Boat Review Date: September 2009
Author: Mike Brown
Occasionally I get the chance to review a boat with its owners already in place. Lots to be said for this: you find out about reasons for buying; about views on how well it does its job; their opinions on how it stacks up against the opposition. For the Mako 470 runabout I had a pair of owners, Tony Gullo and Adrian Scriva.
Keen anglers, they fish the river, and the ocean off Hillarys up to about five miles offshore. And when they get the chance, Shark Bay comes on the menu too. They wanted a light, stable boat that gave good performance without big horsepower, and they sea-trialled other pressed boats as well as a couple of plate boats in pursuit of it.
The Mako 470 got the nod for its overall score on lightness, dryness, good use of power, and stability. Tony and Adrian mentioned stability several times, and it was a little above average – but not that much. Perhaps they were comparing it with their history of smaller boats.
The Mako’s disadvantage for them was its motor. At the time, the biggest Honda the boat could take was 50hp – the next size up was 75. Not speed freaks, they simply wanted reserve power for jobs like taking camping gear over to Dirk Hartog. They lived with the 50 until Honda released a 60, which they bought and were in the early stages of running-in on the review day.
One of my reasons for being aboard was for a first look at the 60 in action. It is a completely new motor, fuel injected and with several of Honda’s big motor features. These include tricky technology that balances air/fuel mixture with maximum ignition advance for acceleration, and leans out the mixture for cruising economy.
The 60 started with no more than a single turn of the key (we are getting used to this nowadays of course), with a similar noise level to other smaller Hondas. It was at wider throttle openings that its sound level was noticeably lower.
With the weight of three large people to cope with, acceleration was still a lot better than brisk; this is an eager motor. With consideration for its newness we held revs to 4400, at which we were making 25 knots – the same speed the Honda 50 needed 6000 for. This suggests cruising at 20+ knots, about right for good weather on the ocean.
The Mako was fairly insensitive to weight movement, holding good trim when the navigator joined the third passenger aft. On hard turns during the photo session I was able to see that its spray chines, running from the stem to nearly half-length, work well. The inside chine threw solid water out and down and not a bit of spray passed it.
The Mako has a classic runabout’s layout with the up to date features that make it work so much better; the opening windscreen and recessed dash, for example. Before these were invented, anchoring a runabout was a hellish operation. It’s easy now, with a bowsprit to make it even easier, and an anchor well that holds a realistic amount of rope.
The motor is mounted in a full-height well that also supports a drop-in bait board. Ahead of it is a folding lounge that opens up a lot of cockpit space when it is folded. The forward seats are pedestal mounted rather than on boxes, so more foot room is gained there. The cockpit sides are padded and, for river fishing at least, the stability is good enough for a pair of anglers to stand against them. The non-self draining deck gives enough freeboard for feelings of safety. At sea, one in a pedestal and one on the lounge or the transom would be the more likely positions.
The pedestal seat would be the one to fight for – it gets the use of the good-sized Bimini. This has standing headroom under it, folds easily, and has a tougher frame than most. It did not get the death rattles at speed, and anyone grabbing it to haul the boat alongside a jetty should cause no harm.
Storage is better than adequate. There are the usual side pockets, and the under-foredeck space has a partial bulkhead to retain bulky objects. The owners chose to fit a sounder-plotter and to mount the boat on a braked trailer, some of the items that lifted the price to AUD $31,200. Stripped back a bit, and with a two-stroke motor, the Mako sells for AUD $25,000. It should provide a lot of fun per dollar.
Price as reviewed AUD $31,200
Price from AUD $25,000
Length overall 4.75m
Hull weight 380kg
Fuel capacity 60L