Seascape is an Australian-owned Queensland company which builds alloy boats from compact tinnies to offshore boats up to 6m.
Our test vessel came from somewhere towards the lower middle of the range, the 4.0m Viper, a perfect entry-level estuary sport fishing boat in the tournament style.
This moderate-vee hull has quite a smooth ride and cuts through chop well. If the chop is close together the Viper skips over the tops with ease, leading me to believe this machine could handle anything our rivers and estuaries could throw at it.
We threw this tiller-steer boat into sharp turns at speed across and down the chop and it clung to the water well, accelerating out of turns without the prop slipping.
My only gripe was the rather uncomfortable backward-leaning seat position for the skipper. The standard Tohatsu 30hp tiller arm is a little short with this seat placement and that could make driving at speed a bit dangerous – enough so you’d be mad not to wear the kill-switch lanyard.
That said, I’m sure you could sort out this ergonomics problem with the dealer by relocating the skipper’s seat base further aft or by going for Tohatsu’s optional longer tiller arm.
The Viper is a solid, stable boat with a considerable beam of 1.87m, quite wide for a 4m boat.
It’s rated to a 40hp engine but the test Tohatsu 30 two-stroke got two full-grown men and just a safety gear pack up on plane very quickly.
If you were buying this as a family boat for two adults and two kids, I would recommend 40hp just to take the load off the motor and still plane away easily. The bigger motor would also be easier on fuel because would not be worked as hard.
On the other hand, if it was your first little estuary boat with only two lightweights and their gear on board, the 30hp would be fine.
The layout is almost perfect and has been thought about right from the outset of design.
The bow has a welded mounting plate for a bow-mounted electric motor, so the lure caster can fit the motor securely with no trouble at all.
Behind the electric bracket is a convenient hatch to secure anchor, chain and rope away.
There’s a slight step down to the casting platform with a seat pedestal base so you can control the electric motor in seated comfort.
The big hatch just behind the seat base goes to the bottom of the boat to store tackle, tackle and more tackle, safety gear and lunch. This very roomy storage area would benefit from a raised floor or any assortment of plastic boxes or dry bags because on rainy days or those with lots of wind and spray the bilge area will collect some water.
The second hatch in this deck it has a carpeted bottom so you could pile your camera and other valuable items in there with no worries. This also would be a good place for your electric motor battery if required.
In the cockpit there are seat pedestals for skipper and passenger and plenty of room for a few anglers to fish. There is a full-length side picket to port for longer items like gaffs, landing nets, paddles or two-piece rods.
The fold-down upholstered seats will certainly make a bumpy trip a little more comfortable.
The rear deck has covered hatches in each corner. The one behind the driver has the engine battery and if you wanted to run a little extra lead, I’d recommend you have your electric motor battery down there as well.
It puts a little more weight at the rear that will come in handy for that little bit of extra speed getting to your fishing spot. If you place the battery elsewhere you can use this space for something else.
In the port hatch the standard 25L plastic fuel tank fits perfectly. At service stations you should be able to pull up and fill the tank from either side.
The gunwales are quite wide so you could add a few extra rod holders to suit your needs. There is also the opportunity to mount rod holders on the forward and aft grab rails on either side as well.
As with every Seascape boat, there is an abundant list of options, including eight hull colours. I know I would have an argument with my wife over that.
This Viper design also comes in 4.2m and 4.5m sizes so if you want to go a little bigger, it’s no worries with Seascape.
The Redco Sportsman trailer had three rollers and two skids down each side, making it a very solid, easy-towing platform. The alloy wheels and solid mudguards with secure welded side steps complete the feeling of strength and security.
I had to keep checking the mirrors to see if the rig was still behind, this light outfit towed like it wasn’t there.
The boat flew off the trailer at launching and it took nothing to winch up the trailer to retrieve.
This little outfit would suit me for the rivers. I can hitch it on the car with ease, take it off and get it back on the trailer no worries and there is a spot for everything I need.
Mark and Annette have been owners of Coffs Harbour Marine for three years and have taken this business to the next level, with Pacific Highway frontage and a new fishing and chandlery department.
Seascape Viper 4m
|Max engine weight||120kg|
|Number of adults||4|
|Options: Coloured sides; control||panel side mount; livewell kit; transom step; bowsprit; extra seat positions, spare tyre on trailer; transducer bracket.|
Price as tested : $12,667.
Test boat supplied by Coffs Harbour Marine, 10 Alison Street, Coffs Harbour, phone 02 66524722, email --e-mail address hidden-- web www.coffsharbourmarine.com.au.