Reeled in by family cruiser

Boasting power and comfort, the Crestliner 1700 Superhawk is both a great ride and perfect for fishing enthusiasts, writes David Lockwood.

Boasting power and comfort, the Crestliner 1700 Superhawk is both a great ride and perfect for fishing enthusiasts, writes David Lockwood.

Despite our unenviable reputation as the driest continent on earth, Australia boasts some stellar waterways. We have world-class harbours, bays, big rivers and all manner of creeks. But many of the latter defy interpretation. Take Berowra Creek, aka Berowra Waters, which is more a river than a stream, brook or, as the dictionary defines "creek", a minor tributary of a river.

Bordered by the wilds of Muogamarra Nature Reserve and Marramarra National Park, Berowra is a world unto itself. For decades, the serpentine "creek" has been a conduit for the local folk and close-knit community. Berowra was built on opportunity and enterprise, hardship and legend, but today it serves largely as a welcome retreat on Sydney's outskirts.

Naturally, you need a boat to get about. Even post-flood, when the water is as mired as it was during our recent visit, a boat trip is a rousing experience. Linked by car ferry to Sydney's Hornsby and Hills districts, the creek has an accommodating boat ramp beside a welcoming marina from which we set out.

Our boat is the latest Crestliner 1700 Superhawk. One of multinational Brunswick Corporation's bread-and-butter brands, Crestliner has a class-leading finish that conceals its aluminium build. The high-gloss paint and graphics, the absence of visible welds - if not the carpet liners and moulded dash modules - add to the eye candy.

On a single-axle galvanised trailer, the Crestliner 1700 Superhawk presents as a premium tinnie for $43,595 with 115hp four-stroke Mercury EXLPT EFI outboard and factory-fitted boat options. The Sports Package includes twin reclining helm seats with slider and tilt wheel, swim platform and bow backrests with drink holders.

The boat also had the Northwest Package with easy-clean vinyl flooring and carpeted casting platforms. A Lowrance X-4 sounder was fitted, but importers Berowra Waters Wholesale had a deal at the time of writing that offers a free Lowrance Elite-5 for $1299, fully installed.

Designed for fishing forays and family flings, our Crestliner also had a 44lb-thrust trolling motor with clever wrist remote control. This way, you can sneak up on unsuspecting fish. Suffice to say, with all that kit, this is a very complete boat.

The bowrider's unconventional high-aspect windscreen grows on you, while the soft furnishings, fully welded floor and foam flotation add to the ride comfort. Under way, you don't hear the usual tinnie sound as you cross-wind waves and wake. But the sharp hull also deserves credit for the smooth ride. Slotted into Crestliner's Deep-V range, the 1700 Superhawk has 17 degrees of deadrise mainly in the forward sections to sluice the swells.

The construction uses 2.5-millimetre aluminium on the hull bottom, 2.3mm on the sides and 3.2mm at the transom. By way of comparison, this is not as heavy a gauge as Australian-made tinnies of similar length. But the hull and sides appear well supported.

We put the family aspect of the boat to the test first. Cruising along Berowra Creek, the Superhawk offered a comfortable ride, clear vistas of the bushland and sporty performance for towing tykes on tubes, wakeboards and skis.

Seating stretches from two padded swabs in the bow through twin pedestal helm seats to a rear lounge for three. Drink holders, iceboxes and a portable cooler are provided.

Now for the alter ego. Flip the bow cushions and seat bases down and, voila, you have a casting platform. Flip the rear lounge over and you create a second aft casting platform. Deploy the optional electric motor and you're in stealth mode. Now reach for the tackle in the catacomb of underfloor storage. There are in-built racks for seven rods, an 83-litre live fish well and a storage-tackle drawer ahead of the co-pilot.

This way you can go from family boat to high-powered fishing rig and vice versa in a matter of minutes. Oh, and just as quickly zoom from spot to spot. Smooth cruise ranges from 24 knots to 27 knots, while top speed of 35 knots was recorded on my hand-held GPS. The 125-litre underfloor fuel tank should keep you boating for most of the day.

The Crestliner was at home on Berowra Creek. Given more time, we could have done a bit of everything from serious fishing to staging a shore-side picnic at Twin Beaches. The perfect test bed.

More at crestliner.com.au.

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