Trailcraft’s Freestyle 485 is a rugged boat that’ll keep you dry in rough weather and serve as a stable fishing platform

Trailcraft is manufacturing the Freestyle 485 to target the small trailerboat market. It is the third largest model out of five Freestyle models – the smallest being 4.35m and the largest 5.7m.
This boat has a reasonable beam of 2.2m and features a 4mm plate bottom with 3mm pressed plate sides. A stylised round-swept Perspex screen has an opening centre section to let one access the anchor well, through a gap in the dashboard between the helm and passenger seat positions. The well is big enough to take a grappling or Danforth anchor and bowrails surround the fore section of the boat. The bowsprit is manufactured as part of the hull and it is very sturdy.
The test boat was fitted with a canopy that had a zippered open section to put your head through when standing and steering. It clips down snug against the aluminium surround of the screen, making for dry travelling in rough weather. A foot rail goes from one side of the hull to the other in front of the seating positions, and this doubles as a luggage retainer to prevent stowed gear from marching across the floor in bumpy conditions.
The seats on the 485 swivel in holes in the deck, but can not be adjusted forward or back. However, they are robust and comfortable. Buyers of this type of boat most probably would not be looking to install large cabinet electronics but, should they go down that path, there is ample room in front of the skipper and in front of the passenger for such an installation.
The coamings on this boat are wide and rodholders and downrigger bases will fit easily. When standing against the gunwales, one has plenty of foot space under the three-quarter length side pockets. This offers a comfortable position for fishing. In the port aft corner, Trailcraft has installed one of its typical transom doorways. I say ‘typical’ because these doors are large and strong throughout the company’s range of models.
The hinges are manufactured from alloy pipe, offering incredible strength. The door shuts snugly and the bolt assembly is firm so there were no annoying rattles to put up with. When opened, one only has to step over the 100mm sill, which holds one of the two scuppers, and you are out on the full floating transom. A drop down ladder is secured by a rubber loop against the transom. In this game, there are boarding ladders and there are boarding ladders. Boarding ladders that sit vertical with round rungs are difficult to climb and if you have someone trying to board that is weak or injured they will find it very difficult to traverse.
Trailcraft has its ladders set at an angle with wide foot treads, making for easy boarding. There is ample free space on the checker plate surface of the full floating transom to strap down a plastic stowage bin and crab or cray pots. Why clutter up the cockpit?
Across the Freestyle range Trailcraft has included a fixed rear seat box with padded lid. It is welded to the self-draining deck and provides seating for a couple of smaller people. The battery is fixed inside of the box and wiring exits through the rear of the box to the engine and helm station. A permanent padded section against the inside of the coamings above the box seat would prevent any bruising during a bumpy ride.
There is a good amount of room each side of the box to stand and fish and the box itself provides some support in unstable conditions.
The test boat was powered by Mercury’s 50hp four-stroke outboard, which is the minimum recommended power plant for this boat; the maximum recommended being 80.
Tested off Fremantle WA, the 485 provided dry passage through and amongst the short, sharp chop and, typical of all boats with well forward seating, it was not as soft riding as a centre console or transom seat. Unless you are in an urgent hurry to get some where this is not an issue. Backed off, it proved to be a good all-rounder and at full throttle the rev counter showed 5,400rpm and the speedometer 30mph.
The Mercury could handle plenty of trim up to get it working at its optimum, without prop ventilation. Manoeuvrability as well as stability when stationary was excellent.

Uncluttered cockpit
Lots of fishing room
Self-draining deck on a budget boat


Specifications: Trailcraft 485 Freestyle

Price as tested:    $28,990

Material:    Plate alloy; 4mm bottom and 3mm sides
Length overall:   5.25m
Beam:     2.2m
Deadrise:    14 degrees
Weight:    495kg (BMT)

Fuel:     120lt underfloor
People:     5
Rec/max HP:    80
Rec/max primary engine weight: 175kg

Make/model:    Mercury 50 EFI
Type: Four-cylinder, four-stroke, electronic fuel-injected
Horsepower:    50
Displacement:    995cc
Weight:    112kg

Saltwater Marine,
221 Hampton Road,
South Fremantle, WA 6162
Phone: (08) 9431 7779
Fax: (08) 9431 7780

Originally published in TrailerBoat #206


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