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by John Curnow, Global Editor, Powerboat.World 14 Dec 2022 21:00 UTC
Muscular and purposeful - Tasman80 © Bury Design

Mercifully, the great mariner and navigator, Abel Tasman, has had islands, seas, and ships all named after him. So that means we don't have to go there this time. No. It remains that there is many a thing to grab your attention about the brilliant, little Tasman80, so it was kind of hard to work out from whence to start.

In the end, I was more than happy to land (Boom Boom!) on the fact that the twin-blower, intercooled Yanmar 8LV370 (Z) 4.46l V8 iron ladies propelling the Tasman80 are indeed a marinised version of the donk found in the 200 Series Toyota LandCruiser. Point being, you'll need said 200, a 100, or even the new 300 Series LC, and some 'wide load' signs in order to hit the highway (2.8m beam).

Of course the marvellous VW Amarok V6, and a plethora of other 3.5 metric tonne heavy haulage trucks/SUVs will do the job more than comfortably, but the notion of one cast iron powerhouse dragging the other around was just too good to pass up on.

Equally, when it turns out that one of the people behind the Tasman project, Jason Hutchins, has a 200 Series Cruiser himself as his preferred weapon of choice, well what can I say? The headline was a done deal. Importantly, and before we loose part of the market altogether, we need to add that you can have an outboard option delivered via transom mounted pod.

Now all three souls that have created the vessel bring a world of marine knowledge from different spheres of influence. Hutchins was the instigator, self-confessed detail man, and he's also the fish side of things, with the Tasman80 just brimming with down and out fishability, as a direct result of his fifth generation commercial fishing knowledge.

Next is Mark Abbott of Corsair Marine, and he's the building and construction expertise. The third member of the triumvirate is the Naval Architect, Paul Bury, and you can read what we had to say about him in our previous piece, Not a movie (As yet...).

Thing to note here is that all three are Victorian (which for our overseas readers means they hail from the Australian State of Victoria, not some bygone era). Also, seeing as we are talking about people right now, it is important to highlight that not only are we in-build right now, but more importantly, the first six have actually already been sold. My understanding is also that one person likes it so much, that he's actually bought two. One for there, and one for up North.

Furthermore, there is a real Melbourne/Mornington Peninsula focal point with this group of buyers, and soon to be skippers. Melbourne's Port Phillip, its Heads, and then the world-renowned Bass Strait which it all backs onto, are places where you do want to know what you're doing; even when you have plenty of experience with them, you never want to turn your back on them, nor take them for granted.

Equally, it's a place for real boats. The kind with decent freeboard, significant flare, genuine pace, and probably even more importantly, the ability to put it down in nearly all kinds of weather, muscular deadrise, hefty chines, broad shoulders, true safety, real comfort, in-built strength, respectable range, and real world durability all come into play on waterways such as these.

Now slightly further afield you also have magnificent fishing and cruising grounds on both the West and East Coasts, but they too command total and utter respect. So a trailerable craft that measures up is one that simply gets the head nodding silently.

That means we are up to the boat...

Yes. Well we are a website about boats, after all. Jason Hutchins runs point for Tasman Boats, and said, "I approached Paul after seeing the render in a now defunct magazine. We knew there was a gap in the market for a new, fresh take on a trailerable, diesel powered, game fishing boat. I have known Paul for a few years now, and I have a long-standing relationship with Mark, having done quite a few things together over the journey. Equally, Paul and Mark had been speaking for some time over different ideas, so putting the three of us together was a natural progression."

"We knew we could fund it if we could pre-sell six. All of a sudden we had sold one then two, three, four, five, and now six. We've just been hitting the ground running since, and as you can see, we are well under way with production."

As we said earlier, a boat like this needs to have real world pace, and it would seem the Tasman80 is looking like being capable of 38 knots with full load (3800kg), and probably mid-forties lightship (2450kg). Equally, a few have seen the ability for the craft to be a charming picnic boat, and so a swim platform has been optioned on for a few of the boats in the first tranche. The transom door will swing open onto a large and practical space for dipping the toes, or even going the full plunge.

"If we've got a mid-20 knot cruise speed, low rpm and low fuel burn, then we are kicking goals," said Hutchins to round out that discussion, meaning 420nm range from her 650l maximum bunkering. This all becomes very important for charter operators too, and one person on the Gold Coast is looking to have the boat go into Survey, which will not be too onerous at all, seeing as it is built to CE to start with."

"The Tasman80 lends itself to being a low maintenance moored boat that you can put in a marina for six months of the year, then tow it up to Bermagui and leave it there for a couple of months over the Marlin season. It just gives you the ultimate flexibility. We'll be putting them on D-rated, four-tonne trailers (more than likely they'll be triple axle to account for CofG and change of incline), which is all possible because we've got access to the best boat building materials, best practices, resin infusion, and foam core composite."

That's all code for saying she's an E-glass boat, which in turn makes her light (2450kg), yet very strong, totally uniform, as well as being comfortable and quiet in way a plate boat can only hope you do not register. Any cavity or void that's inaccessible is filled with foam, which will just add to her quietness.

The outboard version is there, ready to go for anyone who wants it, as part of the swim platform exercise, but Hutchins is clear as to being inboard first up. "You'll burn half to two thirds of the litres per hour with this set up over the outboards.

"Also, I've currently got an outboard trailer boat, and have put a couple of hundred hours on it in the first year of owning it. I'm already three services in, and they want a thousand dollars a time. Whereas, previously I had a 33-foot Savage cray boat with twin 6345S Perkins in it, and it used to cost me 170 AUD in oil and filters to service both motors, as I could do it myself."

The Tasman80 does not have a keel, being an in-line, tunnel drive boat, but does have a skeg under the cutlass bearing to protect the screw if you bottom out. There's a fine entry that finishes at 21 degrees of deadrise, which is all about that seakeeping aspect we got into earlier. The rudder is the same as the Black Watch 40, just cut down to size.

"The hull mould is finished, the deck plug is well under way, with the cockpit plug and cabin liner just about finished. The seat boxes are virtually done, and it means customers will see them in Q3, 2023. The shafts and 19-inch, four blade screws are all made here, and we'll be fitting the hardware and electronics here in Australia, once the boats arrive from Thailand."

Detail delivers dependability

"We've just gone through this thing with an absolute fine tooth comb to deliver a really great product. There is a proper, self-draining deck feeding into a waste sump that then goes overboard. All of the hatch drains, ice chests, kill tank, and everything will drain into it, big boat style. Of course the upside is it means we only have one transom mounted through-hull fitting for it, and another for the gas bypass at idle, seeing as we've got wonderfully quiet and clean underwater exhaust."

Less skin fittings is always a bonus, and there are solid laminate areas for the mounting of transducers. Another plus is a single level cockpit, and the Yanmar is even housed below, so there is no encroachment from an engine box, anywhere, which adds to the overall amenity. When required, shade for the cockpit will come in the form of the Euro-style awning on carbon fibre poles.

"We have a self-flooding ballast system in the stern of the boat. When you're running, a certain amount will free out the back out of the outlet ports, and then when you're bow down and slow down, it fills back up again. This keeps the boat nice and trim. The boat will sit flat no matter whether it's got a 100 litres of diesel in it or, 650 litres."

"When you're either trolling or drifting and fishing, you've got full water ballast in, so the boat should be pretty rock solid too. When under way you'll lose a fair bit of that weight, without having any adverse effect on the way the boat performs. So if you've got 600 kilos at rest, then it will drop down to something like 300 kilos. This will ensure the screw is always biting hard, no matter what the conditions are," said Hutchins.

You know the whole thing always comes down to dollars, and in this case you're looking at AUD 285k for the base boat, plus maybe 22k AUD for the trailer, and then whatever you want to do with the electronics etc, which is important to note if you are going for a pocket mount transducer, as they'll do this at the moulding stage for you.

Other things to note include the 70mm step to go into the cabin as a sort of fixed washboard, but the main deck is one level. There is 380mm of freeboard, so perfect for tagging or gaffing, fish boxes either side of the tunnel, live bait well on the coaming of the transom, main controls nestled into a recess so as to avoid accidental knocks, capacity to run two 16" displays on the console, heaps of refrigeration, and just generally, a well thought out boat.

Want more?

Then try the Tasman915 on for size. Word's out apparently on this, albeit that it is still in the preliminary stages, hence the line drawing only. You have twin tunnel drive screws powered by Yanmar 4LV250 (Z) Diesels, which just happen to be the turbocharged and intercooled mills from the current 2.8l Toyota Hilux, so now you can really see why we had our theme going on.

However, do note in this instance you will need a Silverado, Ram, or equivalent to tow said Tasman915, but the point remains that you will still be able to hitch up and go where you want, when you want, without escort vehicles (only 2.95m beam).

Hutchins said in closing, "It will be awesome - still legally towable at under 4.5 metric tonnes. Effectively you increase your cabin down below and your wheelhouse up top by an extra couple of feet there as well. The gains become quite substantial. We already have a few people interested, and if we can get enough critical mass we'll get into them."

Now wouldn't it be good if they did that for something in the AUD 400k bracket? Need to talk with Jason Hutchins? Do so by phoning +61 (0) 419 901 888, or via email.

OK. Today you will find that the website has an abundance of material from right across the globe, and if you cannot find something, just try the search button right up the top of the landing page, above our logo. If you cannot find what you want or wish to want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Finally. Please look after yourselves,

John Curnow
Editor, Global Editor, Powerboat.World

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