REVIEW: SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS 4.1 AND 4.4

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD


SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS TINNIES SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS TINNIES
SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS CONSOLE SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS CONSOLE
SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS E TEC SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS E TEC
SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS EVINRUDE SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS EVINRUDE
SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS HELM SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS HELM
SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS SEAT SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS SEAT
SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS SUZUKI SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS SUZUKI

Amidst the hordes of tourists and houseboats, we found a safe spot on the Murray River to experience these two Sea Jay aluminium boats in their natural environment.

Sea Jay is a family-run boat manufacturer at Bundaberg on the Queensland coast headed by husband and wife team, Col and Janelle Glass and now ably assisted in the design studio by son Troy. Since 1989 they have turned out a range of 18 tough aluminium boat models from 3.85m to 6.1m, plus nail-hard custom plate-boats, popular amongst serious amateur and pro.

Having seen many logs floating past the wharf in Echuca while we were having lunch, it’s not surprising that a tough little tinnie is the boat of choice. Any boat in country areas needs to endure a life of being dragged over muddy banks as well as encounters with floating debris and sunken trees, so a rugged build is a must.

 

SEA JAY ALUMINIUM BOATS

SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS BOAT

Sea Jays are amongst the toughest production boats on the market. Where many manufacturers resort to stitch welding along the gunwales for example, the team at Sea Jay put extra time and effort into making the boats as strong as possible. This might be reflected in the price, but when you consider that a well-built tinnie should last a lifetime, most people would consider the extra dollars well spent.

In Sea Jay’s brochure you will find 4.4m and 4.65m models in the Discovery Sports range but Boats and More at Echuca also stocks a 4.1m built especially for them. It was this boat plus the 4.4 that we tested on the river. In standard form both are pressed alloy from 2mm bottom sheet and 1.6mm sides with strengthening ribs, but the larger boat was a special order built from 3mm alloy all round for added strength.

 

DISCOVERY SPORTS SERIES

SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS

The Discovery Sports are painted side console models in a range of vee-nosed punts that also includes an unpainted Swift and a Painted Discovery, both with tiller steer. This style of boat is popular for fishing calm waters as it has the inherent stability at rest of a relatively flat section through the main body of the hull combined with a sharp entry and deep-vee in the bow for slicing through water on the move.

I liked the look of the boats, especially the bright blue paint scheme of the 4.4 matched to the modern graphics and flat sides. Our smaller test boat had a more traditional clinker profile on the sides with an attractive white finish complemented by black and red scrolls.

Standard features and layout are similar on both boats, with carpeted floors and raised casting decks forward and aft.

 

LAYOUT AND DESIGN

SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS LAYOUT

A large storage hatch built into the forward deck is carpet lined inside for a neat finish and has a bracket for the fuel tank with a line running back below the floor to the engine.

Further forward, a second covered hatch holds the anchor and rode, which can be tied off on the front bow rail. There was a mounting plate to easily allow an electric motor to be fitted as an option with room in the storage hatch for a battery. The larger boat came optioned with a Minn Kota I-Pilot including battery and charger but the motor was not fitted for the test.

Gunwales offer just enough width to rest on and two holders each side provide limited rod storage but room on the front of the console allows customers to add some vertical racks.

The console is a simple aluminium design with a tinted screen and a sturdy grab rail around its perimeter to assist moving around. There was room on the angled dash for instruments, plus a switch panel for nav lights and the bilge pump. The 4.4 had a Garmin 551 screen bracket mounted on top and both boats had a storage bin in the base of the console.

 

CASTING PLATFORMS

SEA JAY DISCOVERY CASTING PLATFORM

Rear casting platforms are similar in size but the 4.1 loses 300mm in length at the main cockpit and a little in beam. These decks would have ample area to fish from and formed a steady base when walking around and boarding. Hatches in the centre and to starboard hold the battery and general storage and to port was a plumbed live bait tank. Transoms are quite low, but a small well just forward of the motor allows it to be fully raised.

Movable pedestal seats are provided for driver and passenger and there are several locations for the crew to spread out. Although they are a simple folding design the upholstery was well finished and the padding gave good support.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS PLANE

Our test Sea Jay 4.4 was fitted with a Suzuki 50hp four-stroke, which is the maximum power rating. It offered goodhole shot and brisk acceleration though its range to a maximum of 27kts (50kmh). At slow trolling speeds the boat steered well and the Suzuki was barely audible. We were on the plane at 10kts (18kmh) and it felt happiest at a mid range cruise of around 20 kts (37kmh).

I liked the feel and responsiveness of the 4.4. At all speeds it felt well balanced and certain. In sharp turns it remained flat with no slip or cavitation and over the sizeable wakes of some slow moving houseboats it felt soft with no rattles.

With a 30hp Evinrude E-TEC mounted on the back, the 4.1 was also a willing performer and, with lower power but also less weight, planing speed was the same at 10kts (18kmh), albeit with a bit more bow lift with only my weight in the back. It felt like it would run all day at 20kts and with wide open throttle I was able to wring out 24kts (44kmh) from the little E-TEC although at this speed I found a tendency for the boat to porpoise a bit. However, I think that with a normal load of equipment and a full tank this would be rectified.

 

THE VERDICT

SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS BOATS

Overall the 4.1 lacked some of the well-balanced and confident feel of the larger boat but this is only expected with less weight and waterline length. Given its size, handling was good and it turned well at high and low speeds without yaw or cavitation but I must admit to being a little wary when I noticed the sticker on the console that warned not to make sudden turns at more than 14kts (25kmh). Stability at rest was good in both boats, which is important when fishing, especially if loaded with a few crew.

Pricing for the 4.4 as tested was $30,990 with the 50hp Suzuki and can be bought for as low as $21,290 with a 40hp two-stroke while the 4.1 was $19,990 with the E-TEC.

Both are good buying especially with these efficient and reliable engines that should give years of trouble free service.

 

PERFORMANCE

8kts (14.8kmh) @ 2000rpm — on the plane

16kts (29.6kmh) @ 2500rpm

22kts (40.7kmh) @ 3000rpm

27kts (50kmh) @ 3500rpm

33kts (61.1kmh) @ 4000rpm

36kts (66.6kmh) @ 4500rpm

41kts (76kmh) @ 5000rpm

44kts (81.4kmh) @ 5200rpm — wide open throttle

 

ON THE PLANE...

  • Strong construction and good finish
  • Stable at rest for safe fishing
  • Good handling and ride

 

DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

  • Some more rod and general storage would be good

 

 

SEA JAY DISCOVERY SPORTS 4.4 SPECIFICATIONS

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $30,990

Options fitted: Engine upgrade, 3mm alloy, Minn Kota and battery system

Priced from: $21,290 with 40hp two-stroke.

 

GENERAL

Type: fishing V-nose monohull

Material: Aluminium

Length: 4.4m

Beam: 1.9m

Weight: 275kg

Deadrise: 11°

 

CAPACITIES

People: 4

Rec. HP: 40hp

Max. HP: 50p

Fuel: 25L

 

ENGINE

Make/model: Suzuki DF50A

Type: Three-cylinder, four-stroke

Weight: 103kg

Displacement: 941cc

Gear ratio: 2.27:1

Propeller: 11.5" x 13"

 

 

DISCOVERY SPORTS 4.1 SPECIFICATIONS

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $19,990

Options fitted: nil

Priced from: $19,990

 

GENERAL

Type: fishing V-nose monohull

Material: aluminium

Length: 4.1

Beam: 1.79

Weight: 225kg

Deadrise: 11°

 

CAPACITIES

People: 4

Rec. HP: 25hp

Max. HP: 30hp

Fuel: 25L

 

ENGINE

Make/model: Evinrude E-TEC 30hp

Type: In-line two-cylinder, two-stroke

Weight: 83kg

Displacement: 577cc

Gear ratio: 2.15:1

Propeller: 10.3" x 12"

 

MADE BY

Sea Jay Aluminium Boats, 2 Maddison Ct

Bundaberg, QLD 4670

 

SUPPLIED BY

Boats and More (Shepparton Store)

207 Numurkah Rd Shepparton, Vic, 3620

Tel: 03 5822 2108

Web: www.boatsandmore.com.au

 

Adapted from TrailerBoat #301, November / December 2013

Find Sea Jay boats for sale.

 


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