The Anglapro range is gaining a reputation for versatility and value in an Aussie designed and built alloy boat so when Dallas Dyball of Twin Towns Marine offered us a Bandit 424 for a run on Wallis Lake, it was all systems go.
Dallas had fitted this attractive, roomy centre console with an oil-injected Tohatsu M40 three-cylinder two-stroke and a Dunbier Centreline Series trailer. The polished alloy finish certainly looked the goods and the aggressively wide forward spray rail, wide gunwales and rounded coamings up forward combined well with the bow and side rails and a neat boarding step to produce a seamanlike package.
This balanced outfit was a piece of cake to manoeuvre in the yard and hitch up for the drive through town to the ramp. The engine, with only a few minutes on the clock, started easily and once the cloud of pre-delivery lube burnt away, it ran smoothly and as close to smoke-free as a carb two-stroke can. So the ‘Smoky and the Bandit’ heading that had entered my mind for this test wafted away on the breeze...
With three fairly compact blokes between 80kg and 90kg aboard, there was plenty of room to walk around without getting in each other’s way. The expanse of single-level, carpeted floor space was formidable.
The skipper has an excellent comfy, sliding swivel seat behind the compact fibreglass console and there’s a solid grab bar over the console for crewmembers to grip and stand while under way.
Although the carpeted hatch covers in the aft quarters might double as seats when the craft is at rest, the midships area is the logical place for everyone to be while under way due to trim demands in most boats of this size. For extra security in rough water, the crew would benefit if the side rail ran a little farther forward.
It’s not too much of an ordeal to remain standing for the limited distances likely to be travelled most days.
Some of the larger Anglapro models come standard with a seat box with backrest but I note this isn’t available with the 420 so you may have to come up with one of your own if you want to sit side by side with your crew. With 2m of beam to play with, there’s more than enough elbow room.
A seat box would also enhance storage options. The test boat had a spacious anchor shelf with its bulkhead below and slightly aft of the bow coamings. You could keep a heap of ground tackle safely stowed there and with the solid welded bollard, sprit and bow roller, anchoring would be a breeze – full marks.
Optional side pockets on the test boat would hold a few fishing knick-knacks and the space behind the moulded o-ring hatch in the console would keep flares, phones, cameras and other goodies dry.
The standard tote fuel tank takes up most of the space in the port quarter hatch but there’s enough room in the starboard one to store some more gear along with the engine battery.
Bulky items like PFDs, wet-weather gear and tackle boxes would be best stored around the boat in splashproof poly boxes secured with occy straps or webbing and clips. That way they could be removed for storage or secure travel.
Even that brand-new engine slipped the Anglapro onto the plane three-up in no time with minimal stern squat. The hand-held GPS showed a clean plane at 3500rpm and 12 knots (22kmh), at 4000rpm we hit 14.5 knots (27kmh), at 4500rpm 17.8 knots (33kmh) and at 5000rpm we were zipping along at 22 knots (41kmh).
Out of respect for the new donk on its maiden voyage, for just two seconds we hit a wide-open 5500rpm and 25.3 knots, indicating that the 12.5” alloy prop was about right for the job. There’ll be even more in this engine once it’s freed up further and run in properly; we started the process the right way.
The Tohatsu was mounted reasonably high on the transom, meaning the trim switch offered plenty of variation. Best hole shots came from the engine trimmed in fairly well and best hull attitude came once the gauge showed more than about half out. There was some prop ventilation and slip in tighter turns with the leg out but with the engine trimmed in sufficiently to provide constant prop bite, you could get this baby cornering like it was on rails – quite sporty, in fact.
As is frequently the case with centre consoles, the standard no-feedback cable steering was a trifle tight due to the complicated cable routing but over time this should free up a little. The wheel and shift/throttle fell easily to hand.
A sonar or combo unit would have to be bracket-mounted on top of the console and may impede the grab rail. Rear connectors on the electronics might receive a bit of spray but you could screw or pop-rivet a small sheet of polycarbonate there to act as a spray dodger.
With just a tote tank full of fuel and the required safety gear, this rig was a snack to tow behind a Subaru Forester and you could cover a lot of highway kilometres easily and economically with this combo.
The Bandit launched and retrieved effortlessly and on almost all well-formed ramps there’d be absolutely no need to dunk the trailer bearings for a boat this size.
It’s lunacy to try to drive it back on this type of trailer when just a few seconds with a good winch will do the job properly every time. Save all those macho drive-on heroics (and the scratches and dings) for boats so big you can’t do it any other way!
Would I have a Bandit 424? If I were looking for a spacious estuary/bay centre console that’s easily handled solo, is inexpensive to buy, tow and run and offers a relatively soft, dry ride, I’d think very seriously about it, especially at the drive-away test boat price of $14,900.
And if I could afford an extra few hundred, I’d definitely option up to the Tohatsu MD40/50 for the spectacular smoothness, economy, efficiency, lower emissions and bright performance that these brilliant direct injected engines provide. Given the price of fuel, I reckon you would recover the difference in fuel savings in no time. That oft-underrated MD50 is one of my favourite outboards ever but, unfortunately, remains one of 21st Century boating’s best-kept secrets.
|Bottom sheet thickness (mm)||3mm|
|Side sheet thickness (mm)||3mm|
|Hull warranty (years)||3|
Price as tested, including Tohatsu 40hp, Dunbier trailer and safety gear: $14,900. For more information, contact Twin Towns Marine at 79 Boundary Street, Forster (off Kularoo Drive), phone 02 6555 2303, email --e-mail address hidden-- or visit www.twintownsmarine,com.au. For more information on Anglapro boats visit www.anglapro.com.au.Reads: 3075