I think there’s no argument that the New Zealanders have been making bulletproof alloy boats ever since that famous whale got ‘beached-as’ last decade. And for a long time before that.
As a result there have been plenty of rigs to cross the Tasman to be used by Aussies that love running them hard. Also, I think there wouldn’t be many arguments against the statement that some of these boats aren’t the most eye-catching rigs on the market.
Pleasingly, McLay combine the toughness of a 5mm plate hull with practical finishing and aesthetics that draw a smile and not a wince. The 581 CrossXOver’s name aptly describes the hull – it’s a fusion of a hard-ass fishing boat with enough creature comforts to keep the family on the water longer.
Powered by the rock-solid Suzuki 140hp, the McLay won’t break the bank at the dealership or the bowser, with a comfortable cruising speed of 4000rpm delivering 40km/h at 2.5km per litre of fuel burned.
The 18” pitch aluminium Suzuki propeller jumped the 581 up onto the plane with ease and with judicious use of the trim switch, it took on an attitude that chewed up any small chop that Port Phillip Bay could offer on the test day.
You can tell that McLays are designed by anglers. Heavy traffic areas are unpainted. Instead, bare aluminium sections are covered with a coating called Nyalic, which stops oxidation and keeps the ‘new boat’ look. This means that you can spend your time getting to work landing fish or pulling pots instead of babying your paint job.
The walkaround is abundantly non-skidded and there’s a mountain of grab rails exactly where they are needed. Add this to a cockpit floor lined with a removable, washable rubber matting and you’re ready to get the messy jobs done and to wash up perfectly afterwards.
Warragul Marine’s David Garcia spends as much time in these McLay boats as anyone, and is in love with this layout. In fact, Warragul add their own touches to these rigs, with the baitboard withdraw being an after-market inclusion.
Indeed, the entire transom area is impressive with a clear-fronted live bait tank, walk through transom door with ladder and neat folding and stowing bench seat making this cockpit one of the best designed I’ve been in.
“Everyone likes to get their kids out on the water and introduce them to fishing, and this CrossXOver is predominantly aimed at the family fishers,” said David Garcia.
As tested, this rig on a twin axled Dunbier trailer came in at $66,000, although packages start from as little as $53,000.
To find out more, drop into Warragul Marine or visit their website at www.warragulmarine.com.au.
*Fitted with 18” Suzuki aluminium propeller
Scan this QR code to watch the full test with Steve Morgan and David Garcia.Reads: 35