By Ian Miller
Driving a centre console alloy boat on a cold choppy Whangarei harbour is not what I would normally classify as fun! How wrong can you be! At the end of an hourâs boat test, which was a heap of fun, I was very reluctant to return this well designed Marco 570 Hunter to its trailer.
Marco Boats based in Morrinsville have been building boats for two decades. The business is owned by Bryan and Helen Horne who have only had the reins of the company for a little over a year. The day-to-day management is run by their son Dayne Horne and Bob Jarvie.
They plan to double the current production of 100 units spread over the 10 Marco models during the next 18 months. This expansion will ensure that the Marco brand will increase its share of the New Zealand recreational boating market.
Construction / layout:
Because of the hullâs design, the 570 has been successfully in production for 10 years, which is a strong statement as to the quality of the design.
The hullâs 4mm marine grade aluminium plating is stiffened by six 4mm L-shaped stringers, which run the full length of the hull. These stringers are locked together by 4mm ties welded at 500mm intervals. An underfloor sealed 4mm bulkhead is welded in just forward of the centre console. The fully welded 3mm treadplate floor completes the hullâs strength capabilities to handle the stress and strains of pounding into a heavy sea. Also built into the hullâs construction are two completely sealed underfloor buoyancy chambers. A great safety feature!
Layout of the 570 Hunter is excellent.
Everywhere I looked there was a hatch of some sort providing plenty of dry gear storage for such items as clothing and protecting vital electronic equipment. At the transom there is a full width lift up treadplate door concealing the batteries, isolating switch and the motorâs oil supply/filter. There is plenty of room in this dry compartment to add an extra battery for parallel connection or for stowing fishing gear etc.
The centre fibreglass console helm is well positioned and provides ample protection for two people. The 1.9m high screen providing plenty of protection for the equipment mounted on the consoleâs dashboard such as radio, depth sounder, GPS and the outboardâs instrumentation. Navigation lights and bilge pump are standard items which are operated from a four-way switch panel set into the dashboard.
There is a small anchor hatch in the bow although there is not enough room for stowing all the warp and anchor.
The 570 Hunterâs performance took me by surprise. The hull is fast, stable and remarkably dry for a centre console design. Test conditions were a half metre plus chop kicked up by a 15-20 knot souâ wester, so the chances of getting very wet were real! Apart from a little spray from time to time, generally the hull pushed the bow waves well clear from the hull. The hullâs relatively shallow 15 degree deadrise delivers a very soft ride when you consider the compromises that have to be made when considering a boatâs stability when at anchor and when moving through a seaway and the crewâs safety and comfort when punching through a heavy sea. It didnât matter at what speed or angle we approached the sea, the handling was totally predictable and stable in all turning situations.
I think this particular rig was very well balanced with the Mercury 90 HP Saltwater Series outboard hanging off the back. With a hull weight of around 360 kg, performance was always going to be lively! At 4000 revs, we cruised at a very comfortable 30 mph. A quick squirt on the throttle and we were hitting 45 mph! At 5300 revs I backed off as sea conditions were coming into play. Maximum revs for the motor is 5600 so this boat is very capable of over 50 mph. At the end of an hour of âthe boys at playâ we still had change out of 20 litres of petrol so economy of this rig is exceptional.
Dive and Fishability:
This is where the walk-around centre console design really excels as it caters for both diving and fishing very well.
For the diver, storage is always an issue, there is heaps of it aboard this baby! The consoleâs fibreglass seat holds two full dive bags while two dive cylinders strap onto the front of the console. A further two cylinders can be stowed underfloor. Note this ceases to be an option if an underfloor fuel tank is installed. For divers to gear up there are two completely separate areas to don their equipment without falling over one another. An excellent feature is the wide gunwales, which makes for an extensive seating area, very handy for the diver who has completed gearing up. Once again we noted how stable the boat is even when two people are sitting on the same gunwale. The transom step comes standard while the diverâs boarding ladder is an optional addition.
For the fishermen, to be able to walk right around the boat while playing that fighting fish is a luxury. The test boat had four flush mounted rod holders down each gunwale and I must admit to being impressed with the two bait boards forward and aft. The underfloor hold could also be converted into a fish hold or live bait tank if desired.
Was a breeze, in fact it wasnât until our two-litre station wagon encountered a hill that one realised the boat was there at all! I particularly liked the multi-roller trailer, which incorporates keel rollers.
This would be a very easy boat to retrieve by driving it up on to the trailer, but with 20 knots of crosswind I wasnât game, the paintwork was too new! Beach launching and retrieval would be a relatively simple task.
Value for Money :
Marcoâs factory foreman Bob Jarvie has done a great job in designing the 570 Hunter. For the keen diver/fisherman this is a great rig that could be towed long distances with ease. One of the only drawbacks with this particular set up would be the lack of protection from the sun. However, for a small sum of money a marine upholsterer would be able to design a bimini top if required.
Although this is the first of the 570 Hunters off the line, I am sure that with a price tag of around $32,000 Dayne and his team will be busy. The test boat was loaned by Anchorage Marine in Whangarei and is exceptional value at just under $30,000.
Although the 570 Hunter is very aptly named, the versatility of this rig is huge. It would be quite at home as a family boat towing skiers, wake-boarders or just playing around in the lakes.
Hull & Transom
Boat only weight
Max. Recom. HP
Performance with 90 Hp Saltwater Series Mercury:
Cruise speed at 4000 revs 30 mph
Top speed at 5600 revs 50 mph
Price as tested approximately