Savage 55 Javelin Bowrider Review

Issue: April 2002
Manufacturer: Savage Boats 

This latest model from the Victorian-based Savage stable is built on same 5.5m fibreglass hull used for the Mako 55SP cuddy cabin and Surveyor 55SP family fishing models. But by changing the interior liner and adding a completely new deck mould, Savage has created a sporty family bowrider.

It’s interesting to note that the already successful Mako and Surveyor cuddy cabin models are boats developed for open bay and offshore fishing, rather than inshore recreational use.

But the fact that this hull was initially built for rough water work – where a finer bow entry is often called for – means it produces a much softer, smoother ride, especially in conditions normally associated with bowrider operation.

This 5.5m hull has a deep bow cavity and more than enough inherent buoyancy to be used as a base for a bowrider. The hull doesn’t sit too low in the water at rest or underway, even if a couple of people are seated in the bowrider cockpit. The trim angle and ride of this boat is similar to that of other locally built bowriders around the same size.

This hull slices through the water cleanly and lifts the bow easily in response to engine trim out. She hangs on firmly in tight turns and makes short work of wind chop and other boats’ wakes. During sensible normal driving she doesn’t put a foot wrong.

The maximum recommended horsepower for the Savage Javelin is a 150hp outboard. The Modern Boating test boat has one of those top-of-the-line 150hp V6 Mercury EFI two-strokes mounted on her transom. This amount of power makes the boat an extremely fast family all-rounder capable of hitting close to 40 knots.

But the 150 also has the power to pull two skiers out in a deep water start, while still retaining the ability to cruise all day in that easy and economical 3500 to 4000rpm range – 24 to 28 knots depending on load and conditions.

Spinning a five-blade stainless steel 19″ propeller, the Javelin’s hull gets onto the plane quickly without wasting any time struggling over the hump. Acceleration and response to the throttle anywhere within the power range is instantaneous. The engine has the power to accelerate through tight turns and only when you try to pull the hull around too tight, with a tad too much trim out of the outboard’s leg, does the prop start to ventilate.

Savage was one of the last established Australian boat builders to add a bowrider to its range. Even so, this boat doesn’t break any new grounds when it comes to style, layout, fit-out or finish. Instead the Savage 5.5m Javelin simply follows the established lines that have been soundly set in place after years of development by many Australian trailerboat builders.

The boat is rated to carry a maximum of six people, so the standard layout of the Javelin provides sufficient seating to meet this rating. There are two swivel pedestal-mounted bucket seats for the driver and observer, a full width three-piece rear lounge that seats three comfortably and standard bowrider seating up front. This is comfortable for two, maybe three people if you don’t mind tucking your legs up onto the seating.

There are the usual storage areas under the bow seats and side pockets for extra ropes, anchor, buffers and the likes. The three-piece rear lounge also has storage areas under the seating panels. These give service access to the battery, bilge pump and oil bottle mounted under the transom. Recessed into each of the transom side decks are two storage boxes. The deepest one makes a good icebox, while the shallow box on the starboard side is a good place to store skis or mooring ropes. The add-on boarding platforms and stainless steel ladder are both options, but we feel if this boat is to serve its purpose successfully, both of these items are essential.

The five piece wrap-around windscreen that looks very much like the windscreen that sits so successfully on the 5.25m aluminium Osprey bowrider – is solid. It also gives excellent protection while well suiting the lines of the hull. A stainless steel grab rail, which follows the inside line across the top of the windscreen, is an option. But for a family day boat – given the strength of the windscreen itself – there is no real need to take up this option.

If anything, the pedestal seats could be installed slightly lower, because the top frame of the windscreen runs across the upper level of an otherwise clear line of sight for the driver. Certainly lowering the forward pedestal seats a fraction would solve this without having any negative effect on other features.

The 5.5m Savage Javelin gives buyers looking for a versatile family bowrider another option to consider. The Javelin is a well-built and well-finished boat. And even though she may not offer all of the standard features and accessories some of the more established bowriders do, she’s still an attractive package.

The Javelin’s sturdy windscreen gets an extra tick in the box from the Modern Boating team, as do the pop-up deck cleats. These are pushed down out of the way when not in use, leaving nothing to catch the skin, clothes, ski ropes or fishing lines on. But the really good news is the price. At around $36,000 the Savage Javelin 5.5 bowrider represents good value for money in an all-round family boat.

Engine Room
The Savage 5.5m Javelin bowrider fitted with a 150hp V6 EFI Mercury outboard has move than enough oomph to tow two skiers out in a deep-water start. Top speed with the 150hp engine is almost 40 knots, but this outboard can still cruise all day at a comfortable 24-28 knots pulling 3500-4000rpm.

Other speed to rpm readings, with one person onboard and spinning a Quicksilver 19″ Hi-Five stainless steel prop, were: 20.7 knots @ 3000rpm; 23.9 knots @ 3500rpm; 27.4 knots @ 4000rpm; 31.1 knots @4500rpm; 34 knots @5000rpm; and 38.9 knots at 5500rpm (WOT).

Story by David Toyer