The Lightweight Championships
Let’s state from the very beginning that these two craft use the same hull, but just have different configurations for different markets — hence their equally different names. The Panache 1450 was launched mid 2011, and this entry-level craft has been making big waves since she first took to the water. Both have been designed to make your process of getting on the water a whole lot cheaper, while offering the same amount of family entertainment. The Editor gives his opinion about the Odyssey 1450 and the Panache 1450.
The Odyssey 1450 was created and built to combat the burdening cost of getting onto the water these days. You could say she was inspired by the demands of a tough economic society, but that’s not entirely true…
Don Jarratt of Austral Marine, the manufacturer of the Odyssey and Panache ranges, went back to basics when it came to giving artistic birth to the 1450 – where size is but a number and outboard engines weren’t chosen based on five times more than your actual needs.
To put things simply; the Odyssey is aimed at a younger market, who wants to ski, wakeboard, tube or fish. This 1450 of course fits in with the rest of the Odyssey range.
The Panache, however, is geared towards possibly the older type of buyer – someone that knows exactly what they want from their time on the water.
For those not aware, the Panache is the conventional style bow rider that we know boats to be. The Odyssey, aside from being ‘the other one’, is the modern thinking, social-orientated design, with the bit of a bow sun lounger and an open-cockpit. Out of interest, the Odyssey has also got 60% buoyancy as well as deck drainage.
The Odyssey is really great. While the bow can be used for tanning or entertaining, there is a third plus: simply remove the cushioning and insert the anglers stool. This allows you to sit comfortably as you take on a spot of fishing! And also for the anglers is a neat set of drawers located at the stern to keep your tackle tidy and ready! Of course, this could double-up as a compartment to keep cell phones, cameras and other such items drier than a certain brand of local cider…
Packing space on the side console is a bit limited, since it’s merely the underneath of the bow seats, as well as on each side of the engine well at the transom – but for this size craft, there are always going to be this type of limitation. I still reckon you could store enough for a day’s boating, just don’t overpack.
This 1450 has got a small swim step at the stern with a telescopic ladder for easy boarding, showing that the craft is made for those that don’t just love the water; they love being in it!
Full up, the Odyssey can take up to five passengers, and you’ll have more fun than a kid with a bag of candy at Disneyland!
While the Odyssey is aimed at being the complete all-rounder, the Panache is the sportier looking twin and is the one that would possibly be my number one choice – largely since the stern seating seems a bit more practical to me for this size of boat.
The Panache, although smaller in the bow, does have the usual stern seating, and that for me is worth more than the open cockpit. Plus there’s a nifty ski-hatch in the deck of the Panache. The only thing that leaves me wanting on the Panache is that there is no swim step as standard. Like the Odyssey, the Panache has a flotation certificate for five passengers. Both 1450’s have got a stainless steel ski-wing and both are upholstered to a quality that an Italian tailor would be proud of.
Another feature that these two boats showcase, is that they are both powered by a Honda 60 HP outboard, which Honda themselves believe makes the 1450 package one which goes back to how boating used to be – small, light, efficient, and powerful; but most importantly; classy and affordable.
I recently drove the Odyssey 1450 in Knysna. With three passengers on board, I found the craft to be quick and nimble, with ample low-end power, and plenty of legs for a good run. She seems stable enough to do some light fishing and fast enough to tow a skier.
Not very long before, on the other side of the country, I managed to get behind the wheel of the Panache 1450 on the Vaal River, where the little 60 HP was fighting at altitude. None of Leisure Boating’s Vaal friends were available on the day, since everyone seemed to be staying out of the waterway at the time due to its condition. Even so, I imagine the Panache had enough grunt to pop up a wakeboarder or even pull a fairly decent sized tube whilst powering in the thin air.
The 60 HP Honda has its own list of benefits, such as a Programmed Electronic Fuel Injection, BLAST, and Lean Burn Control. Everything on this outboard, from its lightweight design to its high performance gear case is designed to make the engine clean and efficient.
This 4-Stroke, 998 cc motor, is rated @ 5 500 rpm as measured at the propshaft.
Since these two models are based on the same hull, their ride characteristics are very similar. It may have been the JHB air getting to me, but the Panache’s ride seemed to be just a little more refined. The Odyssey at full-tilt seemed to need the third passenger in the bow to make her cruise just that extra little bit sweeter. Aside from that, no matter your choice, you’re getting a family friendly boat with a soft, comfortable ride, luxury trimming, and both are a pleasure to own.
The 60 HP Honda outboard is adequate for the 1450. Really! In my opinion, you can go for one bigger, such as 75 horses, but I’d limit that decision to whether you’re boating where the air is thinner, or if you’re going to be filling every seat on board virtually every trip. If your answer is no to both of those, then rather spend the money on kitting out the craft to suit you.
Since they’re small, you can easily tow, launch and handle either boat if some quiet time on the weekend takes your fancy, or perhaps a work-night sunset cruise to unwind.
It’s worthwhile mentioning that some of the items on each boat as reviewed, are optional extra’s. But it’s not exactly an extensive list as you do get quite a bit for the price.
The 1450 Panache is an entry-level boat and she’s well priced in terms of what you can get these days. It’s amazing to think that this budget-beater started life during such a fragile economic stage, and came out like a million bucks!
Similarly, the Odyssey too is a fantastic little boat. Efficient, cute and pacey are the main characteristics she brings to the table, but she really is more than that.
As with both of these craft; they aren’t just easy to drive – they’re easy to own too! For a Panache 1450, you’ll be in for at least R150 000. For more information on the 1450 bow rider, contact Honda Marine Randburg on (011) 789 4934.
To hear all about the Odyssey 1450, contact Honda Marine Knysna on (044) 382 4090.
Her price starts at R159 000, which includes a sun canopy and a boat cover.