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Amara Centre Cab 6.55
  |  First Published: April 2012



When Boab Boat Hire first came to existence it obviously had to provide boats for hire that met with strict regulations that all commercial boats do.

As a result finding boats that were built to 2C Survey standards that could also be put on a trailer and hired was a challenge. After years of purchasing boats and customising them, they decided to build their own. Thus the Amara Boats brand was born.

Amara Boats are created to meet the rigorous regulations of Australian Marine standards and the needs and rough and tumble treatment hire customers put boats through.

The Amara 6.55 Centre Cab is one of theses solid rigs, built to 2C Survey requirements and ready to take on any sea conditions you’re likely to want to head out in or have to come home through.

While I previously had the pleasure of spending a day accompanying friends who hired this boat for a fishing trip, I hadn’t been at the helm nor did I get to put the boat through her paces. Fortunately, the test day presented us with deteriorating sea conditions under a sunny sky, so I really did get to experience what these boats are capable of.

Layout and Design

The first thing you notice on the Amara 6.55 are the high gunwales and proud bow of this plate aluminium vessel. Constructed using 5mm plate on the bottom and 4mm on the sides, it is evident the engineers behind the design approached the build with a no nonsense attitude.

The heavy duty construction extends throughout the boat and is most noticeable in the build of the hard top and glass centre cab itself. The checker-plate flooring is neatly finished and the welds meeting the sides of the internal hull are clean and tight. The deck itself is self-draining with dual scuppers either side at the transom.

At the bow a large diameter, two-part handrail extends back from a short bow-sprit housing a heavy duty roller. Between the bowrails a large anchor well and robust bollard will accommodate all the rope, chain and anchor options that would be required for boat of this size.

Just aft of the anchor well, a stepped platform provides a seat and a storage space for fenders and the like. Extending back from the bow, wide gunwales provide ample space for flush rod holders and large bollards at mid-ships and the stern.

Unfortunately the trade off for the large centre cab and the high forward gunwales is a lack of any real fishing space towards the front of the boat or along the side between the cabin and the gunwales themselves. The addition of one or two flush mounted rod holders to each gunwale would be of great benefit for serious fishing applications, and while the bollards and rear grab rails are likely to be a requirement of 2C survey, I do see these getting in the way of some fishing scenarios – but that’s a small trade off.

In the cockpit there is plenty of space for up to four anglers to fish, especially with the fold away seats down or completely removed – both of which can be done very easily. As part of the hire equipment a large esky is provided and fits snugly under the port side seat.

Across the stern a broad full height transom allows space for some tackle storage and dual marine batteries complete with smart switch battery isolation technology. Also housed here is a 60L plumbed live-well with hatch.

A centrally fixed bait board with three additional rod holders is a great asset, although for my preferences this was a little high and the outer rod holders are at an angle pointing side ways taking up fishing space. A better solution would be to have those rod holders mounted on the side of the bait board and angled backwards.

On the port side of the transom there is a removable access door, providing safe transit from the large boarding platform. A fold-up sturdy ladder is also neatly tucked away here.

Along the exterior of the transom an inline fuel/water separating filter is fitted with the addition of an auxiliary fuel line provided for attachment to a tote tank. There is also a manual bilge pump, which is a necessity for the 2C survey. In the case of the electric bilge pump failing it can provide real safety and peace of mind.

The centre cab is large with ample height for all but the tallest of passengers or skippers. Two fold away seats provide comfortable locations to rest your weary behind, although the lack of a padded back would become exhausting during long days at sea trolling lures or sitting at anchor with live baits.

The helm itself is expertly laid out – the stainless steering wheel controlling the hydraulic steering is positioned just perfectly. The Hummingbird 1158cx plotter/sounder combo unit equipped with the Navionics Gold Card is flush mounted and nicely positioned for clear viewing from most areas of the cockpit. Above head GME VHF and 27Mhz Radios are positioned out of the way but within easy reach.

Another nice touch is the inclusion of the Fusion stereo system with dual marine speakers and built in iPod compatibility.

Under the console a large dry storage space easily accessed by a secure door provides a great space for everything you want to keep safe, as well as the mandatory EPIRB and fire extinguisher.

Fitted to the hard top is a rocket launcher well positioned to carry six rods of any dimension, and all the business end of the communications including aerials, antennae, an all round white light, an angel floatation ring with a signal light and even a wake board tow point nicely elevated for fun aerobatics.

Performance, ride and stability

One thing’s for certain, the hull of this boat is rock solid, and while there was the expected clang that aluminium boats always deliver, the robust build managed to keep this to a minimum.

Powered by a single Honda 150hp 4-Stroke V-Tec fed by a 200L under floor fuel tank, there is plenty of power to keep this rig up on the plane and powering through rough seas and big swells all day long.

An 8hp Honda 4-Stroke is also a mandatory piece of equipment for 2C Survey boats, an while it may seem odd to some, this would be a great asset when slow trolling or down rigging live baits along the ocean rocks, inshore reefs or pelagic bait balls.

For a boat of this size it actually got up on the plane quickly with a modest 150hp power plant. Once up on the plane the handling of this rig was made easy due to the hydraulic steering and assist knob on the steering wheel.

Powering into and out of corners the boat felt confident and leaned pleasantly from side to side, comfortably taking the short chop and large swell in its stride.

At rest the vessel was expectantly stable and with three grown men standing side by side at the gunwale or at the stern there was no cause for alarm. The fact that the boat is built with Level Floatation Buoyancy foam installed is a big plus and again provides great peace of mind.

On the road

Another element of the Amara Boat business and Boab Boat Hire is that trailers are in constant use – in and out of the water day after day. To meet the demands of this constant use, the team also invested heavily in developing a hassle free trailer to make the life of the trailers and the franchisee managers running the business a little more stress free.

All Amara/Boab boats are accompanied by Pro-Alloy Trailers – these great trailers are built to last and deliver ease of use to the operator.

The trailers are built at the Wollongong facility alongside the boats, and one thing that really stood out was the use of the Trojan torsion suspension system. The system delivers independent suspension to each tyre, and in an emergency enables a boat to be towed short distances on only three wheels to get you out of trouble should a bearing go or a tyre become flat.

All in all a great option to go with a great boat and motor package.

Summing up

The team at Amara Boats have worked tirelessly to bring an excellent boat and trailer package to the market. The Centre Cab handles well, is stable at rest and all elements of the boat have been well thought through and designed practically. Being built to 2C survey the boats can be immediately employed for commercial use, and as a result the price tag reflects this.

If you are interested in purchasing one for personal or professional use you can simply hire one from your nearest Boab Boat Hire Franchisee, and take it out and use it for whatever you planned activities maybe. At the end of the day the boat can be taken back off your hands and the same guy who served you happily for the hire can discuss the purchase options available too.

The Amara Centre Cab 6.55 as reviewed was priced at $115,000, however dropping a few features would bring it back to the base level price of $94,000.

For more information contact Amara Boats Australia on (02) 42971142 or email --e-mail address hidden-- or visit your local Boab Boat Hire.

Facts

Specifications

Length:6.55m
Beam:2.50m
Construction:Plate Aluminium
Bottom:5mm
Sides:4mm
Maximum Outboard:200hp
As Tested:150hp
Maximum Capacity:7 Adults

Facts

Boat Features as Tested

150hp Honda Four Stroke Outboard

8hp Honda Four Stroke Auxillary

Hydraulic steering with stainless wheel

200L Under floor fuel tank

Registered in 2C Commercial Survey

Level Floatation Buoyancy Foam

Manual and automatic bilge pumps

Removable bait board and ski pole

Wake board tow point

Rocket launcher rod holders

60L live bait tank

Large anchor well

Four fold down bench seats with cushions

Dual batteries and battery isolator

GME VHF and 27Mhz radios

Fusion stereo system with iPod compatibility

Ezitrak GPS tracking

Humminbird 1158cx Sounder/GPS Combo

Navionics Gold Card

Pro-Alloy dual axle aluminium trailer

Hydraulic disc brakes with remote electronic break away

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