REVIEW: Bar Crusher 670HT – Trailer Boat
The Bar Crusher 670 Hard Top commands respect and is hard to ignore. Bad weather magnet, Angelo San Giorgio is smitten and doesn’t want to give it back…
Bar Crusher’s Hard Top (HT) Series are FISHING WEAPONS – the company’s words, not mine. Seriously, the Bar Crusher catalogue has got it all, trademarked and everything. It’s a pretty bold claim if you ask me as these are fighting words…excuse the pun. I mean, loads of boatbuilders make similar grandiose assertions about their boats, although most are a bit more subtle about it. For Bar Crusher to actually put it in print is confidence in the extreme and I was curious to find out whether this boat lived up to the claim, or if it was just bluster to blow smoke up the manufacturers’ transoms. I fancy myself as something of a FISHING WEAPON too, albeit one that’s rarely loaded and often fails to hit the target. So it was on!
When I first locked eyes on the Bar Crusher 670HT, I immediately got the impression that it meant business. Standing next to its smaller sibling at Hastings boat ramp, the 610 Hard Top which I reviewed in TrailerBoat #285, the bigger boat looked even tougher. The fact that it sported an unblemished black hull only enhanced it’s menacing stance. I admit I felt a tad intimidated yet surprisingly thrilled – it’s kinda like meeting your dominatrix for the first time…whole other story.
Bar Crushers have a distinctive design signature that while now familiar, still gives them an unmistakeable and imposing character. Simple intersecting lines that sidestep the temptation for unnecessary curves define the hull’s clean and unfussed silhouette. The hard lid only serves to accentuate the simple yet aggressive lines, adding to its character rather than looking like an afterthought. Subtle use of black accents on the five-piece windscreen frame reduces the visual bulk. It gives the impression that the roof is merely hovering above the frame, rather than being attached to it. Clever, eh?! It’s a similar technique employed by car designers to disguise bulk, by drawing and focussing your attention on key design elements.
Such consideration abounds in the boat and the more time you spend on it the more you will notice. For example, the subtle curve of the roof is cantered and flanged so as to ship water into drainage channels rather than back into the cockpit, where it would drench passengers. Or how about integrated grabrails built into the roof’s trailing edge.
And we haven’t even got to the most significant detail of this interesting craft, the Quickflow water ballast technology. It addresses several potential shortcomings of lighter alloy craft, particularly when you introduce deep-vee hulls into the equation. The principal is simple and functional and while not entirely unique, there’s no denying that it works. A channel built into the hull fills instantly at rest and at low speeds. Shedding the weight is simply a matter of accelerating onto the plane and you’re running lean again. An option to consider is Bar Crusher’s recently released Bar Flap, which was not fitted to our test boat. Effectively a hinged triangular door actuated by an electric ram (similar to those found on trim tabs), the Bar Flap can be closed at the push of a switch before accelerating to trap around 300 odd litres of water inside the hull. You essentially create a heavier boat that enhances the ride in some seas.
If I was coming back from the shelf at moderate speeds in sloppy conditions, I’d close it. In most circumstances I would simply leave the flap open and let the hull do its thing.
One characteristic I used to hone in on was the bow high “jump” attitude evident in most of Bar Crusher’s promotional images. Grab Bar Crusher’s catalogue and you’ll see what I’m referring to. Spectacular yes, but inefficient – or so I thought. Watch the video of us punishing the smaller 610HT on www.trailerboat.com.au and you’ll see what I mean. Rather than bogging down on a landing it just keeps going. This is how the hull was originally conceived to function and blow me, it works. The boat is also incredibly forgiving, regardless of how heavy-handed you are on the trim. However, unlike most fibreglass hulls or alloy deep-vees, this is one of the rare hulls you can set and forget. I know, it just doesn’t sound right, does it? Try it for yourself. No porpoising, no fart arsing around with trim while punching through slop. Simply dial in the amount of trim you want – at least half – and let the hull do all the work.
Thankfully, Bar Crusher has carried over the exterior design theme into the cockpit, helm and cabin zones, creating a functional and well-considered layout. Again curves are pretty much banished in favour of clean flat surfaces, preserving the integrity and strength of the aluminium plate. And like the hull it just bloody works. Starting at the helm, vision down and across the bow is excellent even when you feel like playing astronaut and decide to launch the nose skyward. A full-width shelf resides just behind the windscreen which has been thoughtfully carpeted. This versatile and generous space allows personal gear to be right where it’s needed. The helm is also a good size and its simple ergonomics and capacity to accommodate large form factor (big) head units is a bonus. Coaming height is generous as are the lengthy sidepockets.
As a fishing platform it excels. Simple uncluttered space, loads of standard rodholders, a functional factory baitboard, super-sized ladder and a real-world anchoring system. A plumbed livebait tank and deckwash, interior lights, storage-cum-tackle lockers, berley bucket and walkthrough rear door are some of the features that will make your day on the water even better. The ride quality allows you to focus on when the fish are biting, rather than what direction the wind’s blowing.
Room With A View
Now this is my idea of a penthouse suite. The panoramic vista afforded by the toughened glass and the additional comfort and security of an integrated hardtop cannot be understated. In cooler climes, offshore slop, and for long runs to the reef or drop-off, it’s the ideal way to go if your budget allows it. If not, go to the NASA surplus store and pick up a couple of Buzz Aldrin’s helmets to simulate the experience of an enclosed hardtop in your runabout. The enclosed space also works really well in the rain since it ensures you, your gear and your crew remain dry.
Driven To Distraction
This Bar Crusher is a WOMD – WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION – and will cost you fish because you’ll be keen just to drive it around until you run out of fuel. It is without question one of the best things I’ve ridden on or off the water. Aided in no small part by a Suzuki 175hp four-stroke, the 670 Hard Top package is one of the most holistic boating experiences to date. Driving it is no different to driving a car, with the hull and engine performing as an integrated unit. Within minutes you will find yourself doing things in the boat which could be considered reckless in most vessels and would see you arrested if you were in a car. The ride is nuts for any boat, let alone a relatively light plate-alloy. It’ll give just about any fibreglass boat in its class a real shake up at a fraction of the price.
The standard and quite brilliant Easytow trailer is designed to perfectly fit. The boat sits low to the guards and is a cinch to get on or off. The standard Bar Catch launch and retrieval system should be the industry standard – because it works.
Sure I’ve got a couple of little gripes – wouldn’t be a boat without them. While I’m loving the squared off vibe, I would prefer round or curved footrails, particularly on the rear of the seat boxes. I’m accident prone and I finished the test with several war wounds to my shins and my favourite jeans. I was, however, advised of impending changes to the design and I’m pleased to report that another encounter with this model recently revealed the Bar Crusher designers were true to their word.
Now I’ll probably get tarred and feathered by the armchair experts and forum junkies as yet another boat tester with his hand out and his head up his arse. Well TOUGH! Sometimes boats just do what the marketing suggests. The Bar Crusher 670HT is one of those rigs and we’re all the luckier for it. I’m finding it hard to let go.