If there are two things in South East Queensland that go hand in hand they are CruiseCraft boats and Moreton Bay.
The area and the maker have been synonymous since the first 16-foot drop bow sharpey built by the Nichols family was launched in 1946. That craft was very likely to have featured a wooden clinker hull that saw use as a commercial fishing boat in the fish-rich bay and as a work boat for the whaling station based at Tangalooma.
CruiseCraft has gone on to become a favourite with boat operators, with a high level of return business becoming a cornerstone of the brand. Much of this buyer-satisfaction can be sheeted home to build quality across the 12- model range. The Outsider 595 bears testimony to that.
The OS 595 concept came about in reaction to customer demand. Extensive research and development was undertaken before the 595 saw the light of day, making its debut at this year’s Melbourne Boat Show.
Keeping in close contact with its customers via CruiseCraft’s social club and fishing club boat ownership allowed the brains trust behind the brand to hear what the market desires. In fact, there are now some 580 owners and the club boasts in excess of 2600 members.
The OS 595 has a totally new hull featuring a higher sheerline compared with that of earlier hulls. The bow also has had more flare built into it, better diverting spray away and down from the forequarters. The entry at the keel forefoot has been refined and is now sharper, while the beam toward the aft end has been retained to give the hull what CruiseCraft boats are renowned for – stability at rest.
At less than 6m, it displays many of the characteristics of the bigger 625, with a cockpit of almost the same dimensions. What it does not have that the larger boats do is the requirement of a large tow vehicle. In fact, the OS 595 will be well-placed behind vehicles like the Toyota HiLux, Kluger or Mitsubishi’s Pajero.
Our test day on Moreton Bay offered good conditions with a light breeze and only small chop; definitely not enough to bother the likes of this, or indeed, any, boat of this size.
Fitted with Evinrude’s E-TEC 150hp motor, the power-to-weight ratio was spot-on, offering impressive holeshot capability with two large adults aboard and acceleration was swift to WOT, where 5550rpm had the boat slipping across the surface at 35 knots (64.5km/h). The fuel burn at that speed was 58.6lt/hr.
Backing off to a comfortable cruise speed of 14.5 knots (27km/h), the tacho was showing 2900rpm with fuel consumption at 19.5lt/hr and at 5 knots (10km/h), a good pelagic trolling speed, the E-TEC was sipping fuel at 5.9lt/hr, registering 1750rpm.
All CruiseCraft boats come standard with Seastar hydraulic steering and it performed brilliantly, even with the worst possible trim being used for various manoeuvres. It seems odd that many manufacturers persist with mechanical steering, often on rigs much larger than the OS 595, and they wonder why the least physically strong of the family find difficulty at the wheel! No such issue exists with the new CruiseCraft.
The Evinrude exhibited plenty of torque when throttling through the range and could handle ample trim-out in order to lift the bow. In fact, an abnormal degree of trim-out had to be put into the hydraulics to get the prop to aerate on tight corners. It was simply the perfect match.
With the breeze over the bay puffing at around 8 knots (15km/h), we churned up enough surface with our wake to cross it with the wind coming over the forequarters. This resulted in no spray coming onto the windscreen and the softness of ride over the bumps was excellent.
Inside, the 595 has had the cabin shortened a few centimetres to open up the cockpit for some serious family fun. This doesn’t seem to have overly affected the available space inside and there is enough room for two adults to stretch out to sleep.
The forward part of the V-berth has been designed to host a small portable toilet under a bi-fold door. One was not installed on the reviewed boat, but that simply allowed extra stowage space and there is more to be found under each of the bunks. The cabin is lined with soft, felt-like carpet and a typical surrounding pocket is available for the usual things boaties like to secrete away in cabins.
Leaving the cabin, there is a lockable, curved sliding door, which makes for peace of mind if the boat has to be left in a driveway.
The Nichols family has always been serious recreational fishers and this shows in the design of most of their boats.
The dashboard is huge given the available space, but it fits in without dominating the rest of the layout.
In front of the passenger, in the vertical fascia, a Lowrance iPod dock is fitted and above that a rebate on the flat allows for small odds and ends to be stowed.
The space between there and the helm station could easily be fitted up with a medium electronics cabinet, and in front of the skipper a high brow beneath the toughened glass front windscreen panes hosted the E-TEC instrumentation. A large, angled flat fascia aft of that housed Lowrance’s 10-inch HDS10 combination unit and if it were put to one side there would be enough room left to flush-mount an eight-inch screen as well.
The aforementioned windscreen was sturdy and further strengthened by the installation of a full inside contoured grab rail. Clears were fitted and they extended up to the soft top, which was supported on an equally sturdy 32mm stainless steel tube canopy frame with 20mm support ribs.
Adding further to the spaciousness of the helm area was the installation of a low-profile throttle handle, with the ignition mechanism rebated into the liner. Opposite, the passenger has a similar rebate for stowage of gear and the regulation fire extinguisher and EPIRB are installed in their own recesses.
The bases for the helm and passenger seats are a tubular frame design, allowing space for a 110lt ice box to be slid underneath. This frees up the cockpit for people and creates fishing room, and the aft end of the boxes may be positioned to add extra seating if required.
The seating here has also had a make-over, with the backrests reduced in size compared with previous models and with more curve built into them. To match the curve, the rear grab rails follow this contour and may save bruised ribs for those passing through this area when the going gets rough.
The side pockets in the cockpit look smart and are contoured out at their fore ends to cater for a foot tread for those climbing up onto the gunwales to walk around the cabin. They are high enough off the deck to provide comfortable foot access underneath when fishing over the side as well.
The rear lounge is full cockpit beam width and can fold down to lock in position at the vertical, while still allowing foot under-access while standing at the transom. The kill tank installed in the deck traverses beneath this stowed seat base, but accessibility is retained. It fills and drains via an internal bung, to the stern or may be flooded with a pump.
The backrest of this rear lounge remains fixed to provide padding to the thighs and a small section is hinged to allow thoroughfare using the half-height walk-through transom bulkhead. This leads out onto the boarding platform where a telescopic ladder is rebated flush.
With the rear lounge base removed, the dual battery set-up is accessible and this allows service to the bilge and pumps when required. These units sit on a base on the deck, but the front is far enough aft to not interfere with the toes. Low-profile tunnels allow the deck to drain via the manually-operated scuppers in the transom.
Skippers will be pleased with the location of the deck wash, live bait tank and kill tank switches which are installed near the transom bulkhead for anglers to use rather than having to call on those at the helm to activate them.
In the starboard corner of the transom bulkhead a large live bait tank is fitted and painted black to darken it, which helps sedate the inhabitants adding to their longevity. Only a serious fisho could have thought of that in the design stages.
The tank is complemented by a high bait rigging station featuring a hinged cutting board, which opens to expose a tray for hooks and rigs and a couple of rod holders. It is easily removed by simply lifting it out of its sockets.
Everything on the OS 595 is in its place, well-designed, nicely manufactured and impeccably finished. Little wonder you will pay more for one of these boats than most of the opposition, but it is no surprise that they maintain very good prices on the second-hand market; and you can bet that the seller has either fallen on bad times or got into a later model.
SPECIFICATIONS: CRUISECRAFT OS 595
Length overall on trailer: 7.7m
Length overall: 6.3m with bowsprit
Weight: 2250kg BMT wet (approx)
Maximum recommended hp: 175
Recommended hp: 135
Max load: 6 persons
Engine: Evinrude E-TEC 150hp
Price as tested: $87,800
For more information, contact CruiseCraft. Website: www.cruisecraft.com.au