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Australian Master Marine undertakes 9,500km outback torture test on centre console and trailer

by John Daffy 15 Dec 2018 23:11 UTC
Blue skies and red dust ... AMM's outback durability torture test © John Daffy

Leading Queensland plate alloy boat and off-road trailer manufacturer, Australian Master Marine has just completed a 9,500km non-stop endurance test that pitted one of its centre consoles and its off-road trailer, against some of the most tortuous outback roads of Australia's north.

Washing board corrugations, red dust tracks, creek crossings, rocky side-detours, isolated destinations such as Borroloola near the Queensland-Northern Territory border in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the aptly named Hell's Gate, Karumba in the lower west of Cape York and the northern reaches of the cape itself, were just a few of the milestone destinations along the arduous journey.

The test was aimed at pushing the AMM products way beyond any reasonable boundary to see whether there were any weak spots in terms of design or construction.

The good news for AMM was that the only casualties on the trip were a lost D-shackle and a side reflector broken by a stone.

AMM Director Mr Barton Thomas said: "The Sea Class 5700 centre console and the off road trailer were AMM's standard production designs – we believed it critically importantly not to add any additional bracing, reinforcing or other strengthening elements."

"To have done so might have added a further level of structural security, but it would have been misleading in terms of the final performance," he said.

"We did prepare the rig well for the trip with a heavy duty boat cover and taping up the water cooling inlet and outlet ports, the exhaust gas outlets and other key areas of the Yamaha outboard."

"We then zipped up a full outboard cover."

"We also taped-on the plastic covers for the centre console electronics, radio and other exposed equipment."

"Given the remoteness of where we were headed, AMM took camping gear, extensive supplies of food and water, medical kits, a back-up vehicle and crew as well as recovery gear."

"Obviously under those road, track and trail conditions, the centre console picked up a fair amount of red dust under the covers, but you have to expect that."

"The boat and outboard covers themselves were sensational – not one rip or tear after perhaps a thousand kilometres of stone throwing, bone jarring, teeth rattling corrugations as well as some ultra-ordinary dirt and partially sealed roads."

"AMM designs its off-road range of boat trailers specifically for the exact configuration of the alloy plate boats they are going to carry," Mr Thomas said.

"It's one of the key elements in putting together a super-robust rig and the trip proved that."

"Yes, it does add a little to the cost but in the end, it delivers a far superior product."

"We already know the on-water capabilities of AMM's Sea Class 5700 metre centre console, as well as every other model, because we are fortunate to have one of Australia's best and most diverse marine testing facilities right here in south-east Queensland: Moreton Bay, the offshore waters outside Moreton, Stradbroke and Fraser islands, the South Passage Bar, the Wide Bar and Brisbane River to name just a few."

"We also have the feedback and video footage from our AMM boat owners, some of whom are absolutely merciless in how they use their plate alloy boats."

"But while we had undertaken some pretty rigorous endurance testing on our off-road trailers with and without boats on them, we had not undertaken such a tortuous, factory test in brutal outback conditions before," Mr Thomas said.

"And nor are we aware of any other manufacturer who has embarked on an outback torture test like the one undertaken by AMM."

"The trek unequivocally confirmed the integrity of AMM's design and construction of plate alloy boats and off road trailers," Mr Thomas said.

"The real surprise for us was how well the boat and trailer cleaned up after the trip."

"I feared there might have been some dust blasting of paintwork and perhaps some chafing or stone damage, but there was none evident."

"It might have been the result of how we prepared the tow vehicle with stone deflector flaps, the angle of incidence when they did hit, the composition or texture of the dust and stones, I honestly don't know."

"But there was nothing evident."

"On return to the factory, AMM appointed its leading hands to look for any signs of material stress, damage or anything that might require some rectification or consideration in future designs, from a strength perspective."

"After a day and a half they signed off on its durability."

"I'm going to take it offshore for a day of trolling for pelagics as soon as I can get a day off and a break in the weather to coordinate with each other," Mr Thomas said.

A short video giving an overview of the trek and an insight into the conditions has been posted on AMM's website which can be accessed at www.australianmastermarine.com.au

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