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Another great TABS
  |  First Published: July 2004



WHEN working my way up through the TABS Territory range I couldn’t help but be impressed with the quality of these plate alloy boats produced by this Gold Coast company. The Territory Pro 5m Side Console is the third TABS I’ve tested this year, and the consistency in quality design and workmanship is inspiring.

The simplistic yet super-functional layout of the TABS, combined with smooth styling, superb finish and brick outhouse construction, is proving extremely popular with anglers. The Tinnie Shack at Mission Beach, which is the North Queensland distributor for TABS, has boats going out the door as fast as they can take delivery and fit them out.

Stephen Dorries from The Tinnie Shack towed the latest in their growing stable of TABS boats to Cairns for me to have a play in, and I was impressed as soon as I laid eyes on it. The high-sided white hull, with sleek lines and a raked stern, certainly looked the part, and water testing revealed that it was backed up right down the line.

LAYOUT

The full-height transom, with pod, side console and forward casting platform, leaves a massive clutter-free interior – more than big enough to roll out the swag for an overnighter. The test boat had a carpeted marine ply floor, but the full range of Territory Pros also come with optional fully-sealed self-draining alloy floors. This would certainly be my preference in the tropics, where sudden massive downpours are typical of the annual wet season.

Storage consists of space under the console, a small side pocket next to the helm, a large side pocket to port, a full-width under-transom shelf and a twin-lid hatch under the forward casting platform. There’s also a large self-draining kill pen / wet well on the rear end of the platform.

The hull under the pod carries right through to the stern, maximizing the planing length, while the raked stern not only adds style but guarantees structural integrity. An interior grab rail, which follows the stern profile, makes boarding over the stern a breeze. The full-width under-transom shelf keeps the battery off the floor while leaving a stack of room for other gear. Tucked up under the transom top is the fuel filter and battery isolator switch, both out of the way but within easy access.

The side pockets have carpeted floors to help reduce noise, and it certainly looks a lot tidier. There is a stack of room under the side console to hold a large tackle box. The raked back console base makes it easy to turn around without your legs getting caught, but the console needs to be moved forward another 100mm so the helmsman can stand at the wheel without having to turn the seat at 45 degrees to fit.

The test boat had only a fuel gauge fitted, to measure the 120-litre underfloor fuel tank, and a four-switch panel, to allow the buyer to fit gauges and electronics to suit their requirements. Stephen had wired in a tacho for testing purposes but hadn’t cut it into the dash, which is large enough to take all the gadgets a man could wish for.

The large kill pen is situated on the rear side of the forward casting platform and drains straight out through the transom for easy cleaning. It has a rear-facing hatch and would hold one heck of a big catch.

The underfloor storage compartment in front of the platform has twin side-opening hatches, with the only drawback being that they can’t be fully opened when the seat is mounted in the centre. There are two other seat positions, one at the helm and the other to port and slightly forward but still well back for a comfortable ride. The test boat came with two quality fold-down pivoting bucket seats.

The anchoring system is simple yet very functional, with a large carpeted self-draining anchor well, a horn cleat mounted behind the well, a low profile split bow rail that feeds the rope onto the stainless bow roller, with lock pin, on the end of a short bowsprit.

IN THE ROUGH STUFF

After taking a few photos we headed out of Trinity Inlet in search of some seas, and for once it wasn't flat calm. The 20-knot southeaster was kicking up a mess as we neared False Cape, and a play around in the slop that passed for a sea showed the TABS could handle the rough stuff. We left the water off one boat wake and the Territory came down softly on its tail. The only sign of spray was on the beam quarter, which is to be expected in an open boat. The TABS Territory Pro was a pleasure to handle and took the slop in its stride, at all angles to the waves.

The test boat was fitted with a 90hp Tohatsu TLDI and it provided a heap of punch, with 3000rpm producing 30km/h (19mph, 16kts), 3500rpm producing 36km/h (22mph, 19kts), 4000rpm producing 43km/h (27mph, 23kts), 4500rpm producing 50km/h (31mph, 27kts) and 5000rpm producing 55km/h (34mph, 30kts). The Tinnie Shack also has the full range of renowned Suzuki four-strokes available.

The 4mm bottom and 3mm sides ensures your TABS will be on the water for a very long time, and the two-year warranty on the hull gives peace of mind. The TABS Territory Pro is aptly named and will find a legion of fans among those who like to cover the full gambit of angling options, from the lake to the estuary and out to the islands and the bluewater.

For further information on the TABS Territory Pro 5m Side Console, or any of the TABS range of plate alloy boats, contact The Tinnie Shack at Mission Beach on (07) 4088 6125.

Facts

SPECIFICATIONS

Make/model - TABS Territory Pro 5m Side Console

Beam - 2.4m

Length - 5m

Freeboard - 68cm

Max hp - 115

Bottom - 4mm

Sides - 3mm

BMT package price - from $29,000

[CAPTIONS]

1) The TABS Territory Pro 5m certainly has pleasing lines.

2) There is plenty of floor space to roll out the swag on an overnighter.

3) The kill pen is situated behind the seat, with twin storage hatches either side of the seat mount.

4) Like all TABS boats the anchoring system in the Territory Pro is simple and very functional. The carpeted anchor well is definitely the way to go.

5) The raked back console base leaves plenty of leg room to spin around on the seat.

6) The stern is very eye catching, with a grab rail on the inside, matching the curve, for easy boarding.

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