Ozcraft are fairly new to the Queensland boating scene but buyers can be assured that they have a quality product thanks to construction by Albo Marine, long standing alloy manufacturers of craft such as Four Seasons and Stessco.
Kratzmann’s, one of Brisbane’s largest recreational vehicle outlets, markets Ozcraft boats, from car toppers through to 6.7m plate alloy rigs. In moving into the marine industry Kratzmann’s commissioned Albo Marine to manufacture the Ozcraft range of craft.
Clint Kratzmann is the driving force behind Ozcraft and he explained that the company's principal objective was to offer a well turned out and user-friendly product at a reasonable price.
In line with these criteria the Southern Cross range features a neat fibreglass cuddy cabin that melds seamlessly with the plate hull. High-sided hulls are very rigid due to the ribs being close together while a quiet ride is assured due to under floor foam fill.
A look at the 670 revealed an excellent standard of overall finish, welds neatly smoothed, upholstery of top quality, plenty of appointments and a good quality paint job. And with sleek yet proportionate lines she was certainly a boat to be proud of.
Paul, the lucky owner of the Southern Cross 670 cuddy cab currently reviewed was along for the test runs. He explained that he'd chosen the craft as much for comfort and ease of use as for fishing requirements. The fibreglass cuddy cab offered plenty of shelter for youngsters, beds for them to sleep on, plus ample storage space below the bunks.
Anchor access was via the cuddy cab's hatch and Paul said that he found the generous size of the hatch made it easy to stand in to tend anchor. On a quiet day, he added, it was also practical to walk around the cuddy cabin to tend the anchor as the bimini provided plenty of handholds.
The cuddy cab also featured side windows plus a two-piece windscreen with interior rail. While there was ample weather protection provided by the cabin a strong bimini with clears provided additional protection from the elements. There was also a rocket style rod holder on the bimini's aft framework – very business like indeed!
Inside the cuddy cabin a pair of very large bunks offered a lot of sleeping space plus under storage areas. An infill would see a family of four sleeping in here with ease and complimenting the bunks storage space were full overhead shelves all round. I noted PFD's, towels and the like in here with plenty of space to spare. A decent light made the airy cabin just that bit better for overnight use. Entry was via the space between the skipper and mate seats.
The craft's moulded dash featured a shelf to starboard, just above UHF and VHF radios, a Furuno FCV 620 sounder and compass uppermost and slightly to starboard with an array of gauges to monitor the 175 E-Tec astern set right in front of the skipper. A Navman Tracker 5507 GPs unit was set between the engine gauges and the sports style wheel linked to Sea Star hydraulic steering. Controls for the E-Tec were mounted to starboard, on the side of the craft.
Driver and first mate were treated to top shelf swivelling bucket seats mounted on storage boxes. When driving the Southern Cross I found the skipper's seat offered plenty of support, with visibility very good in all directions. The bimini, which could be folded down if necessary, offered plenty of shade. Full marks there.
Further seating within the cockpit consisted of a three quarter bench aft, also mounted on a storage box, the backrest formed by padding inside the transom area. Immediately aft of the seat was a quite large removable bait station, complete with rod holders to facilitate rigging with a large storage shelf below on which the E-Tec's oil bottle was mounted. The battery was lower, mounted to starboard and on an off-floor lip.
Two metre long side pockets were a feature of this craft, as was full carpet on floor areas. A pair of rod holders on each gunwale was also there for anglers to use and with cockpit sides over 1m high anglers would, in my view, feel quite safe within this craft. Paul, the owner, said that he never felt the slightest bit uneasy with his small children aboard thanks to the craft's deep cockpit plus locking cockpit gate.
The step over cockpit boarding gate was set to port with handrails plus a ladder on the wide swim platform aft making entry easy after having a swim.
The Southern Cross 670 is rated for outboards from 130-175hp. The motor tested with the boat, the 175 E-Tec, gave the craft maximum power for the 1085kg hull. That said, the powerful and responsive motor was very tractable with the craft cruising quite gently at just above planing speed (19.4km/h at 2,800rpm) at 3,000rpm for 40.3km/h with the engine a whisper astern. At 4,000rpm it was a brisk 55.4km/h while 5,000rpm saw us moving at 67.8km/h.
Power throughout the entire rev range was positive, because forward movement of the throttle lever brought rapid response from the engine. Noise levels from the 175 E-Tec were remarkably good, too, and when travelling with three aboard for test runs normal conversation was possible.
Not surprisingly, the 1085kg, 2.45m wide, 3mm sides and 5mm bottom plate alloy hull with its 18 degree Vee aft was steady as a rock whether stationary or powering in or out of turns. Quite large underwater longitudinal chines plus a decent reversed water line spray chine contributed to this excellent handling. A sensible owner would not expect this rig to handle like a 5m runabout, but in many ways it certainly does. With the engine trimmed down I threw the craft into G force generating turns with ease and each time recovery was swift, the return to flat attitude coinciding with the wheel straightening.
Overall, the ride was soft and thanks to the underfloor foam fill it was quiet. Powering over wash from passing larger craft saw just the mildest bump as the fine and well-raked bow encountered each wave. Not surprisingly, Paul informed me that runs across to Moreton Island with the family aboard are something they really enjoy thanks to the craft's soft ride and ample comfort.
I'd see the Ozcraft Southern Cross 670 as suitable for either serious fishing or family use. The huge amount of freeboard protection provided by the cuddy cab, plus excellent ride and handling are such that the craft would handle offshore work just as easily as bay fishing in my view.
Ozcraft are totally custom rigs and one can add as many purely fishing options as desired in line with owners’ expectations of use. The superb finish, excellent paint job and handsome appearance are all right for the course and add greatly to pride of ownership. She's rated for 6.
The rig as reviewed, on tandem trailer, will come home for around $65,000 while a down grade to a 150hp E-Tec will see around $55,000 change hands.
|Towing||Family 6 wagon or 4 x 4.|