Linder boats is the latest range of aluminium boats to hit the South African market place – and so far, they’re making quite a splash. Linder says their boats ‘like small motors’ – but are they so fond of the ocean? The Editor takes a Sportsman 445 Catch for a spin in the swell at Gordon’s Bay to see if this little craft delivers on all that she promises.
Aluminium boats for sale South Africa
Athoroughbred aluminium fishing boat with a neat platform in the bow and plenty of room in the stern, the 445 Catch is perfect for those looking for a little more than just going river and dam fishing. I checked out the Sportsman 355 and 400 models in September last year; and although they were really great craft, I find them to be a bit too small for the ocean for my own personal liking. So, here I am, feeling much more at home on the ocean with the 445 Catch.
Interestingly, the 445 is available in three models so you would need to choose which is best for you. The Basic, which is just that, is the hull with no frills; the Catch model has the helm station mounted as well as the bow and stern platform (with the ability to mount the two, optional rotating, collapsible fishing chairs); and the 445 Max has the helm console and three rows of seating instead of the platforms. So, no matter your type of boating, there’s a 445 to suit you – and all accessories are interchangeable between the models. Personally, I think the Catch is the model that’s going to get the most attention – because there’s very little in this genre, size and price which can compare – and that’s even before we talk about the rest of what you get, covering the array of accessories, quality, and more.
The 445 Catch, designed to be all you’d need for some afternoon fishing, is light and easy to tow – and very manageable for one person should he/ she be alone at the slipway. It comes equipped with a steering console, a fishing rod box (which also conveniently serves as a step), storage space (e.g. for batteries, fishing equipment, fuel, etc.), a chequered nonslip type flooring, a boarding ladder, an automatic bilge pump, several power outlets, grab rails, and an electrical system.
In terms of measurement, the 445 comes in at 4.51 metres by 1.75 metres and offers much more than the “tinnies” you might be accustomed to. Linders range of boats are built in Sweden and shipped worldwide – but, what’s neat about them is that there is very little visible welding. While they are rather rugged and resilient, accidents can happen – and when they do, each part has its own code, allowing you to easily replace same should you need to patch her up for the fix.
Linder offers a huge selection of accessories you can add onto your boat to customise it to your requirements – such as roof racks for transporting it on your car (for models without the steering console), to bait buckets, oars, rod holder, the choice is almost limitless!
Really – for just about anything you could need for your fishing trip, it’s available for this as it is for any other Linder boat. As mentioned earlier, there are two fishing platforms on this craft and a row for seating at the steering console. The bench seating itself is nicely finished off with some blue coloured trimmings; but personally, I would appreciate some cushioning. Also, there’s storage space under the seat as well as in front of the bow platform. Neither are what I’d call generous in size, and the stern storage houses the 25 litre fuel tank, but then again, what do you really need closed storage for? There’s ample space on the craft for keeping tackle boxes and more, so the small storage space wouldn’t really be a concern for me. However, a bigger storage area can be found in the bow and sealed off from the elements.
Linder boats owns the slogan “Likes small motors”. Since they are smaller craft, built light, and designed to be efficient in the water, it seems apt that it’s a case of “less can be more”. The 445 Catch is designed to take a 30 HP outboard. Now, given the way that South African boaters tend to shop, you might be thinking that it makes this boat a bit of a toy – but believe me, it’s plenty.
She is said to weigh just 230 kg, so with a Honda 30 HP 4-Stroke motor, the boat performed rather well with two crew onboard. The 446 is certified for five passengers and category C (1 nautical mile offshore), but if you’re going to be doing some drop shot fishing or something along those lines, you’d be most comfortable as just two or three crew.
The most interesting part about this review for me was being on the ocean with the 446. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she could hold her own out there on the water. The swell wasn’t too much on the day, but the 446 was fast and stable enough to be comfortable. In fact, it was more than good enough on the water that we didn’t call it quits when we were done with the review – we went for a little adventure, about 10 km along the bay, to see some of the scenery – and the Linder took the backwash coming off the mountain better than I had expected.
This boat is small, so as you might expect, she is sensitive to onboard weight at idle – but on the plane, she’s much better. I’d call myself pretty solid, and travelling alone, I wasn’t heavy enough to make the boat lob-sided in the stability department by any stretch of the imagination.
Linders says this 446 has a draft of just 27.5 cm, and their boats tend to be rather flat-bottomed with small, yet effective chines added on. This gives the craft plenty of grip in corners, while the decent deadrise in the bow allows her to cut through the oncoming swell happily. Something minor but worth mentioning is the fact that people tend to think that an aluminium boat is going to get hot in our sun. In all honesty, it’s not the case. In the water, a heat transfer takes place and keeps the metal just as cold as the water, so even if you get a hot head, the rest of your body will certainly be cool! What’s really noticeable on Linders range of boats is that they don’t feel or sound like the usual aluminium boats. They’re built solidly and made to last – and it’s evident from the way they handle on the water.
Possibly the best part about owning one is that it’s cheap to run. I’d be surprised if we used more than 7-litres of fuel that day – and that’s with putting the craft through her paces.
Aluminium boats – often called tinnies – have been all right here in SA… just all right. But, their biggest key ‘problem’ is that the average boater doesn’t want to tell his friends at the bar that his boat is a tinnie – since anyone who knows a bit about boating will know that it’s not something particularly out of the ordinary. But owning a Linder aluminium boat will probably change that perspective. She may be cute to look at – but when it comes to owning a boat that can do it all and still have a reasonable price tag, the Sportsman 445 really is one helluva catch!