The Bow Rider Sports 4.85 is a new release from Blue Fin Boats. It goes well, stows and tows easily and is the right size for family use.
Such is the easy performance of the hull matched with the Yamaha F70 four-stroke that anglers will get to their destination fairly smartly and tow sports might well be a part of a day on the water for family fun seekers.
Let’s have a look at the layout.
Tucked in behind the wide bowsprit is a generous anchor well, deep enough to ensure that warp won’t escape when under way.
The bow rider seating is well-upholstered and there is a low but very strong grab rail surrounding three sides forward of the three-piece windscreen with its central opening section.
Two or three people could sit or fish up forward and there is quite a large amount of storage below the seats with a level, carpeted floor in each compartment.
Access forward and aft through the wide walk-though between driver’s and mate’s consoles is a breeze.
There is ample legroom under both consoles, each with supportive and well-upholstered swivelling seats on pedestals.
There is a solid grab rail and locking glove box right in front of the passenger and another grab handle to port.
The dash set-up was basic but quite workable. A sounder was not fitted to the test craft there was ample room for one if required.
Gauges to monitor the Yamaha were fitted above the sports-style steering wheel and an array of switches was lower down. The engine controls were mounted on the side of the hull in the usual manner.
The seating position was quite comfortable, vision was unrestricted, and the non-feedback steering was quite light, giving the Blue Fin a well-balanced and lively feel.
The optional bimini afforded some weather protection and this option is almost compulsory when ordering a 4.85 Bow Rider Sports.
Aft of the helm seating, the wide cockpit offers gunwale rod holders and useful side pockets over a metre long.
Aft is a full-width bench seat with a well-padded coaming backrest. The seat was mounted on a large hinged storage box capable of storing skis, fishing tackle and more. The seat box itself can be hinged forward for ease of cleaning the craft.
Grab rails extend over the stern to assist entry and exit and wide non-skid duck boards each side of the engine are good for swimmers, divers or skiers. The fold-down ladder to port is conveniently handy to the side grab rail.
This neat bow rider is rated for engines from 60hp to 80hp, which allows a fair amount of latitude for engine selection.
No doubt owners often seeing four or five aboard or hoping to enjoy some tow sports from time to time would opt for higher power while those with one or two aboard most times would be happy for a 60 on the transom.
The F70 Yamaha certainly proved a lively performer throughout its entire rev range. It started whisper-quiet and maintained smooth, easy performance whether cruising fast or just idling along.
The Blue Fin Bow Rider Sports 4.85 planed at a very low 7.7 knots (14.4kmh) at 3000rpm. At 4000rpm the GPS showed 17.5 knots (32.4kmh), at 5000rpm it read 24 knots (44.3kmh) and at 6000rpm 31 knots (57.5kmh).
Test runs were carried out in sheltered waters with three adults aboard.
I liked a cruise speed of around 18 knots with the engine humming along at just over 4000rpm and decidedly quiet.
The F70 Yamaha performed well and I’d see it towing skiers with ease or hastening an angling team to a chosen spot with little fuss.
Ride of the Blue Fin was very good, thanks to a hull design tailored to family boating and fishing. In recognition that most work would likely be in sheltered or semi-sheltered waters, the hull has a modest 10° vee with six pressed strakes each side of the prominent keel.
The bow is fine and well raked to reduce wave impact – most important in a bow rider; don’t want to jar the fillings out of the teeth of those up front. The well-formed hull pressings carry right forward to provide stability under way and reduce wetted surface.
The spray rail on the water line up forward worked very well and chop on the test run produced an agreeable lack of spray coming aboard at any time.
Ride was also quiet, thanks to underfloor foam fill.
In fact I found Blue Fin Bow Rider Sports 4.85 to be stable, predictable and quite enjoyable all round.
Handling was quite sporty, in line with the designation. Sharp turns, figure-eights and fast hole shots were accomplished with ease.
Stability was also very good, as expected from a moderate vee hull with ample strakes and a generous beam of 2.150m.
Family groups with young children will enjoy time in this craft with its 750mm interior side height and exterior freeboard of 1100 mm.
Blue Fin make no claim to the Bow Rider Sports 4.85 being a dedicated fishing boat, yet it would certainly fulfil a lot of fishing requirements.
There’s sufficient work room all round for up to four to fish in the estuary or bay, with runs offshore in good conditions a possibility with two or three aboard.
This is a well-handling, well-mannered craft as suited to newcomers to boating as it would be to old hands.
Comfort and space are at a high level. Finish was good, welds smoothed neatly and overall presentation is up with the best.
I was quite happy with the 70hp Yamaha and appreciated its smoothness and quietness. The ski pole fitting at the transom is indicative of the sports orientation of the rig, yet this would double as an effective fishing boat with ease.
Supplied on a Dunbier single-axle trailer, solo launch and retrieve should be a breeze. Price as tested is $31,490, contact your favourite Blue Fin dealer for a price on the package that suits you.
For more information call Lake Eppaloch Marine on 03 5439 1340 and jump on the web at www.bluefinboats.com.au.
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.
|Hull||3 mm alloy|
|Power||60hp-80hp (with 4mm bottom to 90hp)|
|Test engine||Yamaha F70 four-stroke|
|LOA on trailer||5.90m|
|Height on trailer||1.90m|
Towing: Family sedan or wagon