The Blue Fin 4.5 Weekender is everything you would expect from a classic runabout. Its sleek, curved windscreen and comfortable seating for up to five people make it an excellent craft for the family angler or a group out to seriously test their tackle.
I found the Weekender to be comfortable, stable and, above all, very easy to drive. Launching the craft from its Oceanic single-axle trailer was straightforward and with three aboard we headed out on a fine, clear afternoon.
Blue Fin have obviously given priority to functionality in the layout of their Weekender series. The 4.5 Weekender is by no means an entry-level vessel but its size, comfort levels and overall features are ideal for family use.
The anchor well and bow bollard were easily reached, thanks to the windscreen centre section which opens to port. A smoothly rounded cut-out section in the wide dash aft of the windscreen allows the decky to move close to the anchor well while standing braced sturdily.
A recess in the floor up forward also facilitates anchor work, as well as serving as a level storage space when necessary. There is a strong split bow rail for easy entry and exit.
Aft of the three-piece windscreen is a pair of well-upholstered pedestal seats, each with fore-and-aft slide adjustment, while there is a full–width fold-down bench at the transom.
The helm has plenty of legroom plus a seat height that allowed me to see over the windscreen with ease.
An optional factory bimini on a strong frame offered some weather protection yet could be folded forward in seconds if not required.
The Blue Fin’s moulded helm and dash area exemplify practicality. The gauges to monitor the Yamaha 60hp were set to port, along with the Humminbird Matrix 12 sounder to starboard above an array of. The engine controls were located on the side nearby.
A locking glove box was set ahead of the first mate, along with a flat area on which to store smaller items. All floor areas were carpeted.
There is a fair amount of room for fishing pursuits aft of the forward seating and the cockpit can be cleared for stand-up action with the rear bench folded down out of the way. With the lounge folded, the rear backrest remains in place as an aft cockpit bolster.
Side pockets are standard and of a reasonable size. Rod holders in the wide, fully welded gunwale caps are also handily located for rear passengers’ use, as are sturdy grab rails and cleats in each corner.
There is even attractive side paneling – part of the Weekender’s level flotation system –which forms the side pockets.
Transom has a ladder to port and grab rails on either side of the wide, non-skid engine pod.
The compact Blue Fin 4.5 Weekender is rated for engines from 50hp to 60hp, and with three aboard the Yamaha F60 four-stroke provided lively performance.
The beamy 12º transom deadrise hull planed at 8.5 knots (15.8kmh) at 2700rpm; 3000rpm saw 11.5 knots (21.3kmh) on the GPS, 4000rpm produced 20.8 knots (38.6kmh) and 5000rpm 26 knots (48.3kmh). A burst at wide open 5500rpm notched up 28.9 knots (53.6kmh). In all, excellent performance from a smart little craft.
Blue Fin have been making alloy boats long enough to understand the dynamics of bow sections coming into contact with water at speed. The ride was excellent, with wave impact minimal and nothing hard or jarring in the conditions.
Noise levels were quite low through all test runs, thanks to the very smooth Yamaha four-stroke and the under floor foam-filled hull.
Driving the Weekender was a breeze. It has an easily managed feel about it that would make a beginner comfortable.
Easy power from the Yamaha four-stroke kicked the hull into life as soon as the throttle lever moved forward and the rig was fingertip responsive to the Teleflex steering and sports-style steering wheel.
In the short chop the Blue Fin kept us – and my precious camera – dry thanks to the 720mm high sides. The bilge pump is linked to the sump at the transom should rain mar the day.
The Blue Fin 4.5 Weekender could easily cater for four anglers. With the bimini folded down out of the way, two could fish up front and another couple astern. The stability of the hull, courtesy of prominent underwater strakes and a small spray chine, provides a firm grip in the water for the crew to move about on board.
Fishing pursuits should be mainly confined to bays, estuaries or impoundments, although the full-height transom does offer a good seakeeping ability all round.
Blue Fin 4.5 Weekender is an ideal family craft. It rides and handles well and is fairly stable.
The step-down in the cockpit means that occupants are assured of ample leg room while seated or standing and the overall layout makes for relaxed times aboard.
Even though it is ideal for the family, it can easily cater for a group of more dedicated anglers.
The Weekender’s finish was of a high standard. It is easily towed by a big four-cylinder sedan or wagon and of a suitable size for garage or carport storage, which will endear it to a lot of people.
And so will the price: $24,889 as reviewed and from $21,762 with a 50hp two-stroke, including registration and safety package.
The test Blue Fin was supplied by North Coast Yamaha of Billinudgel, NSW, call 02 6680 3322.
|Weight BMT:||800kg approx.|
|Construction:||3mm alloy side and bottom|
|Engine fitted:||F60 Yamaha four-stroke.|