We chose to take the Chianti 585 cuddy cab with us because it’s a boat that is sold as a family all-rounder. It can be used both in and offshore and, while it’s not strictly a fishing boat, you can certainly go fishing in it, and with some degree of comfort. It can also be used for watersports and is set up for family days out or entertaining.
With a tow weight of just under 1500kg, it’s ideal for this sort of trip because it’s relatively light and can be towed by a medium-sized SUV and most large family vehicles.
The test boat was sitting on a Boeing dual-axle trailer with mechanical brakes, which also adds to the ease of towing. Throughout the 600km that we had it sitting on the back of the Isuzu, we did not have one issue in terms of towing. In fact, apart from feeling like the bowsprit was going to come through the rear window every time I looked in the rear-view mirror, it was easy to forget there was a boat on the back.
The boat’s cabin is not big, but two adults could sleep there if you had an optional infill fitted. It is not really designed as an overnighter, with the cabin more suited to providing a spot for children to have a rest during the day, or for storing things you want to keep dry.
The helm area is well laid out, though it does feel a little narrow, but with good-quality seats and additional storage. On the test boat the skipper’s chair was comfortable and had good side bolsters. On the passenger side, Hitech Marine had fitted a back-to-back storage chair. I have tested a Chianti with this same seat setup and said it was not something that I would fit in my boat – but, after spending a day fishing out deep with three people onboard, I’ve changed my mind. The third passenger not only used the rear-facing section of the seat for the 90-minute run out to the fishing spot, but also fished from the seat for much of the day. In fact, he liked it so much he became very protective of ‘his spot’ on the boat.
Designed in New Zealand and built in China, the Chianti comes with a 10-year structural guarantee and is one of the most affordable boats in its segment.
The test boat was fitted with a 115hp Mercury FourStroke engine, Simad 7in touchscreen GPS/sounder with maps, bimini with clears, hydraulic steering and carpets … all for $54,000 drive away.
The cockpit is set up so it can be used for entertaining or fishing. When being used for a family outing or entertaining, there are two additional seats that can be fitted into the corners of the transom. The locker door that hides the batteries and isolation switch in the middle of the transom can also be used as a table between these two chairs, creating a very comfortable setup for a drink or a bite to eat.
When fishing, the table can be dropped down, a baitboard can be fitted into the top of the transom and the seats removed, creating a nice fishing set-up.
I also found the freeboard in the back corner of the boat high enough to be able to lean into it comfortably to help wind in some of the bigger fish we hooked. The only thing missing was a foot recess.
REFLEX CHIANTI 585
Weight on trailer (approx): 1465kg
Fuel capacity: 100lt
Power (as tested): 115hp Mercury FourStroke
Price (as tested): $54,000
Hitech Marine, tel: (08) 9309 2888. Web: HitechMarine.com.au.