Once a popular model in the Lazercraft line up, the 580 Divemaster is back. Freddy Foote checks out this functional diving and fishing machine targeted at the Kiwi bloke.
When the Lazercraft brand re-launched onto the market a couple of years ago, we tested their 580 GT Sport model and have since tested their 620 model as well as their new 650 Hardtop. (See the next issue of AB for a full review). As with Lazercrafts of the past, we’ve been rapt with just how good these new generation boats are.
The 580 Divemaster isn’t an all-new model to the Lazercraft line-up. Longtime Lazercraft dealer, Bay Of Islands Marine sold high numbers of the Divemaster model during the 90’s, with the configuration being perfect for the ‘blokey’ type who wanted a capable fishing and dive boat to explore the expansive waters of the Bay of Islands.
The new look 580 Divemaster is largely based on the same hull as the 580 GT Sport, albeit with a few minor tweaks. Plus it is now an all aluminium construction, where the GT Sport model featured a fibreglass top deck.
Best of Both Worlds
The 580 Divemaster is all about functionality. Aft there are two sizeable boarding platforms, both with handrails to aid in re-entering the boat from the water. In the starboard corner, there is a considerable drop down T-style boarding ladder that divers will love. Cockpit access is easy via a walk through that comes complete with a removable infill.
The transom is fairly sizeable, and there is large storage space in either corner, big enough to accommodate a large cooler bin. There are two hatches built into the transom to accommodate miscellaneous items, with further storage below that via a large hinged hatch.
There is also a live bait tank complete with a viewing window in the port corner, plus a ski pole, which can also be converted to accommodate a bait board.
Side shelf storage on either side of the cockpit will handle long rods and any other lengthy items you may have, and is big enough to accommodate dive bottles.
The coamings are finished with Ultralon decking, which also extends to the boarding platform and across the transom.
The forward cabin consists of a single bunk to the port side with limited storage underneath, while there is room to store other items on the floor.
The seating configuration is in the form of two upholstered, adjustable pedestal seats mounted on bases with storage underneath. Between the two seats is a large underfloor storage locker that is big enough to hold a couple of dive bottles.
The dash area is neat and tidy. Engine instruments and switches are cleanly mounted into the aluminium dash as well as a Garmin MFD display, and a VHF fitted below. Anchoring is done from the helm via a Maxwell auto capstan.
Up on the foredeck is a large open area that could be used for casting soft baits. Though there is access around the side to the foredeck, I’d like to see the spray dodger split to provide a walk through to the foredeck; a step up would also be a great feature.
As this is the first 580 Divemaster out of the Lazercraft factory, I understand that there will be a few changes made to hull #2 and that a split spray dodger is being considered.
Though it wasn’t fitted at the time of the test, a rocket launcher and bimini top are going to be added.
Our test boat was powered by a Yamaha 115hp four-stroke outboard, swinging a 16” stainless steel propeller. Water conditions during our test day were perfect for boat testing, fairly choppy, with a stiff breeze running across Auckland’s inner harbour, the kind of conditions you usually face on your return trip to the boat ramp after a day on the water.
The 580 Divemaster performed well with the 115hp four-stroke, and achieved 34 knots at 6000rpm, with a maximum fuel burn of 40L/H. 4000rpm achieved a comfortable cruise of around 20 knots using 17.7L/H.
Our test day saw us with little extra gear, two adult passengers and around 80L of fuel. The Yamaha 115hp four-stroke outboard was the ideal match for the 580 hull. It gave plenty of torque and grunt when you needed it and returned healthy fuel numbers. If you were to use the 580 as a serious dive boat and haul a lot of gear, you might want to opt for the more powerful 130hp engine or even the maximum rated 150hp. Lazercrafts traditionally don’t mind a lot of horsepower, so it could easily handle the bigger engine.
Like other Lazercraft’s I’ve been on, the 580 Divemaster was mega on the water. In the choppy conditions, it seemed to enjoy a reasonable amount of trim and a good dose of throttle to get us up and skipping over the top of the chop. Three of us all drove the boat on our test day, two of us for the first time, and we were all impressed with the performance the boat.
The spray dodger configuration isn’t something we see too often on boats. Many manufacturers have done them in the past, and there are some builders who offer the configuration on some of their models.
How a spray dodger works, is that the lip on the top edge of the all aluminium windshield catches the wind and deflects it away instead of up and into your face like a traditional windshield.
The solid alloy dodger is quite high, and some might struggle to peer over it when seated to drive. For maximum visibility, I elected to stand to drive. Underway, we remained dry, and the spray dodger seemed to work well diverting the wind-up and out of our faces. At rest, we tested the stability, and with two of us to one side, the boat remained very stable.
As tested, this package was $64,995 as tested and has a lot of great features included in the package such as the live bait tank, the Garmin MFD, Maxwell auto capstan and the ICOM VHF.
When I got to the boat ramp to test the 580 Divemaster, all I was told was that it was a new dive boat from Lazercraft. Admittedly, when it arrived on the trailer I did think to myself it was a bit different, and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the aesthetics.
However, having spent a few hours aboard the 580 Divemaster, and photographing it, I was completely sold. A fantastically functional boat with exceptional on the water performance.
|Engine Make||115hp Yamaha Four-Stroke|
|Contact||Southern Boats | Ph 03 453 3194|