Boat Review Date: May 2016
Author: Mike Brown
The Baysport 545 is one of an apparently dwindling breed: the Australian-built fibreglass trailable boat. Baysports themselves are far from disappearing: for years they have set the pace in value for money with sales to match.
There is more shape in the hull than would be possible in aluminium without the assistance of a magician. Some of the shape is pure aesthetics, but most of it is functional. The most conspicuous feature is the hollow keel section. The boat’s builder, with a background in aircraft design, speaks of the lift-thrust-drag trio – the key factors in whether an aircraft will fly well, or at all. In boat terms, how readily it planes and how well it converts power into speed. The hollow keel section, he says, aids these functions better than a V section.
The easily testable bit was the ease of planing. With progressive movements of throttle the whole hull lifted and the boat just got faster; none of that bow high, power hungry climbing business. They should all be like this.
These boats have a name for ride quality in excess of what you would expect from the moderate 18 degree deadrise. The gentle sea of the review day gave us no opportunity of verifying this, but it allowed us to exploit every one of the 90 horsepower of our Suzuki outboard. More power than this would clearly be an extravagance, which could perhaps be an indicator of healthy thrust-drag?
The 545’s layout is conventional cuddy cabin. There is no rear bulkhead to this, but a fabric one could be fitted if a buyer decided to fit a toilet in the cabin’s recess. The clear fore hatch and side windows would take care of lighting. The bulkhead’s absence adds to the boat’s spaciousness and makes the cuddy a more welcoming shelter. The settees are long enough for bunks for junior high sized children. Under them is storage space – on the tight side due to sharpness in the concave bow.
The cockpit is readily made larger by removing the rear lounge, leaving the upholstered back for the ease of fishermen’s thighs. The seat rests on a pair of bins which can also be removed. These bins are big enough for holding serious amounts of cargo; a magnificent day’s catch would disappear in them, as would a family picnic.
Driver and navigator have good quality sliding swivel seats. These are mounted on boxes providing two-level caves – my preference over lockers with doors. The cave motif continues with the mini side pocket alongside the navigator in place of a glove locker. The position is sheltered by a Bimini that has no standard clears – again my preference in this size of boat with its low likelihood of operating in bad weather. An indication that the builder agrees with that likelihood is the near absence of purpose-installed hand holds. Easily remedied, of course, should an owner want them.
The 545’s detail is thoughtfully done, as you would expect in a design that took two years to evolve. You take your time with patterns for fibreglass that are expensive to rectify if you get them wrong. Baysport have come up here with an attractive, well priced boat that works as it should.
Part of the Baysport’s value for money is due to a construction that has avoided the all in one liner, the large number of minor mouldings. It has more the look internally of a boat from the eighties. The superficial look only; the actual quality is generations superior. The surface finish is a testament to how well the moulds are maintained – matching the care in assembling and fitting out. Some of the quality is invisible, within the transom for instance. Transom cores have traditionally been made of timber, ideally marine ply but sometimes rubbish like chipboard. Here there is no chance of swelling and rot: the core is synthetic and inert.
Price as reviewed AUD $53,300
Fuel capacity 85L
Motor fitted 90hp Suzuki four-stroke