Boat Reviews

Forever young Sportsman 400 and 335

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Forever young Sportsman 400 and 335

Built to get people on the water for less spend at the boat showroom, the Linder range of boats is just what the discerning buyer has been looking for. They’re cute and affordable, and at the end of the day, they’re pretty neat craft which offer a dramatically reduced cost of ownership. The Editor picks up his carp rod to get better acquainted with the Linder Sportsman 335 and 400 models.

With few frills and plenty of options, Linder boats are great for those that are in the market for something smaller and affordably customisable to their needs. Easy to trailer and even easier to skipper, this craft is built in Sweden and is designed to provide all you could ever need for a day’s fishing (or even skiing!) on your favourite dam or river. As you can see, these are aluminium boats – but they’re not the same quality you are probably accustomed to as the Swedes certainly have raised the bar. On these craft, you won’t find welding lines or rough edges, and the craft are built to be as environmentally friendly as possible – from using the world’s most abundant metal resource, to making their craft light so that they require less horsepower and less fuel.

Deck layout

The Sportsman 335 is the smallest of the family and is suited for younger skippers or as a smaller workhorse for fishing and everyday use. Mounted with a tiller arm-controlled motor, this boat took me back to my younger days – before everyday stress was a problem and when endless fun was a priority. The 335 isn’t so small when you’re on board though, and you could easily take yourself and a buddy or two to wet some line for the day.

Three bench seats across the craft allows seating space for the maximum allowance of three passengers, and our review craft was superbly finished up the middle with wooden inserts – adding even more to the classy look and feel of the boat. The Sportsman 400, as reviewed, is of course slightly longer (46 cm) and wider (18 cm) and has the optional helm mounted. It is aimed at the family boater, and when fitted with a 20 HP outboard, it could provide a session on the water for lighter skiers.

The 400 in the pictured combination has two rows of seating and a third for the skipper behind the wheel, as well as a transparent windscreen. This craft is certified for up to four passangers. There is storage space in the middle and stern seats for compact gear such as towels or a warm jacket. The boats are metal and one would expect the craft to become hot when left in the sun – however, you can forget that being a problem with a Linder as they remain cool to the touch, as it is to the eye!

The Sportsman 335 was paired with a Honda 15 HP tiller arm outboard. This motor has always packed quite a punch in terms of power for its size – and on the back of the lightweight Linder, this motor really does have grunt. At full tilt we recorded a top speed of 36.4 km/h (GPS speed) with two passengers on board – myself and Jeremy Barnes, the dealer principal at Honda Somerset West.

The Sportsman 400 performs equally well with the fitted 20 HP outboard, claiming a top speed of 42.9 km/h (GPS). Honda’s 4-Stroke outboards are known for being fuel efficient so it’s only apt that they are the choice of motor for the Linder range to make the whole package easy on the environment. What I really liked about these boats and their aluminium attributes is that the hulls are pretty quiet – it doesn’t have that usual ‘metal over water’ noise that is normally present. The Honda at the stern is nice and quiet too – so overall, a great package for bird watching – or attempting a discreet cruise up river.

These are smaller, lightweight craft, so do be mindful of passenger movements at rest; but on the plane, these boats run well and are stable. The hull is made to be efficient by running on top of the water instead of ploughing through it – so coupled with Honda power, you could really be on the water all day with just a portable fuel tank. While I can’t comment on the exact efficiency of the boat, the manufacturer claims a record on their Fishing 440 model of 0.11 litres of fuel per nautical mile with one person on board at seven knots per hour!

Finishing touches
Made from metal, these boats are pretty robust and could take a severe beating. However, should you pick up some damage at any time, the affected panel can easily be replaced – even a segment of the hull! What’s really cool about these boats is that they use Securmark technology, which is basically millions of microdots in a clear sprayed-on paint with a unique ID number. Should your boat be stolen and recovered, the microdot will be located and identified and your boat can be traced back to you. If it’s accessories you need, then Linder has it all. To kit your Linder out to the maximum, you can choose from a long list of extras, including rod holders, fishing lure holders, a 15 litre gunwale bucket, an electric bilge, an electric motor bracket, cushions for the seats, covers, and, and, and! There’s also a nifty car-top transporter, since you can lift the Sportsman 335 with one hand. The craft plus motor weighs in at a mere 130 kg – the equivalent of your average Springbok rugby prop!

These boats are completely unique and are exceptionally well made. They offer quite a bit for the discerning boat buyer looking to make a cost-effective purchase for the holiday.

The Sportsman 355 as reviewed has too much power and you could easily get away with 10 HP and have sufficient power to plane with. The 355’s basic package with a 10 HP is priced at R60 894.
The Sportsman 400 definitely tops my list of favourites in this segment of the market and base price for this craft (with a remote 20 HP) sells for R87 385.
For more information contact Honda Marine Somerset West on
(021) 851 7710 or
Honda Marine Knysna on (044) 382 4090.


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