BOAT REVIEW Mac 470 Sportfisher

September 2016 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words John Eichelsheim, photos Lawrence Shaffler and John Eichelesheim
OUR RATING
4 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Mac 470 Sportfisher
DESIGNER Galloway Industries Ltd
BUILDER Galloway Industries/Mac Boats
CONSTRUCTION Roto-moulded PE
PRICE AS TESTED $34,995
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 4.7M
BEAM 2.0M
DRAFT 0.3M
ENGINE Honda 60hp four-stroke
FUEL CAPACITY 50L
Weight on Trailer 600 kg
Max Horsepower 70hp
Passenger Capacity 4 people
DEADRISE 22-degrees degrees
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Handles nicely
  • 22-degree deadrise
  • Double-skinned, foam filled
  • Super-tough and easy to repair
  • Quiet runner
OBSERVATIONS
  • Roto-moulded PE
  • Polyethylene offers advantages for boatbuilders.
  • Stowage limited but better than earlier models
  • Forward helm position is cosy

The newest model from Mac Boats is a versatile family
runabout that lends itself equally easily to fishing, diving,
cruising – and perhaps even a little lightweight skiing.


It’s been years since I’ve stepped aboard a Mac roto-moulded polyethylene (PE) powerboat, let alone reviewed one. But then it’s been a while since Mac Boats has released a new model. The Mac 470 Sportfisher is just that: a new addition to the Mac Boats range that falls neatly between its 420 and 570 models.
The Mac 470 incorporates Galloway International Limited’s latest design ideas and is quite a step up from the early boats I tried years ago. At 4.7m long, it’s a manageable runabout that’s easy to handle and doesn’t require too much horsepower. Like most other boats in the Mac range, the 470 Sportfisher has wraparound moulded pontoons, sealed and foam-filled for buoyancy. The floor is Nautilex vinyl non-slip covered marine plywood fixed to the hull’s box-section longitudinal beams. Water in the cockpit drains into the bilges where it’s removed by an electric bilge pump.
DSC_2534_cmyk (Medium) (Small)

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TOUGH-AS
Polyethylene has many advantages for boat builders: the material can be moulded (or welded from sheets), it’s tough, easy to repair and offers superb longevity. PE boats never need painting and are extremely low maintenance.
Mac boats are roto-moulded with foam-filled double skins and have no problems meeting New Zealand survey if required – Galloway already has plan-approval for the 470. The boats also meet Australian category C2 survey requirements and are exported around the world. The latest consignment of three container-loads of boats is heading to the Philippines.
DEEP VEE HULL
Mac’s 470 Sportfisher benefits from a 22° (at the transom) deep vee hull with a fine entry. Two moulded strakes work in concert with wide, flat chines to provide plenty of lift and a dry ride, the pontoons also providing excellent stability at rest. When underway the hull material flexes slightly, absorbing shocks, for a quiet, comfortable ride.
The 470’s layout favours cockpit area over stowage space, but Mac has made the most of what’s available by providing a useful bow locker behind the moulded forward bulkhead and a moulded glovebox on the passenger side.
There are a couple of additional lockers moulded into the boat’s sides as well, one of which was fitted with fishing tackle drawers, plus an underfloor wet locker. In this boat the Honda sipped from tote tanks slid under the rear corner seats, which works okay, but they do stick out into the cockpit far enough to snag toes. An underfloor fuel tank instead of the wet locker is an option.
DSC_0729_cmyk (Medium)The anchor locker is accessible through the cuddy cabin hatch. Mac has fitted a helm-operated Maxwell rope-chain capstan to raise and lower a CQR anchor that’s housed on the fairlead between split bowrails. A narrow belting strip with a colour-matched infill wraps around the pontoon, protecting it from
scuffing when coming alongside.
The boat’s transom is simple but workable. Four stainless steel rod holders are screwed to the transom wall, the outermost pair angled outwards and the middle two supporting a removable plastic bait board. A pair of aftermarket rod holders on the either side of the bait board angle back over the stern, suitable for strayline fishing.
HELM FORWARD
The 470 Sportfisher’s helm position is well forward to maximise cockpit space in a modestly-sized vessel. Overall beam is two metres while internal beam is less than 1.5m, so internal space is not vast. Cable steering is quite adequate on a small boat like this, which is light to steer.
The helm console comprises a black plastic panel big enough for the Honda’s analogue gauges and the Maxwell anchor control, with room for a BEP switch panel beside the wheel, but any electronics will need to be bracket-mounted. A 12-volt outlet is tucked into the doorframe next to the helm.
A pair of upholstered swivelling buckets are mounted on rotomoulded polyethylene bases, which each provide a bit of storage. Because the boat’s sides taper inwards towards the bow, the throttle control angles inwards also, where it falls readily to hand.
DSC_0716_cmyk (Medium)
On a brisk winter’s morning the boat was more comfortable to drive sitting down with your head out of the slipstream behind the acrylic screen, but the railing across the top of the screen offers a good handhold when standing to drive. The front seat passenger can hold onto the grab rail to his side, or the screen rail if standing
up. Grab rails are provided for rear seat passengers as well.
The interior layout is basic but with quite a bit of built-in stowage. Fuel is carried in tote tanks that slide under the bench seats aft, but they do project into the cockpit. The battery is well protected in an alloy box.
A 60hp Honda four-stroke outboard hung off a powder-coated aluminium bracket.  The outboard bracket is the rearmost portion of an aluminium box that also houses the battery, well-protected under the lid inside a plastic battery box.
The battery isolation switch and electric capstan reset switch are mounted on the outside of the box, which also supports a pair of plastic corner seats. Brass inserts are moulded into the boat to bolt accessories onto, like the moulded swim steps either side of the outboard bracket, rod holders and grab handles, preserving the double hull’s
watertight integrity.
SWEET HANDLING
Two up, the Garmin handheld GPS showed us 33mph (29 knots) at 6200rpm with the motor on the rev limiter. Depending on how you use the boat, a propeller change might give bit more speed, albeit at the expense of acceleration and load-carrying ability. The boat is rated for outboards of between 40hp and 70hp.
Although it felt a little short on top-end performance, the boat handled nicely and was pleasant to drive. For a small boat it seemed to ride pretty well, but on such a flat-calm day it was difficult to make a meaningful assessment. It was soft and dry when we crossed other boats’ wakes and with a deadrise aft of 22-degrees it should
travel comfortably in a chop.
ATTRACTIVE PACKAGE
While sealed pontoons offer a welcome safety boost, at 4.7m the Mac 470 Sportfisher is a small runabout and therefore most suitable for use in sheltered waters. However, its versatile open layout, pleasant, safe handling, low maintenance and modest pricing should make it attractive to coastal divers, fishers and families boating on a budget. As reviewed the boat retails for just under $35,000; packages begin at around $32,000 with a Honda
60hp four-stroke.
The Mac 470 Sportfisher is supplied on a galvanised steel Road King unbraked trailer, custom built for Mac Boats with bunks to properly support the polyethylene hull. All up towing weight is around 600kg and hydraulic over-ride brakes are a factory option.

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