Now this is something different. The Ally Craft 450 Tank is a purpose-designed craft for the home and workshop. The craft’s deliberately bare-as-bones design is aimed at a ‘handy’ owner to complete the internal layout to suit their personal requirements.
The Tank comes in 4.8m and 5.25m sizes and is constructed from 3mm alloy all around. The finish and welds are neat and look good and the rig reveals that this is far from a bare-as-bones boat when it comes to strength of construction.
There are full welds all around – no tack-welds aboard this ship – plus an internal keel mated to underfloor stringers. Rigidity is paramount in this craft and it travels efficiently without one vibration or thrum to be heard.
Up forward there are fully extruded side decks melding into a chequerplate foredeck. The anchor and rope easily slip into a shelf tucked under the foredeck, which is equipped with a cleat and bow handle. Wide gunwale tops stretch the length of the hull and are fully welded for firmness and rigidity.
A quality carpeted floor is a feature of these craft. This is surprising because the rig is aimed at the DIY enthusiast and is intended to come home for completion.
Walking about the floor I noted a very high degree of rigidity and stability. There is a large number of box ribs throughout the hull – one every 300mm on the 450.
The test craft came equipped with a pair of pedestal seats. Barry Tyler, of Ally Craft, stressed that these are not standard fare and were fitted by the retailer of the craft for our use. The seats were quite comfortable although a lot of that comfort can be attributed to the excellent ride of the vessel.
The solid, cut-away transom corners are a feature and despite the rather severe cut-away section, it is unlikely that much water would end up on board.
Barry and I did some reversing to see just how the 2.25m wide and 1.15m deep craft would go astern. The hull reversed quite easily and with ample control from the tiller-steer engine, the splash well took care of the tiny bit of slop that tried to come aboard.
The 450 Tank's hull is very deep and although the engine does look from the interior to be sitting low on the transom, an external view reveals there is ample freeboard.
There is solid cross-bracing on the lower transom and a pair of conventional handles. There is a large transducer bracket to starboard.
The 450 Tank is rated for engines from 40hp to 60hp, so the test 40hp Suzuki manual-start two-stroke was certainly not going to overpower the rig.
The brand-new engine started virtually first pull and idled away quite happily for a few minutes while we let it warm up. The 450 Tank, with two fairly hefty occupants aboard, planed smoothly around 7.5 knots (14kmh) at quite modest engine revs. We cruised nicely at 13.6 knots (25.2kmh) while the engine ran smoothly and reasonably quietly.
We did not push the brand-new engine but I was quite content to see a far from flat-out figure of 23.6 knots (43.7kmh) achieved without much fuss at all. No doubt a freed-up engine would nudge the bar even higher.
The hull's ride and overall sound levels were very good, thanks to the foam-filled under-floor area and the general configuration of the hull.
The 450 Tank uses a high and full bow with a fine entry running back to a reasonable degree of vee, around 14o at the transom. The external keel and numerous pressed strakes along the wetted area produce a hull that tracks straight with minimal driver input. The small reversed chine also contributed to the superb handling.
Barry and I really could not fault the Tank as it whipped in and out of sharp turns with ease. We jumped some washes for fun and the landings were quite soft.
The positioning of the aft seat did not suit the tiller-steer set-up but we still controlled the vessel quite easily and enjoyed the ride.
Although the Tank is a handyman's delight, there are some factory extras an owner might be interested in. They include a pair of plank seats or brackets, exterior paint for the hull, a 60L under-floor fuel tank and a factory made centre console.
I believe most buyers of the 450 Tank will do their own fit-out to customise this handy craft to their own specs. The hull is, well, built like a tank and also remarkably seaworthy. I see the rugged Tank fulfilling a lot of fishing scenarios with ease.
It would not surprise me to see a centre console-equipped 450 Tank heading offshore on a calm morning. This hull is rated for five adults and with more crew aboard, the case for the 60hp engine becomes stronger.
The price for the rig as tested, with the Dunbier trailer and Suzuki 40 two-stroke was a very modest $13,990.
|Engine tested||40hp Suzuki two-stroke.|
|Towing||Family sedan or wagon.|