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I had the opportunity to review the nifty little Benguela 1450 Centre Console on two occasions – once with a Yamaha 40 HP outboard motor and then with a more powerful 70 HP version – with interesting performances from both options.

Coming from the Angler stable, I was confident that this entry-level, multi-purpose craft would more than meet expectation and looked forward to seeing just how she would fill different needs.

Bill Harrison from Natal Caravans & Marine and his experienced righthand man Sipho Mthembu, met me bright and early at Durban Skiboat Club after effortlessly towing the 1450 behind Bill’s 3000 Mazda 4×4 to our review spot – to launch off the beach at Vetchies Pier.
I noticed that she sat snugly on her custom-made, galvanised break-neck trailer showing off her sleek lines in contemporary blue and white colours. While waiting for the perfect set of waves, I had the chance to have a good look around her well-laid out interior.

A cursory glance showed that every inch of space can be put to good use in this boat. Starting with the bow area – a trolling motor can easily be fitted along the side of the flat non-skid deck area (underneath which one also finds a spacious anchor hatch). You could also fit a swivel bass stool up here from which you could operate the trolling motor.

Two adults can rest against the anchor hatch – the front of which has a moulded bench seat which also faces a folding seat (with cushion) in front of the centre console. This seat is an optional extra but in my opinion should be incorporated into the package.

An adequate-sized fish hatch is positioned flush underfloor in front of the console. I was pleased to see that there’s plenty of space for safety gear, fishing equipment and other loose items in the large storage hatches under the bow platform.

The top of the centre console is fitted with an acrylic screen surrounded by a stainless steel grab rail. This affords some protection from the weather and for the Lowrance X-4 fishfinder and gauges behind it. The side of the console has a hinged door, giving access to another large storage area which also holds a conduit tube carrying electrical wiring and control cables to the motors at the stern – leaving the deck free of this clutter. The console also holds the push-pull steering and side-mount controls.

Stainless steel rod racks are built into the gunnels and all hatches are fitted with stainless hinges. And to add to her well-finished looks – she has all the usual fittings such as stainless bow rails and grab handles at the stern, as well as stainless bow and transom eyes. Charcoal marine velour carpeting adds to the aesthetics and is comfortable underfoot.


Launching the 1450 at Vetchies proved a little tricky in shallow water as the tide was out. I was grateful for the powertrim feature which I had to use extensively to get out through the small shore breakers. While some spray did come in over the front during launching, the water drained off the deck very well. But like a bullet, we were off! It took just four seconds to get onto plane and I was able to throw her around turning to port and starboard quite comfortably with no cavitation on either side. Sipho and I headed offshore to deeper water with swells rising up to two meters and a north-easterly starting to blow. I thought the 1450 handled well and at trolling speed the two-stroke motor (although a bit noisy in my opinion) held its power to stay on plane.

I was able to drive quite fast into the bigger swells without any spray coming in over the front as this monohull displaces the water very well. As we had no instruments fitted I was unable to measure rpm readings. After an hour of putting her through her paces, I was pleased enough with the responsiveness of this outfit (with her 12” propeller) and it was time to head back to shore.

The motor had not been fitted with a beaching modification to kick-up once hitting the beach so again I made use of the powertrim to ease back through the shallows. Bill had attached the trailer to the Mazda’s front tow hitch and by breaking the neck of the trailer we were able to winch the boat up without too much effort. On a comparative note, I was also ablee to review the 1450 with a 70HP three-cylinder Yamaha outboard which has a 966cc capacity. Naturally the additional power made a big difference to her performance. With the 70 HP, the motor at idle was running at 800 rpm and was so quiet I actually had to check to see if she was still firing. Out-ofthe- hole performance was excellent and the additional horsepower means this outfit could easily be used for waterskiing, tube towing and other purposes. At full throttle the motor performed at 5 800 rpm using a 13-pitch propeller. The bay conditions were calm with little wind and she barreled along comfortably – and again, turning hard to port and starboard the motor elicited no cavitation.

This model, tested in the harbour, did include a roll bar where rod holders or a tow rope can be fitted. It is also useful for holding onto when moving around the rear of the boat.

When choosing the Benguela 1450, it is important to take into consideration that the 40 HP Yamaha is adequate for fishing and one must be sure when investing in this package that it is only used for that purpose. This model can comfortably accommodate three people fishing as you might find that four is a bit too much of a crowd. The 70 HP 4-Stroke does give more general-purpose options but there is a price to pay for the extra ‘oomph’. When it comes to the price, it’s not hard to swallow at all: with a 40 HP powertrim, look at being in from R144 900; otherwise you can go the whole hog and upgrade to a 70 HP powertrim but it ups the starting price to R194 900. However, if you are a ‘greenie’, you could also look at the 2 x 30 HP electric motor option which starts at R169 900. With all these motor options – this is a delightful package for first-time investors or those looking to get the most for this size of craft. For more information, contact Bill Harrison at Natal Caravans and Marine on (031) 702 7291.


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