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REVIEW: Bar Crusher 670HT – BlueWater magazine

Bar Crusher has long had a reputation for innovation and impeccable workmanship. Their range of alloy, purpose-built fishing boats are known for their rigid hulls, soft ride and stability at rest. With the opportunity to test the latest model in the range, Rick Huckstepp couldn’t wait to climb aboard the ‘baby battleship’…

As a leading Australian manufacturer of plate aluminium boats, Bar Crusher has recently achieved CE certification, which means its products have been manufactured and tested to Europe standards. Part of the certification requirement is that the numerical component of the model name must reflect the LOA (Length Over All). Previously, the measurement reflected the hull-only length from bow to transom, and did not take into account the engine brackets or anything else hanging off the transom. Consequently, the boat tested here started off as a 620 Hard Top, but is now called a 670 Hard Top – same boat, different name. A recent addition to the Bar Crusher fleet is the 670 Hard Top (HT), a model based on the well-proven 670C model and the baby of the hard tops.

Constructed from heavy duty, pre-stressed, marine-grade plate aluminium, this trailerable rig follows in the footsteps of its forebears, delivering one of the smoothest rides of any aluminium boat on the market. This model also incorporates Bar Crusher’s ‘Quickflow’ water ballast system – a cavity running the full length of the keel that fills with water when at rest. Instead of the old alloy boat problem of rocking like a wobbly boot when stationary, water flows into the ballast tube and lowers the deep V hull into the water, allowing the chines to sit on or near the surface. Dead in the water and on the drift, it takes on nearly 400 litres of ballast – around 380kg of extra weight – giving far more stability. However, it drains in seconds as the boat moves forward, allowing it to lift on to the plane with ease.

Where the HT differs from the C model is in the superstructure around the helm station. Gone are the clears, short windscreen and collapsible hardtop. Instead, there is extended height with toughened glass windowpanes – three on the front section and one each on the sides. All are fixed with no sliding openers.

The front windowpanes lean back at an angle, giving the HT a ‘racy’ look. This design will better withstand any solid water collisions should you cop a greenie over the bow or perhaps bury it into a standing wave during a bar crossing. It also aids in reducing wind drag when towing. The helm has a pair of 10-inch, flush-mounted electronics cabinets. They, and the engine instruments, fit into removable panels, so changing instruments or electronics during the life of the boat is simply a matter of replacing panels.

The electronics and instruments are angled towards the skipper for easy viewing, while switches are installed out of the way on the vertical fascia. There is a communications console positioned in the cabin roof within easy reach.

A large, sloping dash area is ideal for stowing tags, cards, charts, keys and the like. A lip on the back edge, with a handrail on top, stops all of your gear marching off and on to the deck in rough seas. It also provides secure handholds for those near the helm.

From the helm, the skipper has a clear view into the cabin, around him, back to the cockpit and further out to the lure spread. He also has uncluttered access to the cockpit, rather than having to negotiate around seats and stowage boxes. The hard top has external ribs for strengthening, which are ideal for lashing down equipment on an extended trip. Eight vertical and two angled rod holders at the aft end of the hardtop keep the gunwales clear until you get to your hot spot. Handrails running vertically down the rear supports of the wheelhouse are within easy reach of those on deck.

“Quality is everywhere on this boat and impeccable workmanship is a hallmark of this manufacturer.”

Practical Fishing Boat

This Bar Crusher is a practical workboat. Two people could easily handle all the chores and tackle organisation, while its work area is large enough for four to fish without getting in each other’s way. Getting access to tackle boxes stowed out of the weather in the cabin is easy. The cabin and cockpit deck are on the same plane, which makes for easy flushing out during wash down, and the bunk bases are box sections screwed down to the cabin deck with cushion tops for lids.

If you wanted to store water-sensitive equipment in these compartments, you might consider sealing the boxes with silicone where they meet the deck and hull, thus alleviating any damage in the unlikely event of water getting in there. An infill over the very spacious leg well is an available option to convert the two bunks to a full berth.

The test boat was fitted with an electric drum anchor winch, which nestled into the self-draining anchor well nicely. Should you be running manual ground tackle, there’s easy access via the cabin’s large, gas strut-operated hatch.

Bar Crusher has maximised the beam in the cabin and helm area to gain more cabin room on the relatively narrow hull, and to put the skipper in a better position when sidling up to another boat or jetty. However, with a narrow-beamed boat (2.35m), if you take from Peter, you have to pay Paul. The resulting sacrifice is that you will not be able to fish from the bow due to the precarious walkaround. With a loaded rod attached to a rampaging fish, it would be a recipe for a dunking.

Minimal Bang

On the other hand, that narrow beam is one of the reasons why these hulls ride superbly in a short, sharp chop and over big waves at speed. Minimal ‘bang’ is what it’s all about. This is important when you consider how few dead-calm days the weather gods grant to us offshore fishermen. The 670HT has a deadrise of 20 degrees, measured at the transom. This is the angle of the hull from the keel to its widest beam, and being at the high end, this also contributes to the softer ride.

Both main seating positions are on pedestals mounted on top of square stowage boxes with rear opening doors. These boxes are elevated off the deck to allow you to flush underneath during cleanup. The remainder of the deck, all the way to the transom bulkhead, remains uncluttered, except for a stanchion under each side pocket and beneath the rear fold-down seat.

That seat runs full width between the side pockets, and when folded down has a non-slip top. This makes it ideal to stand tackle boxes on while sorting through the drawers. When this seat is down, the rear bulkhead compartment is exposed, allowing access to the twin batteries, pressure pump and isolation switch. It also allows access to the transom door once a vertical barrier is removed.

A concertina hose for the deckwash is plumbed to the aft end of the starboard side pocket and lies in there, keeping the deck clear. The fuel filter and water separator is intelligently located up under that part of the gunwale – well clear of the electrical side of things. This is good to see in boats, but unfortunately, not often enough! Below the cockpit deck is a good-sized fish box, to keep your catch fresh and out of the way.

A typical Bar Crusher-style single- pedestal bait-rigging station with three rodholders sits mid-transom. There’s more rod storage in a neat little rod and rig station that sits on the side pocket lip. This great unit is transferable around the boat and holds a bottle of water and four upright rods. It also has slots to hold knives safely and is heavily drilled to hang hooks and rigs.

In the port side of the transom bulkhead is a livebait tank of about 50 litres, and except for the loom going to the outboard motor and a berley pot situated close to the engine mount, the rear boarding platform is relatively clutter-free. A swing-down boarding ladder is mounted on the starboard side of the boarding platform.

“Sitting behind solid glass certainly has its advantages and most of this is to do with clarity”

Rough-Weather Performance

We took the 670HT out from Patterson River into Port Phillip Bay for a run on a day when there was a strong wind warning and lousy chop on the shallow entrance. The water tended to calm the further out we ventured, but we opted to stay in the slop to test out the boat’s rough-weather performance.

Sitting behind solid glass certainly has its advantages and most of this is to do with the clarity as opposed to clears. This is handy when in bigger seas and especially when crossing dangerous bars where reading the water correctly is potentially a matter of life and death.

The Suzuki 175hp was more than enough to power the 670HT in any conditions. The speed with which it jumped on to the plane was excellent, and while we couldn’t push it to its maximum speed, we believe this rig is capable of 46 knots.

The Bar Crusher 670HT came through this test with flying colours. They are not the cheapest alloy boat on the market by a long shot, but when you get up close and personal, you can see why. Additionally, you get an impressive list of equipment as standard inventory included in the basic price.

Quality is everywhere on this boat and impeccable workmanship is a hallmark of this manufacturer. Consequently, while the buy price might be more than the average trailerboat of this size, the resale price will reflect the value of your investment and you will enjoy plenty of the X-factor along the way.

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