Issue: June 2006
Spacious, luxurious and totally trailable!
WORDS + PHOTOS WARREN STEPTOE
A classic weekender is the best way to describe the new Cruise Craft Executive 700.
First to grab my attention was the level, open-plan helm, galley and dinette area. Well lit by big windows and secure underneath the hardtop, this surprisingly large open space is not only great for socialising, but offers comfort and practicality too.
The Executive 700’s interior gives the impression this boat is much larger than it actually is. In a purely practical sense, the open galley being upstairs allows the heat and odours from food preparation to dissipate unnoticed. Most of her competitors have a downstairs galley and fall way behind here.
In the bathroom, the Executive 700 again gets a tick in the box. Seven metre weekenders are subject to certain unavoidable tyrannies imposed by the limited available space and one of the places this is normally felt is in the head. But the Executive 700 does have “stand up straight” room for a 170cm tall boat tester in the shower. A vacuum flush toilet is a standard fitment, which is a significant step up from the Porta Potties often used in boats of this size.
The head’s interior is easily wiped down and there’s even a porthole to vent the steam outside. A 130lt freshwater tank is backed up by a 20lt pressurised hot-water system to store heated water even when the engine’s not running.
The Executive 700 has much going for it and the importance of its remarkable open-plan living space and an even more remarkable bathroom for a boat of its size, can’t be overstated. They make all the difference between real relaxation (the kind where it never occurs to you how much you’re enjoying yourself) and tolerating life onboard for a few days.
Carpet lines the ceiling inside the cabin and under the hardtop. This, plus the foam filling in the hull, mutes noise levels at all times. Two big hatches in the hardtop roof ventilate what is effectively a saloon for hot weather boating and an optional sliding extension shades the dinette aft. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would order an Executive 700 without it.
Another option hard to do without is the insect screens on the hatches and portholes. Biting insects are a fact of boating life we all live with, but would prefer to live without.
A full set of camper covers comes with the Executive 700 and with these in place, plus the optional screens, the entire interior becomes a haven practical for overnight living, even when biting insects are bad.
The aft dinette converts into a second double bunk, or the kid’s bed, but on day trips provides ample room for two couples to socialise.
Inside the cabin (with the in-fills in place) the bow bunk is large. A flatscreen TV and CD/DVD stereo system provide the entertainment and the lining of the cabin roof both cools the interior during the day and mutes noise that might disturb your rest at night. The cabin is well ventilated by a big hatch and three opening portholes.
At the helm, a wide seat can accommodate two adults with the big removable icebox doing double service as a footrest.
The galley along the portside contains a 12V microwave, a 65lt 12/240V refrigerator (a 240V shore power connection is supplied) and a twin-burner stove.
There’s no such thing as enough stowage onboard any boat, but the galley does well with a spacious pantry, a pots and pans drawer and a cups and glasses rack. There’s also a rail around the bench top to keep everything in place if the boat rocks.
We who have to do the washing up are always glad to see round sinks that can handle plates. We’re also pleased to report that the bench top is easily wiped down and free from nooks that tend to gather unmentionables. That stainless steel barbeque, mounted out on the swim/boarding platform, is another option you’d have to seriously consider.
We’ve worked our way aft to the swim platform and it also contributes to the boats living-friendly layout.
Access outboard onto the swim platform is through a transom door set to port. It’s kept separate from the dinette, so no one has to step over any seating, especially when returning from the water dripping wet.
A handheld shower, located in the aft bulkhead, converts the drips to freshwater. A folding telescopic ladder, which makes getting into and out of the water as easy as entering your own private pool, is stowed in a recess on the starboard side.
An electric anchor winch hides away in the rope locker at the bow. To power everything, the Executive 700 comes with dual house batteries, plus a starting battery (all fitted with isolator switches).
A 5lt MPI V8 MerCruiser powers the Executive 700 and hides under the aft bulkhead like it’s not even there.
This powerhouse got the boat moving as if it was smaller than a 7m 2700kg weekend cruiser, even when full of fuel and freshwater and with three adults and two kids aboard.
A dual propeller Bravo III sterndrive leg delivers this power to the water well and provides enough propeller grip in turns to allow the boat to be thrown around as hard as commonsense allows. If you’re keen, you can tow wake toys with it and there’s even a ‘roof rack’ on top of the hardtop to carry them.
The Modern Boating team liked the Executive 700 very much. She’s an ideal weekender for couples and has been configured to make the addition of a couple of kids, or an occasional extra couple, entirely workable. Plus, with an appropriate tow vehicle, the Cruise Craft Executive 700 is trailable.
The Nichols Bros have been at the forefront of the Australian boating industry since Roy Nichols established the company in 1946. Nichols Bros launched the Cruise Craft brand in 1960, and the first fibreglass model in 1967.
Today, and with around 14 Boat of The Year titles, as well as many other accolades to its credit, Cruise Craft continues to lead the industry in design excellence, innovation and superb quality.
Walk-around, cuddy and half-cabin styles, sports bowriders and runabouts today proudly bear the Cruise Craft name.
Around the ramps and marinas of Australia, you’ll often see many of the original Nichols Bros timber cruisers and those first fibreglass Cruise Crafts still providing excellent service to their current day owners.
A 5lt MPI V8 MerCruiser powers the Cruise Craft Executive 700.
With three adults, two children and full tanks the 700 returned the following performance figures.
KNOTS – RPM
9.7 – 2800
20.3 – 3500
24.1 – 4000
29.1 – 4500
35.2 – 5200
HULL LENGTH: 7m
HOT WATER: 20lt
+ Open-plan design; Large head
– Nothing to report