By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

Side on the Sea Jay Territory 4.55 could be just another tinnie but a closer inspection reveals some unique standard features that add to an already practical fishing platform for river, lake and estuary work, writes Rick Huckstepp

With all the glitzy rigs that grace the pages of TrailerBoat offering all manner of options and natty practical stowage systems among other features, one often loses sight of where this all began.
For me it began in a 10-foot plywood boat with a Seagull engine (now I’m showing my age!) before graduating to an 11-foot tinnie with a five horsepower Mercury. I’ve had quite a few boats since then, building a couple to survey, but there is still a place for the humble tinnie with ground floor options at an equally low value.
These boats still play a big part in the market place offering newcomers a cheap package and to others they are a practical workhorse that does not have to be carefully nurtured to maintain its visual appeal. In other words it is a good work boat for heavy duty use and knocking around.
At a recent open day for Sea Jay - the alloy boat manufacturer from Bundaberg, Queensland - we had a number of boats to run around Moreton Bay with.
Three of the four featured flash paintwork, lots of nice features and the odd one out was the subject of this test, the Territory 4.55.
It is a budget V-bottomed dinghy that has enough standard features for it to be ready to go, whether fishing or crabbing, chasing whiting down south or on one of the mighty barra rivers in the Top End.
This boat is designed for open estuary work and has gunwales high off the water with an internal depth to the keel line of 1.08m. The bilge is covered with a carpeted marine ply deck with six-seat pedestal holes installed for the two standard swivel chairs.
The forward section of the deck is raised, making a neat casting platform. Rather than have a covered in-bow top section for the anchor well, Sea Jay have maximised the casting deck and have the anchor well in the casting deck under a front hatch.
Aft of this on the centre line another hatch opens to reveal the battery box anchored within that supplies the juice to Minn Kota’s electric motor bolted on the bow. When not in use the motor lies along the wide coaming of the portside forequarter which is wide enough to install plenty of rodholders, downriggers or perhaps marine electronics such as depth sounders and GPS for the skipper or passenger.
The most aft hatch in the raised deck houses the 22lt tote fuel tank and here there is room for basic life jackets as well, while to the sides one can see the styrene flotation blocks used for basic buoyancy.
There are two short sidepockets that run from the transom forward. They are handy to the skipper and backseat passenger, and on the skipper’s is a welded bracket to mount the Humminbird depth sounder. The unit is one option to have tucked out of harms way but from experience, if you continually look at the sounder in this position neck strain will follow. With such wide coamings and a handrail to protect it from knocks when coming alongside the jetty or ramp walkway, the higher mount position would be more practical and comfortable. Perhaps one midway would suffice.
The engine start battery is strapped down in a box under the skipper’s removable swivel chair and the isolator switch is fixed to the transom between the box and the sidepocket. The removable stern anchor light fits into a set of Terry clips on the face of the pocket.
Access to the bilge and the manually operated bilge pump is via a lift out hatch which offers enough room to clean if necessary.
On the hull in front of the skipper, basic electrical switching is mounted in the face of a waterproof box. There has been no penny pinching here as this type of mounting is not cheap in the scheme of things but provides the best protection for switch gear in a standard installation.
Fitted with Yamaha’s 50hp tiller control four-stroke motor this boat proved to be nippy out of the hole and through the range to full throttle. A guestimate of the top speed would be in excess of 60kmh.
Manoeuvrability is as good as it gets with the tiller being instant on demand and the engine having the maximum horsepower for this rig providing plenty of power for the weight of the boat.
Those that do a lot of trolling for cod, barra and trout will appreciate Yamaha’s engine idle adjustment switch at the finger tips on the tiller arm that allow the revs to be pulled right back when required. The trim and tilt button is also close at hand and the key start is back close to the engine where it cannot be accidentally knocked with the elbow.
What you see is what you get with the Territory. A neat, well thought out standard rig at an affordable price.

Anchor hatch in floor opens up the cockpit
Engine rpm winds down manually for extra-slow trolling

Higher mount site for depth sounder would be more user-friendly


Specifications: Sea Jay Territory 4.55

Price as tested:                $19,650
Options fitted:                 Accessory pre-rig kit (lights, switches etc)
Priced from:                    $18,970

Material:                          Aluminium (3mm bottom, 2mm sides)
Length overall:                4.55m
Beam:                    2.05m
Weight:                           282kg

People:                           Five
Rec. max. HP:                    50
Rec. max. engine weight:   115kg
Fuel:                               Tote tanks

Make/model:                  Yamaha F50FEHTL
Type:                              EFI four-stroke
Weight:                           114kg
Rated HP:                        50
Displacement:                  996cc
Gearbox ratio:                 1.85:1
Propeller:                        13-inch

Stones Corner Marine,
117 Old Cleveland Road,
Stones Corner, Qld, 4120
Phone: (07) 3397 9766

Originally published in TrailerBoat #223


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.