BOAT TEST: SEA JAY 455 TERRITORY

By: Kevin Smith


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Kevin Smith could barely contain his excitement when he came across this Sea Jay 455 Territory, fitted with an electronics setup worth more than the original package.

BOAT TEST: SEA JAY 455 TERRITORY
Sea Jay 455 Territory

First published in TrailerBoat #278

 



When it comes to buying a boat there are a number of ways you can go about it. One would be to purchase a top-of-the-range model with all the best electronics. That's a good option if your wallet is fat, which mine isn't (that's because Kevin works at the TrailerBoat sweatshop - Ed).

Alternatively, you could buy a top-of-the-range boat and skimp on the electronics, or get a reasonably-priced boat and spend more on electronics. Personally, I would prefer to do the latter, since decent electronics can really make a difference on the water. You can imagine my excitement, therefore, when I was offered the opportunity to test this privately-owned Sea Jay 455 Territory at one of my favourite testing grounds, Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast. This boat is a perfect example of what you would classify as a "mid-range" tinnie that's been professionally fitted with a superb onboard electronics package - a package that's worth more than the boat's original retail price!

 

 

ELECTRONIC WARFARE



The owner of this 455 Sea Jay Territory had a number of requirements in mind when he bought the boat. It had to be easy to handle, not too pricey, comfortable and customisable - to suit local trips as well as extended voyages to Far North Queensland. It's also worth mentioning that the owner has an aviation industry background and happens to love technology. You can see where this is going.

Basically, as far as small tinnies go, you couldn't beat the electronics package and layout on this one. Everything - and I mean everything - has been carefully thought out and planned in an effort to provide the best in onboard safety, reliability, comfort, and of course fishability.

Firstly, the owner opted for twin Lowrance HDS-7in units at the helm, as well as a HDS-5 in the bow. The three Lowrance units were specifically chosen for their ability to network and share information between every screen. The setup means you can have GPS, sonar, structure scan and engine data all running at the same time.

The twin HDS-7s are affixed on separate ram-mounts on the starboard side, in full view of the driver when he / she is seated, while the HDS-5 is low down in the bow, where it can be viewed when the electric motor is in operation.

Below the HDS-7s is the main electronics panel, which again is within touching distance of the driver. The custom-made panel was fabricated to suit this part of the boat.

With this amount of wiring you definitely need a decent main board to work from. There is an eight-point switch panel, with separate twin-bilgepump, aerator, and washdown switches, as well as the hard-wired remote for the Fusion stereo and a 12V adaptor plug.

The watertight panel has clips on the side, which allow it to be opened outward, meaning you can get into the wiring and fuse easily. On one side of the panel the ICOM VHF radio and EPIRB are fitted into the gunwale, while the structure scan power unit and battery power isolators are on the other.

In the stern there is a twin battery setup, twin auto-bilgepumps for fast drainage, and a fully portable livewell and deckwash that is fed by a Johnson variable-speed pressure pump, with the correct through-hull fittings.

In the bow you'll find the Lowrance HDS-5 unit, as well as a Minn Kota trolling motor. The electric motor is the i-Pilot version, which can be operated using either the foot controls or a small remote.

The last part to the electronics package is the Fusion Stereo system. If you're looking for decent sound on the water then I reckon these stereos are the way to go. They're weatherproof, produce crystal-clear sound, and pack quite a punch when you crank up the volume from your hard-wired remote.

The battery setup is another really interesting feature on this boat. There are in fact three individual batteries: one for the engine; a house battery for the electronics; and one large, deep-cycle battery dedicated to the electric outboard. This eliminates the risk of flat batteries and guarantees an early return home - an important consideration when you're running that many electronics. It has an integrated C-Tek and BEP Charging / VSR system that enables all batteries to charge from the outboard motor, 240V charger or even the tow vehicle. Incidentally, the tow vehicle was fitted with an upgraded alternator to quickly charge the batteries while the boat is in tow. It's a fantastic idea that keeps batteries well maintained during travel.

As you can see, this boat has it all when it comes to electronic accessories and gadgets, so much so that you almost forget it's a 4.55m tinnie. However, there's a catch when it comes to fitting a monster electronics package like this. If you're a guru with wiring and you have loads of time on your hands, then by all means do it yourself. If you're not, as is the case with most of us, then get a professional to do it. This boat was done by Valet Boat Services at Cashmere, in Brisbane's north, and as you can see the company did a sterling job. I will add quite sincerely that this boat has one of the best wiring and accessory installations I've seen in a long time - in fact, I've since had Valet Boat Services do my tinnie too.

The balance of the layout on the boat includes swivel seats, full deck and casting deck, and a wad of other fishing accessories like baitboard, rodholders and rod racks, just to mention a few. Again, it's worth noting just how much gear has been fitted here while still maintaining the full space onboard. Some careful planning indeed went into this boat.

 

 

HANDLING AND RIDE



I'm sure the owner did his due diligence when it came to finding a tinnie to suit his fishing style, budget, and something that could handle relatively rough water.

The Sea Jay 455 Territory had a Yamaha 70hp four-stroke fitted which provided more than ample grunt. Astute readers will ask: why was there a 70hp engine on a boat only rated to 50hp? The boat we tested had a customised transom design that was certified to carry the extra power, and the owner, no stranger to adding things to his boat, opted for the extra muscle.

Overall the boat had reasonable stability, and a pretty good ride in the choppy conditions I tested it in. The extra weight onboard would also help with keeping the ride softer. Unfortunately we couldn't do speed trials because the bay was too rough, and there's strict low-speed zones throughout the river system with grumpy fisheries officers keeping a constant, beady eye on you.

 

 

THE WRAP



Overall this is one hell of a package for a tinnie. With such a big electronics fit-up and that Yamaha 70hp four-stroke, you'd pay a premium for this boat. So is it value for money? Well, if you're this dedicated to fishing and don't mind slamming an extra 20k onto the price, then I suppose it is. At the end of the day I would definitely choose a package like this over a flash boat with average electronics.

 

 

On the plane...


Awesome electronics package and installation
Thoughtful arrangement of accessories
Gutsy power

 



Dragging the chain...


Pricey thanks to that epic electronics package, but if you can afford it, why not?

 

 




SPECIFICATIONS

 



HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $40,900 (excludes installation costs)
Options fitted: Fully customised mega electronics package with numerous fishing accessories - way too many to mention
Priced from: $20,900 (just a boat, Yammie and trailer)

 

 

GENERAL


Type: Fishing and general runabout monohull
Material: Pressed aluminium
Length: 4.55m
Beam: 2.05m
Hull weight: 290kg

 

 

CAPACITIES


People: 5
Rec. HP: 40hp
Max. HP: 50hp

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Yamaha 70hp AETL (boat certified to 70hp due to customised transom design)
Type: 16 valve, SOHC, in-line, four-cylinder four-stroke
Weight: 120kg
Displacement: 996cc
Gear ratio: 2.33:1

 

 

MANUFACTURED BY


Sea Jay Boats
2 Maddison Crt
Bundaberg, Qld, 4670
Web: www.seajayboats.com.au

 

 

FITOUT AND BLING BY


Valet Boat Services
45 Tosca St
Cashmere, Qld, 4500
Tel: 0419 263 264
Web: www.valetboatservices.com.au

Find Sea Jay boats for sale.

 


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