This alloy craft is a radical departure from the norm. As a centre console rig powered by an 80 Suzuki 4-stroke, there’s nothing out of the ordinary there, but the Procraft 5.35 has a cuddy cab up front under the cast deck.
Granted, the cuddy is lower than what we have come to regard as standard, and best suited for youngsters who want to rest out of the weather or for storage of fishing equipment, clothing etc. But it’s still a useful adjunct to an already excellent craft.
At first glance the 5.35 with its 2.37m looks good and is enhanced by a stylish wrap and more than acceptable finish, presented as an alloy centre console rig with the forward casting deck, which is higher than usual at around 10cm below the craft’s front rails.
A closer look reveals a door up front of the console to port, providing access under the very high cast deck into what is essentially a forward cabin, complete with bunks and carpeted floor. The door (complete with insect screening) was a two section set up; the top opening upwards and towards the strong alloy bow sprit, the bottom section opening towards the outer side.
Entry for adults is a ‘wriggle-in’ sort of affair (which I managed without much effort) while youngsters will easily move into the area with its 1.8m bunks with storage under them, deep central floor area, ventilation from large side and rear vents.
I did not have sufficient head room to sit straight upright on a bunk with my feet in the central floor area, but I could move around sufficiently, if I wanted to, to remove items from the storage areas easily enough. Note that the cuddy even had a light!
The question arises then, what’s the best use the buyer could make of that cuddy area? And that is precisely the major selling point. Buyers can do as much – or as little – with it as they choose. This will include storing gear out of the weather in security, or for the youngsters to have a nap, perhaps to enjoy time with their electronic gadgets, or just having the underfloor space for when it’s needed. It’s a very unique proposition in a centre console rig but one that I believe is going to receive a lot of scrutiny from intending buyers.
With around 1.8m of the rig devoted to the forward cast deck, very easily accessed via non-skid steps to starboard of the console, I saw the Procraft offering room for a couple of anglers to comfortably work up front, the same in the rear cockpit area.
The windscreen equipped console was a neat affair with a small rod holder equipped hard top providing shade, the wind screen and hard top’s (folding down) frame work offering useful hand holds when moving about.
Seating in the test rig provided for the skipper at the helm with another person seated aft on a soft-top ice box. Note that seating options are quite varied with a rear fold down lounge on the options list, or a wider helm seat also possible.
At any rate, the bench style helm seat on the 5.35 reviewed saw the skipper right at home with the craft’s dash set up, which consisted of a Lowrance Elite 7 sounder/plotter uppermost, twin GMI 20 gauges monitoring the 80 Suzuki astern with marine radio, switches and ignition key lower, just below the craft’s wheel. Engine controls were also handily located on the starboard side of the console.
The main cockpit area, which was carpeted, offered sufficient room for at least three anglers to work in comfort within the 650mm high sides. A fully carpeted floor, twin 1.3m long off floor side pockets, as well as four rod holders in gunwales completed the main cockpit’s fishing attributes.
Note that a lockable boarding gate was located to starboard on the full height transom while twin boarding platforms with accompanying hand rails graced the rear section of the transom.
The fuel filter for the Suzuki 80, as well as the Procraft’s engine battery, were both accessible at the transom area.
In essence, I saw the 5.35 Procraft as very much a ‘standard’ centre console craft, with all of the expected fishing room for a boat of that size with about the only item missing to enhance its potential as a fishing craft being a live well, which, I’m advised, is certainly an option.
Procraft boats have a southern Queensland heritage and have proven hull designs intended to both maximise engine performance and offer the best ride possible given the design parameters.
The 5.35 featured a 3mm plate side, 3mm plate bottom (with under floor flotation) and a hull design incorporating ample longitudinal strakes in the wetted surface to provide easy travel, smoothest ride and, at rest, ample stability.
In fact, I walked all around the craft when taking my photos and was very impressed with stability at rest, as would anglers enjoying time aboard the rig. Exterior side height was 850mm, providing an excellent bulwark against water intrusion.
The four cylinder 1.5L Suzuki 80 – with the Procraft’s engines rated from 70-115hp – was mid range power, yet I saw it as an ideal choice for family fishing, or entirely suited for a team of three keen anglers heading out for a crack at the fish.
Whisper quiet at idle, the Suzuki easily planed the rig at 14.6km/h at 2700, with two aboard. At 3000rpm the GPS recorded 16.2km/h, 4000 saw 34.1km/h, 5000 a speed of 47.2km/h and 6000rpm a feisty 58.4km/h.
Willing engine performance was also matched by a very sweet handling hull. No matter how hard I turned the craft the Suzuki 80 refused to cavitate and I was impressed by the smallness of the turning circle plus the readiness of the hull to return to a level attitude when straightened up.
Family tow sports would certainly be enjoyable with this great handling rig yet it would also be ideal for family cruising with a 110L fuel tank offering a great range from the frugal Suzuki four-stroke.
Test runs were carried out in the Tweed River, which gave us plenty of opportunities to assess the Procraft’s ride on wash from passing house boats, plus other large craft on the water at the time.
The Procraft’s hull, with it’s 16° ‘V’ aft handled all wash with ease and there was a minimal of displaced water noted as well. My view is that a soft riding hull is always a soft riding hull and nothing changes except driver input.
Accordingly, I would have no hesitation in recommending the craft for bay or estuary work, even a run offshore in suitable conditions.
In summing up, the Procraft 5.35 centre console with its neat cuddy set up I have given the craft full marks all round.
As a standard centre console rig the craft has definite appeal so far as fishing room, ride and handling are concerned. With the cuddy also in the equation there’s suddenly extra storage area, even somewhere to dodge the weather in the picture.
As an aside finish of the Procraft was excellent, welds were full, easily visible but very neat. Upholstery was excellent, standard of fit and finish over all very good.
The best part was the price. As reviewed with the stylish wrap graphic, sounder, fish finder, braked Dunbier trailer, safety pack, 12 months registration and turn key start price was $40,990. Downsizing to a Suzuki 70 would see the rig come home for $34,990.
|Length on trailer||6.25m|
|Height on trailer||2.3m|
|Hull construction||3mm plate sides and bottom.|
|Engine fitted||Suzuki 80 four-stroke.|
|Towing||Family six or big four sedan or wagon|