BOAT TEST: QUIN CLASSIC CRAFT 5000 & 5500SF


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Foul weather spoilt Bracksey's chances of bagging a feed of KG whiting, but the rough conditions did let him conduct a thorough test of this brace of sweet-natured 'glass cuddies from Port Adelaide.

BOAT TEST: QUIN CLASSIC CRAFT 5000 & 5500SF
Quin Classic Craft 5000 & 5500SF

FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #183, Sep 2004

It's always a buzz to do a story on a small local boatbuilder that continues the Aussie tradition of innovation, and I'll bet there are very few companies in the country that can boast a history quite like that of Quin Marine in Port Adelaide.


In an agreement with local boatbuilder Classic Craft, Quin Marine is producing two sensational fibreglass rigs that are destined to become classics.

The project started two years ago with the company's initial five-metre model - the 5000SF (with 90hp Evinrude) - and in the last year it has expanded to a 5.5m version: the 5500SF fitted with a 115hp Johnson four-stroke.

Both have an identical design template, with Quin manufacturing more than 60 of the smaller version. In the last nine months, the company has built 26 of the 5.5m craft.

Everything bar the Dunbier trailer is of croweater origin, with upholstery, covers, stainless-steel items and graphics all produced locally.

The idea for the craft came from Dirk Bont, a long-term Quin employee who over the years of listening to people's requests started thinking that maybe something could be done to provide a better all-round boat.

Since coming to an agreement with long-time boatbuilder Vic Negruk from Classic Craft, the decision was made to commence full-scale production; and a very impressive bit of kit has evolved. Since releasing the original design, Dirk has sought client feedback to include a host of improvements over the original.

"We have been told many things over the years about the features people want in a boat," explained Dirk. "So we thought we may be able to come up with something better. The main objective was to come up with a craft that offered more available space, practicality and affordability as well as safety.

"We have incorporated high gunwales and more deck space for those wanting a family craft that's very safe for children and adults, as well as providing for the more serious fisherman."

 

 

SOUTHERN COMFORT



It was good timing that I was spending a week in Adelaide for the opportunity to do a test; plus I hoped to drop a line for a gloriously tasty King George whiting. But with "Bracks' Law" - and winter - something was bound to pack up, and in this case it was the weather.

Every day I was there it was blowing like a pack of parentless children. Admittedly, I'd been putting it off, but time was running out. After talking to Dirk and his offsider Scott, we decided it was a case of "now or never".

Regrettably, the day's fishing that I envisaged had to be overlooked, but on the other hand the conditions were a blessing as they proved ideal to test the boats for that which they were designed: tackling the rough stuff that St Vincent's Gulf dishes out. And didn't I get the "perfect" day for it, with a one- to two-metre swell, squalls and rain!

I jumped aboard the 5.5m cuddy as Dirk took the controls to navigate out from the breakwater into the open water of Largs Bay from the boat ramp at New Haven. He took me straight into the swell and it wasn't too long before I realised how well the craft is suited to rough water.

But it wasn't until he handed me the controls that I realised what a comprehensive handler it really is.

At a pace conversant with the conditions (well, maybe a bit more) we were completely airborne at times, but the fibreglass hull has - for want of a better word - great suspension. It carved through the "holes" in the water with bugger-all jarring to my legs, no doubt due to the 19° deadrise and the reinforced coremat used to add strength.

The boat returned the same predictable ride in a following sea, tracking straight and true with little spray coming over the decks. Manoeuvring was a snack; the craft demonstred its well-balanced agility in the conditions.

The conditions also proved what excellent weather protection the boat provides in heavy weather. We took the top off quite a few waves, but only once did water make it over the wraparound one-piece centre-reinforced screen and full bimini to dampen us. But not my enthusiasm - I was having a ball.

 



LITTLE SISTER



The 5000SF proved to be another exceptional handler, but the conditions also demonstrated what an extra half metre in length, a sharper deadrise and 250kg more in hull weight can do in the handling stakes, as it was shaded by its larger sibling.

That's not taken as a negative: it just demonstrates that the larger craft is for the more serious offshore angler. On the flat it was a fantastic handler. And with a handful of steering with that extra spring in the step, it suggests it would be a capable skiboat as well.

Both boats are well-designed, high-performance craft suited to handling the rough local conditions - but it's the attention to detail and quality of finish combined with the various features that takes them to another level compared
to other boats in the class.

Every piece of available space is well utilised, and it starts at the bow. The anchor well is large and deep, and can accommodate an electric winch, while the forward hatch - as it's been designed by a big man - is one of the largest around, so it's easy to get through. And the cabin is probably the best I have ever seen.

Cuddies have never been my favourite design, as often a lot of space seems to be wasted. There is plenty of head- and legroom, with a sunken, angled floor plus heaps of easily accessed storage space.

The step for the hatch also doubles as a handy cupboard, while there are storage bins under the seats and behind the padded backrests.

 

 

BRING YOUR MATES



The cockpit offers plenty of vision whether sitting or standing, with a practical dash layout comprising compass, voltmeter, speedo, rpm and trim gauge, and one of two drinkholders. Fishfinders and radios are optional extras.

The comfortable padded swivel seats also double as storage compartments, and there are two grabrails for passengers.

The deck space on the 5000 is impressive. It's wide and spacious with a squarish mould at the stern for added room; but for the serious fisho, the 5.5m model is the go. It has a deck that pleads to be used.

Easy to move about on, there's room for a number of people without tripping over each other.

Along each side is yet more storage, with large compartments along the floor. Rodholders are incorporated into
in the gunwale moulds (an Occy is needed to secure them in heavy going) and there are generous sidepockets too.

Other features include a 130lt underfloor fuel tank, two battery racks that are off the floor, two large bait tanks and a fold-down stern seat. The flush floor is self-bailing and there are few protrusions to catch scales or guts when hosing it out after a big day.

Ski-rope hooks are standard, and the hull can also be personalised with your choice of colour.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE



After experiencing several aluminium and fibreglass fishing and pleasure craft over the years, I was gobsmacked by these little boats. You'd have to travel a long way to find another craft that addresses the spectrum of boating as comprehensively as the Quin Classic Craft does.

These two boats are aimed at the local waters, but should the reputation get out of Adelaide, the demand will undoubtedly rise.

As tested, the 5000SF with motor, trailer and extras is $33,990, with the basic package available at $26,000. This model is rated for 90-115hp.

The 5500SF sells for about $34,490 in basic form and $41,990 as tested with a 150hp rating, and both boats are available with any series of combinations.

 



HIGHS


Great ride through rough water
Strong build, excellent finish
Plenty of freeboard
Neat, functional interior

 

 

LOWS


Limited dealers in states other than South Australia and Victoria: freight costs
Boats could be improved with hydraulic steering over standard mechanical

 

 

 


SPECIFICATIONS

 

Price as tested: $33,990/$41,990

Options fitted: Canvas and clears, 27-Meg radio, registrations, full four-person safety-gear
packs, Navman depthsounders, Dunbier or Mackay trailers plus engine upgrades

Standard features: Deluxe helm
seats, bunk cushions, bait tanks, ski hooks, underfloor fuel tanks, boarding platforms, SS bowrails

Priced from: $26,000/$34,490

 

 

GENERAL


Hull type: Monohull cuddy cabin
Material: Fibreglass and coremat
Length (overall): 5.0m/5.5m
Beam: 2.2m/2.35m
Deadrise: 15/19°
Hull weights: 550/800kg dry

 

 

CAPACITIES


Rec/max hp: 70-115/115-150
Fuel: 65/130lt
Passengers: Five/six

 

 

ENGINE


Make and model: Evinrude E-Tec  90/Johnson 115 four-stroke
Type: DFI two/injected four-stroke
Rated hp: 90 @ 5000/115 @ 5500
Displacement (cc): 1295/1950
Weight: 138/191kg
Drive & ratio: OB 2:1/OB 2.59:1
Propellers: Standard aluminium

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Quin Marine, Port Adelaide, tel (08) 8447 1277 or visit www.quinmarine.com.au. Melbourne dealer is Cranbourne Boating Centre, tel (03) 5996 2206 or visit www.cranbourneboatingcentre.com.au

Find Quin boats for sale.

 


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