Boat test: Fyran 575 Pursuit

By: Norman Holtzhausen, Photography by: Norman Holtzhausen


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The latest 'baby' Pursuit 575 from Fyran boats helps extend its market reach, providing a capable hardtop cabin boat at a very affordable price.

Boat test: Fyran 575 Pursuit
In pursuit of happiness: the Fyran 575 Pursuit.

Fyran started manufacturing production aluminium trailer boats for the New Zealand market back in 1953, and its current purpose-built factory in East Tamaki is one of the largest and most modern of any boatbuilder in the country.

Several years ago, the company switched to computer-controlled CNC router cutting, ensuring parts are cut to absolute precision every time. Fyran also revolutionised aluminium manufacturing, with the introduction of fibreglass hardtops attached to the aluminium hulls. This allows the creation of rounder lines and softer profiles than aluminium alone can do, while retaining the durability and strength of the metal base.

The 575 Pursuit is the latest 'baby' in Fyran's very popular range of hardtops, being the smallest Pursuit yet. The hardtop that previously filled this role was the 595, which at 6.1m LOA was just too big for some people.

Gary Stephenson of Brokerage Marine at Westpark Marina saw the shift in market demand towards a smaller model, and therefore approached Fyran with a suggestion, proposing that Fyran take the existing 560 hull, extend the cockpit slightly and add a hardtop cabin. The result is a compact boat with an enclosed cabin but still with plenty of fighting room in the cockpit, as well as the one of the large boarding platforms in its class.

Fishing machine

This boat is clearly intended as a serious fishing machine, and we were keen to see how well the idea has worked out. An opportunity arose to test the prototype model and, despite it having a few shortcomings in terms of the finish quality, we were willing to have a look. Knowing that production models with the full CNC treatment will have no such issues, we set the test up for a fine summer's day.

First seeing the boat out on the water from a distance, the distinctive Fyran colour scheme made it instantly recognisable. The white topsides and black hull look clean and neat, and at first glance the boat looks bigger than the sub-6m length that is really is. The silver Honda 90hp four-stroke purring quietly at the back fits in well and we were soon on board and taking it through its paces.

The forward cabin is definitely a day cabin only, with twin three-quarter bunks. The review boat lacked squabs (or any other extras) but, of course, the purchaser can select appropriate upholstery. The forward area has carpet-lined sides and ceiling and is bright, thanks to the large side windows. The head height is also very good, with a cabin roof that is higher than the average.

Accessibility

The foredeck area is reachable through an oversize aluminium hatch, and standing on the cabin floor one can easily access the anchor locker. This has a plate aluminium cover held closed by a catch made from another piece of aluminium plate - we would expect the production model to have a better option.

The anchor well was deep and a bollard welded to the hull behind the well provides a secure attachment for the anchor. An alloy bow rail goes right around the bow area, although the high cabin roof means that stepping onto the foredeck is unlikely to be an option anyway. It is not possible to step around the outside of the hardtop to the foredeck.

At the helm station, the skipper has an upholstered seat on a standard plastic pedestal (with a storage area underneath), while the passenger side has a king/queen seat arrangement. The rear-facing queen seat lifts up to reveal a waterproof storage compartment. Other seating arrangements are also possible. Stephenson prefers not to second-guess what electronics a purchaser would want, so the review boat had a virgin dashboard area, with only the gauges from the Honda BF90 fitted to the one side. There is therefore plenty of space for other electronics to be fitted.

The helm position is good, with sufficient space to stand while driving - head height is generous. A welded footrest makes the seated position equally comfortable, although since the seat is not adjustable this will depend on the size of the skipper. The view through the hardtop is excellent, with the window section being made up of five flat panels. This keeps the costs down and also simplifies fitting windscreen wipers if required.

Space to spare

The cockpit area is expansive, with ample space for four anglers. Fyran claims the boat has a cockpit that is 30 percent larger than its nearest competitor, and I would find it difficult to argue with this.

The gunwales are wide and comfortable to sit on, with several rod holders fitted into them. A rocket launcher along the back of the hardtop gives further rod storage space. There is no carpet or tube-mat fitted, although this is an option. The prototype did not have an underfloor fuel tank, but it is optional. Instead, an underfloor wet locker area holds the catch or other wet gear.

There is space under the transom for three conventional tote tanks and, thanks to the economical Honda four-stroke, this will give the boat a good range. Another option is to fit the new bigger 40 litre tote tanks, and the space looks big enough to accommodate these as well. The boarding platform on this boat is, like most of the Pursuit range, wide.

In good conditions, it is quite feasible to stand on it while fishing, and of course divers and swimmers will love it. An alloy boarding ladder sits on the port side and a removable step through the transom, with sliding door, makes it easy to get in and out of the cockpit. The only optional extra that was fitted to the boat was one of Fyran's excellent bait boards.

Fitting into two rod holders on the transom, this is one of the best on the market for usability and keeping the mess out of the boat. It stands high enough to use without bending, has a loose wooden board as the cutting surface and is easily cleaned. A deep tray in the rear and high sides ensure knives and gear never fall out. Further rod holders on the board make up for the two it occupies.

Ready for the ride

Soon, we were ready to try out the ride. Fyran's design philosophy is to have a relatively long waterline length to beam ratio, making an easily-driven hull that is extremely efficient. This hull has an overall length of 5.75m, with a beam of 2.19m. This translates to a lower horsepower requirement, keeping down costs and reducing fuel consumption.

We did not measure top speed but Stephenson claims it reaches 64kph (35 knots) with the modest 90hp Honda. Acceleration is certainly excellent. The slippery hull leaps out the water easily and the deep-vee hull is capable of tight and controlled turns. The ride is smooth and the boat cuts through wakes and swell easily.

Some engine vibration was transmitted through the hull, but again this was an artefact of being the prototype model. Of course, the downside to the smooth ride is tenderness at rest, although Fyran mitigates this by creating a wider beam at the waterline. We were very lightly loaded and the boat will settle down a bit more with extra weight; when there is more gear and people on board, I believe the boat will be more stable at rest. The boat is provided on a single-axle unbraked trailer and, with a towing weight of around 950kg, it is easy to tow.

A standard feature of all Fyran boats is a protective keel bar to prevent damage when loading onto the trailer or when running up on a beach. The hull is constructed from 4mm plate and Fyran has a policy of not grinding their welds. This, combined with the welded bulkheads and stringers, ensures a strong and durable hull.

All Fyran boats are now CPC approved, which means they boats have sealed floatation compartments to make them unsinkable.

Verdict

Overall, this is a 'big' boat for a small price. Although it is clearly intended as a serious fishing machine, rather than a fun family runabout, it has enough space to suit both requirements. The sharp entry prices (packages are available from $41,500) ensure that this will be another winner from Fyran.

But don't take my word for it: if you are interested in comparing the various models on the water, contact Brokerage Marine. The team will be holding a Sea Trial day on Saturday June 9, with eight different Fyran models on the water, from the 560 up to the 760 - so you can see for yourself.

For more information contact Brokerage Marine, ph 0800 FUN AFLOAT or visit brokeragemarine.co.nz

We liked

Large cockpit space Shelter from the elements Huge boarding platform

Disliked

Rough edges of the prototype Rough catch on anchor hatch

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