After a number of years absence from the New Zealand market, and by demand, Lazercraft has returned. Freddy Foote checks out the newly released GT 580 Sport.
Lazercraft is a brand that has been on the New Zealand trailer boat landscape since the 1980’s. It was known for many innovations, which include the use of alloy hulls coupled with fiberglass decks.
Under the ownership of Southern Boats in Mosgiel, the popular brand has re-emerged onto the New Zealand market, with two models initially, the GT 580 Sport, and 620, both of which will be seen at the upcoming Auckland on Water Boat Show in September.
“We were always going to bring the brand back; it was just a matter of time,” says Southern Boats General Manager, Jono Bakker.
“The reasoning we did it now, was purely driven by demand. We had numerous calls and enquiries about the brand and when it would be back on the market. So we just took the step and produced the first two models, the 580 and the 620.
“We see Lazercraft as complimenting the Southern brand. The 580 will probably be the smallest model we’ll produce, then the 620 and possibly a 620 hardtop model in future. From there, the next biggest option will be a 676 hardtop”, says Jono.
Best of Both Worlds
Once aboard, you soon forget you’re on an aluminum boat,with the only giveaway being the chequer plate cockpit floor. The Lazercraft brand has always had an enviable reputation on the water for performance and finish. It’s good to see after a number of years of not being in production, that this hasn’t changed.
The forward cabin is roomy and well appointed, with velour squab upholstery and sizeable side shelves for miscellaneous gear storage. Extra storage space is available under the vee berth squabs.
The cockpit seating configuration is in the form of two upholstered, and adjustable pedestal seats mounted on bases with storage underneath, which can be accessed by an aft facing hatch.
The seating position is good and you are well protected by the high curved windscreen forward, plus a bimini top provides extra protection from the elements. A grab rail along the inside top edge of the windscreen is great for passengers to hold onto when underway.
The only thing that was missing was a well place footrest for the driver and passenger. However, this is fitted to suit the skipper at the time of purchase from the dealer.
The dash area is extremely neat and tidy. Engine instruments and switches are cleanly mounted into the fibreglass dash section as well as a Garmin multi function display, and a VHF fitted below.
Anchoring duties can done from the helm as an option, with a rope chain windlass easily fitted to do all the hard work. Should you need to access the foredeck area, a large deck hatch provides immediate access to the anchor locker.
The sizeable cockpit has large, deep and carpeted side shelves running the length of the cockpit. All of the onboard systems, such as batteries, switches, wash down pump, are housed in three lockers inside the transom. Two sizeable underfloor storage lockers run down the middle of the cockpit.
Four-rod holders adorn the coamings, which are finished with a non-skid rubber surface. A bait board is aft, and though there is no walk through, the transom has a low profile so you can easily step over onto the sizeable boarding platform.
Under the floor of this 580 is a 150-litre fuel tank, which feeds the Yamaha 115hp four-stroke outboard.
Water conditions during our test day were fairly choppy, but we did manage to find a calm stretch to test the legs of the 580/115hp outboard combo.
Reasonably nimble with the 115hp four-stroke, it achieved 34.3 knots at wide-open throttle of 5700 rpm swinging a 16″ Reliance propeller. 4000rpm will see a comfortable cruise of around 20 knots using 17 lph and a range of about 150 nm. We were running the boat with a light load of fuel and two onboard.
I thought the Yamaha 115hp four-stroke outboard was the ideal match for the 580 hull. It gave plenty of torque and grunt when you needed it and returned healthy fuel numbers. Should you wish, a 130hp would perform exceedingly well. The hull is rated up to 150hp, and it would handle it, albeit probably in a lively manner. The Lazercraft hulls have always loved lots of horsepower and will handle anything you throw at them. They are a boat you have to drive and not be afraid to drive it hard.
To put it honestly, the 580 was bloody amazing on the water, it was hard to remember that there was actually an alloy hull underneath. It was just so quiet. No matter how hard you pushed it into the chop, there was no banging or crashing. It was that good. Quite easily one of the best performing alloy hulls I’ve experienced.
The 580 did like lots of trim, so to get the best out of it, you need plenty of throttle and the trim button under your thumb. The stability at rest was great, meaning if you’re planning a day out on the water with a few mates, it’s going to be a great fishing platform.
One thing I noticed was how dry the ride was – once we got back to the ramp there wasn’t a single drop of water on the screen.
As tested, this rig is $NZ65,995, which includes a few optional extras off the Lazercraft spec sheet such as the bimini top. However, basic packages start from $NZ55,995, powered by an 115hp Yamaha four stroke outboard and with a single axle alloy trailer. What’s more, it only weighs 1100kg on the trailer, meaning you can still tow it easily with the average family car.
It is the ideal boat for family boating and as it weighs 1100kg on the trailer, you can tow it easily with the average family car. The 580 will provide your passengers great comfort when underway and is versatile enough that you can enjoy a days fishing one day, and be towing water toys or water skiers the next.
The only thing I’d like to see added is a bow rail, which comes as an option. Two reasons, it would look great, and a bow rail is extremely handy when manoeuvering a boat by hand on the beach or back at the ramp.
Overall, I was very impressed. Lazercraft is one of those brands that everyone knows about and speaks very highly of and are probably the ‘hot rod’ of the alloy boat market. I for one, like many others out there am glad it’s back.
- Model & Model: Lazercraft GT 580 Sport
- Priced from: $55,995
- Price as tested: $65,995
- Type: Cabin
- Construction: Aluminium/GRP
- LOA: 5.80m
- Beam: 2.25m
- Deadrise: 19 degree
- Height on trailer: ??
- Trailerable weight: 1100kg
- Test Power: 115hp
- Propeller: 16” Reliance
- Power options: Outboard
- HP Range: 100-150hp
- Fuel Capacity: 150L
- Trailer: Single Axle Alloy
Notable Standard Items
Fibreglass deck and mouldings, wiring loom with switch panel, Auto bilge pump. LED navigation lights, Lazercraft graphics set.
Notable Options on Test Boat
Bimini top, Garmin MFD, VHF.