WHEN most of us hear the name Savage, we immediately think of aluminium boats. Yes, Savage does make aluminium boats – and very good ones at that – but it also manufactures a range of fibreglass boats and has been doing so for decades.
Savage has been around for over a hundred years, and while the family has recently sold the business it still retains the boat building expertise that comes with such a long and solid foundation in the trade.
One of Savage’s latest offerings is the Javelin 55 Bow Rider. In Southern Queensland bow riders are very popular because of their versatility, and this particular model has leant more towards a general fun boat more than fishing. Even so, it still offers plenty of opportunities to fish if you desire.
The sleek lines of the Javelin paint that picture of zipping around clear, calm waters with a couple of bubbly blondes up front in bikinis, hair blowing in the breeze, and a couple of lads at the helm ready for a bit of water skiing. It’s just that kind of boat where you can have fun with friends or family while out on the water.
The hull design is well worth keeping in mind, as there are a few important traits that need to be incorporated into a hull for it to suit families unfamiliar to boating as well as those more experienced boaters.
The underside of the hull has very pronounced planing strakes which enable the boat to hold well in the water should you be doing a few tight turns and throwing the boat around. In other words, it doesn’t slide out yet is not overly formed so that they bite in hard.
In a straight line these strakes also provide lift to get the boat underway and turn down a little of the spray. It’s a reasonably deep vee hull so it cuts the water pretty clean. The boat foot isn’t deep as the boat isn’t meant to head offshore. It’s more targeted at bay, river and impoundment work.
Something I’ve learnt in recent years, now that I have young children, is just how important stability is in a boat – and that’s also of concern to inexperienced boaters. The stability in the Javelin is very good, allowing you not only to walk around the boat and not feel like you’re going to overbalance or tip, but to feel safe when the wash of another boat needs to be crossed or a few waves roll underneath you.
The ride is equally reassuring, and it takes little effort with the 140hp two-stroke Mercury outboard to get this beauty underway. The transition from stationary to plane is a smooth one, with no bow high attitude at all. A quick push of the throttle and she powers away.
With the capacity to take engines up to 150hp, there’s the capability to have a fast fun machine for water sports. With the 140hp engine, speeds of 50mph can be achieved. Like anything though, put on a big engine and push the throttle and you need a few friends to help pay for the fuel.
This particular model comes with a factory-fitted wake board/ski bar across the engine well. With the fixtures a little higher it’s perfect for wake boarding and ski tubes where you don’t need a lot of speed, just a little height.
A close look at the internal layout and design of the Javelin and you soon see the years of experience that have gone into making this boat as user-friendly and comfortable as possible.
Have a look at the photo with the bird’s-eye view and note how streamlined the layout is. The front bow section seats are the same width as the wind screen panels, which are the same as the helm seats at even the sections of the rear lounge. This isn’t just cosmetically appealing though – it allows for that clear passage down the centre of the boat without any objects protruding for you to bump into on the way through.
The for’ard seats aren’t just an extra thrown in; you can seen how they’ve been made to provide comfort for those seated there. There’s padding out the sides, padding against the windscreen, no harsh edges and a good length grab rail down both sides. Boats being boats, the bumpiest place to sit is at the bow – and like any other boat, if you hit a few bumps and you’re up the front, you’ll feel them.
Under these seats there’s storage, and under the deck you’ll find an ice box perfect for the lunch and drinks. Here they’re out of the way and there’s no esky to worry about getting in the way.
Back at the helm, the swivel seats are nice and comfortable with heaps of leg room up front. The area under here extends for’ard into those front storage areas though there is a bulkhead at floor level to stop anything forward sliding back.
I found it very comfortable to sit and drive and it was good to see the driver’s seat could be slid back far enough so that you can stand up and drive without being cramped in against the wheel. The dash on the passenger’s side has a small grab rail in front and a reasonable size glove box to throw in keys, wallet, sun screen and so forth.
Between these two seats is another long, shallow underfloor storage locker meant to take skis, ropes and suchlike so they don’t clutter up the floor. The side pockets are also reasonably long but I’m not sure whether a pair of skis would fit in here.
The aft lounge is a classy piece of work, offering seating for three with storage underneath. The beauty of this lounge is that it can be completely lifted out. If you were having a day of water sports you wouldn’t want the lounge in because people would be walking over it every time they hopped in and out of the boat. While towing someone you wouldn’t want the weight back here anyway – better to have weight towards the front when you’re trying to pull someone up out of the water.
To help swimmers in and out of the water there’s a duck board either side with decent grab rails. On the port side a ladder folds down into the water, and if you’ve ever tried to hop into a boat while in the water you’ll appreciate the ladder.
In all, the Javelin 55 is a pretty impressive rig. It rides well, handles well and scores well on internal layout and workmanship.
Test boat supplied by Nitro Marine, Gold Coast, (ph. (07) 5532 5812). BMT package priced at $40,729.
Make/model – Savage Javelin 55 Bow Rider
Construction – fibreglass
Length – 5.50m
Beam – 2.26m
Weight – 675kg (hull only)
Deadrise – 20 degrees
Fuel – 120 litres
Flotation – 7 airtight compartments
Max hp – 150
1. Savage’s Javelin 55 Bow Rider is a versatile rig for those with those more than just fishing on their minds.
2. Bow on you can see those planing strakes at work.
3. Boarding ladder, wakeboard bar and a 140hp Mercury spell a lot of fun times on the water.
4. The bird’s-eye view shows a very uniform layout.
5. Underfloor locker for’ard is used as an esky while the one between the helm seats is for skis to slip into.
6. The sporty dash and timber steering wheel add a classy touch to the boat.
7. The aft lounge is very comfy with storage below, and can be completely lifted out if need be.