BOAT TEST: ALLISON ALLOY 4.95 AUSTRALIS VS ALLY CRAFT 480 BOWRIDER

By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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Allison has entered the alloy market with a range of 4.95m models. We wanted to know how one of these boats stacked up against an Ally Craft Bowrider 480, so we pushed John Ford into that caper and left him to it.

BOAT TEST: ALLISON ALLOY 4.95 AUSTRALIS VS ALLY CRAFT 480 BOWRIDER
ALLISON ALLOY 4.95 AUSTRALIS VS ALLY CRAFT 480 BOWRIDER

ALLISON ALLOY 4.95 AUSTRALIS versus ALLY CRAFT 480 BOWRIDER

After building fibreglass boats for nearly 30 years, Allison Boats has reinvented itself as Allison Alloy. With the demise of a number of alloy boat manufacturers in Australia over the last few years, Bruce Allison saw an opportunity to get into the alloy boat scene and has already established a nationwide dealer network.

"Sales are strong," Bruce tells us. "Our first boat was a 4.7m open, and then after exhaustive testing we changed the hull design slightly, to keep the good entry but make it a bit more stable at rest," he says. "We then added the wide body transom on the 4.7m hull to make the 4.95m range, which now comprises a side and centre-console, a runabout, and a fibreglass cabin version."

The range is usually considered entry-level and something the whole family can enjoy. They're small enough to be handled by one person, are easy to tow, but are big enough for an average family to get on the water without tripping over each other. There are a number of bowriders in this size range on the market and to test how the new Allison performs we put it up against an Alloy Craft 480. Here's what learned.

 



THE ALLISON 4.95

The 4.95 is a full plate-alloy with accommodation for up to five adults in a traditional bowrider layout. Sitting on the single-axle Dunbier trailer, the Allison Alloy looks smart in cherry red. The hull has a deep-vee, sharp entry in the bow, running to a flatter 15° stern. The layout gives three seating areas, with room in the bow section for two adults, as well as two pedestal seats which can rotate to face a folding seat in the stern.

The bow has a very deep carpeted anchor-locker and a low rail along the deck. A five-piece Perspex windscreen opens in the centre section for forward access. The dash is a simple and flat section with room for engine gauges and a small sounder, and there'd also be space for additional navigation screens on top of the dash or to the side. The steering wheel is a sporty alloy-spoked item. For the passenger there's a glove compartment with two drinkholders in the lid while a simple timber fiddle-rail stops things sliding off the flat dash. Marine-grade carpet covers the ply floor.

The transom is fitted with a full-width swim platform and ladder, and there's a small door for easy access. You get a cast-alloy T-bollard each side, two rodholders on the transom, and two more on the sidedecks. The decks are wide enough to sit on and have a low grabrail running forward to the screen. The swim platform has an inspection hatch to the bilge which is fitted with a pump. There's also easy access to the battery, isolator and filter.

The boat feels most natural while driving from a seated position where the pedestal seat feels comfortable and secure. Visibility is good and the screen offers protection from the breeze. It's okay to steer from a standing position once you get used to the distance to the control, but a grabrail over the screen would be useful.

On flat water the boat is stable and smooth and can be thrown into tight turns at will. Its 80hp four-stroke Yamaha has plenty of power to get moving and we got 34.5kts (64kmh) at wide open throttle at 5800rpm, spinning the standard alloy prop. We settled into a slow cruise at 3500rpm at 16.2kts (30kmh) and at 4500rpm managed 25.4kts (47kmh). Right across the range there was little noise from the four-stroke.

Sloppy conditions in the harbour and offshore slowed us but the Allison handles the sea well, given that this isn't its usual environment. We could feel the bow slicing through the water and there's enough of a "V" well-back to enable relatively smooth landings over waves. At rest, the flat stern section allows the boat to settle on the water with minimal roll and even in the moderate breeze it remains quite dry.

 



THE ALLY CRAFT 4.80 BOWRIDER

The Ally Craft 4.80 Bowrider comes from the well-established Queensland builder with a huge variety of aluminium boats that ranges from tenders and car-toppers through to a 6.6m centre-console.

On the trailer you can see that the Ally Craft lower-hull has the moulded appearance of glass with a variety of formed planks, planing-strakes and reverse chines. The sides are flat plates and the boat combines a pressed-bottom with plate-alloy sides. The bow section has room for up to three on comfortable upholstered vinyl seating while a low-profile rail runs forward, enclosing a deep and unlined anchorwell.

The three-piece screen has a central-opening section and a carpeted door to allow access to the bow. Swivelling pedestal seats offer comfort and grip, and there's a recessed section in the floor which allows driver and passenger to stand low in the hull for a more secure position on the move.

The dash uses injection-moulded plastic sections to house Evinrude instruments and a small sounder screen, rather than simply flat alloy-sheet, but there's not much room for additional navigational aids. The well-padded rear seat runs full-width with room for three adults while the bottom section of the seat folds down and out of the way. There's a swim platform and ladder but no door, although access is quite easy when stepping onto or over the rear seat. Power comes from a 90hp Evinrude E-TEC.

Underway, the Ally Craft feels competent and sporty. The E-TEC gets things moving pretty quickly with typical two-stroke torque taking advantage of the hull's lifting-planks that got us out of the hole with no fuss. There is a slight metallic echo from the hull as it works away beneath us. In flat water, even in the sharpest of turns, the hull bights in and turns safely. We saw a top speed of 36.6kts (68kmh) at 5100rpm. It travelled happily at 4000rpm at 30kts (55kmh) or settled in for a slow economical cruise of 18.9kts (35kmh) at 3000rpm.

The boat handles small chop with ease while sitting on respectable speeds. Driving from a standing position feels good, with the recessed floor making it easy to reach the wheel and the controls. A grabrail assists with passenger safety while underway.

At sea the boat is surprisingly capable, and on the right day offers some cruising capability.

 



WHICH ONE WOULD WE BUY?

Both boats happily fulfil their role as entry-level family fun boats but the Ally Craft has a higher level of creature comforts, if that's what's important to you. It would keep the family laughing if they like watersports, cruising, lunch onboard, or towing the kids around on skis or biscuits, especially with all that low-down grunt from the E-TEC 90.

The finish on both boats is very good but the Ally Craft offers more style and a bit more room up front. The driving position is good and there's a recessed floor and a grabrail over the steering wheel. The rear lounge is definitely the place for sipping away at a quiet sundowner while the kids play quietly in the bow. Well, that's the plan.

The Allison, on the other hand, is more the all-rounder, capable of satisfying the family role but more suited to fishing. In our opinion this boat feels better pushing into waves and its less fancy fitout would also suit fishos who like to move around the boat a bit and occasionally make a mess.

The design of the hull is a credit to the Allison family and is a legacy of their years of boatbuilding experience. The 480 has a more solid feel and works well in rougher conditions - keeping in mind that neither boat would be considered a serious offshore prospect. Bruce Allison has set out to fill a gap in the local boat scene and if this first effort is anything to go by, he's certainly on the right track.

 





WHO'S BEST AT WHAT?



BEST FAMILY BOAT: Ally Craft

BEST ALL-ROUNDER: Allison

BEST FISHING BOAT: Allison

SMOOTHEST CONTROLS: Ally Craft

BEST FINISH: Ally Craft

BEST IN CHOP: Allison

BEST OFFSHORE: Allison

EASIEST TO OPERATE: Ally Craft

 

 





Specifications: ALLISON ALLOY 4.95 AUSTRALIS

 



HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $36,490

Options fitted: Yamaha 80hp four-stroke, depthsounder, painted sides, transom door

Priced from: $33,000



GENERAL

Type: Monohull

Material: Aluminium

Length: 4.95m

Beam: 2.25m

Bottom sheets: 4mm

Side sheets: 3mm

Transom height: 20in

Dry weight: 495kg



CAPACITIES

People: 5

Fuel: 80lt

Max HP: 90



ENGINE

Type: Yamaha 80hp

Displacement: 1596cc

Fuel management: EFI



MANUFACTURED BY

Allison Alloy Plate Boats

20-22 Josephine Street

Loganholme, Qld 4129

Phone: (07) 3801 5399

Web: www.allisonboats.com.au



SUPPLIED BY

Blakes Marine

Cnr Windsor and Mulgrave Road

McGraths Hill, NSW, 2756

Phone: (02) 45776699

Web: www.blakesmarine.com.au

 









Specifications: ALLY CRAFT 480 BOWRIDER

 



HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $34,990

Options fitted: 90hp E-TEC two-stroke, depthsounder, painted sides

Priced from: $33,000



GENERAL

Type: Monohull

Material: Aluminium

Length: 4.80m

Beam: 2.25m

Bottomsheets: 3mm

Sidesheets: 2mm

Dry weight: 406kg



CAPACITIES

Fuel: 60lt

People: 5

Max HP: 90



ENGINE

Type: Evinrude E-TEC 90hp

Displacement: 1295cc

Fuel management: EFI



MANUFACTURED BY

Ally Craft

27 Gibbs Street,

Arundel, Qld, 4214

Phone: (07) 5537 6382

Web: www.allycraft.com.au



SUPPLIED BY

Blakes Marine

Cnr Windsor and Mulgrave Road

McGraths Hill, NSW, 2756

Phone: (02) 45776699

Web: www.blakesmarine.com.au

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat 259.

 

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