By: Bernard Clancy

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Buying an excessively pretty boat for fishing makes about as sense as using perfumed toilet paper. Forget about the bells and whistles, writes Bernard Clancy, and check out Bar Crusher's latest workhorse.

Bar Crusher 530C

FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #179, March 2004 



An aluminium boat with a deadrise at the stern of 18° will be, as they say in the clichés, stability-challenged in a very serious way - unless there's a compensatory factor. Enter the Bar Crusher 530C, which does have an 18° deadrise but is also as stable as you could possibly want in a five-metre monohull fishing boat. The secret is its ballast system.

Running the full length of the keel is a tunnel that is open at the transom and has "breather" holes at the other end in the anchor well. At rest, this tunnel fills with about 400lt of water, adding at-rest weight to the hull and lowering it in the water so the submerged chines can do their bit as stabilisers. When the boat moves forward, this water simply drains away as the boat drives.

This system allows the boatbuilder to incorporate a deeper vee in his design so that performance is enhanced without sacrificing stability. It's not a new system, but it's certainly effective on the Bar Crusher.

The hull bottom is 4mm plate aluminium matched to 3mm side plate. It has a fine entry, no strakes, wide chines and very prominent spray rails on the forward chines. The hull is constructed with six longitudinal stringers fully welded to cross frames, which forms a structurally-strong, triangulated subfloor frame.

A strong chequerplate floor is then welded on top of that to give a fully-sealed deck with a centrally-mounted 150lt fuel tank and a large underfloor killtank towards the stern. The fuel filler is in the floor, directly into the tank, between the two seats.




The Bar Crusher appears to be constructed with exceptional craftsmanship - and that includes the paintjob, which even fishermen and divers will appreciate.

The foredeck, which looks a bit like a wave-breaker, is steeply raked back to the high-but-small windscreen built into an almost armour-like matt-black frame, which can be unclipped and swung down over the steering wheel, negating the problem of low-height carports.
The vee-bunks in the small cuddy are vinyl covered and are the only concessions to creature comfort in the boat. Headroom is good; there's plenty of storage under the bunks, but small internal pockets will carry only small items.

The cuddy is open to the cockpit. The ends of the wide bunks have footrests for driver and passenger - the driver's being more of a strong, non-slip step while the passenger has a rail only.

A large, side-opening hatch - which sits on a substantial rubber seal - through the cuddy is the only way to get to the anchor as there is no sidedeck access to the bow. The anchor nestles into a bowsprit/roller combination flanked by a split bowrail.

A reasonably-sized open anchor well is designed largely for rope, although you could also fit a reef anchor. Twin bow posts are mounted in front of that.




The twin swivel seats are fully-adjustable buckets complete with small armrests and are on side mounts, which makes for a clean floor to roll out a swag or store tackleboxes.

The dash layout is simple, with VDO instruments (mph only, trim, rpm, fuel) mounted in a carbon-fibre-effect panel. This boat had not been fitted with any electronics - perhaps front 'n' centre space to do so is at a premium. The switch panel and trim-tab control buttons are on the right of the Morse Teleflex wheel.

Small sidepockets either side would be useful for small items, and grabrails either side of the chairs and in front of the passenger are all well placed.

The cockpit is large, with enormous gunwales (270mm wide) featuring six rodholders and a couple of rubberised non-slip panels stuck on for good measure. Sidepockets are long, wide and carpet lined on the bottom.

The underfloor kill tank has been designed to accommodate a couple of decent-sized tuna or dive bottles, and behind that in the bilge is the livebait tank and bilge pumps.




The stern features a full-width swim platform on which the Suzuki 115 four-stroke was mounted. A hinged, swing-down, very solid boarding ladder leads to a walkthrough space in the transom on the port side, and a berley pot is cut through the platform on the starboard. This lifts out quite easily for washing.

Boarding grabrails that continue up and over the transom to form rear-quarter gunwale rails help out on either side. There are no rear
cleats, so these rails double as tie-off points.

A Teflon-insert baitboard - which has three rodholders and knife slots incorporated into it - is mounted centrally, but this can be easily replaced with a skipole.

The starboard transom features a livebait tank that has a smoked-acrylic cover and hinges out. Beneath and centrally mounted are twin batteries and, for two-strokes, room for oil bottles. These are protected by a swing-down, full-width rear transom seat covered in a fairly tough, rubberised material. This seat, when raised, doubles as a door for the walkthrough.




Our test was compromised somewhat by flat sea conditions, but the boat still performed very well, achieving 65kmh at wide open throttle (5200rpm) and a comfortabe cruise of 45kmh at 4000rpm.

The boat performed best with the motor trimmed right out. It hung on brilliantly in tight turns and felt really secure on high-speed runs. There was no tendency to "fly", skip or chine-walk as many tinnies will do when the nose is poked in.

The 530C backed down quite flat. With the rear door "shut" (i.e. the rear lounge in the up position) no water should come in. The sharp-hulled Bar Crusher was a very comfortable boat to drive hard, giving no hint at all of any nasty habits and, as I mentioned earlier, the stability was good.

The boat sits on a custom-built Easytow trailer, which combines roller and Teflon strips. It should be fairly easy towing with most reasonable-sized cars.

The Bar Crusher 530C wouldn't win a beauty contest (if I were a judge, anyway!) but effective fishing boats really don't have to be dressed in a tutu. They just have to work, and this handily-sized craft gives every indication of doing just that.






Price as tested: $37,500
Options fitted: Baitboard, livebait plumbing, marine radio
Priced from (BMT): $34,950




Material: Plate aluminium
Length (overall): 5.7m
Beam: 2.14m
Deadrise: 18°
Rec hp: 115
Weight: 1250kg on trailer




Fuel: 100lt
Water: n/a
Passengers: Five




Make/model: Suzuki DF115
Type: DFI four-stroke
Rated hp: 115
Displacement: 1950cc
Weight: 194kg
Drive: Standard Suzuki
Prop:  Three-blade 19in alloy




Bar Crusher Boats, Dandenong South, Vic, tel (03) 9702 8555 or visit




•  Fishability - wide gunwales, high baitboard and great working transom
•  High standard of build and fittings
•  Stability system excellent, rough-water performance




•  Small windscreen, cramped dash
•  Lack of space for fitting electronics within eyesight
•  Fuel filler in floor, not on gunwale


First published in TrailerBoat #178

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