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AMM 4.8m Runabout
  |  First Published: July 2005



Most of the plate boats I’ve reviewed over the years have been of a reasonable size, mainly in the 5.8m to 7.0m category, and have been fairly specialised for a customer’s needs. With all these big, customised plate boats on the market, you’d be forgiven for thinking that plate boats are available only in these larger versions. Times are changing, however, and some of the larger plate boat builders are now producing smaller models as a standard addition to their range.

Australian Master Marine is one such manufacturer, and has expanded its facility and refined its manufacturing process with a lot more work in-house. As a result, it now has a couple of these boats in stock ready to roll, so customers don’t have to contend with the normal three to six month wait associated with larger custom-built boats. And you can still add a few custom features to these smaller boats to better suit your needs, if you wish.

The new additions to the AMM range are priced quite competitively with the mass-produced pressed alloy boats and are well worth a look before you make your final decision. I’ve tested a few of these new rigs recently, the latest being the 4.8m Runabout.

Your traditional runabout configuration basically has a low profile windscreen towards the bow with a little storage below, but no bunks or sleeping area. Behind the windscreen there are two helm seats, and the rest of the aft area behind that is just open space. The various manufacturers start with this basic configuration and work on the layout and various features from there.

The reason this style and size of boat has been so popular over the years is because it’s very versatile for fishing the bays and estuaries, and because it is easy to stow, tow and handle. And now consumers have the advantage of being able to buy runabouts built in plate alloy.

Outside of the different slant on the layout, which we’ll look at shortly, there are a few benefits in the hull design.

One of the advantages is that there’s a little more weight in the hull itself so it will sit and ride better in the water. The hull’s 15 deadrise incorporates 150mm reversed chines (where the sides of the boat meet the under section). This pronounced chine design significantly improves the boat’s ride and stability, and diverts the spray generated while motoring along.

TEST DRIVE

When fishing you’ll find the increased stability beneficial while moving about the boat. Considering that this style of boat is attractive to a wide variety of people, both young and old, who may not have the best sea legs in town, it’s reassuring to have something a little firmer under your feet.

As far as outboards go, there’s no need to put a big engine on the back and this helps keep the purchase price and running cost down. Engines from 60hp to 90hp will all suit this boat and there’s a fair choice in two and four strokes to suit. Whether you decide to go for the top or bottom end of the range depends on the load you expect to carry and the distances you intend to travel.

The test boat came fitted with a 70hp Yamaha two-stroke outboard, which delivered plenty of speed and power and easily pushed the boat up onto the plane. It was nice to drop the revs back a little and still hold the boat on the plane at a modest pace.

If there’s one downside to a runabout it’s that you are seated right up towards the bow. It doesn’t matter what boat you are in, the closer you sit to the bow in a choppy sea, the bumper the ride. That’s why it is nice to be able to drop the speed back and still cruise.

LAYOUT

A wrap-around windscreen with split centre section provides protection from the wind and the cold air while motoring about, and the centre hatch allows you to access the anchor well at the bow.

With the addition of a canopy you have protection from the sun and rain as well. Canopies are a popular option and it’s easy to fold them out of the way when they’re not needed or when you’re storing the boat.

The main storage area is under the bow, where the likes of lifejackets and other items can be kept dry and out of the way. To get to them it’s just a matter of reaching forward from the helm seats.

The dash layout is pretty straightforward, with the wheel and instruments on one side and a grabrail and radio on the other side. The top side of the dash is flat so there is ample room for a sounder and GPS.

It’s good to see the helm seats fixed to a box rather than a standard pedestal pole as this gives further storage for everything from tackle and tools to even a small esky.

From the helm seats back it’s simply open deck space, which is great for fishing. The helm seats spin around so you can sit in comfort and fish or opt to stand on the back deck. The helm layout is designed for driving in the seated position, and while you can stand up to drive, it is a little awkward.

With such a big aft deck area there’s the benefit of having long side pockets which can hold a whole heap of gear.

A 100-litre underfloor fuel tank further keeps the deck uncluttered and a service shelf across the transom houses the battery.

The deck also features two scuppers that are great for when you’re hosing out the boat, allowing any water to flow out the back.

A bait tank in the transom can be plumbed for live baits or just used to keep a few other baits in. Either way, it’s a handy addition.

With a full-width duckboard and boarding ladder, getting in and out of the boat is easy at the ramp or when you want to have a swim.

The boat is all finished with two-pack paint, carpeted and contrasting strips which all adds up to a classy finish.

With the test package valued at $26,653, it’s well worth checking out if you’re in the market for a runabout.

Test Boat Supplied by Australian Master Marine (07) 3889 7380.

Facts

SPECIFICATIONS

Make/model - AMM 4.8m Runabout CV

Length - 4.8m

Beam - 2.13m

Weight - 455kg (hull only)

Construction - 4mm plate alloy

Deadrise - 15

Fuel - 100L underfloor

Rec hp - 60-90

Height on trailer - 2.15m

Price as tested - $26,653

[CAPTIONS]

1. The 4.8m AMM runabout is ideal for working the bay and estuaries, and on the right day getting you offshore.

2. The test boat came fitted with a Yamaha 70hp two-stroke, a reliable engine that’s well suited to this rig.

3. The runabout layout delivers a substantial aft deck with loads of room to fish. Useful features include a bait well, cutting board and storage shelf to keep batteries off the deck.

4. The layout is very clean, spacious and well positioned.

5. It’s good to see seat boxes to mount the helm seats on, giving additional storage.

6. A simple dash layout like this one is very user-friendly.

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