BOAT TEST OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER MAC 5 CUDDY

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


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Offshore Marine Master’s Mac 5 cuddy is a custom boat just dying to be taken out in rough waters.

BOAT TEST OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER MAC 5 CUDDY
OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER MAC 5 CUDDY

Offshore Marine Master (OMM) is renowned for producing some serious custom offshore boats for the recreational and commercial markets. Its range includes heavy-duty plate alloy boats, with both mono-hulls and cats in centre console, cuddy and walkaround formats from 5.3-6.5m.

I have often wondered, however, what its boats would be like if it produced them as smaller versions. Well, my question has been answered with the company's introduction of a few 5m plate boats, including the Mac 5 cuddy and centre console.

Manufactured on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, our boat's convenient test venue was offshore from Caloundra. This proved an ideal spot due to its combination of a flat water estuary
and a gruelling bar to launch through to get offshore.

The conditions on the day were also rather good - the bar was launchable, with a 1.5m swell and a lumpy ocean from the previous night's wind. Perfect for a true test.



PERFECT PLATFORM

The Mac 5 cuddy looks similar to its OMM big brothers, with a stylish shear-line and a hefty-looking build. On initial inspection, the boat appeared to be a simple machine to manage on and off the trailer, and with the small cuddy cab and open layout in the stern it looked like an ideal vessel from which to annihilate a few bay and offshore fish.

Once on board I found a number of pleasing aspects and, as usual, OMM's neat and solid build. This was made particularly clear by the boat's exposed fat welds, which are a real psychological bonus for me. The next aspect I noticed was the wide coamings with patches of non-slip on top to help make climbing aboard that much easier and safer - this may seem a simple inclusion, but it makes a huge difference.

The stern is home to a good-sized baitboard (with a custom cutting board with a built-in fish measurer), plus four rod-holders and two drink-holders. All of these features are set at a comfortable height. The standard built-in bait tank, with a small window and high-speed pick-up, is also a nice feature.

Down below, the access to the plumbing and battery is open and on a raised shelf off the deck. This is nice and neat and it prevents the electrics from getting wet.

The area works well for a dedicated fishing boat, but I think some form of clip-in seating would be a good option if the Mac 5 was to be used as a family boat. But the beauty there is that these boats are custom built, so it would be easy to add some extra seating if desired.

There is plenty of freeboard for a self-draining wet deck and the gunwales are at a good height to lean against. The side pockets are spacious and have toe-locks running back and along the bottom of the rear shelf. The oversized killtank is surrounded by a tread-plate deck that not only works as a non-slip surface, but also features OMM's (top-secret) clear paint to help keep it cool.

The console has swivel seats for the skipper and passenger and a bimini to help avoid those third-degree burns from the Aussie sun. The swivel seats do help keep the deck open, but given the choice I would go for a more rugged aluminium seat-box for a sturdier feel and a bit of extra stowage space. Again, I'm sure this could be an option on a customised boat.

The simple dash layout has enough space for a few gauges and plenty of room to mount sounders without restricting vision. Instead of a framed or split windscreen, OMM has gone with an acrylic wrap-around, which is great for open vision while at the helm.

The cuddy cab is open plan and an ideal place to store gear (or misbehaving children). In this instance, the seating stops short in the vee section of the cuddy to allow for a bit more space to get to the bow when opening the top hatch. Considering there isn't a dedicated anchor hatch, I would rather see the seating wrap around and have the cab's front section the hatch.

Once again, unlike standard moulded products these boats can be customised to suit specific customer needs, so you have options if the standard layouts don't suit. As it is, the layout has been kept simple and spacious. It works well for the avid fisherman, but could also be great for a small family with the addition of a few simple seats.



HIGH FLYER

It must be said that launching a boat through a bar is not really the norm for a boat test, but since Caloundra not only has a great estuary system but also a gruelling bar as the gateway to offshore angling, we thought we would take advantage.

The conditions on the morning of the test were evaluated and given the thumbs up for the launch, so we proceeded offshore. But even though it was technically considered "flat" there was still a run-out tide, along with a 1.5m swell pushing through the bar - enough to give you a good smack if off guard.

Fitted with a 90hp Suzuki four-stroke and a 19in prop, the boat effortlessly hopped onto the plane with two on board. The fact the cab configuration is fairly far forward adds extra weight to the bow, which helps to keep planing at a low speed.

Getting through the bar meant we had to think straight and behave ourselves. The outgoing tide created chop and small standing waves, so it was imperative to choose the correct line and work the throttle a bit in order to avoid smashing into the console or dash.

It was soon evident you can drive the Mac 5 through the bar at civilised speeds. But if you prefer gunning it, we had the boat doing some air (as you can see in the first image) and with the correct use of the throttle - tapping off once in the air - the boat landed softly and pushed back out of the
hole nicely.

Despite the fact there remained remnants of the previous day's swell and chop further out at sea, I found the ride to be comfortable down at lower cruise speeds, around the 13-15kts (24-28kmh) mark. You could pump the boat up to higher speeds but you would need to work the throttle on and off rather than sitting back and relaxing.

With a slightly flatter hull design with a 15° deadrise you definitely can't expect a Ferrari on the water. Still, in fair conditions the ride is good; it's pretty stable and quite dry due to the heavy reverse angle of the outer chines. Once back in the estuary, the Mac 5 cuddy could be pushed up to top speeds and even WOT quite comfortably. Tight turns were manageable, although a bit of cavitation was felt at full lock due to the outboard being set up for high performance.



FISHABILITY

For trolling enthusiasts, the Mac 5 sits at low revs and economy between 4-9kts (7-16kmh). The boat tracked well in the swell and chop, with minor steering adjustments necessary now and then. Stability is good while underway and a little tender at rest, but nothing to be concerned about. With a 2.25m beam designed to suit garaging and easy towing, you can't expect to have the stability of a barge.

The layout is designed to suit those on the fishing side of boating, but don't worry - a few small mods and it's just as good for the family. The Mac 5 is a great dedicated bay and estuary fishing boat, and suitable in offshore conditions.



THE WRAP

The Mac 5 is a very manageable size, is easily towed with a standard ute, has a nice sharp look to it, and features a quality heavy-duty build.

I am a big fan of boats that can be customised to suit specific needs. Add some rear seats and few personal creature comforts and you will have the ideal family combo suitable for fishing, crabbing and general fun.

It's also the kind of boat that's going to last many years, and it's not a bad deal at a base price of $38,489, especially considering it has a Suzuki 90hp four-stroke, decent self-draining wet deck,
and a heavy-duty plate-alloy build.



ON THE PLANE...

· Good-sized killtank

· Acrylic screen with no joins on the sides

· Standard bait tank with viewing window and high-speed pick-up

· Nice bait board option

· Good use of non-slip throughout



DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

· Seating in cab not full length

· I prefer seat-box system for strength and extra storage

· Exposed rear hinge on killtank

· Could do with a boarding ladder as standard





Specifications: OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER MAC 5 CUDDY



HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $42,500

Options fitted: Paint work; 90hp Suzuki four-stroke engine; canopy; bunk cushions; baitboard.

Priced from: $38,489



GENERAL

Type: Fishing/ family (with mods)

Material: Plate alloy

Length: 5m

Beam: 2.25m

Hull weight: 480kg

Deadrise: 15°



CAPACITIES

People: 5

Rec. HP: 70hp

Max. HP: 90hp

Fuel: 103L

Water: N/A



ENGINE

Make/model: Suzuki DF90A

Type: Four-stroke DOHC 16 valves

Weight: 155kg

Displacement: 1502cc

Gear ratio: 2.59:1

Propeller: 19in



MANUFACTURED BY

Offshore Marine Master

151 Mark Road East

Caloundra West

Queensland 4551

Tel: (07) 5492 6555

Web: www.offshoremarinemaster.com.au



SUPPLIED BY

Mad Alloy Craft

8 Theresa Street

Golden Beach

Queensland 4551

Tel: 0404 891 776

Web: www.mac5boats.com.au

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #292, March 292.

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