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Hold the phone Russell ... America’s finally listening

by Mark Rothfield on 4 Feb 2013
There’s a theory – yet to be proved – that wind is caused by trees waving their branches, and in the case of my dopey golden retriever its tails really can wag the dog whenever it’s walkies.

Now, a US boat manufacturer is actually listening to its Australian importer when designing a new model.

Gone are the days when America sneezed and the world caught a cold. Now it’s us holding the hanky and a glass of hot lemon …

‘Australia is a significant market for Crownline,’ said Australian distributor David Fraser.

‘As a direct consequence of our long standing relationship with the factory, our input was keenly sought during the development of the new Crownline 19 XS. I was pleased to be involved in the design, testing of the prototype, and final development of the production boat.’

Such a comment was unthinkable in the pre-GFC days when precious few Americans knew Australia existed let alone took us seriously. We were a bunch of croc wrestlers who threw shrimps on barbies and phones at recalcitrant hotel staff.

But, hey, money talks. We’re buoyed by a resources boom and obscenely wealthy, er healthy, banking system.

It’s all part of the seismic global shift that will make life increasingly difficult for domestic boat builders who previously argued that their boats, alone, were designed for Australia’s harsh conditions. They’re fast losing their point of difference and don’t have the luxury of an export market in return.

Crownline rewarded Fraser’s contribution to the new 19 XS by using the 2013 Melbourne Summer Boat Show (Feb 1-3) as the bowrider’s international launch pad. Being beautifully styled and affordably priced, it’s likely to prove very popular.

A full cockpit length windscreen complements the flowing hull lines, while the seating arrangement features a spacious bow section and huge wrap-around rear lounge. A portable/removable icebox fits under the centre of the rear lounge, which has all the hallmarks of an Aussie innovation.

Our true-blue loyalty to outboards is recognised as well, with the 19 XS rated to carry motors up to 175hp on its transom. A four-stroke Mercury 150, by way of example, will give a top speed of almost 40 knots with a 19-inch pitch prop.

The boat/motor/trailer package will sell for around $54,990, including bimini, covers and safety equipment and the Mercury 150. It’s powerful value for such a well-appointed and built vessel … and that, too, is something you’d have never said before our dollar became worth more than theirs. Booyah!

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