Breaking into the boating market is a Brisbane-based company called Sea Adex. With so many fishing boats on the market, owners Adam Mortimer and Rex Willis knew that if Sea Adex was to be competitive they had to bring something new to the table. This is exactly what they have done.
At first glance, the Amour 45 has the look of a ringed hull that has become synonymous with the New Zealand built Stabicraft. The appropriately named Armour 45 is a plate hull made from 4mm 5083 alloy on the bottom sheets as well as the sides, bulkheads and the deck. Full-length wields lock the entire build together, making it a solid, tough as nails, safe fishing vessel. The test boat is the smallest in the Armour range at just 4.5m, and I can’t think of another hull under the 5m mark built to such stringent specifications.
Adam’s motivation to create his own boat range came from his determination to fish no matter what the weather.
“When I was younger I spent a lot of time in Brisbane and Mackay in different kinds of boats, and I got sick of waiting for the weather to turn,” he explained. “It meant that sometimes I headed out in bad weather when I really shouldn’t have; one occasion resulted in the boat filling up with water and all of us in lifejackets!”
Years later saw Adam older and wiser, but he still wanted a boat that would deliver ultimate safety in poor conditions.
“Around six years ago I built a 4m prototype in a weekend,” he said. “I sea trialled it in 30 knots, and it got so full of water it literally couldn’t hold any more – and it didn’t sink.
“The next step was to show my designs to a naval architect, and together we created the range you see today.”
Sea Adex has actually been around for five years, filling custom orders for their boats, but the owners had been too busy with other projects to make very many. Now the pair have decided to turn all their attention on the range, creating and displaying a complete series of demos for clients to inspect and try out.
Unlike some of their competitors, all Armour models have a constant 23° deadrise, 4mm bottom and sides, and self-draining decks. They can go into basic survey straight away, with no design modifications needed, and everything but the hull shape is fully customisable. These boats are also kid-friendly, with high sides and a minimum of hard protruding interior surfaces.
Adam and Rex pride themselves on the fact that they’re both the owners and builders, working with customers directly to build each person’s perfect boat. Customisation options include: different configurations with kill tanks, live bait tanks and full tanks; dash layout; side door access; single/dual/triple motor options; and even the placement of hand rails.
“We actually get customers out to climb on the boat and see where their hands naturally go,” Adam explained. “The customers also tell us where they want rod holders, the style and location of bait boards, whether they want pedestal or box seats, rear lounge, edge coming and so on. One customer recently requested solar panels, and electric winch and 300L of fuel. It’s not so much what we can do for you, it’s what we can’t do.
“At the end of the day, you’re not just buying a boat, you’re buying your boat. We’re always happy to offer suggestions if you’re unsure of what would suit you best. Alternatively, if you know exactly what you want, that’s great too.”
That’s the lowdown on Sea Adex – now let’s take a closer look at the Armour 45.
Offshore anglers understand that having a nice deep deadrise allows them to cut through the chop while cushioning the landing when gliding over swell. Unfortunately, this can compromise the stability at rest. This issue has been addressed in the Sea Adex by the massive reverse chine that gives it that ‘ringed hull’ look. This has a similar effect to outriggers on a canoe, allowing anglers to play a fish in without having to worry about falling overboard.
While the stability was very impressive, the constant 23° deadrise in the hull gave the Armour 45 an amazing ride quality. I can honestly say it would rival a glass boat of a similar size. With an overall length of 4.7m, this boat is well suited to inshore reefs and bay fishing, which it handles with ease.
It’s also nice to know that when you’re out and it blows up, the Armour 45 can get you home safely. The shape of the hull allows Sea Adex to pump in enough foam during the build to give level floatation, and commercial operators can have the Armour built to survey. What this all means is that even if the Amour gets swamped and is full of water, the hull will remain upright and on the surface.
The vast majority of boats made these days have a variable deadrise, meaning that the entry point at the bow has a sharper angle than the transom. This is a very popular design feature that allows the hull to cut through swell and chop. The only negative that variable deadrises have is that the sharp entry point can act like a keel. As waves or current hits the bow, it can cause the hull to dart off to the side. Having a constant deadrise means that the 4.5 Armour doesn’t have the same problem and best of all, it achieves this while still having one of the best rides in its class. After more than 20 years of reviewing boats, I’m rarely surprised by the ride of a hull but overall, the Armour 45 was very impressive.
Being a full custom build, the Armour can be configured as a side console, cuddy cab or a centre console. The centre console that we tested would be ideal for families and anglers wanting to get out on the bay or chase mackerel on the reefs.
Adam and Rex are both family men who love their fishing, and this has been incorporated into the design of the Sea Adex boats. The high gunwales are ideal for fishing with the kids and a swim board with transom ladder as well as plenty of seating on board makes it ideal for day trips as well as weekends away.
The console has to be small enough to allow for room to get around the deck, but it was also able to house good-sized electronics with storage below that also includes built in tackle trays. The seating, steering wheel and control box were all well positioned and very comfortable to operate from the helm. The key start was squeezed up against the control box which was a small error in design, but that’s the only fault I could find with it. The seating is also mounted on a pair of eskies so every opportunity to improve the storage and the function of the Sea Adex has been considered.
The bow has a casting deck that can be converted into a tournament-style configuration, with plenty of room for live wells under the deck. The transom also has plenty of storage as well as a live bait tank that is also massive. If you prefer camping and family weekends away, there is enough underfloor storage for tents and swags as well as the standard safety equipment. The many options available include 60L of freshwater and an on-board shower, and underfloor fuel or external tanks.
As already mentioned, the hull design allows for very simple operation, excellent tracking and very smooth ride quality. The setup of the outboard was perfect on the test boat. Tight corners could be accelerated out of without any hint of the prop slipping, and the small hull could be spun around in tight spots with ease.
Pushing the Armour was a 100hp Mercury Four Stroke that gave a top speed of 56km/h and an economical cruise speed of 36km/h at just 4000 revs. I couldn’t say that the hull was launched onto the plane as it was more of a gentle progression, but this is due to the deep V design keeping a lot of the hull in the water and not having that big, flat surface to get the hull planing. That’s not to say that the Armour was reluctant to plane, and with two big blokes on board it still performed very well.
The Sea Adex Armour 45 starts at $36,500 ($46,000 as tested), and it’s backed by a three-year warranty. The other Armour sizes are 5.5 (a hardtop version will be released later this month) and 6.5 version, and Sea Adex also produces a series of V-nose punts called the RMP series, which will be reviewed later this year. They also make custom alloy trailers, including full 4WD trailers.
Interested parties can get in contact with Sea Adex on 0435 453 455, 0414 821 448 or via their website at www.seaadex.com.au .
|Length on trailer||6.1m|
|Height on trailer||3.2m|
|Construction||4mm sheet sides and bottom|
|Towing||4 cylinder car|