Bundaberg-based Sea Jay Boats have been in the alloy boat business long enough to know what works well, what can turn a good boat into a great boat and how to pack features and performance into a compact package.
All these factors make their new 455 Avenger a simply brilliant boat for fishing, prawning or crabbing and equally good for family boating.
The Avenger series – 4.2m, 4.4m and 4.55m – are very good-looking boats as well, with pleasing lines from stem to stern.
An open tiller-steer craft 4.55m long and 2.05m wide, the 455 Avenger is almost all fishing room.
A 30cm high casting deck up front offers ample work area for two anglers and the four seat pedestal bases in the main cockpit, and the one on the casting deck, allow seating options to suit any conditions.
The Avenger’s open anchor will store a sand or reef pick with plenty of rope and the gap in the bow rails facilitates anchoring up.
There was an electric motor pad to port and a sturdy bollard aft of the anchor well.
The casting deck has two hatches, the forward one housing a rack for a battery for the electric motor, while the much larger aft hatch accesses a deep storage for tackle, clothing, lifejackets and more.
The deck carpet joins the hull sides so precisely that that there is little possibility of a sinker, swivel or even a hook sneaking down below to cause electrolysis troubles over time.
The Avenger’s main work area comes with two folding swivel seats, and there are three rod holders along each side in the 25cm wide gunwale caps. There is also storage for tackle and other items in the 1m long side pockets.
Parents of small children should like the security of the cockpit, with its 585mm floor-to-gunwale height.
The filler for the 60L sub-floor fuel tank is in the floor. While it might not be terribly high-tech, measuring the fuel with a dipstick certainly works.
Aft of the skipper’s seat, a full-width raised casting deck houses the engine battery to starboard and a floodable bait well to port.
Grab rails and transom handles are in each aft corner and the transducer bracket on the transom is standard.
Any water finding its way aboard exits via strained scuppers in each aft quarter and drains into a sump with an automatic bilge pump.
With 3mm bottom and 3mm sides, the 4.55 Avenger is one solid and very rigid craft.
I came away from a tour of Sea Jay’s factory with the thought that it’s what owners cannot see in their boats that should reassure them most.
The 4.55 Avenger has an under-floor system of ribs, bulkheads and bracing and the plywood was totally rigid and impressively straight. There were no warps, no misalignment or anything other than full welds throughout – even those totally out of sight.
External full welds were quite neat and the gunwale trim added a touch of class, as did the overall matte finish. I find overly shiny alloy craft a bit hard on the eye.
The Avenger’s plate-look sides feature a welded spray rail which progressed down along the hull to form a reversed chine.
The 12° deadrise bottom features three pressed strakes per side and a prominent 9cm keel which doubtlessly contributed to the rig’s true tracking and kart-style turns under power.
The Sea Jay 455 Avenger is rated for 50hp-60hp and the smooth 60hp Yamaha provided some real punch for the 350kg hull. The engine, with its multi-function tiller arm with trim and tilt, was whisper-quiet at idle and contributing not many more decibels when it spooled up.
With two aboard, the Avenger planed at 7.5 knots (14kmh), cruised very sweetly at 17 knots (32kmh) and showed 24.6 knots (45.5kmh) in a quick burst to near wide open throttle on this engine fresh out of the crate.
Performance was brilliant; ride and handling were, too. Powering over wash from passing boats did not upset the Avenger’s equilibrium and even when pushed hard over washes, the bumps and vibration were minimal.
One might expect some water aboard an open boat from time to time but during test runs the Avenger’s level attitude and spray chines kept spray away from occupants.
With its ability to jump on the plane in around two hull lengths, to turn very sharply and return to level attitude in short order, this craft is a great all-rounder.
Heading up a mangrove creek to check the crab pots with up to five aboard, or covering distance to a favourite fishing spot would be par for the course, yet a family angler with Mum and youngsters aboard would find things just as enjoyable.
With those reversed chines and considerable beam, the Avenger was noticeably stable and I had no problems walking around at rest.
This package is a very comfortable, versatile rig that is quite capable of carrying out any number of tasks with ease and total lack of fuss.
Estuary, river, impoundment or bay work would be easy but there’s no doubt, given the freeboard, performance and overall ride that a run offshore on the right morning would be also within its capability.
At around $22,900 on an excellent solo launch/retrieve Redco trailer, the 4.55 Avenger is excellent value for money. Call Sea Jay boats on 07 4153 5075, email --e-mail address hidden-- or visit www.seajayboats.com.au to find your nearest Sea Jay dealer.
Sea Jay 4.55 Avenger
|Length on trailer:||5.90m|
|Height on trailer:||1.67m|