Probably the biggest thing to be said is that, next to a completely open boat, a runabout gives the most room for a given length. If you don’t have a lot of length, and 4.75m is not big in most people’s reckoning, you are usually looking for ways to stretch the space. Although the 475 Coraline is actually bigger than its name might suggest. Where some builders use the overall length in the model name, Coraline use the buoyant hull length.
In boats of this size you spend the maximum amount of time sitting, and that is a good safe principle: the coaming on the 475 is not a lot above knee height. Partly a consequence of outright size, partly one of the self-draining deck that necessarily has to be above water level. On the other hand the coamings are padded, and the kids will love sitting on the carpeted deck and leaning back against them.
When they are allowed to of course – most of the time this is going to be a bloke’s toy. It is a size that allows three or four mates to get out on the ocean fishing in a fair range of weather. Not edge of the shelf stuff, but certainly Five Fathom Bank or Shark Bay under most conditions. The two up front get very OK swivel seats on storage boxes, the two in second class get quarter seats. What bumps them up from steerage of course is the location right aft: they get the best of the ride.
Which is also pretty OK. In a small boat particularly, ride is very load sensitive. In the 475, the difference between one on board and three is a revelation – definitely enough to encourage you to enlarge your circle of friends or to urge the existing ones to take up fishing.
The choice of power, similarly, should take into account your typical loads. With the minimum suggested 50hp it copes with two or three people and a bit of gear. And with a two-stroke instead of the review boat’s four-stroke, it costs a very economical $35,680 on a multi-roller trailer. With a regular four on board, or long travelling distances, you could be happier with more horses. But even pushing to the maximum 90hp takes you only a little above $38,000.
You could haul the price down further by negotiating for a paint-free version, although the natty magenta paintwork of the review boat, teamed with polished rubbing strakes, makes quite a fashion statement. The whole boat is well finished and something to decorate any driveway.
One of the clues to the Coraline’s frugal use of power was how easily it planed. Its minimum planing speed of nine knots is good without being class leading, but how much throttle it needed to do it was exceptional. Once it actually planed we could drop back the throttle setting to almost nothing and keep right on planing. Getting trim dead right helped of course, but this is definitely a low fuel consumption rig.
Layout is traditional with up to date enhancements. A near full height motor well keeps the quarter seats apart, and side pockets stretch the length of the cockpit. Just like they used to do. The driving position is raised above where they used to be, giving a commanding and well-protected view. A roomy anchor cable bin is provided aft of a bowsprit, and an opening windscreen centre section gives access to it.
The nice details are present: a restraining system for gear stowed under the fore deck, a grab rail for the navigator. And he needed it: this is a fun boat and we tossed it around a lot.
Overall this is a capable and affordable boat in tune with the economic times. It doesn’t ask you to buy a bigger car, it does not drink a lot and, especially with a two-stroke motor, it costs very little to maintain.
Price from $35,680
Length overall 5.35m
Hull length 4.75m
Fuel capacity 100L
Maximum power 90hp
Motor fitted 50hp Yamaha 4-stroke