First released as the Bonito Profisher 535, then renamed the Sting 550, the now rebadged Smuggler Sting 570 is very much the same boat, but with a few extra refinements, both in construction and layout. One thing that has not changed is the high quality of finish, something that Smuggler Marine have an enviable reputation for.
While in recent years Smuggler Marine seems to have been more focusing on their Strata RIB range and their development of some of those models with Sealegs Technology, they have not forgotten their trailer boat roots. While Bonito was a name that had been synonymous with New Zealand boating for over 50 years, with the purchase of the moulds and brand by Smuggler Marine a few years ago, it was inevitable that it would be reborn under the Smuggler banner.
It was a ‘ soft’ change by owner’ s David and Pauline Pringle, continued production of this well known Kiwi fibreglass trailer boat brand until a few years ago when the Bonito name was finally retired. Today the model range is all branded under the Family Cruiser badge and consists of 11 models from 5.2m through to 7.2m. These include open runabouts, cabin, bowriders and hardtops. The Sting 570 shares the same hull as the runabout version 570 Bowrider and the award-winning centre console 570 Multisport. All three are based on the same 5.7m x 2.24m, 21 deg Scott Robson designed hull, that is available in a single outboard option 90-150hp.
The Sting 570 has been given the Smuggler touch and while it follows the traditional style and layout of a Kiwi family cabin boat, it comes with a few of individual traits. One, in particular, is the performance and handling. Having owned a Bonito 535 bowrider for some years, I can vouch for the exceptional ride that the hull provides. The extra weight of the cabin I feel has made that even better. It’ s a hull that can easily handle maximum suggested power. The original hull had a reputation for being soft riding, although a little wet. Modifications were consequently made to the hull by altering the strakes and making the bow section a little fuller.Combined, these changes created a well balanced small boat that is very capable of handling water conditions most people would sooner not be out in, in a boat this size. It is unquestionably one of the best riding small cabin boats on the market. When you first see the Sting 570, it looks right. The lines are stylish and the overall balance looks good. of the boat are modern and pleasing to the eye. The smooth, flowing lines, the colour coordinated upholstery and the outboard all blended agreeably, having instant appeal. The tasteful placement of teak on the boarding platform and coamings also added a feel of affluence.
At the helm, all felt comfortable and natural – the engine controls and steering wheel (hydraulic) were well positioned when standing or seated. The instrumentation that comprised a 7” Lowrance MFD, Cobra VHF and a couple of engine management gauges for the Yamaha 115 is all set into mock carbon fibre panels. There were two matching switch panels tidily mounted either side of the helm. Immediately below is a handy shelf for all your personal effects, including keys and cell phone and the likes. Also carpeted is the dash, to stop possessions from rattling and sliding.
Plenty of Seating
The Smuggler design team added a new windscreen and side windows from the previous Bonito, which diverts the airflow efficiently for those who are seated and want to avoid the wind. Adding an optional bimini top for protection from the sun would be well worth considering. The seating arrangement can be either a moulded pedestal on a slider for the skipper, and for the crew – a hinged king and queen back-to-back, or twin pedestals mounted on a grp base. All the upholstery was well padded and very comfortable.
There are two removable aft bin seats that provide further storage, which can easily be removed, and either left at home or placed in the cabin on days when the team are heading out for a fish, ski or wakeboard and just a little more room in the cockpit is needed. Not that I like to do it, but the seat is used as a step to scale over the transom to the teak dressed boarding platforms (with a boarding ladder starboard) on the either side of the outboard well. The upholstery is made
of a hard wearing UV stabilised vinyl so it is well up to the task. Behind these seats, tidily concealed behind an upholstered curtain there is further storage space, this cavity is also the home to the battery and oil reservoir. While on the subject of storage, there are two large upholstered side pockets with rod holders – big enough to store skis or a wakeboard, and for your fishing rods, there are two rod holders mounted in the teak-capped coamings either side and provision for another four in the well-built bait station. For the fisherman, there is a well-located saltwater wash-down hose installed on the transom – perfect for hosing off any mess or your bait station. Remove the bait station and replace it with the ski pole and you can ski home from your favourite fishing spot! The cockpit has a generous feel to it, measuring 1800mm across theinside of the cockpit. Under the heavy vinyl covered (dome down carpet is an option) cockpit sole, which is part of a fully moulded liner, there is a 120-litre fuel tank and wet locker big enough for a couple of dive bottles.
There is plenty of dry storage available within the fully lined cuddy cabin, both under the three squabs and in the side pockets down each side. Add an infill and there is a double berth for those keen enough to overnight. Cabin lighting is available. There is easy access through the hatch to the foredeck to the reasonably large anchor locker, which has room to mount a windlass. A nice touch is the stainless chain plate to prevent damage to the fibreglass deck.
Up front, there are high bow rails for both appearance and the obvious safety factor. Weighing in at 1300kg on a DMW single axle, non-braked trailer, the rig is easily towed behind an average family vehicle. I had it behind myIsuzu MUX and hardly noticed it was there.
The Smuggler Sting 570 is rated for a single outboard, 90-150hp. For the test, we ran a Yamaha 115hp 4S. Quick frankly I reckon this is plenty and with a top speed of 42 mph @ 6000 rpm, it doesn’ t need any more. The boat cruised over a very short harbour chop at 30-33 mph (4500-5000rpm), and it felt just right. Unfortunately, our fuel gauges were not working so we can’ t report on fuel consumption. However, from experience, the Yamaha 115 is very easy on fuel, so the 120-litre underfloor fuel tank should last you a reasonable distance at cruise.
Well done Smuggler – you have produced a quality boat using quality
materials and workmanship, constructing a boat that rides well and looks good. A first-time buyer should feel secure knowing that this is a safe, proven design, and if you are a seasoned boater you will have a lot of enjoyment getting to know the Smuggler Sting 570.