WHEN I did the test on the TABS 4.35 Territory, Dean Grieves from the Tinnie Shack in Mission Beach told me their next TABS would be a side console and I was all ears. To me, the perfect boat is a 4-5m side console because it gives you the luxury of a wheel steer while maximizing the usable floor space. When I first hopped in the 4.55 Territory I reckoned I could sleep overnight in it, fully stretched out. The internal area is massive!
The 4.55 Territory has exactly the same layout as the 4.35, with front and rear casting platforms, fully plumbed livebait tank and a massive amount of under-floor storage, making it ideal for those who like uncluttered fishing platforms. The big difference is the internal area, with the 4.55 looking like the 4.35 would fit completely inside it. The impression is backed up by the specifications, with a beam of 2.25m, overall length of 4.55m and 640mm of freeboard.
Access over the stern is via a small step on the port side. The large rear casting platform has a livebait tank to port, plus battery storage and a large hatch with side hinges to starboard. The starboard storage hatch has a raised carpeted floor to keep gear out of the bilge. Inside the hatch is a battery isolator switch and fuel filter, keeping them out of the way but easy to access, and there’s a stack of room to carry an extra fuel tank to supplement the 65-litre underfloor fuel capacity.
The fully plumbed fibreglass livebait tank is big and you’d definitely need a scoop to chase the poddy mullet around. All storage compartments, right down to the small side pocket on the port side, have a carpeted floor.
The engine well is small and the transom is cut away but the TABS can come with a full height transom, or even a pod, if the buyer orders it that way. The great thing about the TABS series is the huge number of options available – right down to a fully sealed self-draining hull, which is ideal for overnighting or mooring in the tropics. I know only too well what it's like to stagger out of bed in the middle of a downpour to bilge out the boat. Even an automatic bilge doesn't help get a good night's sleep. There’s always that question in the back of your mind: “What if...?”
There are four spiggot positions for the two standard seats – two across the stern, one mid-length and to port and the fourth in the centre of the forward casting platform. The helm seat is positioned slightly forward for more comfortable steering. The side console is set well back for driver comfort in the rough stuff.
The low profile side console is raked back for heaps of leg room and is large enough to hold all the electronics the wallet can afford, yet small enough to be unobtrusive. The dash section is fibreglass, on an alloy base. The test boat was fitted with standard Tohatsu instrumentation of speed, tacho, fuel gauge and trim and tilt gauge, along with a Ritchie Angler liquid dampened compass and an Eagle Fish Easy sounder.
The forward storage compartment has two access hatches – one either side of the seat mount. They both open to the side and can be fully raised with the seat in position. Inside is a fully carped storage area with a raised floor, which provides a massive amount of storage. Under the floor, from stern to nose, is all foam, which provides enough flotation for the boat to pass 2C survey.
The anchoring system is spot on, with a self-draining anchor well, stainless steel bow roller with lock pin, and a horn cleat on the rear side of the well. The 4.55 also has the fully carpeted anchor well to reduce noise and prevent unsightly dings in the bow.
The fully welded gunwales start out at the stern at a fairly standard width, but they widen considerably in the front two thirds, creating a very solid and safe feel to the TABS. To add to the structural strength there are six longitudinal stringers under the floor. There are also ten 3mm solid plate alloy ribs, which run from the hull to the sealed timber floor. The top edge of the ribs are folded horizontally and the floor is screwed to them. There are also five full height ribs, which continue up to, and are fully welded to, the gunwale. Foot plates around the base of each rib ensures sinkers, swivels and the like can't get down inside the hull. Add to all this structural strength a 75mm x 30mm fully welded box section keel and you’re riding in an ice breaker.
Dean and I headed out of Trinity Inlet in Cairns in search of some wakes, as the weather was perfect for reef fishing but not ideal for boat testing. We found wakes of all sizes to play on as the massive Cairns tourist fleet returned to port. I managed to get the TABS completely out of the water on one wake and I was surprised at the landing, with no spine-jarring re-entry. What chop we could find was handled with ease and I had to rely on Dean’s word, and my experience in the 4.35, about the 4.55’s great sea handling capability. It performed almost exactly the same as the 4.35, with the added comfort of a wheel. No matter how hard I turned, it hung on. The 50mm spray chines, which run about two thirds of the length of the hull, would help keep spray down.
The 60hp Tohatsu two-stroke provided a stack of power and got the Territory out of the water in a flash. At 3500rpm it pulled 32km/h (20mph, 17kts), at 4000rpm it pulled 40km/h (25mph, 22kts), at 4500rpm it pulled 46km/h (29mph, 25kts), at 5000 rpm it pulled 53km/h (33mph, 29kts), and it topped out doing 5800rpm at 60km/h (37mph, 32kts).
My preference has always been for a side console and I can't fault this beauty. It's number one on my shopping list – all that's left to do is to convince the Minister for Finance.
BMT package as tested: $______. For further information on the TABS Territory 4.55 Side Console, contact The Tinnie Shack on (07) 4088 6125.
Beam - 2.25m
Length - 4.55m
Freeboard - 64cm
Depth overall - 1.06m
Max hp - 60
Bottom - 4mm
Sides - 3mm
Transom - 3mm
1) The TABS Territory 4.55 Side Console looks a treat on the water. The helm is set well back for a more comfortable ride.
2) The profile shot of the TABS Territory 4.55 shows the massive amount of usable floor space with the side console layout.
3) The compact side console is big enough to hold all the electronics but small enough to be unobtrusive.
4) Looking forward at the casting platform storage, the low profile bow rail and functional anchoring system.
5) There is plenty of room in the starboard hatch to hold a spare 25 litre fuel tank.