By: Kevin Smith.

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If you enjoy blurring the boundaries between boating and low-level flying, the Kiwi-built Osprey 565HT is ready for takeoff, writes Kevin Smith.





Yes, here's another Kiwi-manufactured boat being marketed in Australia. Not that that's in any way surprising, after all - our cousins across the Tasman do build some serious boats, and ones that regularly have to contend with some serious conditions.

The new Osprey 565HT is a great case in point, as it can give as good as it gets when things get nasty. Its appearance from a distance is rather similar to the products of a few other Kiwi brands.
To my eye it has something of a military look to it compared to the curvy lines that are the norm in boats these days, but, as they say, you should never judge
a book by its cover.





A sturdy, solid construction immediately gets my attention on any boat, and from the moment you step aboard the Osprey it's easy to see this boat is as solid as they come.

Off the keel you have a heavy-duty marine-grade plate-alloy hull that's married to the outer pontoons. The pontoon configuration of this style of boat is far from cosmetic; the pontoons afford extra strength and buoyancy, while also enhancing the craft's performance and handling.

The pontoons themselves have a number of air-tight chambers separated by baffles to create the extra buoyancy, and this in turn allows skippers to carry a heavier payload. The separate pontoon chambers also provide a significant additional degree of safety - if you puncture one, only that one affected chamber will take on water.

Neat, heavy-duty welds are evident throughout the craft, as is a tidy finish to the boat's overall construction. When you climb onboard, you're immediately aware that this boat has been built to last - and built to handle some serious seas.





When a boat test begins with a chorus of complaints about the conditions not being rough enough, it's a good indication that the boat in question is something special. And so the Osprey is.

After a short familiarisation session on the Sunshine Coast's Mooloolaba River, the Osprey's 150hp Yamaha four-stroke was slammed up to an instant WOT in open water. I don't know how you feel about such antics, but when I'm in the passenger seat and the skipper cranks a boat like this to full throttle, I find it nerve wracking. My knuckles go white, my eyes pop, and generally I know it's only a matter of time before I smash myself into the console.

Not so with the Osprey. We had calm conditions to begin with, but as the day progressed and we headed offshore, the wind picked up slightly, forming a better wind chop and swell on which we could really put the boat through its paces. Regardless of our speed or our heading relative to the wind and swell, the ride remained soft, dry and stable.

I may not particularly enjoy going flat out when offshore, but the Osprey can easily handle above-average speeds. During the test we attained a comfortable speed in the region of 35kts (65kmh) in typical offshore conditions - that's quite impressive considering the size of the craft.

The 150hp donk was more than sufficient, providing ample low-down grunt and delivering good holeshot performance. In my opinion a four-stroke motor is always quiet, smooth and economical - it's well worth spending the extra if you boat on a regular basis.

I did notice, however, that at slower speeds out of the hole this boat does bank a fair bit through turns - it pays to have the sliding side windows shut to prevent any ingress of water. Personally I don't mind a bit of lean angle and on the Osprey I felt quite comfortable, but the uninitiated might find this trait a little intimidating. In general, however, the Osprey likes power and the more you gas it the better it keeps you in the seat.

A highlight of this pontoon format is its typically dry ride - as the water bursts off the hull it then deflects downwards off the protruding pontoons. Normally it's always a compromise between having a soft ride and a slightly wetter boat, but in this case you get both.

Overall, the Osprey 565HT's offshore performance is exceptionally good; you could comfortably travel longer distances at sea and in most conditions.





Inside the Osprey my eye was caught by the sizable enclosed cockpit area. It does take up close to 50 per cent of the boat's available space, but on the other hand it also delivers decent protection from the elements. The cockpit has a hardtop with dual side windows, a full-length screen with wipers, dual bucket seats with rear benches and stowage, full carpeting, a roof liner, and numerous grabrails. There are also plenty of sidepockets, plus a comfortable console and helm.

The open-plan cabin has a number of nifty options. For example, you can add or remove inserts to create a full bed that stretches right back to the base of the console seats, or you can remove the inserts to create extra foot space at the helm. Alternatively, you can remove the centre insert to create seating within the cabin. Other aspects worthy of mention here include the easy access to the windlass anchor from inside the cabin, and the neat housing behind the steering and electrical components.

The rear seating system offers quite a degree of flexibility. The full-length rear bench seat with stowage beneath can either be left in for extra seating, or simply taken out for extra fishing space. On top of that there's extra stowage space beneath the seats.

I dare say that, given the configuration of the cockpit, I wouldn't be spending too much time at the bow, but it's still accessible via the siderails or through the hatch lid in the cabin.

At the stern, the deck area is spacious enough for several fishermen and there's a fair-sized killtank between the rear seats. There were several features I appreciated here, including the transom door with a livewell beneath the step, the transom boarding ladder, the auxiliary motor bracket, the hinged baitboard, the numerous rodholders, the easy access to raised battery and plumbing compartments, the high gunwales with sidepockets, the ingenious rear seat and stowage add-on and the full-length bimini cover that extends back from the hardtop.

Some type of toerail system or recess beneath the gunwales to lock your feet into place wouldn't go astray - the bottom of the sidepockets in the gunwale stick out a bit and might cause discomfort over a long day's fishing. Other worthy additions, for added safety, would include non-slip material on top of the gunwales and at the bow.





From top to bottom the construction and workmanship of the Osprey 565HT is beyond reproach. When it comes to offshore and bay fishing, the boat has a layout with the lot that will really suit anyone who wants to spend longer hours at sea without worrying about running home if the wind gets up. Built tough to handle a fair amount of abuse, at just under 6m it's also a nice size both on and off the water.




On the plane...

Impressive ride at high offshore speeds

Overall neat, sturdy construction

Easy access to all electrics and plumbing



Dragging the chain...

The gunwales could do with some form of toe locks

Lack of non-slip surfaces on gunwales and bow

Grabrail needs to run around the front of the hardtop roof










Price as tested: $78,000


Options fitted: Yamaha 150hp four-stroke, hydraulic steering, selfdraining deck, livebait tank, baitboard, rodholders, bimini, electric anchor winch, GPS / fishfinder, VHF marine radio, Oceanic tandem-axle trailer and more


Priced from: $52,000 (with 115hp two-stroke)





Type: Plate-alloy pontoon boat


Material: Aluminium


Length: 5.7m to bow (5.9m overall)


Beam: 2.25m


Hull weight: 760kg


Total package weight: Approx. 1450kg


Deadrise: 23°





People: 7


Rec. HP: 90


Max. HP: 150


Fuel: 150lt





Make/model: Yamaha F150AETX


Type: Fuel-injected four-stroke


Weight: 226kg


Displacement: 2670cc


Gear ratio: 2.00:1


Propeller: Yamaha stainless steel, 17in pitch





Osprey Boats


Nelson, New Zealand







Dolphin Marine Sunshine Coast


Cnr Wises Road & Glen Kyle Drive


Buderim, Qld, 4556


Phone: (07) 5479 0866




First published in TrailerBoat #272.


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