/model:    Yamaha
Type:     Four-stroke
Rated HP:    150
Displacement:    2670 cc
Weight:    220kg
Prop:     3-blade 19in s/s

SUPPLIED BY
Streaker Boats,
Bayswater, Vic.
Phone: (03) 9729 8288
Web: www.streakerboats.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #201

 


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