All the dinghies sold around Australia each year add up to some significant dollars, just in the sheer numbers sold. Boats from tiny 2.7-metre car-toppers to five-metre dinghies have many uses around the country, from the creeks up north to the alpine dams and all the rivers, estuaries and bays in between. It’s no wonder that we see such a huge range from alloy boat manufacturers with new models and upgrades appearing all the time.
Ally Craft is one of the bigger manufacturers of alloy boats in Australia and its Kakadu Karrier series has five models, ranging from 4.10 metres to 5.25 metres. These open boats are designed for a variety of fishing situations, with various options to suit.
The Kakadu Karrier 4.10 may be the smallest in this range but its practical layout means it’s still quite a versatile boat. It is just as at home with the weekend angler chasing a few crabs and bream as it is in the north tracking down barra or chasing bass, yellowbelly or trout in the dams.
At 4.1 metres it’s a very manageable size and because you need only a modest engine you can keep the overall price down to around $11,000 or less. As far as boats go, $11,000 isn’t a big investment and when these boats are looked after, they tend to hold their value very well.
For a 4.1-metre dinghy, the Kakadu Karrier is a reasonably-sized boat with plenty of room to move around and fish in, a variety of seating options, storage and underfloor fuel.
A bench across the transom provides the driver’s seat in this tiller-steer version, with the pedestal seat mount on front of this thwart with positions on the port and starboard sides.
A small engine well in the centre separates the two rear storage areas, which can be set up as plumbed live wells or just used for storage.
As a convenience and for ease of use, a small panel on the starboard side houses a few switches for lights, pumps and so forth. It’s out of the way here but is still only an arm’s reach from the driver’s seat and is a useful addition.
The Karrier’s raised foredeck has another two seating positions fixed to the rear side of the deck, leaving the raised deck purely as a casting and fishing area. It’s not a bad safety idea, especially if you have children. The lower your kids sit, the better – you don’t want them perched up high.
Below the deck is plenty of room to store gear and to make this storage area even better there’s a flat floor inside here rather than just the shape of the hull.
In between the front and rear seats the deck is slightly raised off the floor so it can cover the full floor rather than fall short at the sides, leaving exposed ribs. It makes for a friendlier deck to move about in and reduces the chance of items slipping below.
Another advantage of having a raised deck is that the space below allows for an underfloor fuel tank. A 60-litre tank under the deck is quite a bonus in a boat this size. Ally Craft has added foam flotation to aid with buoyancy.
Back in the cockpit we see side pockets run either side from the aft thwart to three-quarters of the way to the forward casting deck. They are big enough to be quite useful.
A few other features on the boat include a self-draining anchor well, four rod holders, bowsprit and bollard, internal keel for added strength, painted sides with striping, side and bow rails and other options to suit.
Overall, it’s the variety of seating options with the raised front deck and storage that make the Kakadu Karrier such a versatile dinghy.
The ride is what you would expect of an open dinghy – great in smooth water and capable of handling a bit of chop.
When the wind and sea come up you will get wet but as long as you drop the speed and take it easy, you’ll get home without a problem.
Stability is good at rest and on the plane. The test boat was fitted with a two-stroke 25hp Yamaha which gave surprising pick-up and speed with two of us aboard. If you are only ever going to fish two or maybe three adults you will find the 25hp quite sufficient.
I was rather impressed at the performance of this package as my initial thoughts were that a 25hp would lack top-end speed and be a little slow getting out of the water. I was wrong on both accounts.
The 4.10 is rated to a 40hp engine and outside of the extra speed you will get out of the bigger engine, there are other advantages to going that way. Things like power trim and tilt on a 30hp two-stroke are definite advantages.
This particular outfit had the 25hp CV fitted, which was manual pull-start with pre-mix oil. These small Yamahas are quite a good little engines for their price.
The beauty of smaller boats is that they are a lot easier to handle, maintain, keep and run. It doesn’t hurt so much when you get a big run of bad weather and the boat sits in the shed.
Big boats, on the other hand, are a big investment and a big cost just to look at and this is why many anglers downsize.
As long as you don’t have any ambitions of heading offshore or out in open bay waters, you’ll end up with many years of good boating in a Kakadu Karrier.
Test boat courtesy of Advantage Marine, 323 Hume Highway, Cabramatta, phone 02 97559444, email --e-mail address hidden-- or visit www.advantagemarine.com.au .
Make/model - Ally Craft 4.10 Kakadu Karrier
Length - 4.15m
Beam - 1.94m
Weight - 260kg hull only
Depth - 0.94m
Construction - pressed alloy
Bottom sheets - 2.0mm
Sides - 1.6mm
Fuel - 60L underfloor
Max hp - 40hp
Flotation - foam blocks
Package price - $10,995
Ally Craft’s 4.10 Kakadu Karrier is one of five new models in this range, all of which provide boaters with a versatile dinghy for smooth-water boating.
A good -sized live-bait tank always a welcome feature.
The aft thwart has two seating positions for the skipper’s swivel seat.
With a abundant storage up forward there’s no excuse for a cluttered deck.
Side pockets always come in handy for storing longer items or those wanted in a hurry.
A bird’s-eye view lets you appreciate the spacious layout.