The Savage factory has moved to a warmer climate. These craft are now made in South Queensland instead of Victoria and the quality of the finished product has not suffered one bit, either, as recent test runs in the neat 435 Savage Bay Cruiser confirmed.
This boat is a handy sized four person runabout with useful amounts of fishing space, well padded seating for the whole family and thanks to a grab rail equipped three piece windscreen, there's some protection from the breeze while underway.
As reviewed, the rig was unpainted but a factory paint job is an option, as well various other items. We’ve included pictures of the painted boat here for your reference.
Up front there's a full bow rail around the well formed and rigid foredeck, an open anchor well plus a bow roller central in the rail.
Anchor access is via a port opening central windscreen section; the deckie is easily able to stand braced against the full width dash section to lift or lower the pick.
Seating for skipper and mate was in the form of supportive, bucket style, swivel seats on pedestals; leg height, leg room, and general positioning would suit most people and a nice touch was the couple of drink holders set up on the face of the glove box provided for the first mate.
A couple of switches plus side mounted forward controls for the 40 Mercury/Mariner two stroke were within easy reach of the skipper who, incidentally, should have no difficulty in seeing through the windscreen. The above-screen rail is up out of the line of sight. I noted ample room to set up navigational aids or a sounder on the flat section aft of the windscreen.
Also handy was the storage space tucked below the Bay Cruiser's fore deck. The area was weather protected and a floor-level cross bulkhead meant that items stored there wouldn't be finding their way aft in bumpy conditions. A solid sort of plywood floor was fitted to the rig and while Savage do promote the 435 Bay Cruiser as a budget rig, floor carpet was standard throughout and of reasonable quality.
Aft of the forward seating the lengthy cockpit offered plenty of fishing room plus a well padded back rest equipped folding rear bench seat that would accommodate two adults or an adult plus a couple of youngsters with ease.
Savage have installed decent side pockets that are almost 2m long and have ample room for rods, gaffs and tackle boxes.
Wide, quite rigid, fully welded rolled decks were also featured on the Bay Cruiser's gunwales: a pair of rod holders plus side rails being standard.
Engine battery plus a tote tank were installed aft of the solid cross-bearer on which the seat back was mounted, which meant both battery and tank were well out of the way of anglers and tackle.
As I saw it, the ample work room within the rear of the Bay Cruiser would permit an ice box to go aboard for the catch yet a couple of anglers that knew what they were doing would still find plenty of room to enjoy their fishing.
Stern features included an engine splash well plus a boarding platform and associated grab rail to port.
The 435 Bay Cruiser is rated for a 30-40hp engine and weighs up to 120kg. The rating caters for some hefty four strokes.
Fitted was a long shaft 40hp Mariner two-stroke, which started instantly and wasn’t at all noisy, but still had plenty of punch. DI two-strokes and four-stroke engines might tend to overshadow the ubiquitous two-stroke power plants these days. But the way the 40 Mariner kicked the 273kg alloy hull of the Bay Cruiser – with two people aboard – onto the plane and up and running was impressively smooth and with surprisingly little noise. And I didn’t even see any smoke.
Planing occurred at 12.2km/h, a smooth cruising speed of 27km/h was very easily achieved with a burst of WOT recording 48.3km/h on the hand held GPS unit. Throttle response was typical of a two-stroke: push the throttle forward and off she goes!
With plenty of power and a good ride the 435 Bay Cruiser was a lot of fun to drive. The ride was of sufficient quality and reflected Savage have been in the business of making alloy boats for a long time.
A look at the 435 Bay Cruiser's conventional styled hull reveals a well formed and pretty fine entry with sufficient above water flare to kick displaced water well down. Further, a water line chine that runs from bow-to-stern also assists helps to keep water away from occupants.
Most times, except if quartering chop in strong winds, I'd see the 435 Bay Cruiser keeping occupants dry thanks to her 1.07m high sides plus the excellent hull design.
Ride quality was no doubt influenced by hull shape plus the weight of the solidly built hull. In smaller aluminum boats weight can be an asset so far as ride quality goes and the 273kg weight of the fully welded Savage hull meant that chop and wash encountered during test runs were merely a slight bump. Even snappy figure eights across our own wash failed to cause any solid jarring and I believe that in less than ideal conditions if the skipper took things easy comfort levels would not suffer much. Steering effort via the craft's mechanical steering was minimal thanks to the overall balance of the rig.
With only a small amount of Vee aft the hull also rode quite flat and was not at all tender at rest. This is important as I have no doubt quite a few entry level boaters, perhaps with families, are going to look at the Bay Cruiser's modest price and give the rig the nod as a first boat. Stability plus high sides mean that children can be part of the crew without parents worrying.
As an entry level rig the Savage 435 Bay Cruiser has a lot going for it in these tough times. It's small enough to be towed by a four-cylinder sedan, large enough to take up to four adults fishing. The finish is quite good and while welds are visible they are smoothed for the most part.
Comfort levels are quite good and there are sufficient standard fishing features to make angling or crabbing a pleasure. I'd see the rig's forte being estuary, bay, or river fishing with impoundment forays also well within its list of proposed achievements.
I'd regard the craft as excellent value for money - enquiries can be made at Middle Harbour Marine, where an ‘On Water’ package with a Mercury 40hp (electric start/power trim/oil injection), regos and safety gear goes for $19,515.
|Construction||2mm bottom, topsides 1.6mm.|
|Engine fitted||40hp Mariner two-stroke.|