We conducted our first ever test of an Evolution craft recently, in this case a 552 X Series Platinum, built to order for a client of Broughton Marine and the experience was a real eye-opener.
All we knew of the 552 X Series Platinum was that it had won the 2008 AMIF “Boat of the Year” in its “Fishing Trailerable – fibreglass/GRP under 6m” class and was voted as “Australia’s Greatest Fishing Boat – Fibreglass” in 2011.
Without doubt the 552 X Series Platinum was an impressive sight on its dual axle Dunbier trailer, with its faultless ‘glass finish and superb, deep gloss black topsides. Added to this were a flared bow, striking reverse sheer, beautifully raked entry and big full length reverse chines on a hull with fully 2.49m of beam.
A 150hp E-TEC spinning an 11 3/4” x 17” Viper stainless steel (s.s.) propeller was installed, flanked by boarding platforms (with grab rails), that to starboard featuring a transom door and telescopic ladder. The transom itself featured a large factory bait board, live bait tank with viewing window and three-drawer tackle box under, plus a two battery locker in the centre. All locker doors were flush mounted for maximum fishing room.
With immaculate white ‘glass contrasted by black padded inner decks, the cockpit measured 1.59m long, 2.06m wide and was 0.97m deep. Under the non-slip sole were the 150 litre fuel tank and a 50 litre ice box. Shelves on each side had rod holders, plus four in one stand-up s.s. holders just aft of the helm seats.
Both big adjustable helm seats were supportive, comfortable, provided with s.s. foot rests and mounted on box pedestals that provided storage, under the skipper’s in the form of a five-drawer tackle box. For the passenger, Evolution had also provided a grab rail and glove box with storage pocket under.
Under the 1.97m tall bimini, the raked, tinted, tempered glass ‘screen had a full width s.s. grab rail. The helm station was dominated by the owner’s choice of a big, 10” Lowrance HDS10 Gen 2 plotter/sounder combo. with “Structure Scan”.
The twin multi-function E-TEC gauges were set above the wheel, GME 27mHz and VHF radio units installed below. The generous cuddy with portholes on each side also had an internal light, mirror on the bow bulkhead and bunk in-fill.
There were many, many more standard and optional features to take in on this 552 X Series Platinum, but, simply, “space does not permit”.
Out in Spencer Gulf we let the 150hp (112kW) E-TEC loose, which returned readings of 13knots (24kph, 2500rpm, 18lph), 21knots (39kph, 3500rpm, 25lph), 30knots (56kph, 4500rpm, 40lph) and 37knots (69kph, 5300rpm, 44lph).
Pushed “out of the hole” from rest, the 552 X Series Platinum reached 5300rpm/37knots in just 10 seconds. Small wonder that the owner had Broughton Marine add a ski pole to his boat’s already impressive fitment levels. With more hours on the engine, this 552 X Series Platinum would reach 40knots (74kph) with ease.
We executed the usual high speed runs into, with, along and quartering the light, 0.25m seas. Both at these times and later, aboard the camera boat, we were struck by just how quietly and smoothly the beamy hull performed.
Equally, when pushed into fast, tight turns, the 552 X Series Platinum stayed very flat and cornered as if on rails. Despite its notable beam, the hull even proved responsive when reversed into turns both to port and starboard. With two adults sitting on the port deck while at rest, the hull listed barely half a degree.
This truly was a superb boat, one we simply could not fault.