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Sea Jay’s 488 Avenger – a lot of boat for the money
  |  First Published: August 2016



Scan this on your smartphone to watch Steve Morgan and Garry Fitzgerald test the Avenger 488.

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Scan this to watch Garry Fitzgerald do a walk through of the Avenger 488.

There’s no denying it – the Sea Jay Avenger 488 is one big tinny. Derived from the ever popular Avenger range from Sea Jay, this locally built aluminium boat is sure to turn heads at most boat ramps across the country. If not for its pretty wrap, then just for its sheer size. It’s deep and it’s wide.

Especially compared to the nuggety Garry Fitzgerald, who met me at the Raby Bay boat ramp for the morning’s test run.

Of course, being a week day, conditions were glassy – totally inappropriate for boat testing. However, we still managed to get out and have some fun over a couple of hours on the water, and highlight some of the things this boat does well.

The first of these is economy. Ridiculous economy. Doing the performance runs in southern Moreton Bay, the Suzuki gauge touched 4km per litre of fuel burned. Great figures for a boat touching 5m in length.

The second was stability. The 2.3m beam is not only apparent in the Avenger’s cavernous cockpit, it’s evident while moving around on the water. Sure, reversed chines help a little, but it’s just the massive width that makes this such a stable platform on the water.

At the waterline, the Sea Jay carries less beam to the bow, resulting in a narrower, wave-cutting entry. I thought that this might make the boat less stable, but I couldn’t notice the difference. Unfortunately, the billiard-table-like Moreton Bay didn’t provide conditions to see if the sharp bow rake did what it looked like it would do. It looks like it would cut the water better than your run-of-the-mill tinny.

LAYOUT

Fitzy said one of the attractions of the Avenger is its practical simplicity.

“Sea Jay likes to keep things simple,” he said, “and the rear livewell is as simple as they come.”

With no powered pumps and water draining straight through to the outside through strategically placed holes in the hull and transom, it’s a classic design that’ll never let you down.

And that design theme continues throughout this boat.

The side console is simple and functional. Electronics need to be bracket mounted on top of the console behind the windscreen, but there is a handy little covered box for your valuables (keys, wallets and mobiles). Otherwise, the design is minimalist.

Fitzy is also a big fan of the Sea Jay system of seat mounts.

“I’ve had Sea Jay boats for nearly 20 years and I’ve always loved this seat mounting system,” he said.

“There’s nothing protruding up from the deck, so if you’re packing something on top of a seat mounting position, it sits flush.”

Indeed, Sea Jay’s seat bases are built in house and look strong enough to ski from!

Up front, there’s an ample casting deck for those who like throwing plastics at predators, but Sea Jay has also mounted the Minn Kota battery up front, too. Distributing the weight like this pushes the bow down and makes the bow rake do what it’s supposed to do, and that’s cut water.

The test model was supplied on a special Sea Jay trailer that’s been custom made by Dunbier trailers. Featuring a C-section frame, it’s designed to not hold any saltwater, thereby eliminating any points where corrosion can gain a foothold. It’s something I’ve seen previously in imported trailers but I have rarely seen it locally in galvanised steel. There are plenty of alloy I-beam trailers made in Australia.

Priced in the high $20,000s for a basic package and in the low $30,000s for one kitted out like the test model, the Avenger is cheap for a boat of this size and most definitely cheap to run. You can get more information at your local Sea Jay dealer or by visiting www.seajayboats.com.au.

Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications.

Facts

SPECIFICATIONS

Hull thickness3mm
Gunwale thickness3mm
Beam2.3m
Depth1.22m
Floor ribs12
Capacity5 persons
Hull weight435kg
Rec hp70hp
Max hp90hp
Max motor weight175kg

Facts

PERFORMANCE*

RPMkm/L
Idle4.2
10005.2
20003.7
30003.5
37004.0
40003.7
50002.7
5500 (WOT)2.4

*Fitted with a 17” pitch propeller

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