Sturdy, stylish Savage 435 Bay Cruiser with 40hp E-TEC an able inshore fishing partner

Any opportunity to test a member of the “tinnie” ranks is always welcome, such are the giant strides this “entry level” boating sector has taken in recent times, so we were therefore pleased to get to grips with this very smart Savage 435 Bay Cruiser.

We travelled to Goolwa where the 435 Bay Cruiser awaited us in the boat yard at South Coast Marine, with a compact 40hp E-TEC neatly installed on the transom.

Standard features included an anchor well with cleat and bow rails, two deck mounted rod holders, rear fold-down cockpit lounge, grey marine carpet, 1.58m side shelves, non-return mechanical steering, Savage “Skipper” helm seats, three-switch panel, painted topsides with stripes, two transom handles, a boarding step with grab rail to port, a transducer bracket plus a short grab rail in each stern quarter.

South Coast Marine had prepared this rig as a “special” for the 2014 Adelaide Boat Show (see page 21) and there were options a-plenty.

Apart from the very capable 40hp E-TEC, we noted a nice blue bimini with 1.45m headroom, bilge pump and a glove box with cover.

Further factory options included a GME AM/FM/CD unit with two big, rear-mounted speakers, a compact, waterproof Lowrance Link 5 VHF transceiver and a powerful Lowrance Elite 5x-HDI 5” fishfinder/GPS combo with Hybrid Dual
Imaging™ which combined Broadband Sounder™ with DownScan Imaging™ technology.

The boat show package was rounded out with 12 months registration for both boat and trailer, plus inshore safety gear for four adults.

Within its rolled side decks, the 435 Bay Cruiser’s cockpit measured 1.75m in length, was 1.46m wide and 0.52m deep.

Mounted centrally on the helm bulkhead were the E-TEC’s speedo (in mph & kph) and tachometer, which also contained the engine’s oil, temperature, “check engine” and “low oil warning” lights. As well, a circular trim gauge was mounted just to the left of the steering wheel.

Access to the foredeck was made safe and easy courtesy of the ‘screen’s opening central panel. From here one could handle the ground tackle out of and into the large anchor well with a minimum of fuss.

In short order, we towed the 435 Bay Cruiser to the nearby Aquatic Club and allowed the hull to slide smoothly into the Goolwa Reach. Despite a very strong northerly wind the waters were relatively calm.

With three adults aboard, the Savage 435 Bay Cruiser’s “Ultra Lift Hull”, with its 3.0mm topsides, bottom and transom, displayed excellent stability as we moved to our respective seats.

Manoeuvring away from the jetty proved that the E-TEC could provide sufficient “bite” to steer assuredly in reverse. Then, having familiarised ourselves with the channel markers, we moved out and around over to the Hindmarsh Island side.

Now that it was nicely warmed up, the E-TEC responded eagerly to the throttle, sending us along at an easy 25 knots while spinning at 5,300rpm. The ride was untroubled by either wind or wavelet while noise levels were comfortable.

Capable of very tight low speed turns, the 435 Bay Cruiser encouraged us to enjoy its excellent high speed manners, gripping exceptionally well when cornered hard and tracking with great purpose despite the strong wind.

The helm seats were very comfortable, the bimini stayed rigid at speed while, when sent flying back over and along its own wash, the hull performed quietly and ably, for a pleasing, rewarding experience.
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