Dave’s Cool Crusher!

Reviewed: BAR CRUSHER 560XS “Silva Tournament”

After recently reviewing  the standard 560XS, this special custom version demanded we take another look. Jim Harnwell reports.  

MELBOURNE-based Bar Crusher is well known for producing a range of hard-core plate alloy cabin boats from 5.3 to 7.6m. More recently, the company has released its XS range, which features the same deep vee, high performance water ballasted hulls that Bar Crusher has become famous for but are configured as open boats with centre consoles.

These boats are aimed at sportfishermen who like big open deck areas to cast lures and flies. They are especially popular in the Top End as the deep vee hulls provide a good ride in the often choppy conditions while offering plenty of room for active sportfishing.

Enter Dave Silva, a long-time Lowrance staffer and avid competition angler. Dave competes annually in the Barra Nationals (he won the event this year) and the Barra Classic, and also runs the Freshwater Masters, an invitational series which stages events in NSW and Victoria.


While Dave is a keen competition angler, he also likes the idea of heading out into his home waters of Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne to chase reds, whiting and squid. His former boat, a 5m Quintrex Hornet, was fine for flat water but not designed to handle the chop or swell common in large open bays like Port Phillip or nearby Western Port.

Dave went to Peter and Warren Cleland, the owners of Bar Crusher, and proposed that they reconfigure one of their 560XS models to his specifications. The end result is a “custom” boat which ideally suits Dave’s needs. It needs to be noted here that Bar Crusher makes production boats, not custom jobs. Dave’s 560 is a one-off model, designed specifically for him. However, the Bar Crusher boys will consider releasing it as a “Silva Tournament” model if there’s interest from you guys out there.

As stated, Dave’s 560 features the same deep-vee 4mm plate alloy hull as the 560C and 560XS. It’s inside the boat that all the interesting stuff happens. Up at the bow Dave specified the standard casting deck/storage system, which he had covered with 1cm of high density foam and then carpeted. The resulting surface is very soft and comfortable underfoot and is ideal for long sessions standing up there casting at snags. A 24-volt Minn Kota is mounted to port up front, with a RAM mounted HDS 7 sounder opposite and there’s a seat spigot as well. The non-slip gunwales along the bow section are very wide and provide yet more casting access.  Immediately below the casting deck is a carpeted step which unlocks to reveal a massive plumbed fish well, more than big enough to handle a metre-plus barra or cod. Even when full, this large forward mounted tank doesn’t seem to have any deleterious effect on the boat’s ride.

Instead of a centre console, Dave opted for a side console, which offers plenty of top, side and under storage. Dave’s mounted a Lowrance HDS 10 to the console and all the gauges for his 150hp Yamaha four-stroke, plus switches for various pumps and electronics, are easily visible and accessible. The in-floor fuel filler is located near the side console and Dave also specified a side mounted fuel filler, to allow refuelling when the boat is loaded up for long distance travelling. The standard 560XS comes with a 130 litre underfloor tank but Dave went for 200 litres to maximise time on the water between refills.


On the starboard side the side pocket has been transformed into a lockable rod cupboard, which easily holds all the tackle needed for any fishing scenario.

At the transom Dave specified a carpeted box which provides for rear casting access and features three seat spigots. This allows anglers to sit in comfort during long runs across often choppy lakes and down those enormous NT rivers.

Yet another HDS 10 is mounted on a RAM mounted at the portside rear corner. Dave has set up a system where he can run multiple sounders off a single transducer, thus meaning you can access sonar, GPS and Lowrance’s new SideStructure data wherever you are fishing from. Having seen how this works, I can vouch that it certainly makes the boat much more productive as a specialist fishing platform. We fished three up and we all had easy access to the screen info we required.

The boat is powered by a 150hp Yamaha four-stroke, the hull’s maximum rated capacity. Interestingly, Bar Crusher welded strakes to the otherwise bare hull as they were concerned the extra power of the 150 Yammie could affect the boat’s stability at speed. I’ve ridden in plenty of Bar Crushers and I honestly thought the 150 seemed a good match for this hull. Dave’s additions would no doubt have added significant weight to the hull so the extra power is probably well compensated for. Flat out at 5900rpm, the boat reaches 43.7 knots, which is blisteringly fast.

On the water

We were fishing in Dave’s boat in Glenbawn Dam as part of a media day for the launch of Lowrance’s new StructureScan system, an innovative side and up/down sonar system (see separate article on page 118). The weather was great, apart from a pesky 30 knot sou-westerly which made fishing the snags for the local bass difficult. We found a good patch of fish hanging amid the branches of a dead tree out from a narrow point. Presentations with vibes, Jackalls and plastics didn’t get a hit but a few slow trolls with locally-made Stuckys divers resulted in a few smallish bass, a couple of bust-ups and a 41cm yellowbelly for Dave.

Fishing in the Bar Crusher proved the boat to be stable at rest at low speed. As said before, the big forward casting deck, combined with the rear deck, provided plenty of casting room. All up, I found that three anglers could easily move around and actively fish.

On the way back to the ramp across the main basin we encountered sizable chop from the gusting winds. The smooth Bar Crusher hull sliced through the waves with minimal fuss. Seated at the back, we all remained relatively dry as well.

Bar Crusher recommends its custom built Ezy Tow trailers for its hulls and Dave opted for a tandem axle model which he describes “as the best trailer I’ve ever owned”. Drive on and off was easy as pie and the excellent gal work and solid construction of these well-regarded Victorian built trailers should see it last for ages.

While Bar Crusher offers a good range of paint colours and graphics packs, Dave had his boat “wrapped” in a pretty cool Lowrance inspired illustration. Wraps, which are basically plastic film you can get designed in whatever format you like, are becoming popular, especially amongst comp anglers. They certainly make your boat stand out from the crowd.

If you like well built plate boats and you’re looking for a “crossover boat” with a difference, then the ideas that Dave Silva and Bar Crusher have incorporated into this special 560XS are well worth investigating.


Length: 5.6m (LOA 6.1m)

Beam: 2.250m

DEADRISE: 18 to  22  Degrees

Fuel: As tested, 200L. Standard: 130L

As tested, 150hp. Rec: 115hp.

Package BMT 1650kg

Price: On application

Contact: Bar Crusher at (03) 97922999,

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.