by Peter Jung •
The Clarke 520 Legend was launched at the 2017 Melbourne Boat Show and has proven to be a very popular addition to their range. We have wanted to test one for a while, but sales have been so strong that it has taken us up until now to find one available to review. Boats and More in Shepparton and Echuca will again have a good range of Clark Boats at this year’s show, with the 520 Legend the headline act.
This is the largest of the Clark boats we have tested for the magazines, as the majority of boats tested in the past have been focused on fishing in our estuaries, lakes and rivers. The 520 Legend offers a greater range of opportunities for fishing and recreational boating.
The 520 Legend really gives the feeling of being bigger than it is. The cockpit area is wide and open, with high gunwales and grab rails. The skipper’s seat and console are roomy, with the console providing a reasonable amount of space for gauges and switches as well as room to mount a good-sized sounder. The forward casting deck is also a good size and has a huge amount of storage beneath it. If there were a single word to describe it, that word would be ‘uncluttered.’ This space and a solid hull design are the base of what proved to be a very nice boat to test.
VERSATILITY EQUALS OPTIONS
The Legend is definitely targeted at the sportfishing market. The large forward casting deck, option to put an electric motor on the bow and excellent stability at rest all make it a great platform to cast lures from. Add to that a livewell and plenty of storage for your gear, and you have a boat where 2-3 anglers can comfortably terrorise all the fish in a location like Lake Mulwala, where we did this test.
From a fishing perspective, the additional option with the higher gunwales and width of the hull mean fishing bays and even open waters is possible in the right weather. The bait board, rod holders, cockpit space and live bait tank at the stern of the boat make soaking a bait or swimming a livey feasible.
From a family perspective, fishing is not the only option. The bait board is removable and can be replaced with a ski pole, so you can spend a few hours fishing and then tow the kids around on a tube or water ski, depending on their age. To swap the board and pole is simple and takes less than a couple of minutes. Towing an adult is also no issue, depending on the motor you match with the hull.
RIDE AND PERFORMANCE
The test boat had a Suzuki 115hp 4-stroke outboard on the back of it, which is the maximum horsepower for the 520. Simon from Boats and More explained to me that they had sold a number of packages with a 90hp and they had performed well, but running the maximum horsepower opens up the full range of options of the hull. He also mentioned that you could upgrade the 3mm bottom sheet to 4mm plate and increase the rating to 150hp.
Driving this boat is an absolute pleasure. The transition from at rest to on the plane and full power was smooth and effortless. Minimal trim was required to get to the sweet spot for maximum output and steering. Sharp cornering and turning at speed were done easily. It really shows what a well-matched hull and outboard offer. The maximum speed achieved during testing was 66km/h, with the most economical cruising range at 3500 revs. At this rpm the package achieved 37km/h at 3.6km/L of fuel burned – that’s nearly 400km out of the boat’s 110L fuel tank and plenty for any day’s fishing!
At the end of the test, Mark Frost volunteered to have a ski behind the boat (the outside temperature was nice, but the water temperature had a little chill to it). Within five minutes we went from fishing to skiing, and again the motor and hull did this easily.
LAUNCH AND RETRIEVE
Boats and More had the 520 Legend set up on a dual axle Alloy Series Dunbier trailer. A dual axle trailer is not a necessity for this hull, however – keeping in mind that a person buying this package is likely to be doing a fair bit of travelling – the dual axle trailer provides better highway towing. It was also set up to be launched and retrieved by one person if necessary, and on the day we drove the boat on and off the trailer with ease.
Always tell your dealer what your needs will be when it comes to towing, launching and retrieving. They will know the best option, like in this case; a slightly upgraded trailer provides hassle-free travel and makes it easy to get your boat on and off the water.
CHECK IT OUT YOURSELF
It’s hard not to be impressed by the Clark 520 Legend SC. It’s a combination of multiple use options: it’s family-friendly, fishing-friendly, ski-friendly, tows well and is a fabulous boat to drive with good economy. If I was going to ask anything, I would like to see some fishing rod storage, as most anglers tend to have multiple rods. Some storage out of the way would make the Legend even better than it already is.
As tested, the 520 came in at $52,490. The starting price is $36,990 with a smaller outboard. You can contact the team at Boats and More via their website www.boatsandmore.com.au, or drop in to their Shepparton or Echuca stores. Ask them for a test drive – you will enjoy the experience.
Overall Length 5.38m
Hull weight 560kg
Min hp 70hp
Max hp 115hp
Bottom and sides 3mm
Max people Six
RPM Speed (km/h) Economy (km/L)
Idle (850) 3 3.4
1000 7 4.5
2000 11 2.6
3000 16 1.7
4000 42 2.8
5000 54 2.0
WOT (6000) 66 1.7