The 4.74m Escape Marine Fugitive is a brilliant boat that includes almost everything you could want from a host of modern craft – all in one package.
The reviewed 4.8 Fugitive with its 75 E-Tec outboard was a special order, after being constructed to survey standards (with level flotation installed) for Brisbane-based Smart Powerboat Hire. The craft was standard in all other respects.
A look at the Fugitive reveals that she is a cuddy cabin craft: a 16 footer rated for five, that will sleep three and fish four with ease. The craft’s functional design makes it an extremely user-friendly craft.
The hull has been double roved for extra durability and features an 18 Vee with large strakes and reversed chines for enhanced stability. Glass hulls are renowned for their ride quality but most fishers still believe that they require more care. Well, this is a glass hull with a difference; it’s equipped with a beefy (and patented) keel guard system that is actually inserted in a channel within the hull, in lieu of the usual screw on method. The beauty of the set-up is the hull is buffered against damage and the guard can be replaced if required, depending upon the amount of heavy use.
The rail equipped cuddy cabin is set up with a large forward hatch allowing access to the anchor well. The outward opening doors of the hatch are huge but they can be removed and stowed in the anchor well’s special compartments. Anglers can access the shore from the bow of the craft easily or even fish from there. There is also a wide carpet lined step in the front of the cabin.
The Fugitive’s cuddy cabin is surprisingly big. A sleek windscreen extends the cabin’s stylish lines while a bimini complete with side curtains protects against the elements. The cabin comes equipped with paired bunks (with below storage) that can also be made into a double bed. Head height in the lined cabin was exceptional, with a decent amount of floor depth, too. Lights and rod racks are included in the full length overhead shelves above the bunks.
Forward seating consisted of pedestal style slide adjustable bucket seats embossed with the Escape Marine logo. A foot-rest is standard, as are hand holds, drink holders, a glove box to port and side lockers. The lockers are incorporated into the forward section of the wide, fully moulded, cockpit side pockets. A full width, powder coated windscreen grab rail is also standard.
The dash layout was practical and showed some thoughtful touches. Instrumentation consisted of a compass, an Eagle colour Fish Elite 500C GPS/Sounder complete with Navionics East Coast map chip, Navman 287Mhz Marine Radio. There were gauges for the 75 E-Tec on the transom plus some fully water proofed switches and buttons to the right of the carbon fibre wheel. A GME stereo linked to multiple speakers was within handy reach of the skipper, as were the side mounted engine controls.
The skipper could either sit or stand to drive with the bimini side covers in place if it’s raining. Forward visibility was excellent in either situation. I thought this aspect of the craft came through with flying colours.
The cockpit with its clip-in carpet also featured an underfloor storage locker between the forward seating, LED cockpit lighting plus rod holders and grab handles on the high gunwales. There’s also a pair of padded, removable seats aft and a plumbed 30L esky that will double as a livewell. The rig had a high storage capacity with extra pockets elevated from the floor. Other cockpit hardware consisted of four rod holders plus pop-up cleats in recesses.
The craft’s engine battery was stored on an off floor shelf. The Fugitive’s full height transom offered twin boarding platforms, paired grab rails and a ladder to starboard.
The Fugitive is rated for engines from 75-90hp but was amply powered by a 75hp Evinrude E-Tec. The E-Tec started first try and the engine hummed happily as we left the Horizon Shores Marina. It was a nice day, maybe too nice, but we cruised down towards the bar at a steady 52.3km/h at 4,000rpm. 3,000rpm gave us a speed of 36.4km/h and the top speed of 64.8km/h came at 5,200rpm.
I put the Fugitive through its paces and the ride proved to be soft, typical of a Vee hull, but the absolute dryness was what really surprised me. All praise here must go to hull design where a substantial degree of flare in the craft’s bow combines brilliantly with the fine entry to deflect spray. Water deflecting strakes and the reversed chines also contributed to ride quality.
Handling was spot on, too, with the hull proving responsive in all situations thanks to smooth non-feedback steering. Stability at rest was very good, courtesy of the reversed chines, and the craft didn’t lean with two of us on one side.
The Escape Marine Fugitive is one craft that will attract buyers looking for an ‘all round’ boat. It will easily fish estuary, bay or offshore. For it’s 4.8m length it certainly packs in a lot of features yet none are unnecessary. Roominess, top quality finish and a high standard of ride or performance set this boat apart from its competitors. Hiring one would be a good way of trailing the boat for yourself, and Smart Power Boat Hire can be contacted on 0409 265 675. Escape Marine can be contacted direct on 0400 070 516 and will give you a lead to your nearest dealer.
The rig as tested, in survey, retails for around $35,000 but the standard model retails at around $24,950. The (reviewed) Deluxe Fugitive is available for around the $28,900 mark with trailer and 2-stroke motor with an upgrade to an E-Tec or other premium motor a little extra.
For more information call Paul Durrant from Escape Marine on (07) 3807 7760 or contact Marine Tune of Burleigh on (07) 5576 7388.
|Weight of hull:||515kg|
|Power as tested:||75hp Evinrude E-Tec|