PRE-LOVED 422 - Assegai

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SIMON FRENCH waxes lyrical over this unique 46-footer

PRE-LOVED 422 - Assegai
PRE-LOVED 422 - Assegai

An assegai or assagai (originally Berber zagaya "spear", from Arabic az-zagayah) is a pole weapon used for throwing or hurling, usually a light spear or javelin made of wood and pointed with iron. The use of various types of assegai spread over Africa and was the most common weapon there. The Zulu and other Nguni tribes of South Africa were renowned for their use of the assegai. The Zulu military leader Shaka invented a shorter-style assegai with a two-foot shaft and a larger, broader one-foot blade.

So there you go for all those wondering what the name means, but in short, Assegai is a weapon. And a ruthlessly efficient, deadly and highly specialised weapon at that, especially if you are a marlin.

The gamefisher Assegai shares her unusual name with that of her creator, Assegai Marine, situated at the Horizon Shores Marina complex, Woongoolba, Queensland. For the uninitiated, the boatbuilder has produced some of Australia’s finest custom-made gameboats, Assegai’s stablemates including Gorilla, Megumi, and Askari to name a few. All achieving legend status within the game fishing/charter industry.

The boat is the brainchild of designer/builder Barry Martin and was commissioned in 1992. The brief: state-of-the-art everything and the ability to catch fish, big fish.

Like the original assegai, the owner's requirement was for a high speed craft, capable of running in comfort and safety for passengers and crew. To fulfil these requirements and to have performance and speed in keeping with the design, all weights must be kept to a minimum without sacrificing structural strength. Success in this endeavour requires meticulous design plus attention and care on the part of the builder. All materials and equipment used in the construction are of the highest possible quality.

Assegai Marine’s custom-built hulls are of female-mould construction with western red cedar planking, which is then handlaid with fibreglass. Each layer of glass is hand-placed and rolled out to give the maximum lamination strength.

The builder has also hand sanded between cured layups to prevent any possible voids or unlaminated areas. Deck and cabin structure are balsa cored to reduce weight, while bulkheads are solid plywood. Deck and cabins are constructed of balsa with solid plywood in way of deck fittings, etc., then fibreglassed inside and outside with epoxy resin. The builder installed four main engine girders, running from the transom to where they run out up forward, and these are all fibreglassed into place.

Without exaggeration Assegai commands a well-earned respect among some of Australia’s top skippers on the East Coast. More than incredibly seaworthy, Assegai can easily endure relentless months of charter fishing and still maintain a finish that would shame a Ferrari owner.

The machinery is equally impressive, including twin 660hp Caterpillar 3196 turbo-diesels — for full specs, click on

During our demo of the boat, we were lucky enough to tag along for the ride from Bermagui on the NSW south coast to Soldiers Point Marina, Port Stephens, where the boat is under guardianship of Peter Kennedy of MDBS Boat Brokerage Services Soldiers Point while she awaits a new home. Assegai will be moored here for the duration of her listing and is available for inspection anytime.

After a few largely unnecessary pre-checks (the current owner has a turn-key-and-go policy) we were on our way, clearing Bermagui breakwater at 1130 hours.

Delivery skipper Bruce Bragg punched in some waypoints on the Raytheon RC630 chartplotter, dialled in our course on the TMQ AP500 autopilot and wound the big twin CAT turbo-diesels up to cruising speed. This was easily achieved at 1700rpm and gave us a speed over the ground of 22kts, consuming a total of 56lt/h of fuel per engine (ED: compare this to the Monte Carlo 42 fuel figures also this issue). It was comforting to know that there was still a lot more left in the bank should it be needed.

The weather was perfect with a very light sou’easter and a 1m to 1.5m following sea. In these conditions the Assegai rode effortlessly and easily, giving us a voyage time of just under 12 hours for the 260nm journey and well within her 400nm range.

With the gratifyingly deep-throated growl of the big Cats in the background, I took the time to familiarise myself with some of the boat’s systems. I started with the Furuno FRS1000 radar, it was surprisingly easy to use even for a novice like myself and indispensable for the latter half of our trip which was under the cover of darkness.

Taking advantage of the calm conditions, I steeled my nerve and began my ascent up the very, very tall gametower. Upon reaching the top I was pleasantly surprised to find the area safe and enclosed, easily affording a commanding view of the high seas and also with a duplication of all of the bridge controls allowing Assegai to be piloted from on high.

My next task was to strap together a bit of lunch for Captain Bragg and myself. We had to settle for a chicken sandwich, but standing in Assegai’s supremely appointed galley I reckon I could have whipped up a multiple-course degustation for 10 no worries at all!

After lunch I was tempted to recline on one of the plush, black leather lounges in Assegai’s highly polished teak saloon, which, honestly, has to be seen to be believed but as it was getting dark and we were approaching the commercial shipping off Sydney and Newcastle, the skipper had other ideas.

The bridge is sheltered, comfortable and enclosed with a full set of covers making it easy to spot the many smaller trawlers we encountered off the NSW central coast. There is also a daybed and refrigeration.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to jump into the gamechair and do battle with a large billfish, but if that’s what you like, then this is the boat for you.

Assegai is for sale for at $870,000 and is available for inspection at MDBS Boat Brokerage, Soldiers Point Marina, Port Stephens, NSW.

To arrange an inspection or for further information, phone Peter Kennedy on 0409 050 928 or (02) 4919 1555. For deliveries, phone Bruce Bragg on 0407 947 884.

Martin Custom 46

FOR SALE: $870,000
BUILDER: Barry Martin
TYPE: Monohull
BEAM: 4.29m
DRAFT: 0.6m
FUEL: 3000lt
WATER: 800lt
ENGINE: 2 x Caterpillar turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 660 (each)

In the mould of American gamefishing convertibles, Assegai is a stunning boat, a fisho’s dream, with no expense spared. Built and operated to commercial survey class 2B, the 46-footer was extensively refitted in 2001 by the original builder. We’re told the gamefisher has been perfectly maintained by the owner, who is upgrading. Assegai is a legend among the East Coast gamefishing fleet with many records and awards to her name. She presents as new.

From Trade-a-Boat Issue 422, Dec-Jan, 2012.


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