My Boat: CrossXCountry 4.3m

Purchasing a new boat can be an extremely exciting but daunting experience.

Hours upon hours of researching websites and forums can leave you more confused than before you started. It’s very easy to be swayed by clever marketing and opinion.

At this point, writing a checklist of things you want in a boat is a great way to stay on track.

I recently settled on and took delivery of a new 4.3m Enlightened Boating CrossXCountry. I’ve been quietly devising this rig for some time and have done a large amount of research and boat testing before I made my final decision.

This boat ticks every box for my particular needs and style of angling. I can safely say it’s a purpose built fishing weapon!

CrossXCountry Boats is based in Caboolture, Queensland and is owned and operated by brothers John and Geoff Hall.

The company trades under the Enlightened Boating banner, which also incorporates the EZY Topper range of lightweight car topper boats.

The CrossXCountry range includes 3.7, 4.1, 4.3, and 4.75m models, covering an array of estuary and light offshore fishing applications. There’s also a 5m+ hull in the pipeline.

All boats are designed, constructed and finished on site and are a hands on, “fully customised” product from start to finish.

The guys who work on these boats are all professional shipwrights, avid boat users and mad keen fishos. These boats are made with care and consideration and certainly are not your average mass produced item.

Lighter, Quieter, Safer, Stronger
While I’m trying not to sound too much like a marketing machine, the above features were key to my decision when choosing this boat.

The construction of each hull is via a fibreglass/foam-sandwich infused composite, which is unbelievably light, while maintaining optimum strength.

Having spent most of my boating life in tinnies, I was a bit worried by making the change to a new material.

As it turned out, the benefits are great. Past misconceptions led me to believe fibreglass was a weak and fragile material. I couldn’t be more wrong.

That’s not to say it’s unbreakable but it certainly is strong stuff! If an issue did arise – especially if you’re fishing remote areas – repairing them is a very basic exercise.

The hull is set in a single piece mould and emerges with no joins, rivets and seams to split and no wood to eventually rot.

This longevity factor really appealed to me as I often get quite attached to my fishing gear and my boat is no exception.
Another major benefit of this material is its inherent buoyancy.

It has a specific gravity of 188kg per cubic metre of water, which for dummies like me means it’s five times lighter than water. Having a core of non-water absorbing foam in each panel also means the boat has positive flotation.

Being super buoyant also allows the boat to draw virtually no water, allowing you to fish in some pretty shallow spots. The 4.3m bare hull comes in at about 130kgs. That’s hard to believe for a boat of its length. The added advantages of such a lightweight hull, on and off the water, are obvious.

Another traditional benefit of ’glass boats is an extremely quiet ride and virtually zero hull slap while at rest.For the type of fishing I often partake in this is a pretty big advantage. Being able to stealthily work a deep rock wall for bream or very shallow sand flat for spooked out lizards while maintaining very little noise is a huge plus for modern day sport fishers.

Any internal noise from hatches and the like are also muffled considerably. This is something my old aluminum tinny just couldn’t achieve.

Customised Interiors
Something that is highly appealing about these CrossXCountry rigs is the fact that they can be highly customised.

The internal layout is pretty much up to you, unlike many mass produced boats that simply come as they are without compromise.

CXCs have a “menu” of additions that you can choose depending on your needs and requirements. Options include rod lockers, keel protectors, fully insulated coolers, storage hatches, extra long casting decks, seat positions, fully plumbed live wells, internal fuel tanks, side pockets and tackle storage.

Sitting down with a picture of a blank hull and virtually designing it ground-up was a fun experience for a control freak like myself.

I opted for most of the above and also included a product (that now comes standard) called SeaDek. This is an alternative to carpet and really shone as a flooring choice. It’s basically a non-slip, UV stable foam that can be cut to any shape or design. It is exceptionally grippy when wet, clean looking and stain resistant.

As a bonus it also had further noise reduction characteristics! The fish will never hear me coming…

I also chose a tiller steer design and no seats in my rig. This equates to an uncluttered, clean, dedicated fishing platform that is roomy and spacious. It’s a joy to be able to chase a big fish from front to back of the boat without having to look down to avoid deck clutter.

There’s plenty of storage space under the front casting platform. It conceals all my safety gear (three bulky lifejackets, two big deep cycle batteries, anchor and chain, jumpers, flares, tackle, rain gear, coffee, and snacks).

In my old boat I had this stuff sitting all over the boat. To have everything all packed away under sealed hatches is a beautiful thing. From a fishing point of view, this was a big requirement for me.

Sounders and electronics are all neatly mounted on a small, non intrusive side shelf that conceals and protects wires against excess water exposure.

Another huge plus is the ease of clean down at the end of a day’s fishing. Waterproof hatches and open areas that channel straight down to the end of the boat allow a simple hose out from top to toe.

Anyone who’s owned a traditional carpeted vessel will know how easily dirt, sand and general grot gets stored in a boat. A large rear bung sees fish blood and guts, sand and any dirt just simply wash straight out.

Power & Performance
Many prospective and existing boat users consider this the most important thing when choosing a rig.

I personally don’t focus too heavily on top end speed. I’m more interested on the smoothness and quality of ride. However, as a complete contradiction to this, I opted for the maximum horsepower and chose Yamaha’s excellent 60 hp four-stroke tiller steer engine.

The Yammie weighs in at 114kg and does sit quite big on the transom, but that’s to be expected. The outboard is getting about 6.5km to the litre and is doing just over 33 knots at WOT.

In a 4.3m boat, you really feel that you’re moving at this speed! Because the total weight of the boat is so light, the holeshot onto the plane takes under three seconds, thus I always use the safety kill lanyard.

For most applications a cruising speed around 19 knots and just under half throttle is fast enough and easier on fuel consumption. Truth be known, a 40hp would more than adequately do the job, but it’s just plain fun to have the extra brawn.

One up, this boat is more like a sports car with very serious throttle recognition and acceleration.

Underway the CXC 4.3m performs very well. It boasts a lovely soft ride and a normal conversation can be held without the obligatory shouting to out-compete a loud motor/hull combination.

A similar aluminum boat wouldn’t even compare. Reverse chines ensure any chop that you’ll encounter is diverted away from the hull, leaving passengers bone dry in most conditions

At rest, the CXC 4.3m is rock solid; wake, chop and swell have very little effect on its stability.

This is vastly different to my old traditional “deep vee” tinny that has literally thrown me in the drink more than once, complete with phones, wallet and rod and reel.

To complete the stealth inspired fishing package I opted for a bow mounted Minn Kota. Again, the advantage of having such a light boat is that you can get away with more economical electric motor (mine being a simple 12V 55lb).

The CrossXCountry 4.3m is an ideal boat for anyone who likes to dabble in a wide range of angling styles.

It’s a dream boat for fishing the estuaries and impoundments and handles some bay, coastal and light offshore work very well.

It’s a neat, functional and dedicated fishing package that will be used for many years to come.

CrossXCountry 4.3m
Length: 4.3m
Beam: 1.8m
Hull weight: 130kg (std. boat)
Towing weight: 434kg (std. boat)
Maxmum Power: 60hp
Engine as tested: Yamaha 60hp four-stroke (long shaft)
Maximum persons: 6
Contact: for more information.


This story was first published in the Fishing World October 2013 issue.



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