Excellent fishing craft have been coming out of the Evolution Boats factory in Bayswater, Victoria, since 2003, collecting some prestigious boating awards along the way.
Evolution boats feature deep vee hand-laid fibreglass hulls with rigid, foam-injected fibreglass stringers for the ultimate in strength and longevity. The timber-free under floor cavity is also foam filled to offer quietness and reserves of buoyancy.
The new Evolution 500 Cuddy is a real value-for-money package equally suited to a total beginner or a seasoned angler.
Great ride and handling combine with a large amount of fishing room. And the features are there, from a locking anchor well right through to a plumbed livewell in the full-height transom.
The key to Evolution’s success building fishing boats lies in several areas, chiefly roominess and ride.
The 500 Cuddy is quite broad-shouldered and wide – at 2.25m it’s one of the beamiest in its class. There’s a lot of fishing room in the 1830mm wide, 690mm high cockpit.
About half the boat is devoted to fishing space so a family or a bunch of keen anglers can work in comfort in safe confines.
And the Evolution 500 Cuddy looks good, too. There’s a strong bowsprit, stainless bow rail and concealed bollard, all easily accessed via the cuddy hatch.
Down below and in the well-lit cuddy, cushioned vee bunks offer comfortable seating or, with the addition of an in-fill, a bunk.
Storage space is available under the bunks and in padded shelving which doubles as a backrest.
A flat, non-skid area right at the front serves as a step when tending the anchor or climbing through the forward hatch.
The four-piece windscreen offers excellent protection when under way and the colour-matched folding bimini was a sensible option on the test rig.
The lipped ledge aft of the windscreen would be ideal for storing personal items that needed to be kept handy, or for bracket-mounting electronics.
The skipper’s well-upholstered pedestal seat slides so it’s easy to stand and drive. The compass and neat engine gauges are conspicuous and switches for various functions are to starboard. Controls for the 90 E-Tec are flush mounted in the cuddy wing.
Features for the front passenger include a large side pocket, dash-mounted grab handle, drink holder and a footrest.
Side and forward visibility for skipper and mate are totally unimpeded.
This craft could fish four anglers in comfort. There are toeholds under the side pockets, grab rails built into the wide gunwale tops and the large side pockets have horizontal racks for boat rods, with their tips protected. The cockpit is 690mm high.
A window-fronted livewell is set into the port transom. There are off-floor transom lockers either side of central compartment housing the engine battery and fuel filter.
A 60L under-floor fish box is below the removable aft seating for two.
Other transom features include a bait station with cutting board and rod holders and a tackle storage compartment to starboard.
Water in the cockpit drains into a sump equipped with an automatic bilge pump.
The outer transom features cleats, twin boarding platforms, grab rails and the fuel filler cap.
A 21° transom deadrise, turned-down chines and full-length planing strakes produce a sweet ride and kind handling.
The fine bow entry and pronounced water flare kick spray well away at almost any speed. Most of the test runs were in smooth water but jumping small waves inside the bar caused no bumps or thumps.
A dry hull weight of 600kg and good hull design should iron out rough water with ease.
The non-feedback and inherent hull stability produced sure-footed grip on the water.
With a hull rated from 75hp to 115hp, the 90hp E-Tec made easy work of its job. It planed the Evolution 500 very easily at 12 knots (22.3kmh) at 2800 rpm. At 3000rpm the hand-held GPS showed 15.3 knots (28.5kmh) and at 4000rpm producing 21.8 knots (40.4kmh), an ideal cruising speed.
We saw 30 knots (56.4kmh) at 5000rpm and 31.6 knots (58.6kmh) at 5300rpm.
We towed the test rig with a small utility so a family six or big four sedan would have no problems with the Evolution 500 on the towbar.
The Dunbier multi-roller trailer supplied was a delight to use and launching and retrieval could be a one-person job.
I give the Evolution 500 Cuddy very high marks; it’s a little big boat in all aspects.
Standard of finish was high and I’d see this rig as ideal for a family or dedicated anglers. Offshore, bay or estuary work are possible with a high level of seakeeping ability, courtesy of high sides.
Cost as reviewed was a reasonable $45,500, including safety pack and registrations. With a 75 E-Tec it could sell for around $39,500. For more information call Evolution Boats on 03 9738 0085 or visit www.evolutionboats.com.au.
|LOA on trailer||6.5m|
|Height on trailer||2.10m|
|Towing||Family 6 or big 4|