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A Blue Weekend Away
  |  First Published: November 2004



IT WAS a cold blustery day and the lake had whitecaps and wind streaks as we launched the boat at a small ramp in a sheltered corner of the lake. My companion was young apprentice Aaron, whom I found great company as we went through the hoops to see how the Blue Fin Weekender performed.

Let me state from the outset that this is not an outside or rough-water boat. It is designed for more sedate conditions because it’s lightweight with a flattish bottom for stability. Banging into the short, sharp wind chop was foreign to this boat. Tracking abeam in the chopped-up lake, wind threw spray back into the cockpit, which made us scurry towards calmer water where we conducted the test and took pics.

However, as an estuary, bay, impoundment or river craft, the room and stability on the Blue Fin was impressive. I loved the 40hp four-stroke Suzuki, which was whisper-quiet and delivered plenty of herbs, getting the boat easily out of the hole and onto the plane. Although the boat is rated to 60hp, the standard-packaged 40hp motor spinning an 11.5” x 13” prop will suffice for two to fish with horsepower to spare. If more passengers are involved, a larger donk should be considered.

Let’s have a closer look at the Weekender. The pressed clinker sides are welded to ribs and stringers, giving the boat rigidity. Finish on the Blue Fins is excellent, with special attention to detail.

Up forward, there is a plastic self-draining anchor well which will hold a small pick and around 100m of warp. A small bowsprit has a roller and there’s a strong bollard for tying off.

Split bow rails are standard, as is the three-piece, tinted, wrap-around plexiglass windscreen. A hatch in the middle of the screen opens to give plenty of room to work the anchor and locks with two handles.

The moulded binnacle-style dash has one instrument – the tacho. I would opt for a fuel gauge and a volt meter because I like to see that the battery is getting back what the engine and starting takes out.

There are miles of room above the dash for electronics and to place maps, charts and the like. Included in the package is a Humminbird 100SX sounder.

Under the dash is plenty of room for dry storage of lifejackets, other safety gear and clothing. A fused four-way switch panel completes the fittings. On the passenger side there is a lockable glovebox and a plastic drink holder.

Two upholstered, height-adjustable Raeline seats give comfort to skipper and companion. When seated there is good visibility through the screen and standing gives an even better view of what’s happening. The throttle quadrant is nicely placed for standing and sitting.

The carpeted cockpit is deceptively large with 1.6m x 2.2m of useable room. Coaming height is 60cm, which just came to my kneecaps. Underfloor is a 60-litre tank, which is more than enough for a couple of full days on the water with the frugal 40hp Suzuki.

I would go for the options of a water-separating fuel filter and a battery-isolating switch to ensure there is no drain when the motor is turned off.

Three-quarter pockets either side of the boat are wide enough to hold reels, gaffs nets, etc. as well as all the paraphernalia needed for boating. A full-width, padded rear lounge seats another three people with ease and can be removed to give extra room.

Two rod holders are standard but it would be easy to fit more in the wide coamings for those who fish with a bevy of rods. Small grabrails near the transom assist boarding and there are also a couple of cleats aft.

The battery is under the transom and there is ample room on the port side for another battery. Chequerplate is the chosen material for the fully floating pod, giving it strength to hang the heavy outboard.

Grab rails from the pod to the top of the transom give a handhold when getting into or out of the boat. Two large bungs drain the boat and there are built in flotation cells under-floor so the boat will not sink if it gets swamped.

A raised painted plate welded to the stern will hold a sonar transducer, livewell bilge pump, paddle wheel.

A hot cup of coffee was uppermost in my mind as we slowly came back into the bay and slid the boat onto the Felk trailer. A couple of cranks on the winch, secure the tie-down strap and we were heading back for that warming cuppa.

With an overall length of 4.7m, there is a lot of boat in this Blue Fin Weekender package put together by Blue Fin and fitted out by your local dealer. Ideal for the first boat buyer or those who want to explore our myriad inland waters, the Weekender can easily be towed by a four-cylinder car and be handled solo at the ramp.

Extras can be added to suit and your dealer will assist to tailor a package that fits in with each buyer’s individual lifestyle.

Price as tested including all registrations, Felk galvanised trailer with fold-away jockey wheel, safety gear for four people is $19,990.

Facts

SPECIFICATIONS

Length - 4.5m

Beam - 2.15m

Hull depth - 1.1m

Bottom - 3mm

Sides - 1.6mm

Hull weight - 350kg

Max power - 60hp

Transom - Long shaft

Facts

Standard inclusions

Rear grab rails; lockable glove box; Humminbird 100SX sounder; moulded dash; 2 rod holders; navigation lights; transducer bracket; 60L underfloor tank; 2 rear cleats; 2 upholstered seats; full floating engine pod; split bowrails; bow roller; drained anchor well; wrap-around tinted windscreen; marine carpet; rear folding lounge; painted with decals.

Options

Speedo; trim and fuel gauges; water-separating fuel filter; battery isolation switch; radio; transom ladder; bimini top; bait preparation table.

[CAPTIONS]

1. The Blue Fin Weekender has plenty of room to carry a group of four and stow all of their gear.

2. Up front the driver has good vision and the access forward is simple.

3. A rotomoulded anchor well helps keep that annoying chain and anchor banging down to a minimum and looks good to boot.

4. Access to the anchor well is via the split screen, which folds neatly away in front of the passenger seat so it doesn’t obscure the driver’s vision too much.

5. The back end is simple and provides a good running surface when the boat is on the plane.

6. Up and away, the Blue Fin Weekender gets going with the 40hp Suzuki on the back.

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