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The lofty heights of the Bar Crusher 615C
  |  First Published: June 2013



Bar Crusher have been making boats in Australia for many years now. It is hard to spend a day on the water anywhere in Australia and not see a Bar Crusher boat go past, especially if you are on open water.

Not content to rest on their laurels, Bar Crusher has released the Gen 2 hulls, a significant redesign of the hull shape. Add to that some other new models and changes and Bar Crusher Boats are certainly pushing the boundaries of conventional plate hull design.

The 615C is a serious offshore plate hull boat, make no mistake about that. Even on the trailer you can see that this boat means business.

The new Gen 2 hull

Bar Crusher have been at the cutting edge of plate alloy boat design in Australia for many years. So when Pete Cleland announces a new hull design everyone sits up and takes notice. The new hull is very distinctive, most noticeable at the stern. This new design features a wider negative chine running to the front, a wider chine at the stern and the very distinctive Delta Flare. These features are designed to deliver better lift from stationary for more better planing efficiency and improved fuel economy. It also gives a higher bow attitude and better spray deflection for a dryer ride, as well as increased stability at rest.

The Delta Flare is the first thing that strikes the observer, as it is a radical difference from previous hulls. The Delta Flare is claimed to get this boat on the plane far quicker than previous models, and the chine modifications reduce the amount of incidental spray when in choppy water. For boats that are designed for the rough stuff and bar crossings, these improvements should prick the ears of any blue water angler.

Having driven a few of the previous models and after spending a day in the Inverloch bar way I can certainly attest that they are awesome changes.

I guess this is typical of many Australian boat builders and Bar Crusher in particular – always looking for that next improvement that increases the boating experience and makes for a safer boating day.

On the water

The day we chose to test the 615C at Inverloch was perfect. Inverloch is a small seaside town in South Gippsland where Andersons Inlet drains to Bass Strait. I’ve been there many times and I’ve never seen it calm. This day was certainly no different.

The best way to test a boat called Bar Crusher is to head to a bar. The Inverloch bar way is well known for sloppy seas and the odd big set of gnarly breakers coming through. While the wind wasn’t very strong, there was a reasonable swell punching through allowing for plenty of breaking waves up to about 2m or so.

This is where the new Gen 2 hull shines through. As any experienced boat driver will tell you, it isn’t all about leaping from wave to wave to cross a bar. It is about carefully watching the sea, looking for the gaps in the waves and picking when to go hard, and when to take it easy.

Sometimes you need to go hard quickly, and a hull and power package that allows a quick spurt onto the plane is mandatory out here. Too slow and down you might go!

The 615C is as nimble a package as I’ve ever experienced in a bar, and when a 2m wall of breaking white water comes at you can be very confident that the Bar Crusher will handle it with ease.

The improved strakes push spray away from the boat and the Delta Flare really does lift this boat onto the plane very quickly indeed.

How boats handle in the rough isn’t about top speeds and high engine revs, it is all about hulls designed to cope with rapidly changing conditions in partnership with reliable engine output. Boats that need constant trimming and fiddling with trim tabs can take the skippers attention away from the sea conditions. One of the great things I loved about the 615C was that once the engine was trimmed to suit the load on board it didn’t need to be touched apart from the odd trim down if turning in a tight and fast circle.

Which leads me to the next great thing – the agility of this boat. Sometimes in a bar way situation there is a need to turn about and retreat, especially if there is a set of big waves coming. This boat turns on the proverbial dime. We were in just such a situation during the test; Pete simply trimmed in a tad, put the power on and turned away from the oncoming sea and squirted across the swell into a better position.

Once through the bar and out into the swell the hull leaps ahead again, delivering a stable and consistent trolling speed with no hassles of stability or spray. At rest, such as if drifting while berleying for a mako, the boat is simply awesome. The ballast hull works a treat.

Inside the boat at the helm, the true pedigree of this boat is found. It is very easy to see that someone who understands boats designed the helm. When in rough water situations such as bar crossings, everything needs to be at your fingertips – seemingly simple things like where the throttle/shift is are critical. You need to be able to change speed easily without compromising your grip on the steering wheel. The seat needs to be at the right height and distance to allow a solid stance in rough water, and foot rests need to be in the right spot so when seated you are comfortable.

The 615C ticks all these boxes – when at the helm there is nothing that distracts from the main job – your hands fall automatically to everything you need.

Power

Bar Crusher boats can be fitted with different brands of engine however the test boat was fitted with the new generation A Series 140hp Suzuki four stroke, which performed faultlessly. The power to weight ratio seems spot on, as we certainly lacked nothing in the power and acceleration department. Out in the bar the power application was awesome – instant power exactly where you want it. Add to that the Suzuki’s reputation for reliability and fuel economy and the package is complete.

Fishability

It is the one-percenters that make a good fishing boat. Things like the rod holders at the right angle to allow for a good trolling spread, the amount of room at the stern to play fish and for your mates to help land that 100kg bluefin and storage in all the right places and with enough space. These things all contribute to make a fishing boat. The electric winch forward and a big hatch to access it makes anchoring up for a snapper very easy, while the functional bunks up the front allow for some comfortable quiet time after losing that fish of a lifetime.

The helm features all the electronic equipment needed as standard with plenty of room to store the incidentals as well.

The excellent fishability of the 615C is in great part due to the Quickflow, Bar Crusher’s water ballasting system. In short this system allows a section of the hull to fill at rest, lowering the centre of gravity and giving greater stability at rest. This is important for comfortable fishing at anchor or when drifting.

The other Bar Crusher standard features such as the live bait tank at the stern, the berley bucket, the rocket launcher rod holders above the helm and myriad other small features that add immensely to the experience. There are so many ‘small’ features that add so much to the package that space prevents including them all.

The Trailer

The trailer system underneath the 615C is first rate. It is a solid trailer perfectly designed for the hull. It allows trouble free drive on/drive off performance in any conditions.

A classic example of how well it performs was on the test day at Inverloch. The Inverloch ramp has a very nasty and strong current flowing across it more often than not as well as a surge from wave action across the bar. It can be quite easy to get into trouble very quickly here. With the Bar Crusher trailer it was simply a matter of getting the bow placed onto the trailer and then allowing it to centre upon its own as you power up the trailer.

Then the clever use of the Bar Catch, which clicks automatically on the front of the boat, meaning no struggling with catches and so on as you retrieve the boat. It is just as effective when launching and makes the hole process so much easier.

Good trailers make boating easy, and this trailer is brilliant.

Conclusion

This boat ticks all the boxes for anglers looking for a boat that can handle the rough stuff as well as excel at rest while fishing for snapper and other by species. Its offshore pedigree is long and proud and handles the rough stuff as well as any boat I’ve seen.

The small things certainly add up here, and all those small innovations make this boat greater than the sum of its parts.

I highly recommend that any potential boat buyer either give Bar Crusher head office in Melbourne a call or visit one of the Bar Crusher dealers around the country – you won’t be disappointed.

For more information on this boat and the whole Bar Crusher range, visit www.barcrusher.com.au

Facts

Length6.15m
Beam2.25m
Plate thickness4mm aluminium
Fuel capacity140L
Tow weight1650kg (dry weight)
Power range115-150hp
Price Range $ 60,000 to $70,000 depending on options chosen

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