Atlantic 520 FC
Twisting the tradition
Older fishermen will know the 520 FC (forward console) since it’s been around for a good few years – and her form and function truly has stood the test of time. But with fishing fast becoming ruled by the sports angler, is there place in the South African market for this traditional ski boat? The Editor checks out this craft – hot off the production line!
The 520 has always been a good hull for this boat. Available in a centre console (CC) as well, which we reviewed in the June/July edition, the FC is for the hardcore fisherman who likes to be on the water and get the job done. When it comes to angling, the 520 FC has got a lot to offer for those looking to reel in the big one. With a 2012 spin on the craft which has so many years’ experience on the water, she’s still got a good chance at being that something special.
We take a trip out on a reasonably flat sea at Oceana Powerboat Club in Cape Town to see what this 520 is all about.
With the console being forward, it allows a generous amount of space for those on board to maximise on their needs, as well as getting down to fighting those fish. At the helm, a small section in the middle of the windscreen can be opened to allow access to the bow to tie up lines and use the anchor. The windscreen is bordered by quality stainless steel work to form a grab handle, should passengers so need.
Behind the screen, there’s sufficient protection from wind and spray on those days when the weather gets a little crazy. The low windscreen means you always have a clear view forward while the breeze rustles your hair – which is welcomed, especially by those that don’t quite have their sea legs yet.
The aft section of the 520 FC is where the magic is and is well-finished for the discerning buyer. Attention to detail has been given to this boat – such as the cushioning on the storage console, which has been inset into the fibreglass instead of simply being built on top. This doesn’t have much function, but does go a long way in adding to the aesthetics of the craft. It’s also worth mentioning that there are relatively no ‘sharp’ corners to the fibreglass on the deck, which can become very dangerous should you somehow lose your footing – all of the 520 FC’s edges seem to be rounded-off for maximum safety. Full length rod storage is located in the gunwales and there’s plenty of space in the fish boxes (built into the deck, port and starboard) to take home your quota for the day.
The storage console, located mid ship, houses space for six, portable, 25-litre fuel tanks at the stern side, a deep compartment for slim tackle boxes and your lunch in the middle, and storage for items such as life vest, warm jackets and more in the forward hatch. These hatches are lockable, especially suitable for those that like to get packed the night before a trip.
At the transom, there’s a neat wood- and stainless boarding platform for passengers or your prized catch, as well as a live-bait well with a transparent lid for that quality look. Also present are four Scotty trawling rod-holders – which are slightly pricier than most, but are known for being effective and well-made. The things I like most about the 520 FC’s interior design is the generous amount of grab handles, copious storage space, sufficient thigh cushioning to lean against when you have a fish on, and the ergonomically designed helm.
The skipper, although limited to stand-up piloting, has a very neat helm station with good all-round visibility, and is certainly the one in control with everything he, or she, needs to skipper the craft safely; including magnetic compass, a Lowrance VHF radio, engine gauges, switch panel, and of course throttles with single or dual trim. There’s also Lowrance’s brilliant 4X and 4 m models – which are great bang for your buck and are sure to put you in the right spot to wet some line.
The Atlantic 520 FC, as reviewed, was fitted with twin Suzuki 60 HP 4-Strokes which are lightweight (104 kg each), efficient, and pack quite a punch – pushing out 44.1 kW @ 5 800 rpm. They’re reasonably quiet too, producing a soft engine note at idle as well as low petrol fumes. These models have got Suzuki’s Lean Burn fuel control system which enables the engine to operate on a lean air-fuel ratio or a thinner mixture of fuel. The system controls the air to fuel mixture by predicting fuel needs according to your operating conditions. The benefit of this is delivered over a wide operating range providing significant economy from low speed operation well up into the cruising range, giving a fuel efficient operation without taking away from their performance. The brilliant boating weather meant the sea was pretty calm on the day of our review – but we still tried our best to put the craft through her paces. We achieved a top speed of 59.1 km/h and her holeshot timing was good too – getting from idle to top speed in around just 20 seconds. These outboards produced ample power and are well suited to the 520 FC for their balance on the craft and power-to-weight ratio, as well as being economical. The 520 runs superbly with a slightly bow-proud attitude and didn’t show signs of wanting to dig in or plough down waves in a following sea – although the swell on the day was minimal.
The ride was comfortable and dry on board. She leans inwards on tight corners which means she really can handle the speed – if you’re in a hurry. She’s very stable too, and I felt I was doing the craft an injustice being on board without a good boat rod at hand!
The Atlantic 520 FC is well made and equally well kitted for the serious angler. Her safe and comfortable ride, aided by the great Suzuki motors, are the reason why this boat has, and always will be up there in the category of best fishing boats for her price – which starts off at R300 000 For more information, contact Atlantic Suzuki on (021) 555 1977.