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 hull, 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 boat, make no mistake about that. Even on the trailer you can see that this boat means business.
Bar Crusher have been at the cutting edge of plate alloy boat design in Australia for almost a decade. So when Pete Cleland announces a new hull design, everyone sits up and takes notice.
The new hull is very distinctive, most noticeably at the stern. The new design features a wider negative chine running forward and is wider at the stern.
The very distinctive Delta Flare along the centreline is a clever mix of planing plank and lifting strakes. These features are designed to deliver better lift from stationary and give better planing efficiency and improved fuel economy.
It also gives a higher bow attitude and better spray deflection for a drier ride, as well as increased stability at rest.
The Delta Flare is the first thing that strikes the observer; 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.
The day we chose to test the 615C was perfect. Inverloch is a small seaside town in South Gippsland where Andersons Inlet drains into 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 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 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 on a bar, and when a 2m wall of breaking whitewater came at us, I was confident that the Bar Crusher would 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 skipper’s 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 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 and drifting, the boat is simply awesome. The ballast hull works a treat.
At the helm, the true pedigree of this boat can be found. It is very easy to see that someone who understands boats designed the helm.
When in rough water such as bar crossings, everything needs to be at your fingertips – seemingly simple things like throttle placement are critical. You need to be able to change speed easily without compromising your grip on the wheel.
The seat needs to be at the right height and distance to allow a solid stance in rough water and footrests need to be in the right spot so you are comfortable when seated.
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.
Bar Crusher boats can be fitted with different brands of engines. 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 power and acceleration.
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.
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 make anchoring up for a snapper very easy, while the functional bunks in the cuddy allow for 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 Quickflow, Bar Crusher’s water ballasting system. This 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, berley bucket, rocket launcher above the helm and myriad other small features 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 solid trailer underneath the 615C is first rate and perfectly designed for the hull to allow 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. More often than not, the ramp has a very nasty and strong current flowing across it 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 on the trailer and then allowing the boat to centre itself as you powered up the trailer.
Then the clever Bar Catch on the bow clicks automatically to the trailer winch post, meaning no struggling with catches and so on as you retrieve. It is just as effective when launching and makes the whole process so much easier.
Good trailers make boating easy, and this trailer is brilliant.
This boat ticks all the boxes for anglers looking for a boat that can handle rough water and excel while fishing at rest. Its offshore pedigree is long and proud and it 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 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
|Plate thickness||4mm aluminium|
|Tow weight||1650kg (dry weight)|
|Price Range||$60,000 to $70,000, depending on options chosen|