BOAT TEST: TRAILCRAFT 4.7 RUNABOUT

By: Rick Huckstepp


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Many first-time boat buyers are understandably reluctant to part with too much of their hard-earned ching-ching. What if they buy the wrong type of boat? What if their priorities change over time? At a smidge under 25 grand, Trailcraft's 4.7m runabout offers great value and peace of mind for wannabe anglers beset by these questions.

BOAT TEST: TRAILCRAFT 4.7 RUNABOUT
Trailcraft 4.7 Runabout

FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #179, April 2004  

 

 

The sum of $25,000 presents a significant stumbling block for people with the intention of entering the small-boat market. This is particularly so for first-time boat buyers, who may not have had enough experience with equipment and style to realise that just a few more dollars sometimes offers a lot more benefit.

In the aluminium segment of the small-boat market we're presented with an array of boats in various shapes, styles and sizes, which - at that the 25K price point - seem to pull up at the five-metre mark.

To many people who've put a lot of thought into their purchase, getting more boat in terms of future potential is often a priority. With a good platform under the deck shoes, the add-ons can be sorted out during its work life, after the initial drain on the bank balance has been dealt with.

Trailcraft has recognised this trend and concentrated a fair amount of its effort in the market above that of dinghies but below the big boats of five metres-plus. Trailcraft's vessels over five metres are going from strength to strength, with the seven-metre walkaround being watched with keen interest. Hopefully you'll be reading about it in Trailer Boat shortly.

Back below our 25K, though, Trailcraft has put together a boat that's looking the retired estuary and lake fisher directly in the wallet. The first-time buyer that wants to get into boating gently before leaping into a mega purchase is a monty for this rig.

It is spartan in its fitout but serves the fisho well in terms of functionality, with plenty of room to move down the track as it becomes loaded with the goods and chattels that inevitably find their way onto a boat once we get attached to it.

At 4.7m, this runabout will easily hitch onto a big four-cylinder family car, and its on-trailer length of 5.9m will allow it to be tucked away in the corner of the yard at home.

On height, you won't be lifting up the front of the carport to get it under either - its 2.15m height is neat and low-profile, which also reduces the drag on the fuel bill when towing on long trips.

 

 

TOUGH CUSTOMER



The fact that this boat is plate aluminium lends itself to strength and rigidity, which is an important factor to consider when adding custom features later on. With sides of 3mm and bottom plate of 4mm, the hull should take a lot of hammering without showing undue stress.

Access to the anchor well on the bow is via a fold-out central section of the screen, which features wraparound side screens within an aluminium frame. The upper thighs fit between the skipper's and passenger's modules that make up the helm area, providing lean-over access to the ground-tackle-gulping anchor well.

A short fence across the deck under the modules retains luggage, preventing it from marching across the floor when travelling in choppy seas. A bimini with clears is attached to the coaming via typical light-duty struts and it is neatly press-studded to the windscreen frame.

The zip-open aperture in the top is very large and will allow two people to stand through it when better vision is required.

I noted a lack of grab handles here, however. Your only option is to hang onto the bimini or the windscreen frame. A press-stud cover with a zip-access door and a clear window for viewing the radio protected the space below the modules, and should keep the contents of this area well protected from rain or spray.

The helm is neatly laid out with swivel seats for two and plenty of room on the flat top of the dash to install a couple of electronic items.

 



GEAR GUZZLER



Running aft, sidepockets are about one third of the length of the cockpit and high off the floor, away from the tops of your feet. There is enough room under these sidepockets to custom-hang gaffs, boat hooks or perhaps fishing rods.

A short pocket extends across the transom bulkhead to a fixed storage box, which houses the battery and has a padded lid. A small padded section on the forward end of the bulkhead finishes the area off as spare seating.

The aft port corner features a walkthrough transom door, which has a sill about 100mm off the deck where one of the two scuppers is installed.

If you have the option of buying a boat with scuppers, seriously think about taking it. The time you'll spend cleaning a boat is slashed dramatically when you only have to hose it out, and the gush of water over the deck takes all the rubbish out the scupper rather
than it getting caught in a bunghole below the deck in the bilge. Scuppers on this rig are a side benefit of having an airtight hull below deck.

As well as hefty transom doors, Trailcraft boats are noted for their drop-down diving ladders, which are very strong and angle out from the hull making for easier boarding and disembarking, especially when wearing dive tanks.

 

 

OPEN THE POD DOOR, HAL



The stern is a full-width floating pod to which a Mercury 50hp four-stroke motor was fitted. At 3200rpm this rig loafed along at 19kmh, while at full throttle, 5200rpm realised 47kmh.

While the mechanical steering was easy on the arms, the remote control for the Mercury was not. Coming out of neutral, far too much effort was required to shift to forward gear - and when it did so, too much throttle was applied immediately, sending the boat forward rapidly. This could cause mayhem at the ramp, but no doubt the issue is one that would be addressed at the time of fit-up.

Typically of many boats where seating is well forward of the centre of balance (that place on the keel line that constantly cuts the water surface), riding over sharp chop can be a little jarring if you push it too hard. Standing and utilising the large aperture in the awning alleviates this discomfort. It's times like these you'll be looking for handrails. Overall, though, the boat rode very well and enjoyed great stability. Manoeuvring was easy and we experienced no cavitation during tight high-speed turns. We found 50hp ample for two people and their gear, so going to the maximum rating of 75hp would have this rig performing nicely.

A roomy cockpit, easy handling and big coamings on which to add things fishy all lend themselves to making this rig a good base to build a long-term investment. We all have to start somewhere, and this 4.7m runabout is something you should definitely add to your "must-see" list.

 

 

TRAILCRAFT 4.7M RUNABOUT

 

Price as tested: $24,437
Options fitted: Canopy, engine upgrade
Priced from: $23,600 w/ 50hp two-stroke Mercury

 

 

GENERAL


Material: Plate aluminium
Length (overall): 5m
Beam: 2.2m
Height on trailer: 2.15m
Deadrise: 14°
Rec/max hp: 75
Weight: 750kg (boat, motor, trailer)

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 120lt underfloor
Passengers: Maximum five

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Mercury EFI
Type: Four-cylinder four-stroke
Rated hp: 50
Displacement: 995cc
Weight: 112kg
Gearbox ratio: 1.83:1
Propeller: 11in

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Saltwater Marine, Hampton Rd, South Fremantle, tel (08) 9431 7779,  sales@saltwatermarine.com.au or visit www.trailcraft.com.au

 

 

HIGHS


Great entry-level fishing rig
Tough as nails and easy to manoeuvre
Self-draining deck a big plus
Plenty of room for storage and aftermarket additions

 

 

LOWS


Remote control for the engine needs attention
Needs extra handrails around helm passenger position
Standard boat (without any options) is a little spartan

 

 

Story & Photos: Rick Huckstepp
First published in TrailerBoat #179

Find Trailcraft boats for sale.

 


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