Boat Test: Formosa Classic 480
  |  First Published: October 2013

Up north there are generally only two boat styles that are trailerable, reef boats and barra boats. There really is not much in between and the Formosa Classic 480 fits squarely in the reef boat category with a list of features and benefits that make it an option for anyone looking for a smaller boat capable of handling the big blue in the tropics, or way down south for that matter.

The Classic 480 is actually 4.95m long and has a brilliant beam of 2.3m. Add in 3mm sides and sturdy 4mm bottom plates and this rig is built pretty tough. We had the pleasure of taking the Classic 480 for a good spin out from Mission Beach courtesy of The Tinnie Shack and I have to say it was a simple, effective and easy to handle rig.

Starting at the ramp, the rig on trailer is not so big as to become a problem organising yourself to launch. Climbing in and out of the boat was easy and reversing was a breeze. Longer trailers tend to react a little slower to alterations from the car making the Classic 480 a great rig to reverse. Rigged with a 75hp Honda 4-stroke, the entire rig looked the goods and when it hit the water balanced nicely.

Set up as a side console, there was ample room and a number of options for the passenger or first mate’s seat. With such a large beam the side console, which can get in the way in skinnier boats, was never a problem while moving around the boat. I found this especially pleasing as I hate being forced to side straddle and wriggle myself around obstacles when moving around a boat.

But let’s start from the stern and take a look at exactly what The Tinnie Shack have put into this rig before we take it for a spin.

The rear motor pod has been cleverly used in this rig. Not only does it support the Honda, it has been designed to provide rear access to the boat via the use of a very sturdy boarding ladder on the port side and as you step onto the rig, non-slip decking has been added to provide a firm footing. This boarding set up is finished off with the addition of strong stainless rails top ensure not much can go wrong.

The rig came fitted with a bait table at stern that had a dedicated offal outlet and pipe that delivers the offcuts, blood and guts away from the boat. Underneath the bait table was the livewell, which was large enough for just about any live bait needs

Immediately forward of the bait table in the deck is a decent sized fish bin that drains straight into the bilge. The fish bin is removable for cleaning or to access the bilge area and keeps the deck space free of clutter, fish slime and blood.

Moving forward to the front deck, a small step and deck conceals a large volume storage area. We stored the safety gear in here but you could easily store a number of other items. One thing I really liked about this low level casting deck is that it does not raise your centre of gravity much and gives you plenty of gunwale height to lean against if you’re into a big one. Carpeted throughout, the internal layout is simplicity in its brilliant best – just the way I like it.

Up front the bow sports a stainless rail either side of the bowsprit that have an anchor holder on each side. This allows the end user to have a number of anchors to suit the terrain they are fishing – very important when you may encounter rock, mud or sand on any given fishing trip. The anchor well is massive and there would be little problem storing more than enough rope and chain to see you safely anchor just about anywhere inside the reef.

Enough of the layout, let’s take her for a spin.

Sitting in the mid-range of the boat’s power rating, the 75hp Honda 4-stroke proved a more than adequate powerhouse for this rig. Quick to get up on the plane and open to trim, the Classic 480 virtually flew along through the small chop at 30 knots. Now that’s not too bad for a rig that has a dry hull weight of 520kg. Cruising nicely at around 24 knots, the frugal Honda could see you travel may many kilometres with the 75L underfloor fuel tank filled.

Cornering at full noise was brilliant and we had a load of fun playing around in the chop offshore from Mission Beach. Greg Livingstone really got stuck into the rig and had it up and running hard in a series of manoeuvres that showed us simply how well this hull rode. With the okay to stick the throttle to full and see what she could do, Greg needed no further encouragement to head for the horizon very quickly.

Fishing wise the Formosa Classic 480 is quite a lot of boat for the money.

With a beam of 2.3m, hull depth of 750mm externally and 600mm internally thanks to the full height transom, the 480 offers quite a deal of sea keeping ability. The hull is virtually all workroom, with neatly rounded internal corners for comfort and a degree of stability at rest that makes it ideal as a fishing craft for more than two to enjoy. Factory options are on hand for further enhancement of a basically sound package, which will suit a lot of anglers.

Overall I really enjoyed playing around in this boat. More stable than you’d imagine, a sea keeping ability that will see users head offshore regularly and with the 75hp Honda 4-stroke providing enough power and reliability to get you there and back, the Classic 480 is a very nice rig overall. Priced as tested at $35,000 the Classic 480 from Formosa is great value for money in a very tough market.

If you want to know more about this rig, give Carl or Dean a call at The Tinnie Shack in Mission Beach. They take their boats very seriously and get heavily involved in making sure they are just right before they’ll sell them. Contact The Tinnie Shack on 07 4088 6125 or log onto their website at www.thetinnieshack.com.au.


Structural features

Welded Floor Structure

Longitudinal Structure

Fastback Transom

Reverse Chine Hull

Raised Sheer Line

Aluminium Anchor Well

Bow Sprit and Roller

Fully Welded Side Decks

Side Mounted Console

32mm rail tubing-front and rear

Side Pockets

Casting Deck with storage

Seat Positions (4)

Sounder Bracket

Folding Dive Ladder

Factory fitted features

Swivel Seat and Pole (2)

Fully Carpeted Marine Ply Floor

Fuel Tank and Sender

Buoyancy Foam Filled Hull

Painted Hull

Two-tone Painted Hull (optional)


6 way switch panel

Nav lights

Anchor lights

Bilge Pump

Battery Box

Rod Holders (4)

Transom Door (optional)

Baitboard (optional)

Kill Tank (optional)


Length of hull4.95m
Overall length on trailer6m
Height on trailer1.9m
Hull constructionPlate alloy 4mm bottom, 3mm sides
Weight of hull520kg
Deadrise12 degrees
Fuel75 litres
Engine fitted75hp Honda 4-stroke
TowingFamily six sedan
Price (as tested)$35,000

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