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, constructed to survey standards (with level flotation installed) for a powerboat hire company. The craft was standard in all other respects.
The Fugitive 4.8m is a cuddy cabin rated for five occupants, and will sleep three and fish four with ease. Its functional design makes it an extremely user-friendly craft.
The hull has a double layer of woven rovings 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 anglers still believe that they require more care and maintenance. But 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 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 easily or even fish from there. There is also a wide, carpet-lined step in the front of the cabin.
The Fugitive’s cuddy 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 has the conventional storage below the paired bunk, which 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 shelves above the bunks.
Forward seating comprised pedestal-style, slide-adjustable bucket seats embossed with the Escape Marine logo. A foot-rest is standard, as are handholds, 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 and Navman 287Mhz marine radio. There were gauges for the 75 E-Tec plus some waterproof 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 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 has clip-in carpet and also featurs 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 engine battery was stored on shelf off the floor. The Fugitive’s full-height transom offers 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 the 75hp Evinrude E-Tec, which started first try and hummed happily as we left the marina. It was a nice day, maybe too nice, but we cruised down towards the bar at a steady 52.3km/h at 4000rpm. At 3000rpm we were getting 36.4km/h and the top speed of 64.8km/h came at 5200rpm.
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 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 its 4.8m length it certainly packs in a lot of features but none is unnecessary. Roominess, top-quality finish and a high standard of ride and performance set this boat apart from its competitors. Hiring one would be a good way of trying the boat for yourself. Call Escape Marine on 0400 070 516 and be directed to your nearest dealer.
The rig as tested, in survey, retails for around $35,000 but the standard model is around $24,950. The reviewed Deluxe Fugitive is available for around $28,900 mark with trailer and two-stroke motor. An upgrade to an E-Tec or other premium motor is a little extra.
For more information call Paul Durrant from Escape Marine on 07 3807 7760.
|Weight of hull:||515kg|
|Power as tested:||75hp Evinrude E-Tec|