Review: Bar Crusher 780 Hard Top Pilothouse

By: Tim Van Duyl, Photography by: Ellen Dewar


Bar Crusher 780 HTP 23 Bar Crusher 780 HTP 23
Bar Crusher 780 HTP 06 Bar Crusher 780 HTP 06
Bar Crusher 780 HTP 07 Bar Crusher 780 HTP 07
Bar Crusher 780 HTP 10 Bar Crusher 780 HTP 10
Bar Crusher 780 HTP 13 Bar Crusher 780 HTP 13
Bar Crusher 780 HTP 21 Bar Crusher 780 HTP 21
Bar Crusher 780 HTP 24 Bar Crusher 780 HTP 24

The Bar Crusher 780 Hard Top Pilothouse is based on the 730 Hard Top, a hull so good it headed to Australia’s Greatest Boats 2015.

Bar Crusher doesn’t hide from its roots – it builds aluminium fishing boats to chase fish in conditions most would not entertain, and confidence in safety plays a major role in this. Simple things are done well, such as the fuel/water separator being in plain view but protected under the rear of the port coaming and high gunwale sides.

 


Find Bar Crusher boats for sale.


 

BAR CRUSHER 780 HTP

Bar Crusher 780 HTP

The mandatory livewell is housed up and beside the excellent bait station on the portside. A hinged Perspex lid complete with bungee cord keeps your precious sacrifices inside when travelling to remote hunting grounds. The tank itself is deep and well positioned to work with the bait station. Rodholders are aplenty and nearby, meaning rigged baits can drop back in the tank if the bite you are after is failing you.

On the cabin’s back are two dickey seats, one housing an optional sink with plumbed water, the other a neat and now popular optional tackle station complete with leader feed and tackle trays.

The height of the gunwales from the floor is excellent – tall people like me will feel comfortable leaning against the side, toes tucked away under the sides, pulling in or ready to tag a decent catch, while those with young ones will feel better knowing it’s a hard climb out of.

The floor of the Bar Crusher 780 HTP, like most Bar Crusher fishing boats, is self-draining through a set of scuppers, yet is under the waterline at rest. Although scuppers can sometimes leak, there is a hearty bilge pump system ready to take care of any unwanted water. The benefit of a lower centre of gravity that a lower floor provides will be appreciated by all, despite the fact that  it’s a design consideration a lot don’t accept as having merit.

 

LAYOUT

Bar Crusher 780 HTP floor

Storage on the Bar Crusher 780 HTP is good, even under the lowered berth area, the wide, flared bow creating a large pocket under the squabs for the toilet and plenty of space for gear. The standard portside seating package has storage under the seat bases and a nifty collapsible and removable table makes the area flexible for both eating or seating for three while underway. The helm seat comes standard on a box base hiding an Engel fridge/freezer combo, handy on hot days or extended trips away. Using my frame as measure, the cabin ceiling is a little less than 2m, the many handrails about 75mm lower.

I’m no softie but like most of us, I share my life with one, so I appreciate what she wants. She wants somewhere comfortable and relaxing; she wants somewhere where the comforts of home are found; and she wants it all without knowing or caring where it came from. The Bar Crusher 780 HTP ticks those boxes. It provides the most headroom I have experienced in a trailerboat’s berth, due to a mix of a wide, deep bow and a comparatively low berth, a seating and table package with storage enough to house key items and the all-important toilet and kitchen sink.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

Bar Crusher 780 HTP turning

At the helm the Bar Crusher 780 HTP is a fine beast to drive. Although somewhat daunting for a trailerboat aficionado at 7.8m LOA, the cabin is appointed with oversized glass all round, meaning visibility is never a real problem. The sliding side windows are large enough for a big head like mine to poke out during launch and retrieval which, with the Bar Catch system, are practically foolproof.

The dash is large enough to take a unit like the Raymarine HybridTouch, a touchscreen system that is so intuitive I felt like I could tell people how to use it without even having used it fully myself! The system was never really challenged by us during our test apart from the occasional depth check during close shore photography movements, but I am told the finder ability, when matched to a decent transducer, is as good as any.

A feature of the layout that stood out to me as a winner was the position of the wiper switch. I must explain that the photography conditions were not reflective of the conditions we tested the 780 in – we took her in some harsher, quartering seas with decent metre slop the day before shooting and found that the wiper was indeed needed but more importantly, was easy to find and operate up high on the dash separate to all other switch gear.

The steering wheel and throttle were positioned well and fell to hand easily, the big 300hp Suzuki outboard control easy and smooth to modulate, not stiff or unyielding like some.

Flooding keels have an issue; draining the flooded chamber. It’s an issue that rears its head every time a flooding keel boat is tested. Knowing that the Bar Crusher 780 HTP had more than 600lt of water to shake out, I expected to have something to regale you with. What I found, however, was a smooth transition to plane, much smoother than expected. Whether it is down to the hull shape with the defined chines or the big swinging Suzuki 300 outboard, I’m not sure, but smooth it was. It felt more like a traditional hull with the moment of plane less dramatic than expected with the hammer down.

Bar Crusher 780 HTP ride

Leaving the throttle open, the big girl shook her restraints of displacement and suction and bounded towards the horizon like a good trailerboat should, topping out at 40kts. It felt good, real good. The chines came into play again when turning and running over minor slop, keeping the 780 level and gripping well in tight corners.

The big Suzuki outboard motor threw the big 16in prop around no problems and was economical to boot with a decent 39.2lt/h at 4000rpm and 48.8kmh. As expected, smoothness and quietness were the most obvious attributes of the modern-day four-stroke Suzuki, with trim adjustment providing positive gains in speed and ride.

The Bar Crusher 780 HTP was fitted with optional Bar Tabs, Bar Crusher’s own trim tab system. Bar Crusher recommends them for the 780 and I support that stance. Driving the boat for an extended run across a quartering wind the bow would tuck into the wind but with some subtle use of the tabs, finding the sweet spot was easy allowing her to motor along at a faster than expected cruise.

 

THE VERDICT

Bar Crusher 780 HTP interior

The softening and refocus of the interior has not taken away anything from the sharp lines and fishing focus of the latest Crusher. Will wives and girlfriends flock to the new Bar Crusher 780 HTP? Maybe not, but I expect more will be able to buy into the dream when looking and importantly, with key features nailed and a softer side internally, more will be willing to join in the fun – and that’s what matters most.

 

BAR CRUSHER 780 HARD TOP SEA TRIALS

Single 300hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard motor with Suzuki three-blade 16 x 18.5in propeller

RPM

SPEED (KMH)

FUEL BURN (LT/H)

Idle

3.8

1.9

1000

6

4

1500

11.2

8.3

2000

13.5

11.1

2500

16.5

17.5

3000

27.9

24

3500

39.2

31

4000

48.8

39.2

4500

56

57

5000

67.5

63

5900 (WOT)

75

95

* Sea-trial data supplied by author.

 

HIGHS

• Innovative dinette layout

• Excellent berth space

• Soft, warm feel throughout the cabin

 

LOWS

• High hard-to-reach rocket launcher

• Narrow walkaround without non-slip

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #458, October / November 2014. Why not subscribe today?

 

BAR CRUSHER 780 HARD TOP PILOTHOUSE SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

Bar Crusher 780 Hard Top Pilothouse Price: $155,000

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Wiper, rear sink, gas cooker, tackle locker, saltwater deckwash, Bar Tabs , Bar Flap, clip-in rodholder, StressFree drum winch, Garmin electronics, Suzuki DF300 and Fusion stereo

 

PRICED FROM

$129,995 (BMT w/ 150hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard motor)

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Aluminium (5mm bottom, 4mm sides)

TYPE Monohull pilothouse

LENGTH 7.8m

BEAM 2.47m

WEIGHT 2500kg

DEADRISE 19°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 6

REC HP 200

REC. MAX HP 300

FUEL 320lt

 

TRAILER

Twin-axle Easytow trailer, galvanised box section, braked (both axles)

 

OUTBOARD

MAKE/MODEL Suzuki DF300AP outboard motor

TYPE Fuel-injected 24-valve V6 petrol four-stroke outboard motor

RATED HP 300

DISPLACEMENT 4028cc

WEIGHT 279kg  

GEAR RATIO 2.08:1

PROPELLER Suzuki three-blade 16 x 18.5in pitch

 

SUPPLIED BY

Bar Crusher

5 Quality Drive,

Dandenong South, VIC, 3164

Phone (03) 9792 2999

Email  info@barcrusher.com.au

Web barcrusher.com.au

 


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.