525 Scorpion Cuddy - Boat Test

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525 Scorpion Cuddy - Boat Test

Posted on August 16, 2016

525 Scorpion Cuddy

To view the full test on boatsales.com.au website click HERE 

Horizon’s budget-friendly 525 Scorpion Cuddy is a full-featured, easily trailerable family boat for bay and coastal cruising and fishing. Remarkably, this high volume 17 footer also achieves 30 knot performance from just 70hp... in the form of Yamaha’s wonderfully smooth F70A four-stroke outboard.


OVERVIEW
- Expanded boat range attracting buyers
For a relatively small, family-owned boat manufacturing company, the Gold Coast’s Horizon Aluminium Boats has an impressive boat range. Customers can choose from lightweight car toppers through to the flagship Horizon model, the 570 Sports Fisher Centre cabin, ready for the bluewater.

The majority of Horizon’s 60-plus boat range is made up of open boats with tiller, centre or side-console configurations. However, forward windscreen runabouts, bow riders and cuddy/half cabins are also well represented.

At the top of the Horizon cabin-boat range is the Getaway Elite series. Available in 515, 540 and 570 model sizes, these deluxe-outfitted full-cabin boats have proven popular with boaters and fishermen for many years.

Horizon’s most recent addition to the cabin boat range is a single model called the Scorpion 525. This is a value-packed, entry-level cuddy cabin with a surprising number of standard features, and excellent performance from low power outboards in the 70-80hp size range.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
- Great entry price-point with options to customise
Horizon’s Scorpion 525 has been designed and outfitted as an entry package for first-time boaters and for those people on a strict budget. However, the Scorpion is not a stripped-out, bare-metal shell with an engine on the back. It is actually pretty well appointed for a budget-beater.

Key features include carpeted forward berths with vinyl-upholstered cushions; underberth storage lockers with hinged, carpeted lids (back and front); deluxe pedestal helm seating; dash grab rail; full cockpit carpet; fold-down rear bench seat; cockpit side storage pockets; 110lt underfloor fuel tank; full paint to the interior and topsides; transducer bracket; bow and transom bollards; underfloor foam flotation to “Basic” standard; and a fast-back (raked) style transom layout with boarding platforms.

Set-up with a Yamaha 70hp four-stroke longshaft EFI outboard and single-axle Dunbier braked trailer, Horizon’s Gold Coast dealer Marinetune had the on-water package available for just $31,990.

That’s excellent value, especially as it includes a range of options. Among them is the overhead bimini (with sock), Lowrance Hook 4x colour fish finder, front and side rails, two rod holders, transom door, rear boarding ladder, bait board, bilge pump, fuel filter, tie-downs and Queensland registrations.

Additional options available – though not fitted – include a live bait tank, two-tone hull paint, underfloor storage and a ski-pole.

INTERIOR LAYOUT
- Plenty of space and on-deck room
The Horizon Scorpion is only 5.2m in length, but it is not short of interior space. The cabin is tall, or high in shape, but quite short in length – so while the cabin berths are only three-quarter length, there is loads of headroom.

With its open-plan layout, the cabin also feels more spacious than it would were it fitted with even a half bulkhead.

Though short, the cabin berths/seats are very wide (630mm maximum) and comfortable to sit on. At 1.40m, they are not long enough for adults, but youngsters looking for an afternoon nap should find them suitable enough.

The included vinyl berth cushions are easily removed to reveal three storage lockers which have a carpeted plywood false-floor. Safety gear stowed here should remain dry and easily accessible.

The perspex foredeck access hatch in the forepeak is wide enough for big blokes to climb up through to reach the modest sized anchor well. You will be able to lower, raise and tie-off the anchor while standing safely within the cabin hatchway.

Importantly, the hatch has good quality fittings so it can be opened and closed easily and securely.

The wiring behind the helm has a carpet-over plywood cover which is easily removed for maintenance, but which keeps the wiring hidden from small children with curious fingers.

The helm layout itself is simple but practical with two pedestal chairs situated before a very wide, flat dash and black framed, curved perspex windscreen.

The Scorpion has an old-school shaped, full-width, flat dash designed to accept bracket mounted electronics displays — though there is space for the switch panel and a flush-fitted radio alongside the steering wheel.

We found the boat was comfortable to drive while standing or seated as we had excellent vision forward and the swivelling bucket chairs were fitted with flip-up bolsters which negated the need for a fore and aft sliding seat base.

The mechanical steering felt okay with the Yamaha 70hp outboard, though we would consider upgrading to hydraulic steering if you were to fit a bigger engine.

The vinyl upholstered, kidney supporting bucket chairs are comfortable, sturdy and look like they will be pretty durable over time.

Next, we found the shorter cabin design in the Scorpion has allowed for plenty of space in the cockpit. We took a measurement of 2.36m from the aft edge of the cabin to the rear transom wall.

Behind the pedestal helm chairs there is roughly 1.55m x 1.88m of uncluttered cockpit space, which is plenty for most applications.

There is also 600mm of cockpit freeboard along the sides, with a minimum freeboard of 400mm measured in the starboard transom corner, above the optional transom door.

The spacious rear cockpit is also graced with above-floor side-storage pockets, 240mm extra wide side coamings, coaming rails, and a handy cross bollard perched on each transom corner.

There is no standard underfloor storage or kill tank, but a sub-floor locker is listed as an option.

The three-quarter width padded cockpit bench seat with comfy back-rest will accommodate two adults and can be folded down — or removed completely for more fishing room.

The optional transom door fitted to the test rig leads out to a boarding platform with grip-tape treads and optional folding boarding ladder. We would recommend this door/ladder option as it does make it easier to climb into the boat.

Unusually, Horizon has fitted the battery in a locker under the rear cockpit floor. The location is secure and it keeps the battery tucked out of the way, but we would prefer to see it situated above floor, away from any water that may find its way into the rear cockpit.

ON THE WATER
- Sure-footed handling, easy ride with excellent performance
We visited the Tweed River in northern NSW for the test of the 525 Scorpion Cuddy cabin. This is the home waterway for Horizon Boats as the company’s factory is in nearby Currumbin Waters.

After completing the photography on the smooth river waters, we headed down to the entrance for further testing. In some pretty choppy, mixed up seas between the breakwalls (it was too rough to head offshore), the Scorpion performed well. We found the hull to be well balanced, quite stable, forgiving, dry and easy to handle.

The excellent trim range also meant that you could dial in some negative trim to drop the nose down and soften up the ride into chop, or trim it back out to keep the bow nice and high for running before the sea.

The Scorpion is rated for longshaft outboards up to 90hp, but performs admirably with just a 70hp outboard on the transom.

With power from Yamaha’s F70AETL four-stroke, the test boat runs to a top speed of 30.1 knots at 6300 rpm. This speed was achieved with two adults onboard, 100L of fuel and with the outboard running a 13½in x 14in propeller.

The performance data accompanying this test review was supplied by Yamaha, but we have no reason to doubt the 30 knot top speed as the test boat accelerated strongly throughout the rpm range.

The fuel economy of the Yamaha 70hp is also very good. A best engine fuel economy figure of 1.66 nautical miles per litre was achieved while running at 4500 rpm and a speed of 19.0 knots.

On the test boat this equated to a maximum range of 173.6 nautical miles on 95 per cent of the boat's 110lt fuel tank.

VERDICT
- Budget-beating Aussie cuddy cab with pedigree
With the 525 Scorpion, Horizon Aluminium Boats has produced a ripper pressed alloy Aussie cuddy cabin. It hits the mark beautifully with regard to price, performance, fit-out, safety and seaworthiness — all key features for newcomers and family boaters.

The Scorpion weighs less than a tonne as tested on a single-axle trailer so it is easy to tow behind family cars and small SUVs.

It has plenty of cabin and deck space, and with Yamaha’s 70hp four-stroke on the transom, the package will also be economical and inexpensive to run.

LIKES
>> Remarkable value 
>> Traditional cuddy cab layout
>> Good fit-out for budget package
>> Excellent performance and economy
>> Smooth topsides look neat
>> Dash grab rail. 
>> Standard rear bollards

NOT SO MUCH 
>> Underfloor battery position

RATINGS
Overall rating: 4.72/5.0
Mechanical/equipment: 4.7/5.0
Packaging and practicality: 4.8/5.0
On the water performance: 4.7/5.0
Value for money: 4.9/5.0
X-factor: 4.5/5.0

PERFORMANCE - SPEED
3.5kts (6.5km/h) @ 1000rpm
4.8kts (8.8km/h) @ 1500rpm
5.8kts (10.8km/h) @ 2000rpm
6.9kts (12.8km/h) @ 2500rpm
9.8kts (18.2km/h) @ 3000rpm
13.5kts (25.0km/h) @ 3500rpm
16.8kts (31.1km/h) @ 4000rpm
20.1kts (37.2km/h) @ 4500rpm
23.0kts (42.6km/h) @ 5000rpm
25.8kts (47.7km/h) @ 5500rpm
28.2kts (52.2km/h) @ 6000rpm
30.1kts (55.8km/h) @ 6300rpm (WOT)

PERFORMANCE – ECONOMY
1.3 l/ph @ 1000rpm
2.1 l/ph @ 1500rpm
3.4 l/ph @ 2000rpm
5.0 l/ph @ 2500rpm
7.0 l/ph @ 3000rpm
8.2 l/ph @ 3500rpm
10.4 l/ph @ 4000rpm
12.1 l/ph @ 4500rpm
14.4 l/ph @ 5000rpm
19.0 l/ph @ 5500rpm
22.5 l/ph @ 6000rpm
23.5 l/ph @ 6300rpm (WOT)

MAXIMUM RANGE ON 95% OF 110lt FUEL TANK: 173.6nm @ 4500rpm

Specifications: Horizon 525 Scorpion Cuddy
Price as tested: $33,990 including a Yamaha 70hp longshaft (20in) four-stroke outboard, Dunbier single axle (braked) trailer, Lowrance Hook 4x colour fish finder, bimini top, front and side rails, two rod holders, deluxe bait board, transom door, boarding ladder, navigation lights, bilge pump, fuel filter, tie-down strap, and Queensland registrations.  
Length overall: 5.35m
Hull length: 5.3m
Beam: 2.20m
Hull weight: 450kg
Depth: 1.16m
Towing weight: Approx 930kg
Bottom alloy: 3.0mm
Topsides alloy: 3.0mm
Maximum power: 90hp
Maximum engine weight: 155kg
Engine as tested: Yamaha 70hp four-stroke outboard
Fuel: 110 litres
Maximum Persons: Five 


words & photos - Jeff Webster

Published : Friday, 12 August 2016 www.boatsales.com.au 

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