1650 Benguela CC
First impressions really do count and I was immediately struck by the Benguela’s streamlined, clean look and feel which was easy on the eye and heightened my enthusiasm to take her out to sea.
Having already reviewed a number of boats built by the Angler Factory over the last few years – when Bill Harrison of Natal Caravans and Marine in Pinetown asked me to cast an eye over the new 1650 Benguela CC, I really did wonder if they could possibly have anything more to add to their already excellent range. But yet again, Don Jarred manages to surprise the market with something new.
When early bird Bill picked me up at 05h30, we were delighted to see clear skies – especially after a lengthy patch of inclement weather. His Mazda BT50 4×4 towed this lightweight Benguela effortlessly to our launching spot at Natal Rod and Reel slipway in Durban harbour.
This 1650 Centre Console skiboat measures 5.1 m from front to back with a beam of 2.1 m, giving enough space for four; but for optimal comfort, especially when wetting some line, having three anglers on board would be less crowded with all their equipment. Starting in the bow, there’s an anchor hatch with neatly designed exit slots for the rope and a latch to keep the lid shut. Bow seating for two offers storage underneath for life jackets and other safety equipment. An optional extra (which I think should be standard), are bow cushions which obviously add to the comfort factor. Two stainless bow rails run the length of the seating for safety – especially handy in rough waters.
The modern centre console comes standard with an acrylic screen protected by a stainless steel grab rail. The front of the console leaves room for an optional folding seat – which, personally, I feel should be incorporated in the pricing as a standard feature. However, it’s perhaps not a necessity for everyone, so it leaves the choice up to you and keeps the craft’s price down just that extra bit. Other than the Sea Star push/pull steering system, the console was devoid of instrumentation; though there is plenty of space for rev counters and a fish finder. Side mounted controls (on the console) are within easy reach if one is standing – which is obviously the best position when driving this outfit, as there is better visibility.