The Flying Fish
BENGUELA 17 CENTRE CONSOLE
Words and pics by Vince Warriner
I looked forward to reviewing the Benguela 17 centre console as she joins a long line of tried and proven Benguelas before her. And being 5.4m long, I wondered how she would perform with two 2-stroke 50HP Yamaha outboards on the transom.
Natal Caravan and Marine’s Bill Harrison, Dave Flack and Sipho Mthembu met me at the Natal Rod and Reel Club on Durban harbour. This is a well drilled team who know their business and make reviews easy for me.
In fact Bill gave me a lift there in a Mazda BT 50 4×4 so I could see just how easily the boat tows a really light and straightforward process.
We launched really early and the sun was just coming up as we got to the harbour entrance. There were long swells running of around 1.5-2m which had us down in the troughs and surging up over the top. This was much more exciting than the rough little chop we usually get with a north-easterly wind which was blowing that morning — a westerly was due mid-morning so we had to get a move on.
The Benguela comes from the same stable as Angler Boats’ Panache so unsurprisingly the finish was par excellence. She is capable of carrying five people but if one is fishing
hard three would be a more comfortable number.
The boat has specially-injected high-density foam flotation of 1580-litres under the floor which more than meets legal buoyancy requirements.
This model has a newly-designed deck which is non-skid and very comfortable underfoot. Upfront are stainless steel bow rails, bollard and bow roller. A large anchor hatch is found in the bow area behind which is comfortable seating with large storage hatches underneath. I tried sitting here myself and was impressed with the comfort, no doubt thanks to the high quality, high-density foam used.
The steering centre console has a large folding seat fitted in front of it which gives a great vantage point from which to watch all the action. On the console behind the seat is a folding lid which covers a large compartment for storing equipment.
On the starboard side of the console is a very handy set of tackle drawers — which is a useful “must have” on most modern boats — which is easily accessible for those onboard..
Above the console is an acrylic windscreen with a stainless steel rail to hold onto — which also gives the pilot some wind protection.
The fish hatch that is situated just to the left of the console is flush with the floor — and has a drainage outlet. The hatch is adequate and if one can fill it up you will have a good catch for the day.
The driver/co-pilot bum seat also has storage underneath but the real feature is its comfort and good leg room in front of the console. There is no feeling of being cramped unlike some boats where the seat is too close to the steering.
Stylish stainless steel rod racks are positioned on the sides of the boat just above the floor. They are unique to the Angler Boat range as other manufacturers tend to use wood and carpeting to hold their fishing rods in place and secure.
A dry storage hatch sits under the engine well which can hold up to six jerry cans of fuel.
The stainless steel trolling bars have adjustable/removable rod holders and are well-made and very functional.
In the rear is a boarding step and ladder and my overall impression of the deck layout is that everything has its place and is pure class — right down to the stainless hinges and secure latches.