By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

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The Offshore Marine Reef Master All-Rounder 530 is at the smaller, affordable end of the plate-boat market, but that does nothing to diminish its offshore capabilities, and it with some nice surprises too, notes Rick Huckstepp


Custom plate boats are still holding their fair share of the market in this country and there is a trend in some circles to move more toward larger trailerable plate boats rather than smaller models.

This is particularly evident in Queensland where the creep of marine parks necessitates burning more fossil fuel over the top of green zones to get to those pristine, untouched waters, full of fish, on the other side. When the EPA fathom that one out they might come up with a sensible solution. Alas; I doubt they will! Political agendas win out over sensible science every time.
The problem with bigger plate is the inevitable spend to get it and then to tow it, so it is good to see some smaller boats capable of offshore work, arrive on the scene.
We had a look at Offshore Marine Master's Reef Master All-Rounder 530 which measures up to an overall length of 5.6m, and it proved to be a tidy unit indeed, with plenty of potential for the blue water.
Stepping aboard on the portside boarding platform one finds a telescopic fold-down ladder with a grabrail on each side of the half height transom bulkhead door. The door is sturdy plate and swings on equally sturdy hinges. Inside the bulkhead, under the walkthrough, one of the crank batteries is located behind a hatch.
Located at deck level in each aft corner, is a large bung that allows the deck to self-drain if need be. A neat bait station with rodholders is easily lifted out from the centre of the bulkhead. It featured a handy implement tray to its front for knives, rigging needles and the like, and was right next to a livebait tank that protruded out onto the boarding platform on the starboard side. Under the tank in the bulkhead, the other battery is located and the isolator switch is tucked away under the sidepocket in this corner while the fuel filter is located above the sidepocket.
The deck at the bait rigging table has a hatch leading into a floodable kill tank of about 80 litres.




The helm and passenger seating in the All-Rounder is a fantastic design. It is a large aluminium insulated icebox with a hinged top. The backrest rocks to and fro allowing seating at anchor or when watching the lure spread if the skipper is standing. On opening the lid, the ice carrying capacity is huge and a large tray keeps food out of the melting ice. The inner port side of the icebox is partitioned and in here is where all the safety gear is stowed, isolated from the dampness on the other side. On the aft end of the icebox, a full-width padded bench seat is fitted. It is collapsible and removable, and may be installed on a hinge set against the transom bulkhead.
Underway and sitting on the box, one rests their feet on a footrest in front or on the step that leads up to the walkaround path about the centre-cab.
At the helm, one has a full cabin width flat tray capable of hosting a number of large-screen electronic cabinets on gimbals. Coming off the back of the cabin on each side is a sturdy targa. It has a plate infill on which outrigger bases may be mounted, and the aft end is sculptured out for a handhold.
Atop the targa, five rodholders are accessed through the zip-out aperture in the canvas bimini. The cabin is protected by taut clears fixed to the top of the wraparound Perspex screen, and have a zip-open portal for viewing.




While the entry door into the cabin looked small, it could pass a large adult and was fitted with a zip-down privacy screen that featured a zip-open flap covering an insect screen.
Once inside, the space is amazing to say the least. The cabin deck is carpeted and two removable hatches reveal the leg well, the forward end in which a portable head sits behind a short fence to stop it sliding about. The bottom of the leg well also has a removable hatch that opens to the hull which is only a few centimetres below. Forward of the leg well, another hatch is hinged and opens to dry stowage space.
The wall of the inside of the cabin is surrounded by a continuous pocket, and behind the helm station, a vinyl press-studded curtain hides the looms and fuses. We had to keep reminding ourselves we were on a small trailerboat, yet it had more room than many, much larger. With the inclusion of mattresses, three adults could sleep here without a problem; bar the flatulence and snoring!
Lighting in the cockpit is multi-directional LED, and LED lighting is also installed above the helm. At last, no more blown globes and corroding contacts.
The full-length cockpit sidepockets stop against the steps leading up onto the walkaround which may be traversed foot-over-foot. The handrails to the bow are 32mm and well constructed. At the anchor well, the ground tackle can be hauled from a seated position on a cushion rebated into the brow of the cabin room. The anchor well is huge and a reef anchor stock tube is welded onto the bowrail while two rods or boat hooks may be stored in tubes on the short bulkhead aft of the well.




We took the All-Rounder out to the Caloundra bar at the top of Bribie Island where the incoming swell was pushing against a run-out tide providing plenty of pressure waves. Wind was 15kmh from the southeast and even though we punched up plenty of spray, very little of it found its way onto the boat. The ride in this sharp chop was noticeably soft, and handling this boat in amongst the white water proved effortless at the helm. Attacking the waves from all directions failed to show any bad habits and running with the swell, the hull tracked perfectly without any hint of broaching.
Fitted with a 90hp E-TEC and with two adults on board, holeshot was nothing startling so if you intend fishing three-up regularly opt for a few more horses, and especially so if you have to run bar crossings in your ventures offshore.
You'll need that extra punch to stay on the back of the swell.
On the flat water and cruising at 3800rpm the Navman GPS recorded 37kmh, while at full throttle of 5200rpm, 51kmh was realised.
This boat really is an all-rounder and will be able to mix it with the big boats offshore if need be. It won't break the bank either and may be towed with a big six-cylinder sedan or small 4WD.




Exceptional finish
Well planned and practical fit-up
Smooth soft ride
Big, roomy cabin
Icebox design brilliant




A boarding ladder usable at an angle out from the vertical is required




Specifications: Offshore Marine Reef Master All-Rounder 530




Price as tested:                          $49,800
Options fitted:                           Paint, upgrade from standard
two-stroke outboard, extra battery, chartplotter/depthsounder, rodholders, privacy
curtain, skylight in cabin, and rear lounge
Priced from:                             $38,950




Material:                                   Aluminium: 4mm bottom, topsides and deck
Length overall:                          5.7m
Beam:                             2.35m
Weight:                                     1300kg (dry)




Fuel:                                         120lt
People night:                         2
People day:                              5
Rec. min. HP:                       75
Rec. max. HP:                      115
Max. engine weight:    200kg




Make/model:                             Evinrude E-TEC 90
Type:                                       Three-cylinder direct injection two-stroke outboard
Weight:                                     148kg
Rated HP:                                  90
Displacement:                           1295cc
Gearbox ratio:                           2.25:1
Propeller:                                  15-inch Renegade




Offshore Marine Master,
Shed 3/7 Dual Avenue,
Warana, Qld, 4575
Phone: (07) 5493 5111
Fax: (07) 5493 5110



Originally published in TrailerBoat #231

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