Boat Review Date: September 2012
Author: Mike Brown
Creating a new model fibreglass boat costs a great deal of money, and currently also faith plus crossed fingers. Being a Signature, the 575RF does not look especially new; once Signature established its hull design principles new models have been about refinement, fine tuning and filling any gaps in the range. You don’t get new styling for its own sake.
Although it is a stylish boat. It comes standard with a Bimini, but the dealer left it off for the photographs because he felt it detracted slightly from the overall chic. We were out there on a very rugged day, and I was glad the boat’s inherent dryness meant we did not miss it overmuch.
It is on that sort of day that you appreciate a boat that lets the fillings stay in your teeth when you open the throttle. The 575 (the RF part of the name refers to its fishing speciality; the F stands for fishing, but no one I spoke to had the R figured out) is one of those rarities that lets anglers cluster at the rail with the engine turned off without leaning much, and still give that kind of ride.
The 575’s refinements and fine tuning include fibreglass mouldings that replace every trace of timber in the boat. In the bad old days timber stringers and transoms could swell and rot and do terrible things to your boat out of sight. Here you have a boat that could last forever. Among the intriguing details are walls of the lower side pockets that have engraved marks for the legal lengths of fish; a nice alternative to the daggy stickers that more commonly infest boats.
Other fishy features are tackle drawers at both quarters, a live bait tank, a bigger catch tank than I would ever fill, cockpit carpet that unclips for removal and rod sockets in extravagant numbers. The more universal boating features include deck wash and recessed side rails and cleats.
The 575’s mouldings include a complete one-piece liner, and a folding foredeck. In sea going mode the deck is completely smooth: even the main cleat is invisible under the anchor well lid. To get access right forward the windscreen opens, the deck mid section hinges to one side, and a step between the settees comes into play.
Settee is a slightly grand word for a runabout with leanings towards a cuddy: you could shelter in here, and the storage arrangements are more flexible. But there are parents of smaller children who like to have a bed available for them towards the end of the day, and these settees would do the trick.
The Signature’s details are neatly done. Glove boxes are often good for not much more than gloves, but its substitute here could be the family lunch box: a vast lidded bin below the dash. The side pockets carry heavy duty steps to help you out at the jetty.The master switches are just that: three colour coded and labelled knobs sit in plain sight, one each for main and house batteries, and the third for ganging the batteries for an emergency start.
The builder’s plate suggests seven people as a maximum load, but both Signature and I think it an unlikely number. There are two pedestal seats and a folding bench for three, and that would be about a comfortable full load at sea. Three at a time would be the number for spacious fishing, and there is stability to cope with three restless anglers. The coamings touch bodies close to their centres of gravity, giving a secure stance.
The power range is from 115 to 175hp, and I have no doubt that 115 would do a good job. The review boat mounted a 150hp Suzuki – a big block four – that allows cruising in the mid twenties with only a gentle throttle opening. It also has massive amounts of torque for escapes from breakers.
Price from AUD $69,900
Hull length 5.70m
Fuel capacity 220L
Towing weight 1,900kg
Motor fitted 150hp Suzuki four-stroke