The new Outback 50, just unveiled at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, is designed for active boat owners, people who want to go places and do things. Its most noticeable feature is its open transom and “infinity deck” aft that can hold a small vessel, jet skis, or other toys.
Many years in the making, the Outback 50 has a serious cruising pedigree, a collaboration between Michael Peters, the well-known designer, and Andrew Cilla, the owner of Luke Brown Yachts in Fort Lauderdale and a long-time cruiser. Over some drinks about ten years ago, Cilla asked Peters to design the perfect cruising boat, and Peters sketched the first rendering of the Outback 50 on a bar napkin. But they had other things to do, and they put the project aside.
The time was right three years ago, and they got serious about it. The boat was built at the Kha Shing yard in Taiwan, and Peters and Cilla called in John Olson of Offshore West to be the U.S. distributor.
When I first heard the name of the boat, I assumed it was an Australian boat, but the “outback” refers to the aft deck. The boat is designed as an easily driven utility cruiser with maximum performance and cruising comfort. The engines, twin 270-hp Volvo diesels, are mounted under the aft deck to enhance access and reduce noise and vibration.
The Outback 50 has a top speed of 20 knots and a cruising speed of 16 knots; it has a range of just under 1,000 miles at 8 knots. Optional twin 425-hp Cummins will push the top speed to 25 knots and the cruising speed to 21 knots.
A keel protects the running gear and props, and the boat has a shallow draft of just three feet, making it possible to cruise in many areas of the Bahamas or explore remote anchorages and coves that would not be accessible on most 50-foot boats.
Hull number one, the boat at the Lauderdale show, has thee staterooms and two heads below. Hull number two, built for an owner in Newport Beach, California, has two staterooms and one head.
On the main deck, the galley is forward, on the port side, opposite the helm. A door opens from the helm to the starboard side deck for easy access during docking or line handling. The salon opens directly to the aft deck for a natural flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces.
The Outback 50 has a low profile, even with its flybridge. It has an upper helm station with two seats, and a settee and table. The boat deck aft can hold a davit and a RIB.
The transom has stainless steel gates that you can remove easily to load any boats, toys or dive gear. The open aft deck also can be used as a large entertaining space with lounges and a barbecue or wet bar.
To a large degree, the Outback 50 can be customized to meet an owner’s desires. The standard version has a starting price of $1.5 million.
Specs.: LOA: 56’3”; Beam: 15’6”; Draft: 3’0”; Disp.: 40,000 lbs.; Fuel: 550 gals.; Water: 150 gals.; Power: 2×270-hp Volvo diesels.