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Reviewed: Outback Yachts 50

The Outback Yachts 50 is seakindly, has SUV functionality and 24-knot performance.

October 23, 2020
Outback 50
To help funnel green water off the boat, the Outback 50 was designed with a sloped angle from bow to open transom. Billy Black

First things first: the Outback 50 has nothing to do with the Australian wilderness or the casual-dining chain restaurant. Instead, the Outback in this case refers to the yacht’s optional 16-foot-long “infinity deck” cockpit, which is large enough for a pingpong table, should an owner desire one.

Let’s talk a little more about the boat. Florida-based Michael Peters designed the Outback 50, which is built at Kha Shing—the same Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, factory that produces finely finished yachts for Hargrave and Offshore. The 50 has that same level of finish and a design inspired by pilot boats, with their smaller interior accommodations and larger exterior areas, coupled with a smooth-riding and seaworthy hull. In addition to the Infinity Deck model, Outback offers an Extended Deck model with 2 more feet of space in the salon and the same large cockpit.

Exterior space and interaction with the marine environment are integral to Outback’s ideas about boating. To that end, the cockpit on my test vessel had modular teak furniture and a Magma grill, perched on a railing aft, as well as a Fusion sound system for the day’s soundtrack. Notably, the Outback 50 has a completely open transom—save for safety railings—a design that lets green water drain more quickly. This feature was inspired by workboats. Running all the way around the bow are 15-inch-wide teak-soled side decks with thigh-high bulwarks—an excellent setup for safety while docking.

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Outback 50
The yacht’s focus on melding interior and exterior spaces comes into play in the salon via the nearly 360-degree windows. Billy Black

The other major exterior entertaining area on the Outback 50 is its flybridge. The yacht’s tender can be stowed in the cockpit, but should the owner want a dining settee there instead, the flybridge can house a davit as well as the 10-foot-long tender aft. Forward of that space is L-shaped seating to starboard with an accompanying table. The upper helm has twin pilot seats built by Todd Enterprises, as well as a Garmin screen. The Outback’s vertical clearance is 15 feet, which makes her suitable for most bridge-encumbered waterways, including those along the Great Loop.

The yacht’s interior is highly customizable, though the standard layout has an L-shaped dining settee to port with a high-gloss teak table, which is foldable for better maneuverability. Across from the settee is a 42-inch pop-up TV to starboard. This space has nearly 360 degrees of visibility, helping to connect the exterior with the interior and fitting with the running theme of this boat’s overall design.

A galley forward of the dining settee is ready for meal prep with a three-burner Kenyon cooktop, a Sharp microwave and a Vitrifrigo refrigerator.

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The lower helm has good sightlines thanks to all the windows surrounding the interior, and because of the boat’s minimal 2 degrees of trim at running speeds. The low trim numbers are in large part due to a shallow shaft angle of 8 degrees, a design choice that allows the engines’ forces to be applied nearly completely forward and not up. This design also gives the boat a shallow draft of 3 feet, including a keel.

Outback 50 Infinity Deck
The Outback 50 Infinity Deck version has an oversize cockpit that works well for entertaining or stowing equipment. Billy Black

Underway, the boat is designed to have water slough off as quickly as possible (hence the aforementioned open transom). To that end, the entire boat slopes aft. If you were to place a golf ball at the bow tip, it would run unimpeded all the way aft until it plopped into the water. The boat is also solid below the waterline, while Outback used coring above. Twin 425 hp Cummins straight-shaft diesels are housed in the orderly and easily accessible engine room. Twin 270 hp Volvo Penta D4 sterndrives will be on Hull No. 2, which is an Extended Deck version.

I manned the Outback 50 from the upper helm, and was pleased with how smoothly she got on plane and shot up to her top hop of 24 knots with her bow barely rising. It was a beautiful South Florida day, and the seas didn’t give Peters’ hull much to work with, but she did feel solid in the gentle swells. The control I felt at the wheel during S-turns at a 19-knot cruise was confidence inducing.

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This vessel is effectively a picnic boat on steroids. She is fun to drive and has lots of exterior entertainment space, with enough interior space for family cruising. The Outback 50 is a well-designed and straightforward “boater’s boat.”

Take the next step: outbackyachts.com

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