Cruise Craft Outsider 595 Boat Test

In an increasingly international boat market, the respected Aussie manufacturer Cruise Craft has stepped up to rival the best with a new generation of refined fishing boats. When Warren Steptoe tested their new Outsider 595 he fell in love...and felt the warm glow of patriotic pride.

Cruise Craft Outsider 595 Boat Test

Boat Test Cruise Craft Outsider 595: AUSSIE-MADE TO RIVAL THE WORLD
Author and photography: Warren Steptoe

This boat test ran in ISSUE 89 of BlueWater magazine – JAN-FEB 2012

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

I’ve long been a fan of Cruise Craft. In large part that’s because their boats have always stood proudly amongst the absolute cream of the Australian crop.

More than a few Aussie boat builders are crying in their beer at present. As we’re all only too aware, times are tough, and pressure from imported boat sales is ever increasing. I’ve heard people in the industry questioning whether there’s a future for Australian-built boats at all, and as much as it stabs my own parochial heart to say it, some of those questions don’t have clear answers at present.

Well, here’s one answer that’ll gladden any heart, while it gives boat buyers inclined towards an import a serious pause to reconsider Cruise Craft’s new Outsider 595. As you’ll probably guess, ‘595’ means it is 5.95 metres in length, or 19 feet 6 inches on the imperial scale. Perhaps this boat, for serious bluewater anglers anyway, sits towards the lower end of the suitable size scale amongst the ‘pocket rockets’. Nevertheless, while it’s always nice to dream about battle wagons, boats around 20 feet long are precisely what many of us actually fish from.

Critical Difference

The Outsider 595 sits between two well-established Cruise Craft models: their very popular 625 (6.25 metre) and 575 (5.75 metre) Outsider and Explorer.

Outsider and Explorer Cruise Crafts are similar with subtle, but critical, differences. Outsiders have slightly shorter cabins and correspondingly larger cockpits, plus the freedom to make your way forward to the bows around the cabin sides. Explorers emphasise cabin space in their cabin-to-cockpit-space ratio with a slightly bigger cabin and correspondingly shorter cockpit.

This is the second of a new generation of boats for Cruise Craft, which began last year with an all-new Explorer 530. New generation Cruise Crafts are a little deeper from keel to side decks, while height gained in the hull sides has been subtly taken from the above gunnel cabin structure. It gives the boats a deeper, yet at the same time, lower profile look with more freeboard around the bows. The height of the cockpit sides is maintained with a contemporary styled, curved sheer-line.

Even people familiar with these boats might need one of the earlier models beside a new model to pick the differences. However, they are new and different in many advantageous ways. About the only thing that hasn’t changed in these new generation boats is Cruise Craft’s firmly established underwater hull-geometry.

Revised Construction

Structurally, the new generation boats feature a much-revised construction. Three basic moulds are used to build these boats: a hull mould, a lower deck mould, and a top deck/cabin mould. These three join together at the waistline (visible outside the boat where the join is covered with the rub strip familiar on fibreglass boats).

Cruise Craft then foam-fill the hull itself in these new generation models, to create a singular unit with formidable structural integrity. On the water, the effects of this ‘unitised’construction are immediately apparent. Our test boat proved whisper quiet with the usual water noise against the hull very muted indeed. On the move, the way the hull structure acts as a singular unit is quite noticeable – and very impressive.

In terms of finish, the ‘bathtub’ shape of the lower deck mould ensures the boat’s insides are smooth and neat instead of the roughly finished internal surface of the laminates you normally see in many ’glass boats.

I suppose that in today’s ultra-competitive market we expect a boat to have what this one has. That would be roomy side pockets, and a fold-away lounge seat across the aft bulkhead with battery lockers tucked away behind. Plus, a moulded glove-box in the cabin bulkhead, super-neatly moulded recesses for the outboard’s control binnacle, and special ones for an EPIRB, 2-way radio/s, a sound system, a fire extinguisher and an extra stowage pocket beside the passenger seat.

Thoughtful Design

As having a lot of electrical gear is the norm in bluewater fishing boats of any size these days, not to mention the complex wiring harness necessary for the sophisticated navigation and fish finding electronics packages we use, Cruise Craft have taken a big step forward. The sides and dash area of their new generation boats are made up of separate, easily removable mouldings. These allow access for fitout and later service that makes the days of working upside down in the dim recesses of a boat truly ancient history. As a bloke who prefers to work on his own boat, this is a blessing I can’t begin to describe; while those who have to pay for such work will save heaps on fitout, service and refits in the short and long term.

The Outsider 595’s configuration sensibly follows Cruise Craft’s (and indeed the classic Australian-built) bluewater fishing/family/social boat-type to the peak of its present design. Inside, those higher sides make for a cabin noticeably more spacious than its predecessors. A sliding lockable cabin door in the bulkhead is optional.

A new design in bucket seats (that I hadn’t seen before) certainly enhanced passenger and helm comfort on rough water. And the substantial grab-bar reinforcing a tempered glass windscreen offers something reliable to brace yourself with. I found the helm ergonomics spot-on, with as much dash space as anyone is likely to need in a six-metre trailerboat.

The cockpit is faultlessly arranged for fishing, with high sides and uninterrupted toes-in- under leg support right around the periphery. Our test boat had an (optional) workbench perched centrally atop the aft bulkhead, with a transom door to port and a livebait tank to starboard.

Below decks – half underneath the fold-away, full-width aft lounge – was a fishbox. I thought this might be the only aspect of the boat that (some) bluewater anglers wouldn’t be entirely happy about. It’s sized more for compact ‘reefies’ than the lanky pelagic species that gamefishers pursue. The fishbox can now be flooded and drained at the touch of a switch thanks to an electrical ball valve. A small, but very convenient detail!

Keeping Dry

Cruise Craft sensibly term the deck ‘quick draining’ as opposed to fully self-draining, because setting the deck high enough in a boat this size to keep it above the waterline at rest risks making the boat too lively underfoot while fishing. The arrangement here is a deck that’ll drain while the boat’s moving, with scuppers you can quickly seal off by locking them closed with a pull chord to keep water out while fishing. It’s a commonsense solution, allowing successful fishos to blast the deck-carpet clean with a powerful deck-wash incorporated into the livewell plumbing – and then let it drain away as you move off. Of course, this is working under the assumption that fish blood and slime all over the deck can be expected…

Outside the cabin, the Outsider 595’s forward walkways are narrow and shallow enough to not hold water if a green one makes its way aboard during a bar crossing or similar. The big drains on each side spill any green stuff overboard post-haste if this does happen.

Going forward along the outside of this boat is apparently intended for calm water only. Forget racing forward to get a cast away, that’s not what the Outsider 595 is about at all. It’s more about being able to exit off the bows onto a beach or marina pontoon.

Stellar Performance

Performance wise, we lucked onto one of those ‘sheet of glass’ days for this test, which made pretty images for our photo spread, but nothing on which to test the boat’s rough-water abilities. However, given the sea-time I’ve got under my belt in all manner of Cruise Craft vessels, and that this boat’s in-water hull geometry is very much shared with its stable mates, I’m comfortable telling readers to expect no less than the stellar offshore performance that Cruise Craft are renowned for.

Our test boat had a 150hp Evinrude E-Tec bolted onto its transom, and with three adults aboard, this proved nicely matched to a hull rated to a maximum of 175hp and a minimum of
135hp. The hull is designed to carry outboard motors of any weight within the power rating, leaving open a full spectrum of engine options.

With the 150 E-Tec we recorded a top speed of 36 knots. The hull wasn’t quite planing at 2000rpm and six to seven knot trolling speeds, but it did offer clean, nicely shaped wake waves to aid skirted lure presentation. Cruising revs between 3000rpm and 4000rpm produced speeds between 12 and 25 knots, so fuel-efficient travel offshore is a reasonable expectation too.

I can only summarise the Outsider 595 as a truly sublime rendition of its type, and state straight out that it does my (admittedly unashamedly) parochial Aussie heart proud. I even say that if you don’t consider it carefully against competitors before buying a six-metreish bluewater fishing trailerboat, more fool you! Yes, I liked it very much…

Highlights

  • Near perfect fishing ergonomics.
  • Sublime example of the Australian-built, serious fishing/family/social boat-type.
  • Clever arrangement of separate internal mouldings to facilitate initial fitout and long-term service and refitting.

Capacities

  • Maximum Rated Power: 175hp
  • Maximum Engine Weight: 135hp
  • People: Six
  • Fuel: 190 litres
  • Holding Tank: n/a (portable toilet optional)

General

  • Material: GRP laminates
  • Hull type: Cuddy cabin monohull
  • Length: 5.95m (6.35 LOA)
  • Beam: 2.44m
  • Deadrise: 20 degrees (at transom)
  • BMT Towing Weight: Approx 2250kg

Engines

  • Make/model: Evinrude E150
  • Type: V6 direct injection 2-stroke outboard
  • Rated hp: 150hp
  • Displacement: 2592cc
  • No. cylinders:Six
  • Weight: 196kg
  • Gearbox ratio: 1.85:1
  • Propeller/s used for test: 15 inch 4-blade s/s

SPECIFICATIONS: Cruise Craft Outsider 595
Options fitted: Transom workbench, bimini/targa top and rod rack, cockpit flood lights, livewell and deck-wash plumbing, freshwater shower, Lowrance HDS10 fish finding and navigation system with Sonic Hub and iPod dock, VHF radio, sliding lockable cabin door, centre bunk infil, cabin lining and lighting, upholstered cockpit coamings, Cruise Craft custom trailer.  

Cruise Craft Outsider 595 Boat Test

Boat Test Cruise Craft Outsider 595AUSSIE-MADE TO RIVAL THE WORLD
Author and photography: Warren Steptoe
Supplied by: Cruise Craft Boats

This boat test ran in ISSUE 89 of BlueWater magazine – JAN-FEB 2012

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here