This locally-built pocket rocket is just what you may have been looking for. Designed to please fishermen first and foremost, this gutsy little craft offers up the full-on package with plenty of space to boot. The Xpression 520 doesn’t do cute – it’s a fully fledged machine ready to tackle the deep.
In a recent edition, I had the chance to check out the Xpression 520’s big brother – the 600 – and I must say, I came away very happy with the performance, ability and price of the craft. Although the Xpression range of boats might be a relatively new household name, they’re fast making a name for themselves as being extremely well built while offering the buyer a lot of value for money. With that said, the 600 was a great piece of engineering and I was almost hesitant that the smaller 520 could fill the shoes. Let’s see how she fares.
The 520 Xpression is the perfect size boat for those that know what they want. If you like taking the whole family out boating as well as the Joneses from next door just to prove a point, then this 17-foot ski boat probably isn’t for you. While she’s certified for just five onboard, her size makes her a pleasure to store, easy to handle and nimble on the trailer – but probably most importantly, she requires less power to get the performance you’d want. There’s ample seating around the craft with space for three passengers upfront in the bow and two on the stern bench seat. Our review craft had no seating for the skipper, but, during my hour or so at the helm, I found it’s not really as much of an issue as you might think. After all, this is a completely sea-going vessel and I prefer standing (or leaning) as it keeps you alert to what’s going on. However, if you feel differently, a bollard seat can be fitted.
The helm is dual-width and therefore very spacious – I find this aspect goes a long way to making the all-round feel of the boat very comfortable; it’s a case of a ‘small’ boat with big characteristics, and this checks an important box for me. It’s also great in that it affords you the ability to have a good-looking control centre. The 520 you see in the pictures is equipped with all the bells and whistles – a radio/CD player, VHF radio, switch panel, throttles, and dual engine gauges. There was also a premium, mini Lowrance fish finder – while you can opt for the equipment of your choice, I’d personally choose to go with the Lowrance HDS 10 since there’s more than enough binnacle space, and well, it’s an absolutely great unit to use.