The first new generation Cruise Craft Outsiders 685 and 625 are brilliant boats. There’s no other way to describe them.
They have received many accolades including 2000 Fishing Boat of the Year for the Outsider 685 and finalist in the 2001 Fishing Boat Of the Year for the Outsider 625.
Some readers think this is hard act to follow, but it doesn’t take long hanging over its gunwale to see that the new Outsider 575 is more than up to the task. It’s basically a more compact version of the first two Outsiders. And while bigger is normally better, out in the real world, where those who work for a living buy boats, being 10 grand cheaper than the 625 makes this new boat a lot more attractive.
Back in the good ol’ pre-metric days the Outsider 575 would have been considered an 18 footer, which puts it onto the bottom step of serious offshore fishing boats. But 18 footers also get plenty of use for family outings. They are just the right size for a couple with two kids.
So when evaluating this Outsider 575 the Modern Boating team looked at this boat as a total family boating package. Not simply as a full-blown offshore fishing rig for the tribal alpha male and his associate.
Two features that puts the Outsider 575 streaks ahead in the family boating strakes, is its transom door and folding boarding ladder. When the rug rats are onboard it makes it a simple affair to back the boat up to a beach, anchor fore and aft and let them on and off via the stern. This feature also aids the purchasing process when the alpha female is involved.
“Great family boat dear, look we can get out onto the beach with the kids easy.” No unladylike gymnastics, or lifting kids up and over, just open the door, fold the ladder down, and step out.
“It’s only an 18 footer, so the bunks are a bit small for adults to sleep on for extended periods, but they’re perfect for the kids when they get tired or want to play out of the sun. Oh and look at this, there’s a place built in there for a toilet…”. The brownie points keep stacking up.
We’ve been making fun of winning favour with the better looking half of the family, but in all seriousness, just having a place for a ‘loo, and that transom door/ladder, make the Outsider 575 one exceptional 5.7m family boat. And before getting onto the fishing side of the house, there’s no doubt this is one good looking boat. The curved hipped sheer line, introduced in the Outsider 685, and continued in the 625, looks every bit as good here.
But we fish heads don’t buy a fishing boat on looks alone. Even though nobody will make derogatory remarks about this boat’s looks. The neighbours will also probably comment on how good your new boat looks. That’s until they have a go at you for shattering their Sunday arvo snooze by washing out the engine after the latest fishing trip.
There are several good 5.7/5.8m offshore fishing boats on offer in this country and a couple of those are extremely good. Which boat is the best is a subjective thing and will always remain a matter of opinion. But there’s no doubt the Cruise Craft Outsider 575 is a real contender. Anyone who decides on another similar boat without giving this vessel serious consideration would be the proverbial bloody idiot.
Coming down to 5.7m from 6.8m has an effect on cockpit space. But by clever work with the gunwales, Cruise Craft have retained a similar internal beam to its bigger sisters. But for serious fishing the 575 has a two person cockpit; three at a pinch.
Its high sides, made more comfortable in the test boat by optional padded side coamings, has full toe-in along the cockpit sides and across the working area of the transom. There’s a big livewell in the starboard top sides, while the oil bottle and a second battery are hidden away in another locker worked into the aft end layout.
Extra cost options on the test boat included the padded sides, a targa top and the bait board. A cabin liner also adds to the creature comforts as does the ‘loo.
This boat can be fitted out as a basic workhorse or dressed up with all the mod cons depending on personal preferences and of course budget. The carpeted cockpit, 160 litre underfloor fuel tank, transom door and ladder are all standard features. A lounge across the transom, which folds away when not in use to become cockpit padding, is also a standard fitting.
Cruise Craft have done a remarkably good job on this boat to figure out what to fit as standard and what to offer as an option. Helm and passenger seating is not as plush as they are in the larger Outsiders, although they aren’t exactly bare benches. The same can be said for the textured vinyl bunk cushions.
You can see where Cruise Craft have worked at keeping the price down. But we do acknowledge that this has been achieved without introducing the slightest hint of cheapness. Put bluntly the Cruise Craft Outsider 575 is a classy piece of work.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of taking Cruise Craft boats for granted. You know the grab bars will be where they’re needed. You know it’ll be easy and safe to get at the anchor. As with all Cruise Craft boat there are no loose ends. The presentation and finish are superb.
What, no negative comments regular readers may ask? She nearly got a clean bill of health. But, like the 625 Outsider we were uncomfortable with the closeness of the above screen grab rail to the driver’s face when standing. But anyone a round 170cm mark like me, would be more comfortable after making a few adjustments to gain some space here.
It would also be a tight squeeze to get a reef pick, large enough to hold the 575, into the small anchor well on the foredeck. Although most serious reef fishers carry their reef pick, rope and retriever buoy in a crate inside the boat and handle it from the cockpit. Apparently that bow well is there to hold a Danforth for when you’re anchoring off the beach.
The Cruise Craft Outsider 575 is an excellent all rounder that makes no compromises. It’s just at home out wide chasing sportfish as it is taking the family out for a day’s island hopping. The finish and level of fit-out ensure this boat stands out in the field.
Even before you consider the reduced overall cost and the fact that it can be towed by your average family car.
Cruise Craft were not able to give the final hull weight figure of this new vessel at the time of testing, but have assured us this boat can definitely be towed by a Holden Commodore or similar vehicle.
The cost of the test boat was $47,500 including options and accessories.
Story & Photos by Warren Steptoe