By Doug Dukeson

by Holly Dukeson


It has been a few years since I wrote a review on a Buccaneer; in fact, the last one would have been our Buccaneer 685 Exess Hard Top, which we used as our PowerBoat Magazine photography boat about five years ago. Therefore, I was familiar with Buccaneer hardtops and was quite excited to get out on the water to trial Buccaneer’s latest release, the Buccaneer Five Seven Five HT.

The Buccaneer brand, which has been around since 1976 (having built over 6,300 boats), would likely have New Zealand’s largest selection of GRP boat models, offering 22 models across 5 ranges. The hardtop range alone offers 8 different models in the Exess, Billfisher, El Dorado, and the new HT range. The newest additions to the HT series are the Buccaneer Six Fifteen HT and this reviewed model, the Buccaneer Five Seven Five HT, which has been designed with functionality, weight, and trailer manoeuvrability at the top of their wish list. Designer Gerry Gerrand aimed to keep the boat and motor package sitting on a single-axle trailer, enabling the (1620 kgs) rig to be towed behind an average-sized car and easily stored, which is significant for those with today’s smaller sections who still want a hardtop option. These two new models now fill the gap in the Buccaneer hardtop range.

On board the boat, I was immediately impressed with the feeling of volume it gave. On several occasions, I had to remind myself that we were on a boat only 5.75 meters in length; it certainly felt much larger. Our drone operator, at a height of 6’2”, cleared the hardtop – impressive on a boat just 5.75 meters long. Designer Gerry Gerrand attributes this to the raised Carolina sheer line, which creates more height in the hardtop. Also impressive is the skill of the designer and boat builders to achieve the right balance, look, and proportions aesthetically for a boat of this size. 

Starting forward in the cabin, there are vee berth bunks. Adding the infill provides enough room for two of me, at 5’8’’, to lay stretched out, with perhaps a small child fitting in between for an overnight stay. Two large side lockers run the length of the cabin, offering good storage. There is also storage space between the bunks or a position for an optional portable toilet under the forward bunk, discreetly tucked away.

Stepping back up into the SeaDek-covered cockpit, there is seating for five, or six at a push, with two smaller bottoms placed on the padded chilly bin (the boat is CPC rated for six). The bolstered helm chairs are comfortable and also have a great feature where they can be spun around 180 degrees to the reverse position, great for comfortable fishing under the protection of the hardtop or creating a social feel with others seated in the cockpit area.

At the helm, visibility is good through the newly designed front windscreen. The twin pane front setup has a slightly commercial look but is quite unique. The frame is made in-house by Buccaneer and sent to Sandbrooks for glazing. The frame is glazed flat in a jig to give a better finish. Stocking pre-glazed front and slider units reduces vessel construction time. The arrangement offers good visibility all around and the sliders provide great ventilation and airflow which is essential with a hardtop. The instrumentation is well laid out, featuring a Raymarine 12” Element HSV, positioned prominently and clearly visible below the Mercury engine gauges. 

On either side of the Raymarine MFD are the Maxwell RC6 Anchor winch switch panel to the left and the Electrotab Trim tab toggle to the right. Found lower on the helm are the BEP accessory switch panel, a 12-volt USB charger, GME Stereo, and VHF. The controls and helm feel comfortable, ergonomic, and accessible.

The balance between the cabin and cockpit is well proportioned with enough workspace area for three or four in the working deck space. There is plenty of cockpit storage by way of generous side trays with rod storage options on either side. Just behind the 165-litre underfloor fuel tank is a generous underfloor locker (which could also be used for water storage if overnighting). There are an additional two storage lockers under the moulded aft seats. Between these is yet another locker that houses the battery, with provision for a second battery if one is required. Above the battery storage, there is a Manta bait board with four-rod holders. Other rod holders are located within the coamings, and cabin side-mounted rod holders are on either side, ideal for rod storage and easy access to gaffs and nets.

Stepping through the transom is effortless, and thanks to the telescopic boarding ladder mounted on the port swim step, allows easy access on and off the boat. The side decks allow access to move up front. Even Richard, at 6’2”, had little trouble moving forward to capture drone footage.

With a Maxwell RC6 anchor winch installed (as standard), there was little need to head up to the foredeck, but if working a big kingi around the boat, the access is there if needed. There is also a Cule hatch in the cabin, allowing access through to the anchor locker and foredeck.

The transom was fitted with a Mercury 115 Pro XS CT Four-Stroke (with an 18” Inertia three-blade prop). I felt this to be an excellent match for the Five Seven Five HT, offering good performance out of the hole and a respectable top speed of 36 knots (66 kph), burning just 45 l/ph. I could imagine those wanting a little more performance possibly looking at a 130, 140, or 150hp option. Designer Gerry Gerrand believes those not striving for top-end performance could run a four-blade prop, which would offer better out-of-the-hole performance, at the cost of just a little top-end performance, which in the case of a Hard Top, makes perfect sense which in the case of a Hard Top, makes perfect sense. (Since our review the Buccaneer team tested a 17” four-blade prop, and reported, that the boat got up on the plane quicker, was stronger mid-range and burnt about one litre per hour less at top end).

Out on the water:

Launching at Gulf Harbour, the morning conditions were reasonably flat. We took staff members Carla and Holly out for a run, so we could experience the boat four-up and also to improve the quality of photographic models onboard. Four-up, 80% full. The Five Seven Five, powered by the Mercury 115 Pro XS CT Four-Stroke, had plenty of power to get up and out of the water and ran well in our relatively flat conditions. It was a great opportunity to get the boat dialled in. Learning the boat, I found it preferred a little trim out, with just a slight trim tab down to have it set up nicely. Later in the day, it chopped up a little, and we took the Five Seven Five HT out into the chop, this time, three up with our 6’2” drone operator Richard onboard. Richard was ‘good enough’ to stand aft and move from side to side while out in the small chop, making me give the tabs a real workout. Again, this is a 5.75-metre boat with a 22-degree deep vee – so there was always going to be some movement. With a little trim out and bringing the tabs into action, helped to counter his ‘circus-like’ antics in the back. Personally, if I were spending the dollars on a new boat with such a deep vee, I would look to spend just a little extra on a set of auto tabs, taking the work and thinking out of trimming the boat. Maybe I’m getting lazy in my old age! Deep vee boats are great in rougher conditions but generally introduce a little tenderness. These tab systems take much of that away, offering the best of all worlds, great performance in the rough, adding stability with no compromise.

The boat’s construction, like the rest of the Buccaneer family, is a full stern-to-bow fibreglass hull liner (a hull-within-a-hull with foam filling). This produces a rigid hull with minimal wood in the construction, significantly increasing the boat’s longevity while offering a quieter and softer ride. For peace of mind, Buccaneer backs all of their range with a 5-Year Hull Structural Warranty. They are Coastguard-approved and are built to the New Zealand Boat Building CPC Standard.

The Five Seven Five HT (and sistership the Six Fifteen HT) had been close to moving from the Buccaneer drawing board, then came Covid, followed by the surge of orders for two years following Covid… with this period behind them, the Buccaneer team worked hard to present these two new hard top models, two of the first Kiwi GRP boats to hit the water post-Covid. We are glad she finally made it; we all enjoyed our day out on the water (must take bait next time). I believe there will be much interest in the Five Seven Five HT, particularly from those wanting the benefits a Hardtop brings, with the ability to be towed behind a medium-sized vehicle with easy storage, especially those living in built-up suburbs with limited parking or a dogleg driveway like mine.

To conclude, in addition to the ease of launching and retrieving, this compact hard top model will make a family’s time on the water a lot more comfortable, offering protection from the elements, both in protection from the scorching sun in the hot summer months and also extending the boating season into the cooler months.


  • Make & Model: Buccaneer Five Seven Five HT                            
  • Price as tested: $126,225
  • Priced From: $116,625
  • Type: Hard Top
  • Construction: GRP
  • LOA: 6.28m  
  • Hull Length: 5.75m  
  • Beam: 2.34m
  • Deadrise: 22.5 degrees    
  • Trailer: Enduro Braked Single Axle
  • Height on trailer: 2.750 m 
  • Length on trailer: 7.8m (engine tilted up)
  • Trailerable weight: 1620 kg (120 litres of fuel) 
  • Test Power: Mercury 115 Pro XS CT Four-Stroke
  • Propeller: 18” Inertia Three Blade
  • Power options: Single Outboard
  • HP Range: 115hp-150hp 
  • Fuel Capacity: 165L
  • Manufacturer: Buccaneer Pleasure Craft Ltd



Buccaneer Five Seven Five HT

Power: Mercury 115 HP Four Stroke





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