Practical, personalised Savage 485 Piranha S.C. performs brilliantly, pleases the eye

It is always both a pleasure and privilege to inspect a boat that has been customised by its owner, as was the case recently when we met with David Hirst, for thirty years “the man” in upholstery and trimming in Goolwa, with his new Savage 485 Piranha S.C. (side console).

Like many Goolwa residents, David loves nothing more than cruising, fishing and camping along the Coorong, which led him to South Coast Marine and this delightful Savage 485 Piranha S.C. which he had had fitted out splendidly.

South Coast Marine had fitted a 75hp E-TEC, the maximum power for this hull, spinning a 137/8 x 15” Viper stainless steel (s.s.) propeller. They then fitted the engine instruments, (speedo, tacho, engine hours, fuel and trim) on the side console.

As well, they wired in and mounted David’s GME electronics, a 5.6” G142CFD G-Combo unit, GX600 VHF radio and GD9600 AM/FM radio, DVD/CD/MP3 player, with its two big 7” speakers mounted on the bow bulkhead.

The top of the side console had a sturdy s.s. grab rail plus a drink holder and glove box with tinted lid. Set ahead of the E-TEC’s remote was a 3-switch panel, all dominated by a very smart sports steering wheel.

Both the helm and passenger seats could be moved to a third anchor point near the transom for total ease of fishing. As well, the 485 Piranha S.C. provided both internal bow and stern fishing platforms, both with considerable storage areas under. Running nearly full length down the port side was a very generous bench seat with a 2.50m x 380mm x 300mm deep locker under.

Savage had used grey marine carpet extensively throughout the boat, even on the undersides of all the many locker lids. Everywhere we looked in fact we found that the Savage 485 Piranha S.C. had been finished off very professionally and thoughtfully, giving it a far more welcoming ambience than could any simple “tinnie”.

The nicely wide, flat side decks each had a rod holder and that to starboard, the anchor light mount and fuel filler. Dual batteries were installed under the stern fishing platform with a 1-2-both switch, so that, from a 12 volt socket just forward of the console, David could run his Engel ‘fridge.

When it came to the foredeck, David was confused, initially, by the much shorter port side bow rail, until it was explained that, between it and the bow sprit, was a mounting bracket for an electric trolling motor, set just under the checkerplate deck. A simple sand anchor, perfect for Coorong conditions, rested in the bow sprit ahead of the anchor well.

On the transom we found a ski hook and small boarding platform to each side, with a 3-step, telescopic ladder mounted on the port side. Both had a grab rail in place on top of the transom plus another leading up to the side decks. In place of a ladder to starboard was a simple s.s. bar to which a burley bucket could be secured.

To either side of the engine well were transducer brackets, the one to starboard hosting the G-Combo’s triducer.

David, of course, had the means and experience to then set about putting the finishing touches to his new pride and joy. He went to his old stamping ground, South Lakes Upholstery, who worked with him to fabricate a sturdy bow spray dodger to protect and shade the forward area, from the console to the bow bulkhead.

This was made from classy black material and had three deep, wide perspex panels, the central one of which could be rolled up to provide a cooling breeze and give ample access to the foredeck.

The leading edge of the dodger ran through an aluminium channel to keep things nice and dry inside.

Then, for the helm, David chose a sturdy bimini, 1.6m high, mounted on a frame of bright finish aluminium. Both covers were affixed to the decks with quick-release frames, such that they could be removed completely in less than five minutes. Now both he and Mrs. Hirst could enjoy their boating in great comfort.

We set out along the Lower Murray on a calm, overcast day in May and enjoyed a leisurely run up-stream, under the Hindmarsh Island bridge before returning to the channel leading to the barrage.

Here, into the wind, we wound the E-TEC out progressively to record 3.9 knots (7.2 kph) @ 1000 rpm, 6 knots (11 kph) @ 2000 rpm, 17 knots (32 kph) @ 3000 rpm, 26 knots (48 kph) @ 4000 rpm and 31 knots (58 kph) @ 5000 rpm. We then reached that last figure in just 20 seconds out-of-the-hole.

Running through our own wash we experienced a firm, stable, quiet ride, free from any vibration. The steering was precise, the cornering beautifully flat. Both the bimini and dodger remained tight and noise-free throughout. This Savage 485 Piranha S.C. was just as pleasing to spend time aboard as it was to the eye.