Massive boat test starts tomorrow

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Testing for the 2011 Australia's Greatest Boats title begins

Massive boat test starts tomorrow
Massive boat test starts tomorrow

TrailerBoat magazine has named its Top Ten contenders for the prestigious Australia’s Greatest Boats awards for 2011.

The test team will put all 10 AGB finalists through their paces at Port Stephens from Monday to select this year’s best fibreglass and aluminium fishing boats.

This time around, the exercise is based at the stunning d'Albora Marina in Port Stephens (NSW).

Last year’s winning manufacturers, Haines Hunter and Bar Crusher, are facing tough competition from a field of both new and proven models from other top manufacturers.

Competing for the title of TrailerBoat’s Top Fibreglass Fishing Boat for 2011 are the Haines Hunter 560 Classic, Evolution Boats 552, Trophy 2152 diesel, Haines Signature 543RF and Cruisecraft 530 Explorer.

In the Aluminium Fishing Boat category, it’s a tough battle for five tough boats – the Bar Crusher 610C, Stabicraft 2150, Surtees 4.8 Workmate, Noble 7.5m Centre Console and White Pointer 750 Sports Hardtop.

Chief judge John "The Bear" Willis said this year’s contenders were every bit as impressive as those which contested the inaugural Australia’s Greatest Boats titles last year.

"Several of the same manufacturers have made it into our Top Ten again, for the very good reason that they have yet again delivered boats that set the standard for boats of their type," he said.

"Every year our team tests a hundred or more new boats, and every year there are some that stand out from the pack – these are the ones that earn a place in our Top Ten.

"To find the winners we will assess each boat by ten criteria, starting with suitability for fishing, innovation, design and layout, quality of finish, handling and ride, and stability at rest.

"Our judges also give individual scores for ergonomics, standard equipment, value for money and, of course, the X-factor – and then we add them up to determine the best of the best.

"It’s an exhaustive process – and an exhausting one too, with long days of testing and long evenings of debating the scores – so there is no question that Australia’s Greatest Boats have well and truly earned their titles."

John Willis heads a hugely experienced judging team. John himself has been on pretty much every hull ever in Australia, while Warren Steptoe brings four decades of testing experience and John Ford is a lifetime photojournalist best known for his knowledge of off-road recreational vehicles.

International input comes from Kevin Smith, who brings a South African perspective to the judging, and Jeff Strang, editor of Trade-A-Boat New Zealand.

The entire judging team, along with photographers, video crews, boat drivers, camera boats and helicopter, will converge on Nelson Bay on 27 and 28 June for the 2011 Australia’s Greatest Boats judging day.

Australia’s Greatest Fibreglass Fishing Boat will be named in a massive AGB feature in TrailerBoat in August, followed by an equally huge feature for the aluminium boats in TrailerBoat in September, and ultimately by an action-packed DVD that will be a perfect Christmas present.

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