The first thing I noticed about the Xtreme 520 Tournament Classic (TC) was the craft’s superb finish and excellent lines. Closer inspection only supported my original impression and I finished the boat test extremely impressed with the craft.
Xtreme boats are made by GS Marine who has been making commercial and charter boats in the Northern Territory for 25 years. They have transferred their ability to build strong, safe and reliable craft into the recreational market with their Xtreme range of plate alloy boats.
Many aluminium hull craft have profiles that widen to quickly to maximise internal volume, and this often spoils the craft’s the lines and ride. On the other hand, Xtremes flare gradually from the nose and down along the keel to produce eye-catching lines and a superb ride.
Xtremes are strong boats with functional design and the best finish I have ever seen in an alloy boat. The combination of a 4mm plate bottom with fully welded strakes and 3mm sides creates a very strong bottom and smoothly curved sides. The craft also features a 100mm wide internal keel bar. The keel is protected by a 40mm half round extrusion fully welded along the entire length. Attention to detail is evidenced by the likes of the tow eyes being fitted with stainless steel sleeves to prevent wear when being towed long distances.
Transom strength revolves around five transom knees. The knees are sheets of plate, which are welded on three sides, with the top edge folded over. The top deck is made of 4mm plate alloy (there is not timber floor to rot out) and the wide gunwale is fully welded to round out a very strong construction. Xtreme hulls are so strong that one boat in Darwin is used as a mini tug for pushing larger vessels around the harbour. Imagine doing that with your standard tinnie!
The 520 TC’s layout is perfect for fishing, with a large forward casting platform, side console, bait board over the motor, rod and tackle lockers and a live bait tank in the transom top. The only draw back is the lack of a rear casting platform, but this allows the helm and passenger seats to be set further back for greater comfort. The front platform is big enough for two anglers to fish.
Entry over the stern is via a fold down ladder to port, which leads onto the wide back deck and over the full height transom. There is a fully plumbed live bait tank on the post side. Under the transom top, on the inside, are twin hatches, which give access to the deck wash to starboard and storage to port. The deck wash hose is stored in the starboard locker and the attachment point is in a central recess under the transom top. In front of the transom are twin underfloor, carpet lined, gear storage compartments, while over the top is a lift out bait board with draining tube.
Under the gunwale on the port side is a carpet lined rod locker, with key security. It will hold five standard rods or can be custom finished to hold specialised gear like spear guns. Between the rod locker and the side console is a large lift out kill pen, making it easy to clean after a trip.
The helm seat has two heavy-duty seat position sleeves to allow for a wide range of skipper sizes. A recessed footrest under the low profile console allows for long legs when required. The low profile side console is pure function, with standard Mercury instrumentation, a six switch panel to control on board electronics, and a flat dash top for easy installation of sounders, plotters and the like, protected by a wrap around Perspex screen. A thick mahogany steering wheel feels fantastic in the hand and the Xtreme comes standard with super smooth hydraulic steering.
The rear edge of the large forward casting platform has recessed compartments for EPIRB and fire extinguisher to starboard, and the port side holds a five tray tackle box with a weatherproof hatch.
The anchoring system is simple to use, with a back folding hatch revealing a good sized self draining anchor well, with an internal cross bollard. The anchor rope simply feeds out over the nose between the low profile bowrails, on the end of the bowsprit.
We took the Xtreme for a run out through the Cairns Inlet leads and the boat just ate up the distance and was a pleasure to handle. The new 115hp Mercury EFI 4-stroke provided some serious speed, with 3500rpm producing 32km/h (17knots, 20mph), 4000rpm producing 40km/h (22knots, 25mph), 4500rpm producing 46km/h (25knots, 29mph), 5000rpm producing 54km/h (29knots, 34mph), 5500rpm producing 58km/h (31knots, 36mph) and topped out doing 61km/h (31knots, 37mph). Its acceleration from a standing start was excellent and it held its revs nicely in tight turns.
The Xtreme turned as hard as you could want, at any speed and behaved beautifully at every angle to the sea. It was surprisingly dry for an open boat, although we couldn’t find any really rough water. Stability on the go and at rest is excellent.
I headed back into Cairns Inlet feeling extremely impressed with the 520 Tournament Classic. I would recommend this boat to any serious fisher who wants a boat that can cover everything from impoundment to blue water in style and safety for years to come.
The 520 Tournament Classic starts from around $43,000. For further information on Xtreme boats contact Boat Scene in Cairns on (07) 4051 4922.
|Length (Bow to Transom):||5.2m|
|Approx. Weight (boat only):||485 kg|
|Transom Shaft length:||20”|
|Max Transom Weight:||200kg|