Issue: October 2001
Manufacturer: Streaker Boats
Mortein’s motto is “When you’re on a good thing stick to it”. But boat manufacturers – at least one anyway – don’t believe this is the case at all. Leon and Paul Savage, the Melbourne-based builders of Streaker Boats, have released what they are calling a new model, the 5.45m Bluewater Series II.
Do I hear you saying “But how can that be? The first 5.45m Bluewater fishing boats were the best selling in the Streaker range, so why change?” And, how much do manufacturers need to alter a boat before they can truly call it a new model?
While some builders just change the colour and graphics of a boat, others cut, tuck, reconfigure and do a complete makeover of a model. In other cases the boat’s fine. It really doesn’t need to be fooled with. But Leon and Paul Savage don’t produce new models just for the sake of it. Nor do they intend building a range of boats covering every style of trailerboat on the market.
The Streaker range is not extensive primarily because Leon and Paul would rather listen to their customers, then improve on what they have, before embarking on a project that would expand their line-up. It’s true, the first 5.45m Bluewater Cuddy Cabin was an extremely successful boat for Streaker. It continued to gained plenty of support from its loyal band of owners since its release three years ago. The 5.45 Bluewater slots right into that popular size range and layout used by many offshore trailerboat fishermen. And this is one of the most competitive sectors of the trailerboat market. Nearly all manufacturers have at least one serious fishing model around 5.5m in their range. And it’s fair to say every one of these boats is a strong contender in the market place.
There really isn’t a bad boat in the bunch, which is largely due to the quality of the competition coupled with the knowledge of today’s buyers. If they want to stay in business these days a boat builder has to be good.
While price may have been the deciding factor some years ago, buyers now are more experienced. They don’t mind parting with around $40,000, but only if the package they are buying is up to scratch. And fishos talk seriously about their boats, so any bad news travels fast. Being both a manufacturer and retailer without a nationwide dealer network, Streaker Boats limit production to a point where they only produce what they can sell on the local market. And while the company is limited by its retail outlets, the 5.45m Bluewater model is still seen at many offshore fishing spots around the country.
So if that boat was selling so well for Streaker, why did they change it ? And how have they improved the boat ? For starters the 5.45m Bluewater Series II looks different from the previous model. A new deck mould was built for the Series II adding a lot more flare under the bow and increasing walk-around deck space. The result is a look similar to the square shovel-nose style of the Swiftcraft range.
Streaker married this style with a sleek, curved, low-profile cabin and integrated wraparound windscreen.
Although the new deck design provides an excellent non-slip walkway around the cabin, access through the cabin out onto the foredeck is excellent.
It’s so good we were left wondering why anybody would bother clambering around the outside of the cabin to get at the anchor ? You might do it at a jetty or at the boat ramp, but out on the water there’s no need.
The deck hatch is big. It is also ideally located to enable all of the deck hardware to be accessed and used from inside the cabin. But while we prefer to access the bow from the security of the cabin hatch, the small moulded step treads built into the side of the cockpit are a handy touch. They make disembarking at a jetty or beach a lot easier.
There are also plenty of grab rails built in around the cockpit, plus another across the top of the windscreen.
So when the going gets rough you can get a good, secure handhold no matter where you are on the boat. The placement of these rails has also been well thought out. They don’t impede movement around the boat or get in the way when fishing.
The 5.45 Bluewater started out as a scaled down version of the 5.85 hull, a boat that won national trailerboat fishing awards in 2000. So it is only natural that Savage include a lot of the features from this award winning boat in the 5.45m hull. That’s exactly what happened with the new Series II model.
The cockpit has good thigh support at deck level all the way round. There’s also recessed rod holders, teflon cutting boards, removable underfloor fish box and a 135lt-underfloor fuel tank that is sufficient for a long day’s fishing well offshore.
With no real changes to the hull except for a small increase of flare under the bow, the performance of the 5.45m Series II hull is similar to that of the old 5.45 Bluewater Cuddy Cabin. The hull is rated for outboard engines from 100-150hp so a middle of the road 130hp V4 Yamaha is well matched to this boat. It is not too small and certainly won’t overpower the hull.
Since the 5.45 Bluewater Series II is intended primarily as an open water fishing boat, much of the boat’s life is going to be spent in rough or choppy conditions. On the test day Port Phillip Bay was living up to its reputation throwing up a short, sharp, wind-blown chop with around a three quarters of a metre wave pattern. Not extremely rough, but bumpy and harsh enough to ensure that rarely could we use more than around half throttle running into the wind without shattering the bones of all onboard.
While the Streaker is more than capable of handling full throttle into this short Port Phillip Bay chop, particularly running across or down wind, common sense prevailed. Easing back on the throttles became the order of the day. But this was a boat test and we had to find out what she can do.
Pushing the hammer down, just to see how the hull could handle the chop, showed the excellent rough water handling characteristics of this new boat. “She sure can handle the rough stuff.” “Yeah, but we can’t. How about pulling back a bit while I’ve still got a few intact vertebrae ?”
The response to the throttle is good. The engine has more than enough power to get this fully laden hull with three adults onboard up and planing easily. Under normal load conditions the hull planes with a minimum of fuss. Despite the breezy open bay conditions, there was only a small amount of spray blowing back over the screen. Even during tight turns in these rough conditions little spray enters the cockpit.
On the retail side the Streaker 5.45m Bluewater Series II comes as a top package. For a fraction under $40,000 the Series II comes complete on a tandem axle Dunbier trailer that makes launching and retrieving relatively easy, a GME marine radio, a Lowrance X65 depth sounder, full safety gear and registrations.
The boys at Savage took a hard look at a proven hull, spoke to their dealers and considered their customer’s needs and came up with an excellent bluewater fishing boat. We will not be too surprised to see this new boat right up there in the running for an award as the Fishing Boat of the Year in 2002.
While this latest 5.45m Bluewater Series II is rated for a maximum 150hp outboard the test boat is fitted with a 130hp V4 Yammie. This engine pushes the Streaker to a top speed of around 40 knots depending on the load, which we consider to be ample. When travelling offshore there aren’t many times that any more speed is possible or needed. What is more relevant is she can run and handle a choppy Port Phillip Bay comfortably at around 2500 to 3000rpm pulling between 20 to 27 knots.
This 130hp outboard is perfectly matched to the hull and it’s the Modern Boating team’s choice as the ideal power option.
Story by David Toyer