McLay’s 581 CrossXOver with Suzuki 140HP 4-stroke

The 140hp Suzuki jumps the McLay out of the hole. Spinning an 18” propeller, the hull was quite trim-sensitive and responded well to proper trimming.

by Steve Morgan •

I think there’s no argument that the New Zealanders have been making bulletproof alloy boats ever since that famous whale got ‘beached-as’ last decade. And for a long time before that.

As a result there have been plenty of rigs to cross the Tasman to be used by Aussies that love running them hard. Also, I think there wouldn’t be many arguments against the statement that some of these boats aren’t the most eye-catching rigs on the market.

Pleasingly, McLay combine the toughness of a 5mm plate hull with practical finishing and aesthetics that draw a smile and not a wince. The 581 CrossXOver’s name aptly describes the hull – it’s a fusion of a hard-ass fishing boat with enough creature comforts to keep the family on the water longer.

Powered by the rock-solid Suzuki 140hp, the McLay won’t break the bank at the dealership or the bowser, with a comfortable cruising speed of 4000rpm delivering 40km/h at 2.5km per litre of fuel burned.

Looks like you? Check out the full range of McLay boats at Warragul Marine with David Garcia, or visit
Sometimes it’s the small things – like the water diverter that stops wash dropping into the cockpit – that makes boating a more enjoyable experience.
The 140hp Suzuki jumps the McLay out of the hole. Spinning an 18” propeller, the hull was quite trim-sensitive and responded well to proper trimming.
Non-skid on the walkaround is a nice touch. We had no problems getting from the bow to the stern.
With the canopy and wraparound clears, you can be comfortable in most weather conditions.
Plenty of places to hold onto up here, and a full-sized hatch helps you anchor.
We don’t see that many carpeted dashboards, but the covering helps dampen the sound. We are big fans of under seat storage.
The rear pod and steps combine with broad reverse chines to make the 2.28m beam as stable as possible. The welded box section to mount transducers and other sensors is a nice touch, and keeps the integrity of the hull intact.
This rig would turn heads at any boat ramp around the country. The Nyalic coating on the unpainted, high-traffic areas looks good and will keep the boat looking good for years to come.

The 18” pitch aluminium Suzuki propeller jumped the 581 up onto the plane with ease and with judicious use of the trim switch, it took on an attitude that chewed up any small chop that Port Phillip Bay could offer on the test day.

You can tell that McLays are designed by anglers. Heavy traffic areas are unpainted. Instead, bare aluminium sections are covered with a coating called Nyalic, which stops oxidation and keeps the ‘new boat’ look. This means that you can spend your time getting to work landing fish or pulling pots instead of babying your paint job.

The walkaround is abundantly non-skidded and there’s a mountain of grab rails exactly where they are needed. Add this to a cockpit floor lined with a removable, washable rubber matting and you’re ready to get the messy jobs done and to wash up perfectly afterwards.

Warragul Marine’s David Garcia spends as much time in these McLay boats as anyone, and is in love with this layout. In fact, Warragul add their own touches to these rigs, with the baitboard withdraw being an after-market inclusion.

Indeed, the entire transom area is impressive with a clear-fronted live bait tank, walk through transom door with ladder and neat folding and stowing bench seat making this cockpit one of the best designed I’ve been in.

“Everyone likes to get their kids out on the water and introduce them to fishing, and this CrossXOver is predominantly aimed at the family fishers,” said David Garcia.

As tested, this rig on a twin axled Dunbier trailer came in at $66,000, although packages start from as little as $53,000.

To find out more, drop into Warragul Marine or visit their website at

Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications.

RPM Speed Km/L
Idle (600) 4.3 5
1000 6.4 4.1
2000 11 2.2
3000 21 1.6
4000 39 2.5
5000 52 1.9
WOT 68 1.6
*Fitted with 18” Suzuki aluminium propeller

Length 5.81m
Beam 2.28m
Freeboard 72cm
Hull weight 700kg
Transom height 25”
Horsepower 90-115HP
Bottom sheet 5mm
Side sheet 4mm
Fuel 130L