Author : Barry Tyler
With a name like Precision the expectations are always high, of a boat that is engineered to perfection, goes like the clappers, looks the part, and perhaps most importantly of all, a boat that performs impeccably well in all manner of conditions. The new Precision 58 Sports Cruiser model from Gold Coast manufacturer Precision Cruisers was all of that and more – the superlatives just keep rolling!
The Precision story goes back many, many years, to WA legends Len Randell and Phil Curran who first created the sturdy offshore sports fishers and made the hull the mainstay of the Western Australian commercial fishing fleet. It was a hull that mastered the shocking conditions so prevalent in the hostile environment that is the West Australian coast. Thankfully its underhull shape remains almost untouched to this day. The only major difference has of course been in the deck and cabin top features that today thankfully are light years away from what masqueraded in those days as an acceptable standard of cabin design.
The famous Precision brand attracted the attention of the late ‘entrepreneur’ Christopher Skase, who bought into the business and moved production to the East Coast. The demise of Skase saw the larger moulds purchased by AMDAC, headed by ex-Precision WA employees who re-established the business near Newcastle – and as well introduced the new 65 model into the range.
Plans to expand to 27m and 36m sports fishers and 18m and 25m motor yachts were on the drawing board when the company’s rapid expansion caused financial problems for the then management and an individual Precision owner, Detmold Packaging MD Rodney Detmold, purchased the business and put the yard on a sounder footing for future development.
Precision Cruisers has continued to move from strength to strength and is now located in the newly established Gold Coast Marine Centre, part of Queensland’s Gold Coast Marine Precinct.
A significant R&D effort in fact has preceded the launch of the new 58 model, including tank testing in Tasmania to ensure that the hull, which is closely based on the Precision 17m, met resistance, trim and speed expectations. These efforts have resulted in a vessel worthy of the Precision Cruisers name, with its fine bow entry providing for a smooth ride in rough conditions, and a three-quarter keel enhancing directional stability in a following sea.
The Standard Model
As such, and it almost seems derogatory to describe it this way, this boat is a standard version without the obvious extras such as electronics, tender, and boarding platform to name just a few discretionary features, until an owner appears who will choose his own versions of these and other options. What is standard for this model however is a list of features as long as your arm, that make this boat not only a pleasure to be aboard, but also a veritable engineering masterpiece that just happens to go exceedingly well.
I alluded earlier to the fact that the hull was still the same as yesteryear’s version and to all intents and purposes it was, apart from the fact that the propellers are now housed within an extended concave tunnel section each side of the keel line, that allows for a more economical and efficient propeller shaft angle – and of course added protection for the rudders. Because the Precision hull is so efficient anyway, only modest-sized engines have been fitted that provide a top speed of over 35 knots. Power in this instance was a pair of 1,000hp C18 Cat diesels running through Twin Disc MGX 5135A gearboxes and conventional shaft drive, to the Aqua Foil 5-blade 32” x 41.5” propellers.
Many hulls masquerade as genuine bluewater hulls, but few have the credentials of a hull like the Precision, a point incidentally that was graphically illustrated and emphasised during the course of a run out through a ‘roaring’ Seaway entrance. It was big enough that we had to slow down, but the point was we were still able to attack this bar situation with a respectable way on – in a safe manner. Once outside, it was in its element and indeed two ‘interested’ clients along for the ride may well have signed up for this particular boat by now, so impressed were they with the Precision’s ability to handle those conditions. Back in again and the ride was just as predictable in a following sea, which considering the heritage of this hull, was really as expected!
Back in the calm stuff, the hull performed like a thoroughbred trailerboat, very nimble and with a nice level attitude when underway. even at cruise speed. And when you gave it full power, holy hell, it went like the proverbial ‘greased lightning’. I don’t think I have ever been in a cruiser that threw you back in the seat quite like the Precision did, when you applied full power from a cruise speed of around 20-22 knots – it was certainly exhilarating!
Big Volume – Everywhere
For obvious reasons (a new owner will have his own preferences) there was no boarding feature, and it was only when I came to climb aboard that I truly appreciated the size of this boat, the volume. Traversing the high topsides then was actually a bit of a mission in itself, and once aboard I received my next reminder of the volume, with the sheer size of the cockpit. Precision’s deliberate choice was to devote the space of the 58 proportionately, with one third for the saloon, one third for the accommodation below, and the remaining third devoured by the cockpit. “This huge cockpit serves a twin purpose,” Precision’s Production Coordinator Drew Bell explained, “for while it offers sport fishermen the ultimate playground, it also transforms deceptively easily into a very spacious outdoor entertainment area. A table for ten fits in the game chair mounting point, and you just place loose chairs around the outside of this.”
Other features in the cockpit included huge underfloor storage, fender lockers, two very serious hand-crafted rear anchoring cleats, a bulkhead module with refrigeration, tackle locker and a neat garbage system, a neat step along with well-placed grab-rails, up onto the generously wide walkways to the bow section, and a stainless steel and teak ladder to the flybridge level. And not just slapped up against the wall either, for it was angled nicely so as to provide a nice safe passage up or down – just a small thing, but entirely indicative of the thought and planning that has gone into this vessel. Yet more innovation was noted, as we entered through the bi-fold saloon doors. Not just any doors, for Precision has gone to considerable effort to provide a set of magnificently crafted aluminium doors complete with glass panels interpolated into the centre, which would be rigid and substantial yet light in weight, rattle-free, maintenance-free, and above all stand the test of time.
I alluded earlier to the volume of this boat, and as well as (proportionately) higher topsides, the more than generous beam of 5.29 metres offered generous volume in the traditional ‘open-plan’ style or layout of saloon. I say traditional for it had the ‘coffee-setting’ lounge to port, a wet-bar and entertainment module was opposite this, the dining setting was forward of that again, and opposite the dining setting was the house-size galley that would surely keep any gourmet chef happy in their work.
Now for the ooohs and ahhhs, for this whole saloon feature was nothing short of magnificent, the ‘European Beech’ woodwork blending perfectly with the fabric curtains, the leather upholstery, the plush wall and ceiling panelling, and the carpet and teak flooring. The L-shaped lounge would surely seat eight adults around a low-slung coffee table, sipping on pink gins as they watched the LCD television opposite. If the sight of a bar got your imagination wandering there was glass and spirits storage, a wine rack and an icemaker to cater to your whims.
The dining setting realistically seated six adults in style, four on the wrap-around leather seating, and two more on the stools that neatly tucked in under the table. This magnificent wooden table moved in or out at the flick of a switch, so as to provide more room in the saloon when it was not in use. The galley opposite was just huge, and being u-shaped offered plenty of bench space as well as cupboard and drawer storage, plus ample room for recessed or secreted items such as the convection oven, four-burner hob top, huge refrigeration provision, twin sinks, and even the master AC/DC switch panel that was behind the door on the end of the servery ‘island’.
Practicality Combined with Luxury
That was two-thirds of the Precision 58, the other third of course was devoted to accommodation. Dropping down three steps in level, I noted at the top of these steps a set of hinges that suggested the steps raised, and they did, to reveal a combination washer dryer tucked away in behind. This feature was not only a practical and effective use of space, but also an appropriate place away from the immediate accommodation yet not in full view of the saloon. There is of course a certain flexibility with accommodation layout, and in this instance it was the traditional layout of guest cabin for’ard in the Vee, a single cabin off to starboard, the house bathroom opposite, and in under the sole the master berth complete with very luxurious ensuite.
Décor was once again most endearing and once again of an exceptionally high standard both in presentation as well as specification of appointments. The beech woodwork contrasted brilliantly with the light coloured panelling carpet and curtains – to provide a most ambient and relaxing setting. The usual options such as air-conditioning, stereo that was either ‘house’ or an individually controlled choice, television, subtle and obvious lighting, full length wardrobe, plenty of drawer storage, and overhead hatch and port-hole ventilation – were all par for the course.
While you would expect to find most if not all of these features in a luxury boat such as this, for me it was not so much these features but the way they were presented that made this boat stand out in the crowd – the attention to detail, the ‘deepness’ of the woodwork, the door gaps that were ‘two-bob’ wide all round, and the coup de grâce, the very labour-intensive shaped door frames (rather than simply square-topped) that offered the vessel a real look of class. And it was all solid wood too, no laminates or GRP imitations, it was the real McCoy!
And it was the same too for the fully enclosed flybridge level, for while this can often be an overlooked area as far as appointments go, the level of workmanship, the bar and settee opposite, the ash and cherry flooring inside and teak outside on the aft observation platform, the helm feature to die for, the magnificent stainless steel mullions for the screen pillars, and again these hand-crafted aluminium entry doors – were so typical of the obvious loving care and attention that has gone into hand-crafting this boat.
I noted in one of the photo captions that the Precision philosophy was taken seemingly to the extreme, and by no means was I exaggerating when I said that, for quite simply everything about this boat was precision personified. The extraordinary lengths to which the company has gone to present not only an appealing package, but also a package that is built to the very best of its not-insignificant ability as a boatbuilder. Absolutely no shortcuts are taken with anything, and nothing was compromised in any way. Equipment aboard was to overkill proportions, built to stand the test of time, and when the Precision team couldn’t buy exactly what they wanted in the way of specification, they engineered it themselves. This was truly a precision craft, in every sense of the descriptive – that just happened to handle well and go like the proverbial wind!
- Boat Design Name: Precision 58 Sports Cruiser
- Year Launched: 2005
- Designer: Precision Cruisers
- Builder: Precision Cruisers
- LOA: 18.68m
- Beam: 5.29m
- Draft: 1.42m
- Displacement: 33.4 tonnes (heavy ship)
- Max Speed: 35 knots
- Cruise Speed: 25 knots
- Construction: FRP Composite
- Fuel Capacity: 5,000 litres
- Water Capacity: 850 litres
- Engines: 2 x Cat C18 1000hp
- Gearboxes: Twin Disc MGX5135A
- Drive System: Conventional Shaft
- Propellers: Aqua Foil 5-blade
- Base Price: $2.195 million Encl. F/b – $2.115 Open F/b
- Price As Tested: $2,195,000