Our senior boat tester, John "Bear" Willis heads to one of his favourite secret fishing spots in Tamboon Inlet, in eastern Victoria. The rig of choice is a Surtees 4.85 Workmate, a former entrant in the Australia’s Greatest Boats mega shootout that came close to taking out the top spot.



Boat tests often involve jumping around in a big boat for a few hours, pushing hull hard to see what it can do. Not so with this little Surtees. This boat test ran for three days and pretty much involved nothing more than a few mates, a few beers, mussels, a bit of simple fishing and some camping. This was an ongoing three-day boat that that, points out Bear, is one way to really appreciate what a boat can do.



"We’ve been living for a couple of days now out of the little Surtees and I have to say, the opinion just grows," says Bear. Batteries, fuel filters, racks and wiring are out of the water and out of the way, leaving the deck clear and spacious for a sub-5m boat. The cutting board is another good feature (the only niggle is that it may be a bit low for some) as is the big and strong windscreen frame. "It just feels like it’s an integral part of the boat and keeps you nice and protected," says Bear. The frame is further enhanced by an excellent grabhold that also happens to strengthen the whole structure.

A useful feature is the way the underfloor killtank is fitted with a bung. This in turn leads to the Surtees’ flooding keel. This means the killtank can be filled with water simply by undoing the bung (and of course remembering to close it afterwards).

Other highlights are the electric anchorwinch and the step on the back of the transom. This last feature makes the Surtees 485 Workmate ideal for getting on and off when camped on the beach, as was the case here, or near a pier.

However, John has the final word on how one of its most important features rates. "It’s stability for a boat this size? Sensational," he says.


Thanks to MY Marine for loaning the Surtees 485 Workmate.


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