Australian Boat Building Service (ABBS), Brumbsmarine, offer alloy crafts that are far from run of the mill. The south Queensland manufacturers make sure all their crafts are custom built and feature a unique 'twin skin' construction technique.
The reviewed 4.55m centre console rig had a 4mm plate bottom, 3mm sides and an inner side skin of 2mm plate. Upright flotation is assured courtesy of a Microlen (foam) fill between the outer side and its inner liner. The Microlen foam material is noteworthy because of its fuel resistant and absorbs minimal water; no more than 3% during its life. Some other foams used today can absorb far more than that, with the unfortunate result that extra weight gradually sneaks into the hull and stays there. And a run up the Pine River into wind chop also revealed considerable sound deadening qualities from the process.
The reviewed 4.55m is one of several craft currently offered for hire by Smart Boat Hire of Albany Creek. All you need is to have a suitable vehicle with a tow ball, a boat license and be over 25 years old. Smart Boat Hire is also the Brisbane distributor of these well turned out craft. Hire it, try it, then buy it – it is the ultimate test run.
Rob Ielati from Smart Boat Hire arranged to have the craft on the Pine River for the test run, but bad weather sure did its best to spoil our morning. Luckily the good sized bimini of the 4.55m craft kept us reasonably dry during the scuds, although I did have to tuck the camera into the mid shelf of the centre console at one point when the grey curtain really came down.
Rain or not the craft impressed me with its finish, user-friendly layout and performance.
Stepping into the well appointed rig, the inner liner is a stand out feature and, once under way, the hull was remarkably quiet. Up front I noted a split bow rail aft of the well-formed bowsprit, bow roller, and the deep anchor well. The solid decks up front, plus the deep gunwale, would offer a solid brace point to lean against while tending anchor.
Carpeted steps were featured in the bow, with the upper one designed to make anchor tending easy, and the lower step as a seat and a handy place to fish from. The lower step also had a good sized storage area located under it, accessed via a large hatch. Fenders, PFD's, food boxes, would all tuck in there quiet nicely.
The craft's centre console was equipped with a fold down windscreen plus side and top rails as hand holds. All instruments were set up on a neatly formed, raised, upper section with an Eagle 500C GPS/sounder to port. A speedometer and tachometer are to starboard, with fuel and trim gauges tucked underneath. A Ritchie compass was also located to starboard, but positioned lower.
The craft's soft feel wheel was on a lower level with switches and forward controls for the 50 E-Tec to starboard. A marine radio plus a handy mid shelf were also featured on the console.
The craft's fold down bimini, which we didn’t fold down on the test day, did an excellent job of protecting us from the elements and it past the padded storage box on which Rob and I sat. The seat provided ample cushioning and I found it to be well placed for ease of driving. The visibility was unlimited and the E-Tec's forward controls were in a handy position on the side of the console.
The cockpit, with its 650mm of freeboard, is designed to suit either dedicated or family anglers. Youngsters would be quite safe aboard the craft, and there would be plenty of room for three or four fishers.
The aft seat has a drop down capability, and the backrest padding on the transom is great to brace the legs on if playing a big strong fellow in the stern area.
Grab handles aft, gunwale rod holders and usefully large side pockets completed the list of cockpit features in the reviewed craft but do remember that the options are certainly there for more goodies. Twin-engine batteries were located on the off floor transom shelf.
Aft of the transom is a pair of grab rails extended down onto the non-skid swim platform, which is wide enough to easily come onboard after a dip.
The ABBS 4.55m centre console, with its twin skins, is a solid craft – no question about that. The rig sat as steady as a rock at rest, tracked very well under way with minimal lean into corners or from cross wind, and handled chop with a confident, no nonsense manner without excess impact or noise.
The 4.55m is rated for engines from 50-75hp and Rob informed me that the 50 E-Tec was chosen for its reliability and quietness, as well as its willing performance and frugal fuel usage.
I saw an additional bonus for anglers too, the compact engine, mounted on an upraised section of the swim platform, would be well out of the way if fishing down current in an anchored up situation.
The 50 E-Tec kicked into life as the starter engaged and hummed nicely as the craft came onto the plane at 13.4km/h at 2800rpm; 3,000rpm at 18.9km/h; 4,000rpm at 29.1km/h; and, 5,000rpm at 43.5km/h. The GPS, with a WOT burst, at 5,200rpm move us along at 46.3km/h in choppy and windswept conditions.
The E-Tec with its low mounting position aft was virtually unheard until near WOT. Ride and handling were fine even though the weather was very rough. Chop and wash we encountered were taken in fine style and the hull was quite dry thanks to the large full length spray chine that commenced right at the bow and swept along the water line aft.
The 4.55 hydraulic steering made finger tip control a piece of cake and lock-to-lock turns saw the rig cutting over her wash in figure eight turns with the gentlest of impact.
I saw the ABBS 4.55 with its 50 E-Tec as an ideal rig for bay or estuary fishing, and fine for a run offshore in the right conditions.
The overall finish was very professional and are all custom built to the owner's requirements. The twin skin construction is a winner in my books as it allows fittings and other items to be easily set up within the inside of the hull, as well as assuring both quietness and level flotation.
To hire an ABBS 4.55 for a test run contact Smart Power Boat Hire on 0409265675 or email --e-mail address hidden-- Robert Ielati is also the Brisbane distributor for sales.
For Gold Coast buyers or for more information on the entire range of ABBS craft, Tony Bramich of Brumbsmarine is the man to speak to on (07) 55649082 or at --e-mail address hidden-- if you like to use the net.
Price for the rig as reviewed was $22,702, which is very reasonable for what you get.
|Weight hull and motor:||1000kg approx.|
|Engine fitted:||50 E-Tec|
|Towing:||Family sedan or wagon|