The Blue Fin 4.5 Weekender is everything you would expect from a classic runabout style rig. Its sleek curved windscreen and comfortable seating for up to five people makes it an excellent craft for either the family angler or a group out to seriously test their tackle.
I found the Blue Fin to be comfortable, stable, and above all very easy to drive. Launching the craft from its Oceanic single axle trailer into the Southport Broadwater was a straightforward event, and with three aboard we headed out on a fine, clear autumn afternoon.
Blue Fin have obviously given priority to functionality in the layout of their Weekender Series of craft. The 4.5 Weekender is by no means an entry level craft, and its size, comfort levels and overall features are ideal for family use.
The anchor well and bow bollard were easily reached thanks to two specific features. Firstly, the windscreen centre section opens to port, and secondly, a cut out and smoothly rounded section in the wide dash area aft of the windscreen allows the decky to move close to the anchor well while standing braced sturdily.
A recess in the floor area up front also facilitates anchor work, as well as serving as a floor level storage space when necessary. A strong, split, bow rail for easy entry and exit onto a beach is also part of the package.
Seating aft of the three piece windscreen is a pair of well padded pedestal style seats with slide adjustment for skipper and mate, complemented by a full width fold down bench at the transom. The helm has plenty of leg room plus a seat height that allowed me to see over the windscreen with ease. A factory fitted (optional) bimini on a strong frame offered some weather protection, which could be folded forward in seconds if not required on the day.
The Blue Fin’s moulded helm and dash area exemplify practicality. The gauges to monitor the Yamaha 60hp astern were set to port, along with the wheel linked to a Humminbird Matrix 12 sounder to starboard with an array of switches lower. Forward 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 aft of the forward seating for fishing pursuits, with the option of leaving the rear lounge in place or folding it down out of the way. With the lounge folded, the transom mounted rear back rest remains in place as a brace point to make fighting a fish comfortable. Side pockets are standard and of a reasonable size.
Rod holders within the wide fully welded decks 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 craft’s level flotation system – into which the rig’s side pockets were formed.
Transom features consisted of a ladder to port and grab rails on each outer side of the wide non ski pod on which the engine was located.
Engines for the compact Blue Fin 4.5 Weekender range from 50-60hp, and lively is the best word to describe the performance of the craft with three aboard! The beamy and well constructed 12º deadrise hull planed at a speed of 15.8km/h at 2,700rpm; 3000rpm saw 21.3km/h on the GPS, 4,000 saw 38.6km/h and 5,000 saw a speed of 48.3km/h. And a burst of WOT at 5500rpm saw 53.6km/h recorded. In all, an excellent performance from a smart little craft.
Blue Fin have been making alloy craft long enough to understand the dynamics of bow sections coming into contact with water at speed. The ride within the Southport Broadwater was excellent, with wave impact minimal and not hard or jarring.
The noise levels were also quite low throughout all test runs, thanks to the very smooth Yamaha four-stroke astern and the under floor foam-filled hull.
Driving the craft was a breeze. It has an easily managed feel about it that would make a beginner comfortable. Easy power from the Yamaha four-stroke saw the craft kicked into life as soon as the throttle lever was moved forward, and the hull settled to a rest just as quickly once the power was shut off. The rig was finger tip responsive to the Teleflex steering linked to the sports style steering wheel.
In the short chop encountered within the Broadwater, 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 to four anglers; with the bimini down out of the way, two could fish up front, another couple astern. The inherent 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 maneuver about on board.
Main fishing pursuits should be confined to bay, estuary or impoundments, although the full height transom does offer a good sea keeping 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 or serious anglers.
The vessel’s finish was very good and of a high standard. It is easily towed by a big four sedan or wagon and being of a suitable size for garage or carport storage will endear this craft to a lot of people. And so will the price: $24,889 as reviewed and from $21,762 with 50hp two-stroke, including registration and safety package.
The test Blue Fin was supplied by North Coast Yamaha of Billinudgel, NSW. Their phone number is (02) 6680 3322.
|Weight B.M.T:||800kg approx.|
|Construction:||3mm plate side and bottom sheets|
|Engine fitted:||60hp Yamaha four-stroke.|