SAVAGE boats have been around since 1898 when Joseph Savage built his first boat under the name of J.J. Savage on the shores of Port Phillip Bay.
Savage has been the aluminium boat of choice in Victoria for the past 20 years or more, and it sort of surprised me that this was the first time that I had the opportunity to test a Savage boat.
So I was quite pleased to take the Savage 510 Scorpion SF through its paces on the Parramatta River recently. After meeting Dane Jones at Watersports Marine at Kings Park, we headed down to the ramp at Wharf Road.
Carrying out a test mid-week is great – there are not many boats on the water, except for the River Cats. We had the ramp to ourselves and one thing that did get my attention early was the ease with which you could launch and retrieve the Scorpion 510 solo.
The multi-roller Dunbier trailer and the walk-through, five-piece, wrap-around windscreen made it a pleasure to get the boat on and off the trailer. This is important for families, where one partner can feel comfortable about single-handedly launching and retrieving the boat while the other looks after the children or organises the gear. The test rig should also tow quite well behind the average mid-sized family car.
At idle, the Mercury 75hp outboard ran at a steady 800rpm and it wasn’t long before I had the Scorpion 510 up on the plane at 2700rpm. The speedometer registered 35mph (30 knots, 56kmh) at 3800rpm while at 50mph the Merc was spinning full-out at 5900rpm. This is all the power the average family angler could ever need and the whole rig felt strong, stable and had no handling vices on the river, despite some interesting River Cat wakes.
I was impressed with how quiet the two-stroke Mercury was throughout the rev range and there was none of that side-slapping ‘tinny’ noise that you tend to get in a lot of aluminium boats.
Savage builds boats with continuous welds from bow to transom in their brand-new factory outside of Melbourne. The welds run continuously from stem to transom along the gunwale edge, the chine and the keel. This gives the boat much more strength and sound-proofing and prevents water coming between the underside of the gunwale and the side of the boat, as it can do with spot-welded boats.
Savage fits the hull and the topside sheets into slotted keel and chine extrusions and then continuously double-welds along the complete length of the boat. All Savage aluminium boats have rib rubbers between the hull and the rib frame to ensure a quieter and smoother ride.
The hull and deck are finished with a quality two-pack paint. I always said that if I owned a painted boat, I would have a set of fenders but Savage has included built-in gunwale rubber strips – a definite plus. A bowsprit with stainless steel roller makes it easier to pull up that anchor and store it in the anchor well, which should take a sand anchor and about 50 metres of rope. If, like me, you have two anchors in the boat, you could always store the other rig and its rode in one of the forward storage bins. This would still give you plenty of room to store your life jackets and other essentials.
The fibreglass walk-through and five-piece modular windscreen make life so much easier, whether you are just cruising or out there pulling in the big ones. Access to the anchor well and bow roller is a breeze.
The 60-litre sub-floor fuel tank with dual side deck fillers should give you ample fuel for a day’s outing. There are two swivelling skipper-style seats up front along with a split rear lounge. You may prefer to have the optional sliding full-width rear bench.
The motor is fitted on a pod transom between two boarding platforms. There are pairs of stainless steel stern rails and rear bollards.
To my disappointment, the Scorpion did not come with any rod holders but there is a huge amount of wide gunwale and transom-top area to mount the type of holder you desire exactly where you want it. I could also envisage fitting a set of rocket launchers to a customised bimini top or rigging up one of those combination Bermuda bait boards and rod holders over the transom. If you wanted to install a large live bait tank, it could go on a transom platform, or there is space under the transom top on one side for a smaller tank. The oil reservoir and battery are housed under the transom top.
Among the many optional extras available are stainless steel ski hooks, an auxiliary motor bracket, access ladder, storm and tonneau covers and even side curtains to make an all-weather fishing machine..
Stability is a priority when fishing and the Savage 510 Scorpion SF’s straight-sided hull and wide, hip-high gunwale keep the angler well inside the chine lines, while at the same time giving extra freeboard, security and comfort.
The under-gunwale side pockets are positioned far enough off the floor to enable you to tuck your feet underneath while you brace yourself against the gunwale.
The finish is of a very high quality, with up to five coats of the two-pack paint electrostatically applied and then the boat is cooked in a medium-wave, infra-red oven at 120° C.
For more information on the Scorpion 510 SF, or to look over more boats in the Savage range, contact ______________ at ______________ on (07) ____________.
Make/model – 510 Scorpion SF
Length overall – 5.10 metres
Freeboard – 620mm
Depth (keel to gunwale) – 1050mm
Max power – 90hp
Beam – 2.10 metres
Bottom thickness – 3 mm
Topside thickness – 2 mm
Weight – 375 kg
Max adults – 5
Length on trailer – 6.6 metres
Cost as tested – including Dunbier multi-roller trailer, on-road/on-water costs, GME 27MHz radio, 150SX Humminbird depth sounder, canopy: $23,950
1) On the water or at the Wharf Road ramp on the Parramatta River, the Savage Scorpion 510SF looks the part.
2) Whether you call it 43 knots, 80kmh or 50mph, the Mercury 75 two-stroke has no trouble making the Savage Scorpion 510SF go fast. No trouble water skiing, especially in these conditions.
3) Savage fits the hull sheet sections into slotted keel and chine extrusions and then double-welds continuously along the length of the boat for strength and hull integrity.
4) Although there were no rod holders on the test boat, the wide gunwales allow space to mount them at any angle you wish.
5) A small live bait tank would fit nicely under the wide transom top. A bigger live tank, a ladder or an auxiliary motor bracket can be fitted on the boarding platforms.
6) The zip-back canopy is ideal for anyone who likes to stand at the helm.
7) The walk-through dash makes anchoring a snack.
8) The Scorpion 510 is rated to a 90hp motor. The test boat’s 75hp Mercury was more than up to the job.
9) The split rear lounge is also removable for ultimate flexibility. A single, full-width model is also available.Reads: 4363