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This plate boat is built like a brick outhouse and is definitely made for the long haul


Formosa Marine’s 550 Tomahawk is a centre console that was built with offshore and coastal fishing clearly in mind. And, for a boat just 5.5m long, it’s packed with some serious credentials to get the job done. "Built to last" pretty well sums up the impression you get when you first set eyes on this vessel.


Starting at the bow, the large anchorwell will hold 300m of 12mm rope, plus ground tackle, so an Anka-Yanka type anchor-retrieval float system attached to the rope would be a benefit.

The aft bulkhead of the anchorwell slopes in towards the deck, so there’s "toes under" room to give you maximum leverage when hauling in the ground tackle.

The foredeck buts up against the front of the console and is raised 100mm above the aft deck. A large, drained killtank is concealed under this deck.

If you have any doubt as to the strength of build of these hulls you only need to look at the ribbing under the hatches to allay any fears of weak spots. Box sections of 50mm x 25mm brace all deck hatches to prevent warping and bowing under foot.

The ends of the forward posts supporting the bimini are attached to the console and are ideally placed to securely strap an icebox in the front section of the boat.

The entire top section of the console is hinged, so it folded down into the forward section of the boat for towing, or parking under a low roof.

When fixed in position the windscreen sits flush with the front of the console leaving a ledge of about 120mm deep to mount the electronics on. Deep-bodied depthsounder and GPS cabinets might have difficulty finding a home here, but a bit of juggling should sort this issue out.

It’s also good to see a manufacturer of a boat of this size has fitted Seastar hydraulic steering as standard. Seating at the helm is on a double-width bench with a rocking backrest, so you can sit comfortably looking aft when fishing. This bench seat is hinged and exposes a large storage box when opened, which, if you could find some dry storage elsewhere on the boat, could easily be converted into an icebox.

The transom bulkhead is fitted with a couple of flush-fitting plastic hatches. One allows access to the cranking battery and the other to the oil reservoir for the Evinrude E-TEC outboard. For fishos, toes-under at the transom isn’t a problem. A walkthrough access on the portside allows you to step directly onto the boarding platform where a sturdy fold-down step has been installed. The walkthrough access is sealed off by a nylon door that latches into a closed position.

A livebait tank is sited inside the bait-rigging station, which is welded to the centre of the transom. It’s accessed by lifting the hinged cutting board. The tank is bunged, although not plumbed as standard, but it also performs another function — that of a sound deflector, stopping a lot of ambient engine noise from coming over the transom.

The hull top and bottom sides are constructed of 4mm 5083 high-tensile alloy plate and rather than have a lot of ribs running up from the chines to support the side sheets, the manufacturer has constructed box section ribs, about 100mm x 90mm, which allows for fewer ribs in the build and also act as a conduit to channel wiring looms about the boat.

Sidepockets in the aft cockpit are stitched in place between a set of these ribs on port and starboard sides.


Standing at the helm you notice how far forward the gunwales run parallel before curving into the bow. These beamy forequarters, coupled with a raised sheerline and sharp deadrise off the keel at the forefoot, offer a smooth ride in big chop and a dry one at that. Well, as dry as any centre console could be in adverse conditions when wind is on the forequarters anyway.

The test boat was fitted with a 115hp E-TEC, which with two aboard was more than ample. Holeshot was quick and the E-TEC had plenty of torque through its throttle range. You can option up to a 140hp, which might be required if you regularly haul big payloads, such as the seven people this boat can legally carry, or you may want the best of both worlds and wish to tow a skier at some stage. Then, the extra horses would be warranted.

Manoeuvrability is excellent and while the forward section of the bottom sheets are slick, a pair of strakes down the aft end arrest most of the side slippage in hard and fast cornering.

If you’re in the market for a tough-as-nails workhorse that can handle the rough stuff without rattling your back teeth, have a closer look at this new Formosa.


Built to last

Soft, dry ride


More thought should be put into utilising dash space for aftermarket flexibility in relation to marine electronics

Specifications: Formosa 550CC Tomahawk


Price as tested: $44,990

Options fitted: Alloy folding bimini, baitboard tank, plumbed killtank, Humminbird depthsounder/GPS, double-seat box, and VHF radio

Priced from: $37,990


Material: High-tensile alloy plate;

4mm top and bottom

Length: 5.70m

Beam: 2.45m

Deadrise: 17°

Weight: 640kg


Rec. min. HP: 90hp

Rec. max. HP: 140hp

People: Seven (day)

Fuel: 150lt

Rec. max. transom weight: 200kg


Make/model: Evinrude E-TEC 115

Type: Fuel injected two-stroke

Rated HP: 115hp

Displacement: 1726cc

Weight: 170kg

Propeller: 17in Viper stainless steel


Australian Marine Centre,

3491 Pacific Highway,

Springwood, Qld, 4127

Phone: (07) 3808 7333

Fax: (07) 3808 7300

Web: www.australianmarinecentre.com.au


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