BOAT TEST: DAM BUSTER

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: LOU MARTIN


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If your tow vehicle’s groaning under the weight of your tinnie, or you’ve ever wanted to catch a fish that weighs more than your boat, check out this slimmer-of-the-year: super-light, carbon-composite, bass-boat prototype, the Dam Buster weighs in at just 65kg

BOAT TEST: DAM BUSTER
DAM BUSTER

 

WEIGHT WATCHER


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it is pretty hard to re-invent the wheel when it comes to boating, no matter at what level you are interested in. Timber, fibreglass and alloy have been reconfigured for years, resulting in various boats in a multitude of sizes for just as many purposes. Even alternative materials such as Kevlar and, to a much lesser extent, carbon fibre, have been experimented with in the quest for lightness in weight that allows for higher speeds with less horse power required for the propulsion.
Mike Taylor of Slacks Creek in Queensland has been involved in the oar and boat building industry since 1976, manufacturing and repairing boats, surf boats and oars with space age technology. Coming from a state championship rowing background, he understands the need for sturdiness but with no compromise in the weight department. As a result, he has turned out a prototype of a light-weight bass-style boat with a big difference.

 

 

BUILT LIGHT


The Dam Buster is constructed of carbon composite lay up with Derakane vinyl resin vacuum infused over a special infusion core that results in a very stiff, light-weight composite. It looks pretty smart also, having a chequered appearance similar to the carbon graphite dash inserts on modern cars.
While only 3.8m in length with a beam of 1.65m, it does have a deep cockpit from which to stand and fish. The outside height of the gunwales is 54cm and the sides are close to perpendicular with a smooth rounded coaming on which accessories can be fitted by way of attachments such as RAM brackets.
A raised forward casting deck occupies about one third of the inner length of the boat and it stops about 75mm short of the coamings. The resulting lip is a good catchment for wind-affected fly line stripped onto the deck, which is heavily coated with non-slip additive. A small inspection port at the very front of the casting deck opens to reveal a heavy nylon inner sock that was designed as a place to put mobile phones and car keys keeping them safe and dry.
Two square hatches toward the aft edge of the casting deck open to reveal a moulded ABS rigid liner to cater for anchor and general stowage. A pedestal seat base sits mid-deck.
A step up from the cockpit proper features another hatch that allows for storage of the fuel tote tank and start battery. A couple of large deep-cycle batteries would also fit here alongside a tote tank.
The floor has slight undulations running each side for the length of the cockpit, which are the topsides of the tunnels between the hulls.
Seating at the helm on the test boat was on the shorter rear casting deck and was at a good height for the legs. All manner of seats could be installed for those that wish but as it was, a cushion would be all one needs for a bit of comfort when travelling from A to B so that uninhibited fishing space remains.

 

 

RIDING HIGH


It's called the Dam Buster but this boat will be just as much at home in the estuaries as it will in the impoundments, as we found when we took it for a spin on the Broadwater down at the Gold Coast. Amazingly, this unit performed extremely will with just a 10hp Honda four-stroke on the transom. Other than the fact that the motor was smooth as silk and super silent, it had reasonable holeshot with two persons aboard and pushed the boat out to 31kmh on my handheld GPS and with one up, I squeezed a bit more out of it to 35kmh. Not bad at all for a little engine that on this rig is using only about one litre of fuel per hour on the plane at a comfortable cruising speed.
This rig's extreme lightness of around 65kg for the hull only was easily felt at the helm and it proved effortless to throw it around over boat wash and chop. The boat was very responsive at the helm and its slick finish and smooth lines on the hull did allow for some side slip in very hard turns that resulted in some prop ventilation but nothing overly excessive. Lowering the motor would most likely remedy that situation provided it did not convert to too much torque on the tiller.
This hull is similiar to a tri-hull, with a centre hull, another each side and a large sweeping down-turned chine on the outer edges. This allows air to become trapped beneath, providing an ideal cushion on which to ride. The downside of this similarity was felt heading into steep boat wash, where we missed the smooth, soft entry enjoyed by deep-V hulls - but the ride was still within the realms of comfort.
The small horsepower on this rig lends itself to a good amount of versatility. The outlay for such a small propulsion unit is minimal, and the fuel savings are immense. With the number of 'electric motor only' impoundments steadily rising in various states, the flexibility to easily dismount the little engine and leave it in the shed and scoot around all day on an electric equates to a lot of logic. With heaps of undercover battery stowage space, big days on the electric-only impoundments would not be an issue.
The Dam Buster was built for car-top transportability - and at around 65kg for the hull only, it passes the test. It would have to be on a rack fixed to the likes of a Land Cruiser or Nissan 4WD or it could live on a light duty trailer for those unable to handle the lifting.
Either way, this little boat would be a pleasure to use and while it's not the cheapest small boat on the lot, it certainly is innovative. And after all is said and done, rocket science has never been cheap!

 


 
LIKES


Light and easily manoeuvrable
Fuel efficient and cheap to fit with an engine
Clean lines and not a lot of appendages to catch fly lines
Good stability

 


 
DISLIKES


Propeller ventilation needs to be addressed

 

 


 

Specifications: Dam Buster

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $25,000
Options fitted: Tackle box, adjustable rodholders, pedestal seat, carpet to cockpit floor
Priced from: $17,000 bare hull with non-skid on floor and deck areas

 


 
GENERAL


Material: Carbon composite and vinyl resin
Length: 3.8m
Beam: 1.65m
Deadrise: multihull configuration
Hull weight: 65kg approx

 


 
CAPACITIES


People: 4 people to 300kg total
Maximum payload: 400kg

 


 
ENGINE


Make and model: Honda
Type: Four-stroke
Rated hp: 10
Max Rec/hp: 20
Displacement: 222cc
Weight: 42kg
Gearbox ratio: 2.33:1
Propeller: 91/2" diameter x 9" pitch

 


 
SUPPLIED BY
Mike Taylor, 6 Hiley Street, Slacks Creek, Qld 4127
tel (07) 3209 2313, fax (07) 3290 0104, email: sales@mtoars.com.au or visit www.mtoars.com.au

 


 
 Originally published in TrailerBoat #192

Find Dam Buster boats for sale.

 


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