‘PROGRESSIVE’ and ‘innovative’ are two words that come to mind when you see the latest boat built by Australian Master Marine. I’ve known Barton Thomas, owner of AMM, since he first kicked off as a one-man band. Since then he’s taken the production of plate alloy boats forward in leaps and bounds, and he now has a comprehensive team of boat builders and took out the 2002 Boat of the Year.
From my experiences, and that includes a 6.4m AMM of my own, there are no limits as to what the team here can build. If you want it built, this is the place to start looking.
AMM have built a few 7400 Tournaments before, with each one taking on new designs to improve the performance each time, and changes to the upper deck as well.
When you look at the 7400 you could easily forget that it’s a plate alloy boat. To start with, the paint job and cosmetics are in a class of their own. The sparkling two-pack, black painted sides are highlighted by gold decals that follow the lines of the boat. Add to this a cream upper deck, black and cream upholstery and stainless steel bow and side rails, and you have a boat that you just can’t help but look at and admire - and that’s just from a distance!
This particular Tournament is a real home away from home, and while the layout isn’t overboard as far as comforts go, it has everything you need for a week away on the water.
But before we take a tour through the interior, I need to paint the picture of just where the boat can take you.
Constructed of 6mm plate alloy on the bottom and 4mm on the side, the boat features the same solid construction found in all AMM boats. The modifications on this particular hull include two side pods on the stern.
This boat has a 212hp turbo-diesel Steyr sterndrive engine fitted to it. The two side pods lie under the large curved duckboard and the sides of the boat extend, tapering down to meet at the very edge of the duckboard. They aren’t big pods but, as I found out when taking the boat out into 20 knots, they form an integral part of the boat’s performance.
I’ve found that with most larger high-sided boats, in both plate and fibreglass, once you get out into a bit of wind they do tend to lean into the wind. Some are worse than others, and this is usually fixed with a set of trim tabs. The 7400 Tournament being the size it is, I expected it to have quite a lean when we rounded the point and braved the wind. This wasn’t the case at all, and there are a couple of factors which influence this.
The major factor is that powerful sterndrive Steyr throwing round a 19" prop with a huge pitch on it. The power generated from this, and the ability of the engine to maintain whatever revs you sit on, substantially aids how the boat sits. The two side pods are more track rails than pods and these act like fins and trim tabs to some extent, which continue to assist in the direction the boat is travelling and how it sits. If you were to put outboards on this same rig you’d find it would not ride as well.
Once out into the bay, it was just a matter of picking a speed and sitting on it. Fast or slow, it didn’t matter – the engine just held that speed. Sure, the faster you go the rougher the ride gets and the more water you throw up, but at 20 knots we punched along with ease.
Long range trips and extended trips are definitely in store for this boat, and this again is where the beauty of that Steyr diesel and its ability to cruise at various rev ranges comes into play. You can easily go on a leisurely cruise up the coast, just for the day, with a few friends. Maybe Brisbane to Noosa. There is certainly some nice coastline to look at once you hit the Sunshine Coast.
Twelve knots is a comfortable cruising speed to sit on in a boat like this when you’re just out for a leisurely run. At 12 knots the engine sits on 2600rpm so the engine isn’t working hard nor is it too loud that you can’t talk over it. Fuel consumption at this speed is 18.2 litres an hour and with the 350 litre fuel tank this gives you a range of 259 nautical miles.
Not quite sure how to get there? Just create a route on the chart plotter and set the autopilot.
I’ve placed a full rev/speed/ economy and range chart in here so you can see for yourself. At 23 knots, even though the fuel consumption increases to 25 litres an hour, your range increase due to the speed, with 320 nautical miles. This easily puts you from Brisbane up to the Sandy Straits where you can refuel at Tin Can Bay or Urangan.
The freshwater tank holds 180 litres so that’s a big shower. The for’ard cabin has a big double bunk and you’d have no hesitation sleeping two young kids in there with you either. A port-a-loo is under the centre bunk cushion and the two outer cushions lift to reveal a huge amount of space for storing clothes and bedding.
At the helm, each of the two swivel pedestal seats are mounted on boxes with storage in them, and this is where food, plates etc are fitted. Behind the driver’s seat you’ll find a sink and a gas stove.
On the other side a 12V 60-litre custom marine fridge freezer unit with more than adequate space for food and drinks. This unit has its own two deep-cycle batteries that are kept charged by the sterndrive while running. When it’s switched off the two solar panels on the roof keep the power up to the batteries.
And there’s even more storage space – lift up the hatch between the two helm seats and there’s space galore. The two fridge batteries are housed in here, along with fenders, buckets, ropes and still more room for an inflatable raft and even extra fuel tanks if you’re headed somewhere where you cann’t top up.
The canopy extends well back so there’s plenty of shade and, should a storm blow up, full covers clip on to give full protection from the elements.
On the fishing side of things, the boat maintains a substantial area around the engine housing in the aft cockpit. The Steyr, for its capacity, is not a big engine. It sits well in the floor and doesn’t extend that far forward. You’d happily fish five around here.
If we move to the transom itself there are two doors one either side to step out onto the duck board. It’s all very well done, shaped nicely and just about beckons you to sit out there with a cool drink while dangling your feet over the back. Not to mention that shower, which is the retractable style and mounted in the side.
The benefit of having it out here is for washing the salt off if you’ve been for a swim, and if it’s a bit cool at least you know that no one will hog all the hot water.
If we step back into the cab, the way the dash has been put together is quite an effort. Not the dash itself, but the electronics that have been selected and placed here. AMM also offers the facility to do this for you.
At a finger’s touch is a JRC FF50 colour sounder, Pilot 500 autopilot, 10 inch LCD multi media screen matched to a Lorenz Star Light Pro chart plotter and a DVD player and TV.
The 10-inch screen really impressed me. One minute I’m looking at the chart on the screen and with the flick of a switch I’m watching a DVD. Just imaging on those long trips you just set your auto pilot route up, sit back and watch a DVD!
What you could do in a boat like this is endless, and the beauty is each boat is individually made so if there’s something that’s not quite right for you, you just change it.
At 3.5 tonnes it’s a big boat, but the LandCruiser managed it fine.
For more information or a test run call Barton on (07) 3889 7380.
Make – Australian Master Marine
Model – 7400 Tournament
Construction – plate alloy
Bottom – 6mm
Sides – 4mm
Length – 7.4m
Length – 9.0m on trailer
Beam – 2.5m
Weight – 3.5 tonne
Deadrise – 18 degrees
Fuel – 350 litres (diesel) underfloor
Water – 170 litres freshwater
Height on trailer – 3.4m
1) The AMM 7400 Tournament is pretty well a go-anywhere boat, with room to fish, sleep and play.
2) The cabin with the two single or one double bunk is comfortable without going overboard with storage and a toilet below.
3) Not a big stove or sink and as long as you can boil up a few mud crabs and fry a few fish fillets it’s good enough.
4) Now that’s what I call a dash.