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 individual requirements.
The Tank comes in 480 and 525 sizes and is constructed from 33mm 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 concerning strength of construction.
There are full welds all around – no tacks welds aboard this ship – plus an internal keel mated to underfloor stringers. Rigidity is paramount in this craft and travels efficiently without one vibration or thrum to be heard.
Up front there are fully extruded side decks melding into a checker plate foredeck. The anchor and rope easily slip into an anchor-shelf tucked under the cleat and bow handle equipped foredeck. Wide gunwale tops stretch the length of the hull and each gunwale and top are fully welded for firmness.
A carpeted floor is a feature of these craft and is of a high standard. This is surprising as the rig's designation is a hobby or enthusiast's craft that's intended to come home for completion.
Walking about the floor I noted a very high degree of rigidity and stability. Also noticeable is the 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, being fitted by Satisfaction Marine (the supplier 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 of the rig to cater for outboard engines. Despite the cut-away section looking severe it is unlikely that much water would end up on board.
Barry and I purposely did some reversing to see just how the 2.25m wide and 1.15m deep craft could go astern. The hull reversed quite easily and with ample control from the tiller steer engine, the splash 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 to be sitting low on the transom when in the craft, an external view reveals there is ample free board to keep water out.
The stern items are solid cross bracing on the lower transom area with a pair of transom handles. And there is a large external transducer bracket to starboard.
The 450 Tank is rated for engines from 40-60hp, so the 40 Suzuki manual start two-stroke was certainly not going to over power the rig.
The brand new engine started virtually first pull of the cord 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 at 14kph at quite modest engine revs. An increase in revs saw us cruising nicely at 25.2kph while the engine ran smoothly and reasonably quietly.
We did not push the friendship with Satisfaction Marine by thrashing their brand new engine and I was quite content to see a far from flat-out figure of 43.7kph achieved without much fuss at all. No doubt a freed up engine would see more kilometres per hour on the GPS unit.
The hull's ride and overall sound levels were very good thanks to the under floor area being foam-filled and the general configuration of the hull.
The hull uses a high and full bow (with a fine entry) running back to a reasonable degree of V-section, around 14o astern. Its good handling was thanks to the external keel and numerous pressed strakes along the wetted area that tracked straight and with minimal driver input. I feel that the small reversed outer chine also contributed to the superb handling.
Barry and I put the hull through its paces in Broadwater and we really could not fault it. The Tank whipped in and out of sharp turns with ease. We also jumped some washes just for the fun of it to test the ability of the hull to protect occupants from impact. The only comment I could make was that the aft seat’s positioning did not suit the tiller steer, it was positioned port while the seat was starboard.
That said, we still controlled the Ally Craft quite easily and enjoyed the ride no end.
Although the Tank is a handyman's delight there are some factory extras an owner might request prior to delivery. Available are a pair of plank seats or brackets, external paint for the hull, a 60L under floor fuel tank and even 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 is also remarkably seaworthy. And I'd 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 out through the seaway on a calm morning next summer. This hull is rated for 5 people and with more crew aboard the case for the 60hp engine becomes stronger.
The price for the rig as tested, with the super slick Dunbier trailer, and Suzuki 40 two-stroke was a very modest $13,990.00. The test rig was supplied by Satisfaction Marine of Labrador, their telephone number is (07) 55 290711.
|Engine tested||40hp Suzuki two-stroke.|
|Towing||Family sedan or wagon.|