QUINTREX 390 OUTBACK EXPLORER

 

A new Quintrex 390 Outback Explorer package with more performance, storage, safety and fishing space

Quintrex 390 Outback Explorer – Quintrex has expanded its Explorer range with three great new models. Available in 3.5m, 3.7m, and 3.9m lengths, the new Outback Explorers are built around a new space-enhanced and performance-boosted F-Series of forked-bow hulls. For this review, we sampled the flagship 390 model with a 30hp electric-start, tiller-steer Evinrude E-TEC 30hp DFI two-stroke outboard and a range of options.

OVERVIEW
– More space, stability and freeboard for new Outback Explorers
Following the launch of the ground-breaking Freestyler and Frontier Apex hull-equipped models earlier this year, Quintrex has added three great new boats to its entry Explorer range of flat-water fishing boats.

The new Outback Explorers feature a new F-Series pickle-fork-shaped bow that allows the beam of the boat to be carried well forward for a wider casting deck and more storage and interior space.

The boats are safer than their predecessors too — thanks to higher topsides which provide more interior freeboard.

The Outback Explorers are available in a 3.5m cartopper-sized model, along with two larger trailerable boats in 3.7m and 3.9m lengths.

The boats are available with a range of options for easy customising, and all models are made using 1.6mm pressed aluminum sheet for the hull, transom and topsides.

A sturdy keel and a range of internal cross bracing struts provide the hulls with strength and rigidity.

In standard form, the three new models have a tiller-steer helm configuration with two foam-filled thwarts (providing flotation to Basic standard), short bow and stern rails, carry handles, rowlock blocks, large screw-in plastic drain bung, a glove box/cup holder seat insert, and a two-hole towing eye on the stem – the second hole of which is intended for a safety chain.

From smallest to largest, the standard model boats weigh 81kg, 92kg and 116kg and are rated for outboards to 15hp, 20hp and 30hp respectively.

Of the three boats offered to us for testing, we chose to concentrate on the smallest and the largest. This review is on the 390 Flagship model fitted with a range of optional extras and a 30hp Evinrude E-TEC outboard engine.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
– BMT packages from just over $10k 
The 390 Outback Explorer is a ripper new boat for bay, estuary and impoundment fishing in standard or custom configurations.

If you’re on a tight budget the standard unpainted model is the way to go as the Gold Coast’s Surf Coast Marine has packages available for only $10,690 with a 25hp Evinrude E-TEC DFI two-stroke outboard in the longshaft configuration and with tiller-steering and electric start.

The package also includes a Quintrex single-axle galvanised-steel trailer, 12 months’ registration, inshore safety gear pack and the aforementioned standard features.

As you would expect from Quintrex, there are plenty of optional extras to choose from so you can customise your boat to suit your needs.

Our test boat was upgraded with an external custom-vinyl hull wrap, painted interior, carpeted centre floor section, fuel tank and battery racks at the transom, a carpeted forward casting deck, and an electric-trolling-motor plate on the bow with corresponding space under the casting platform for a trolling motor battery.

The maximum power engine was also fitted to the test boat in the form of a 30hp Evinrude E-TEC DFI two-stroke outboard.

Additional options are available if you want to convert the basic boat into a tournament-ready fishing boat. Some of these options include wide, extruded side decks, side console helm station, rear casting platform, pedestal seating, bimini with envelope, cockpit side pockets, upgrade to a 2.0mm hull bottom – and more.

INTERIOR LAYOUT
– Traditional two-thwart layout with ample move-about and storage space
The interior layout in the 390 Outback Explorer doesn’t really break any new ground, but there is more space in the forward part of the boat due to the forked bow, which allows the beam of the boat to be carried right forward.

The forward seat thwart and casting deck is subsequently wider than in previous Explorer models in this size range, which also allows for more storage space beneath the optional casting deck.

We noted there is provision for a battery under the forward platform but there is also space for safety gear, clothing bags, towels, etc.

Forward of the casting deck there is also a parcel shelf which doubles as an anchor well. The shelf is wide enough to hold a suitable anchor and warp, but it really needs to be carpeted to stop the anchor from rattling about, and to protect the bare aluminium from damage.

Other bow features on the test rig included a carry/grab handle at the bow, port-side bow trolling motor plate, and short bow rails next to the forward seat thwart.

The two up-sized seat thwarts in the 390 Outback Explorer are wide, long and deep. You can’t put your feet under the thwarts as they are filled with foam and extend right down to floor level.

The thwarts are not riveted in place, but welded between a pair of cross-ribs for added strength and rigidity. The “top-hat”-style cross-ribs are welded at five points and run across the floor and up to the gunwale.

Together with the keel and the thwart seats themselves, the cross-ribs provide much of the strength and structural support to the boat, as the external pressed alloy skin is made of relatively lightweight 1.6mm alloy.

Stretching between the two seat thwarts in the test boat was a low-set, carpeted plywood floor. We tested the Explorers with and without the optional floor, and concluded that having a flat floor to walk about on is definitely worth the extra coin.

Bare or painted alloy also gets hot underfoot, and it is hard to stow stuff like tackle boxes, cooler bags, etc, as the sides of the alloy floor are sloped and there are cross-ribs to contend with (and stub your toes on).

Moving further aft, you’ll find the 390 Outback Explorer has two short stern rails, transom corner support gussets and grab rails, along with a V-shaped bracing structure to support the outboard engine, along with a series of diagonal struts.

Our test boat also had the optional carpeted fuel tank and battery racks mounted above the floor behind the stern seat thwart.

ON THE WATER
– Well-mannered with a comfortable ride and great cornering grip
We noted earlier that the two seat thwarts in the 390 Outback Explorer are wide and long. They are also well positioned. Underway, the boat is well balanced with the skipper and a single forward passenger onboard, making the boat ideal for two anglers.

From the rear thwart the 30hp Evinrude E-TEC’s long tiller arm is within a comfortable reach of the skipper so that the throttle, trim/tilt button and gear-shift lever all fall easily to hand.

With regard to performance the test rig was no slouch with the maximum power outboard fitted. We recorded a top speed of 23.05 knots with the two adults, anchor and safety gear onboard.

While 23 knots doesn’t sound especially quick, it is more than speedy enough for a sub-4.0m boat. The package was also swift from a standing start and very punchy through the mid range… to the extent that you do need to warn your passengers to hold on before opening the throttle.

Underway, the Outback Explorer is a well-mannered, the F-Series hull providing a surprisingly comfortable, yet stable and dry ride for this style of boat.

Through slalom turns the boat proved agile and manoeuvrable. It sits very flat through the turn and will maintains a limpet like grip on the water with full negative trim on the Evinrude outboard.

VERDICT
– Another ripper new Quinnie for small boat enthusiasts and fishermen 
Quintrex is certainly on a role this year, dominating the market with a range of new and exciting models — from cartoppers through to coastal fishing rigs and performance family tow-boats.

With the new Outback Explorers Quintrex has concentrated on the entry or budget end of the fishing-boat market, but has ensured the new boats are well-built with an attractive, functional new hull and interior design.

Of the three boats in the Outback Explorer range, the flagship 390 model is arguably the most versatile as it is the only boat big enough to nip out offshore on a good day. It is also a veritable bargain with BMT pricing between $10k and $15k, depending on options.

LIKES
>> Value for money
>> F-Series bow shape boosts interior space and seating
>> Nice ride for a small tinny
>> Punchy performance with Evinrude E-TEC 30hp
>> Fully welded construction

NOT SO MUCH 
>> Needs carpet in the anchor well for protection and noise suppression

RATINGS
Overall rating: 4.68/5.0
Mechanical/equipment: 4.6/5.0
Packaging and practicality: 4.8/5.0
On the water performance: 4.7/5.0
Value for money: 4.8/5.0
X-factor: 4.5/5.0

Specifications: Quintrex 390 Outback Explorer

Hull length: 3.95m
Beam: 1.82m
Depth: 870mm
Hull weight: 116kg
Weight on trailer: Approx 400kg
Bottom & transom alloy: 1.6mm
Topsides alloy: 1.6mm
Maximum power: 30hp
Maximum engine weight: 105kg
Maximum load: 555kg
Engine as tested: Evinrude E-TEC 30hp DFI two-stroke
Fuel capacity: Portables
Flotation standard: Basic
Maximum persons: 5

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