Two years after releasing the FC580 onto the market, FC Boats has re-jigged it and released it with a few additional features and a new name.
I tested what was the FC580 a few years ago when it was first released. And I loved it.
So when a manufacturer goes and fiddles with something that you really liked, you tend to get nervous. I mean, we all saw the backlash that Nestle received when they fiddled with the recipe for Milo!
The FC580, though a great boat, had to get a name change for a number of reasons according to Ross Christensen, Managing Director of FC Boats.
“We needed to achieve parity with the opposition in the marketplace. We were being compared to a much smaller volume boat that was confusing to the consumer.
We measured the boat as a hull measurement that gives us a long waterline length. We don’t have a big outboard pod; some other brand boats have a 400mm pod, and their hulls are a lot smaller. So we have just done the same as every other manufacturer to bring our boats into line,” says Christensen.
What I love about the FC595 and on the previous FC580 was that it is a great all-rounder. It targets those who want a bare and robust fishing tinnie, with a generous cockpit space for fishing, fantastic stability due to its flooding ballast system and a large casting platform on the foredeck – truly a versatile package.
It is a boat well suited to both fishing and diving, and with the built-in seating aft you’ve got a good family boat. Plus there is plenty of storage forward in the cuddy cabin.
A key feature of the FC595 is stability. The FC595 has two stability systems; aft, there is a flooding keel, which floods when the boat is at rest, making the craft ultra stable, then when underway the water drains out quickly. In the forward section next to the helm, there is a controllable ballast system, enabling the skipper to bring onboard the desired amount of forward ballast, and then to dump it when it’s not needed. A simple release valve is located near the helm to easily control the amount of water.
Up under the fairlead are two small holes, big enough to push the end of a hose through. It enables you to flush out the ballast tank system with fresh water after your day on the water. Extra safety comes in the form of a sealed floor and flotation foam under the side decks.
Another standout feature is the generous casting platform on the foredeck, which can be accessed via a large deck hatch from the cuddy cabin below or by walking around the sides. The gunnels and foredeck are treated with a tough, durable coating called ‘Deck Tread’ which comes as an option. It makes the foredeck non-skid and then also allows the gunnels to take knocks and scratches.
The FC595 has stability in buckets. Probably one of the most stable boats in its class. Two of us on one side of the cockpit and it hardly shifted.
Like other FC Boats models, extended gunnels and a raised sheer line provide ergonomic access around the sides to the foredeck area also. The gull wing design that has been successful in its smaller models, lends itself to making this boat very dry.
Multi Purpose Layout
An open layout firstly sees an adequately sized boarding platform on either side of the outboard pod, with the port corner featuring a Deck tread finished aluminium boarding ladder. A grab rail is welded onto the rear of the transom to aid in re-entering the boat from the water – great for divers.
Our test boat came with a 100l underfloor fuel tank but you also have the option of tote tanks. If you want the underfloor fuel tank, you’ll need to have the box pedestal seat option, which houses the fuelling pipes and the filler on the starboard exterior side by the helm.
The transom area has a built-in shelf that is ideal for storing any miscellaneous items such as tackle boxes etc. as well as housing all the boat’s onboard systems and battery. Above there is a sizeable bait board, that is available in three different versions.
Other features include a passive live bait tank (meaning it fills itself when at rest, and water can be kept locked in until you choose to discharge), a large under-floor storage locker big enough for dive bottles and sizeable cockpit side shelves.
The cockpit is fairly large, with long side shelves running right up to the forward seating area. Two welded rod holders each side are situated along the coamings with a further two situated in the transom.
Seating on our test boat consisted of a king/queen seat on the passenger side, with lift up storage access underneath. The helm seat is a fully adjustable pedestal seat mounted on a base. Additional seating is available in the aft corners with fold down seats, that also provide thigh padding allowing for the angler. You can play a fish right into the far corners of the boat – a great feature.
Small storage shelves are on either side of the helm for keys and cell phones and a handrail runs right along the edge of the forward dash area.
The well-protected cuddy cabin has a v-berth with a toilet under the forward centre squab. Bunk extensions can be added to extend their length and these slot into place immediately in front of the helm and passenger seating. I’m 185cm tall and I managed to lay down quite comfortably with the bunk extension fitted. When not in use they can hang in the cabin out of the way or on the side next to the passenger seat. For privacy, a curtain can be drawn across the cabin entrance.
Above, a large aluminium deck hatch provides access to the forward casting platform.
Back at the helm, our test boat had the engine instruments already mounted in the alloy dash, with the forward dash area carpeted. A 7” Lowrance MFD was flush mounted and was complimented with a GME VHF radio and Fusion stereo unit below. The controls for a Maxwell rope/chain windlass are also at the helm.
For protection you would probably want to add a bimini to the ropcket launcher, but that’s an option.
The FC595 is easily powered from 75-135hp with 90hp being the popular option. Our test boat was powered by a Mercury 115hp four-stroke that pushed the boat along to 34 knots @ 6000rpm. On our test day, we had two of us onboard and 40 litres of fuel under the floor.
We found a comfortable cruise of around 20 knots @ 4000rpm, and a quick look at the Mercury Smartcraft gauges showed the 115hp four-stroke was using 17lph.
The 115hp four-stroke gave great punch out of the hole and good acceleration mid-range. Handling overall was excellent. The 595 has an incredibly soft ride, and at times it was easy to forget you were in an alloy boat. No banging and crashing, and coming off waves or chop, the ride was superb. Super dry also.
Underway, there is excellent visibility forward through the curved windshield, which provides great protection from the wind. If weather conditions are a bit chilly, you can close the helm in by zipping up the clears of the bimini top to keep yourself and passengers snug.
Back at the ramp, the FC595 is easily handled back onto its single axle trailer that has been purposely designed with a drop axle to make launching and retrieving even easier. Given the size and weight of the boat, beach launching is a possibility as well.
Overall, it’s a great boat, with a super finish, great features, good looks and from a safety and practicality perspective plus overall value for money it’s hard to beat in its class. I can also confidently say it’s one of the best performing boats in its segment for not only ride but also stability.
What’s also good is you can get on the water for as little as $NZ43,995 with a 90hp two-stroke and an unpainted hull. This one was priced as tested at $??,??? with the four-stroke and some optional extra’s fitted.
Are FC Boats onto a winner with this renaming exercise? You bet.
- Model: FC595
- Priced from: $43,995
- Price as tested: $??,???
- Type: Cabin
- Construction: Aluminium
- LOA: 5.95m
- Beam: 2.4m
- Deadrise: 18 degrees
- Trailerable weight: 1000kg
- Power: Mercury 115hp
- Propeller: 18” Vengeance
- Max Speed: 34.7 knots
- Power options: Outboard only
- Fuel capacity: 100L
- Trailer: Voyager
Performance & Fuel