Boat Review Date: November 2010
Author: Mike Brown
The vast Quintrex catalogue includes boats of over 7m-hull length, but illustrating the current tight financial times they are currently building hardly anything over 5m. Not only that, but the big sales category is smaller boats that have had price-increasing components removed. The review boat, a Quintrex 490 Escape runabout, illustrates that trend clearly.
If you were not actually looking for cost-cutting clues you could well miss them, but they carve several thousand dollars off the 490’s price. The main item to go is most of the moulded plastic, which means that at the transom the Cole-Hersee switch and the fuel filter are naked but, frankly, who cares? This model starts at AUD $29,000 with a 60hp Honda outboard. The review boat had the optional transom door and an aluminium trailer that pushed the price to AUD $30,500. The plastic facings for consoles are still there, together with a carpeted deck, so appearance is barely changed.
The consoles are plural because this is the modern style of runabout that gives easy access forward for anchoring. The centre section of windscreen and a part of the foredeck ahead of it hinge open allowing walk-through. Once through, you have rails around the bow at the right gripping height; in other words they serve a purpose, unlike so many decorative bow rails. They are also at a handy height for launching at ramps without finger jetties.
The builder’s plate says five is the maximum number of people to be carried, and Quintrex provide seats for that number: a folding-removable settee aft with a backrest, and a swivelling pedestal-mounted pair forward. These seats are on a lowered section of deck that allows standing headroom under the Bimini. This is carried on a rugged frame that does not cringe when grabbed to hold the boat alongside.
The swivels are comfortable, and have the conveniences of grab rails on the windscreen top, folding drink holders, and a large glove box ahead of the passenger. The driver’s console is on the small side and a top mounted sounder display would probably be best.
The 490 has a socket for a ski pole and, although the maximum power of 80hp would be a better proposition for mug skiers like me, skiing would probably be possible with the 60hp fitted. Four-strokes generally provide gentler acceleration than two-strokes, but Hondas have a cunning piece of technology that increases torque when the throttle is opened wide. Electronics push the ignition timing to full advance, and adjust the air-fuel mixture to prevent the knock that would otherwise occur.
Admittedly without a skier in tow, we got up to maximum speed in quick time. Maximum was around 30 knots with 190kg of people on board, and that is a speed to satisfy most buyers of this class of boat. It allows an easy cruising speed of 20-22 knots, which is as much as you would want to use on all but flat days.
We had mild sea conditions and could use those 30 knots, but the lumps were big enough to remind me that Quintrex’s claims for their Millennium hulls are soundly based. Quintrex boats have always had the flared bow above the chine, but ten-odd years ago the compound curves were extended to the bottom giving a hollow forefoot that genuinely soaks up the punishment the sea hands out.
The hull still worked when we stopped moving. With the same 190kg at the rail the list was well within acceptable limits.
The 490 is light-on for fisherman’s goodies; and that is probably how it should be for a deliberately Spartan boat – just pay for what you want or need. Actually the Bimini is technically an option, but for WA it is effectively a necessity. Other items you can choose to add include an extension of the Bimini, burley bucket, clears, live bait tank, storm cover, ladder, twin batteries and more. Fit them all and it stops looking cheap, but the key word is optional. Whatever you choose to add, even if you opt for the steel trailer, it is not going to need a lot of car to tow it.Lowdown
Price from AUD $29,000
Price as reviewed AUD $30,500
Overall length 5.21m
Hull length 5.13m
Hull weight 397kg
Fuel capacity 70L
Motor fitted 60hp Honda 4-stroke