By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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According to Kevin Smith, Formosa has hit the big time with its new look 550 Tomahawk Half Cab. For the family that likes the fishing life, this one’s tough to beat.



I was really impressed with the Formosa Tomahawk 620 Centre Cab when I tested it a while ago. The centre-cabin was great for serious fishos wanting the extra space created by the walkaround and the boat was a great all-round fishing platform. But what about those anglers looking for a bit more protection in the cabin? I'm talking about those who are not quite as dedicated to walkaround fishability as others.

Well, Formosa has the answer with the Tomahawk 550 Half Cab - a quality plate-aluminium monohull boasting a number of features including super fishability, wider cab space, and a new look from a modern marine age.



The power behind the 550 was a 115hp Evinrude E-TEC with standard cable controls and hydraulic steering. Many 5.5m boats can feel fairly small but in this case the Formosa is quite the opposite and I would even go so far as to call it a "large 5.5m boat". Still, when I first noticed the 115hp on the transom I was sceptical and thought it might have been rated with the minimum horsepower. However, I can tell you that when it came to winding it up offshore, there was no shortage of chemistry between the 5.5m hull and the motor. It shot out of the hole to a top end of 35kts (64.7kmh) at 5800rpm (with a consumption of 40lt/h - and don't forget that's flat out). By dropping the speed down to around 20kts (36.9kmh) you'd almost halve consumption.

Stability is another notable characteristic of these boats, thanks to the decent beam and 17° deadrise. There's always a price to pay, or at least a compromise, when it comes to stability. That's a reduction in ride quality compared to craft that have, say, a 21° deadrise. Nevertheless, in my opinion the 550's still pretty good.



The design of the half-cab has ample shelter from the elements so it should happily cater for the kids or even mum if they want a nap. The half-cab can be a full bunk with the insert in place, or a mini lounge without, and there's storage beneath. The console area is fitted with comfortable swivel-seating on pedestal boxes, and is kept spacious and fully protected by the windscreen and
bimini cover.

Depending on your height, the screen's raked-back angle might be a tad on the close side if you're skippering in the stand-up position. Then again, if you happen to nose-butt it, you were probably driving like you stole it.

Behind the cabin, the space widens to an open-plan fishing area. It's nothing fancy but everything is in the right place, making it a neatly done and workable office indeed. The carpeted deck runs all the way to the stern, which has a fair-sized killtank that can remain closed or be allowed to self-flood.

Another feature (one that always appeals to me on an offshore boat) is the selfdraining deck. The gunwales are also nice and high, with built-in sidepockets, and the transom section has the sturdy alloy baitboard/livewell system with mounted rodholders.

When it comes to the layout it's uncomplicated but has everything you need. I personally prefer rodracks built into the gunwales rather than sidepockets, but that applies to any boat. I suppose it's just a matter of checking with the dealer to see if it can be done. For the passengers, a rear three-quarter folding lounge comes as standard, as does a full boarding platform in the stern, with a dive ladder for easy access on and off the boat.



These boats feature a high tensile hull comprising a 4mm bottom and sides, shaped and welded into a boat with modern lines and strength. When it comes to combining fishing with family boating, these boats tick all the boxes in standard trim and can be transformed into whatever you want (or can afford) with a few smart accessories. And the best bit? For what you start with I reckon the Formosa 550 Tomahawk Half Cab is good value for the money.


On the plane...

  • Spacious layout
  • Good fishability
  • Stable at rest
  • Easy access to everything


Dragging the chain...

  • No rodholders in the gunwales
  • Limited console space for electronics



Specifications: Formosa 550 Tomahawk Half Cab



Price as tested: $52,970

Options fitted: Bimini, 115hp E-TEC upgrade

Priced from: $44,700



Material: High tensile aluminium

Length (overall): 5.7m

Beam: 2.45m

Freeboard: 670mm

Weight: 840kg (hull only)


Rec. max. HP: 140hp

People: 7

Fuel: 150lt



Make/model: Evinrude E-TEC E115DSL

Type: Loop-charged direct-injection 60° V4

Weight: 170kg

Displacement: 1727cc

Gear ratio: 2.0:1



Australian Marine Centre

3491 Pacific Highway

Springwood, Qld, 4127

Phone: (07) 3808 7333




Formosa Marine

3/1424 New Cleveland Rd

Capalaba West, Qld, 4157

Phone: (07) 3245 2950



Originally published in TrailerBoat 262, November 2010.

Find Formosa Tomahawk boats for sale.


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