Boat Reviews

Indigo E400

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Eyes for the size

Whether you’re a newcomer to boating or simply know what you want from your time on the water, the pro’s to a quality, smaller boat seems almost endless. This is where the E400 really starts to shine as the great, little boat that could! The Editor checks out the Indigo E400 on the Kowie River in Port Alfred.

Smaller boats are great in their application. The E400 is built to be compact enough for maximum benefit while spacious enough to be useable. Easy to tow and handle, light, and efficient on the water, this little Indigo is ideal for dam, river and estuary boating, especially for those that want to get in some mid-week fishing – all without footing a big bill.

Deck layout
The hull of the E400 measures 4.08 metres in length with a 1.72 metre beam. Within this space, there’s actually quite a bit to be found and valued. To maximize the onboard space, the helm is built as a centre type console with sufficient walkway on the sides for passengers to move around, as well as allowing rod storage in the gunwale holders.

When it comes to seating, there are four separate places for the crew. Two neat cushions flank the motor at the transom and are ideal for smaller/lighter passengers or providing a hang out place when the lines are in the water. Naturally, there’s the skippers seat, which is probably bigger in size than most boats with the E400’s dimensions, and like the bow seating, offers ample storage space below the cushioning. When it comes to working a hotspot or just stopping off to enjoy the sun for a while, the E400 has got a decent sized locker on the bow to allow the anchor to be easily stored – and there’s no hassles getting it in or out of the hatch. When you’re on the brink of reeling in a monster Kob, the last thing you need is to miss your footing. In this regard, the E400’s deck has a non-slip finishing – and it should be easily cleaned during a spray down after a day on the water. The skipper’s area is nice and neat. It features an ergonomical helm with the steering wheel and throttle positioned for absolute comfort. It has a small windscreen too which acts efficiently as a wind deflector.

If you’re wanting options on the E400, there are a few extras which could be more to your liking, such as a small stand up console (the screen and grab is available on either consoles), navigation and anchor lights, and flush mounted rod holders.

The Indigo E400 is built light; dry, the hull weighs in at 135 kg. The transom can take motors from 15 HP-60 HP, and with all of that in the equation, you can expect to be on the water for longer than average, on a single tank of fuel. Our review boat was fitted with a Honda 50 HP 4-Stroke outboard and its juice was supplied via a small 15-litre portable tank at the stern. This Honda is the EFI version (Electronic Fuel Injection) and is rated to pump to a maximum RPM of 5 500-6 000. It is lightweight itself too at 101 kg, and with extra benefits built in, such as the high performance gear case, and Honda’s BLAST (Boosted Low Speed Torque) and Lean Burn control systems, rest assured it packs quite a punch for its size. It idles low too, at around 850 RPM, and as a whole, this Honda is about as quiet as Julius’s political advisor – also hardly ever making a peep.

With this Honda outboard at the stern, the Indigo E400 can really go from slow to ‘whoa!’ in a matter of seconds. I – like the Honda dealers that had the pleasure of driving the boat for the pictures – all agreed with the sentiments that as over-used as the saying might be, this boat really is a pocket rocket. It’s quick onto the plane (as reviewed with a single passenger), and is more than quick enough in wasting no time to get to the fish. Fast enough, in fact, for a light skier, and dare I say it, it could probably manage someone as solid as myself in tow! With the water as flat as a Capetonian’s idea of the Johannesburg topography, the E400 ran very nicely on the plane and showed no signs of being unstable or built anything less than super strong.

In the corners, the boat handles better than I expected of something her size – neat and tidy is the way she goes round without putting a foot, or chine, wrong.

I really like the Indigo E400 – if it isn’t apparent above. It fulfills all the criteria she’s built for – and in her application she ticks all the right boxes. And with her high quality of fibreglass work it comes as a surprise to find she’s built in South Africa – let alone Port Elizabeth! If you’re looking to get on the water and enjoy it with a smaller craft, without a costly expense in purchase, use, or maintenance, the Indigo E400 thoroughly deserves to be on your short list.


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