BOAT TEST: OMM OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER 575 WA/CF

By: Warren Steptoe


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Warren Steptoe tests a plate-aluminium he rates among the best of a genre close to the heart of the fishing set.

BOAT TEST: OMM OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER 575 WA/CF
OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER 575 WA/CF

 

OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER 575 WA/CF

Without a doubt, plate-aluminium boats became so popular among the fishing fraternity because of the ease with which they could be configured to individual tastes, so much so that a skilled shipwright familiar with working in metal can now just about build whatever you like in a proverbial shed somewhere, with only a minimum of specialised equipment.

These two intertwined factors led to the Australian market being oversupplied with plate-aluminium boat brands (prior to the financial crisis anyway). They'd literally popped up like daisies all over the place, and they were some of the earliest and certainly more numerous casualties in an industry hit harder than most when the global moneybelt tightened.

For a plate-aluminium brand like Offshore Marine Master to have survived these tough times is remarkable to start with, but to have actually thrived is unusual. In retrospect, it comes as no surprise after I tested brand's 575 CF model.

Even a fussy, picky, and not to mention pedantic fisherman like myself finds plenty of things to get enthusiastic about in this boat. And what's interesting is that while it delivers all the expected features, it also goes its own way in some respects - or more than enough respects - to stand out from (what's left of) the crowd.

 

 

 

CLEVER DESIGNS

Offshore Marine Master call it (read the graphic on the cabin side) the "575 WA/CF Ultra Vee All Rounder Centre Cab Fisherman," which is about as convoluted a title as I've encountered in 25 years of boat testing. You could nonetheless debate the "Centre Cabin" bit.

This boat is to my mind more of a console in the way it facilitates access to the bows. Cleverly, the walkway each side of the cabin/console is wide enough for unrestricted forward movement, yet it's sufficiently narrow and high (thanks to a strategically placed bowrail) for you to reach the bows safely and quickly. Still, the central structure is wide enough for two people to sit abreast behind it. Shelter at the helm was completed in our test boat by the usual set of (optional) clears between a one-piece acrylic windscreen and the bimini top - and a very clever set of sidecurtains!

Unclipping a sidecurtain, letting it unroll, zipping it into place and extending it to the side of the boat with a bungee cord around one of the side-deck rodholders doesn't take as long to do as it does to read and - voila! - that perennial curse of centre-consoles and many centre-cabins, wind blown spray, is neatly excluded.

I won't insult readers by talking rubbish about any centre-cabin/console being dry. The facts of life are that you get wet in any open boat. As it pushes through surface chop a boat's hull deflects spray forward and in an arc each side. If the wind's strong enough and from the right (wrong) angle, water drops WILL blow inboard. The only way you stay dry is when something waterproof prevents the flying spray from hitting you. Which is precisely what this boat's sidecurtains do. And that, as they say, is that. Since you only need one of these sidecurtains down at a time, forward access is only compromised on one side of the boat at a time. Rolling the curtain up again is done in seconds.

Jason Norup from OMM told me it took quite a while to get these sidecurtains "just right," but having owned nothing but open boats myself, and copped more flying spray than I want to contemplate over the years, I have to say that "quite a while" is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to (what seems like) buckets of chill water in your face every few seconds.

In 25 years of boat testing, the sidecurtains are one of the best things I've EVER come across!

 



INSIDE THE CABIN

Inside the console/cabin, my contention that we're talking about a centre-console rather than a cabin is supported by there being no pretence at living space. It's more a generous stowage space, albeit one that's ordinarily occupied by a portable toilet.

Although a standard fitment, our test boat's owner decided against a 'loo and in its place was a flush hatch accessing another cavernous stowage space belowdecks in the bilge area. It's not the place for gear that needs fast access perhaps, but it's perfect for times when you need to carry a heap of camping gear, or have something you need to transport out of the way, yet not get at in a hurry.

Stowage is always difficult to arrange in any centre-console but this boat has plenty. There's more belowdecks stowage under the bow deck, a big overboard draining fishpit belowdecks in the cockpit, and a huge icebox with a thickly upholstered lid and swing-over backrest serving as a central seating bench.

Jason tells me this is usually divided into two-thirds icebox and one-third stowage, but again our owner had specified it as all icebox. From these last couple of points we can surmise that OMM boats can be customised to your requirements, and as Jason said, no two are identical. I liked the icebox in this boat fine just as it was.

 



PERSONAL TOUCH

The owner of this boat had also specified that the sidedecks be left unpainted. You can see his point. While I guess unpainted sidedecks look a bit ordinary on a new boat, they're also an area where chips and marks happen soon enough, so long term there's a case to be argued that no paint looks better than chipped paint.

Fishing-wise, the cockpit is as good as it gets, with nice high sides and the sidepockets tucked away underneath the sidedeck's overhang. The deck itself is flat and set high enough to selfdrain.
Again, considerable thought has been devoted to self draining the deck, and there's a small bunged-scupper in each aft corner, as well as a larger central scupper.

During the test we did actually manage to get some water in through the central scupper. Our venue was the Caloundra Bar in northern Moreton Bay where a strong runout tide bucked against a brisk easterly wind to form metre(ish) pressure waves. One of them managed to burst onto the transom deck and in through the scupper, but no water came inboard from moving around the cockpit. I'd say the selfdraining system had passed with flying colours.

The aft bulkhead incorporated a livewell to starboard and a high mounted transom door to port. Hatches low in the bulkhead accessed batteries and the other contraptions, and a lounge seat fitted to a pair of spring-loaded quick-release mounts across half the starboard side. This seat could also be fitted to another set of quick-release mounts on the back of the icebox.

 



SOFT RIDE

The weather for this test was pretty ordinary, as demonstrated by the wave that joined us, so let's just say that none of us felt bad about not being out fishing.

If we'd had rods aboard, I did notice that the four-rod rocket launcher atop the bimini would have come up short. This was in fact the only shortcoming about the dimensions of the centre-cab/console. It simply wasn't wide enough for more rods to fit across. About the only solution I could suggest would be to put a second rail above the bimini to double the number of rodholders.

OMM uses an 18° deadrise bottom which, without stretch-forming or gusseting, dictates how fine a bow deadrise any plate-aluminium hull can achieve. It goes without saying from there that plate-aluminium hulls generally are hardly the softest or driest riding boats on the water, yet having said that, on a day fit to test the soft dry ride of any hull, I found the OMM among the very best conventional plate-aluminium hulls I've ever ridden in - and I've ridden in a few. If building boat hulls from unyielding metal has its limitations, there's still plenty of room for the fine-tuning that this hull quite evidently benefits from.

For power, a 140hp Suzuki didn't seem like a lot for a hefty looking hull, but when you got out on the water and drove this boat it lacked nothing in performance. With a 3kt current and some nasty lumps and bumps, it was difficult to precisely determine a minimum planing speed. However, it was certainly closer to 11kts than 12, and the Suzi provided ample mid-range torque to hold the hull securely on the plane.

Add another knot or two and the OMM waddled comfortably through the slop to deliver a more than acceptable ride. Inside the bar we found only enough flat water to wind it up to 28kts (with a little more to come) when we ran into a speed limit zone of 6kts. Jason said other hulls he's fitted with 140 Suzukis comfortably managed over 30kts, but 28kts was the best we could do on the day.

For the test we were running an 18in Suzuki stainless prop. Despite us running out of water to wind the motor right out, I felt that it swung the 18in prop a little too easily, and I would like to have tried a 19in or even 20in pitch prop.

 



THE RAP

Attention to fine detail sums up this boat very well. All in all it rates as perhaps the most comprehensively and completely thought out plate tinnie I've ever tested. And as I said before, I've ridden in a few…

 



WHAT WE LIKED

All open boats should have those sidecurtains!!!

The console/cabin (call it what you will) does work

Built by a fisherman for people who fish

 



NOT SO MUCH

What's in a name… and can it be shortened please?

 

 





SPECIFICATIONS: Offshore Marine Master 575 Wa/Cf

 



HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $59,990 (excluding electronics)

Options fitted: Test boat was a package deal w/ DF 140 Suzuki

Priced from: $49,800



GENERAL

Type: Centre-cabin (console) sportfisher

Material: Plate-aluminium

Length: 5.75m (6.15m LOA)

Beam: 2.4m

Deadrise: 18°

Weight: Approx 1850-1900kg (BMT)

Warranty: 5 years



CAPACITY

Fuel: 200lt (300lt optional)

Fresh water: n/a

People: Six

Min HP: 90

Max HP: 150

Max engine weight: 220kg



ENGINE

Make/model: Suzuki DF140

Type: Four-cylinder DOHC 16 valve EFI

Rated HP: 140

Displacement: 2044cc

Weight: 191kg

Gearbox ratio: 2.59:1

Propeller: Suzuki S/S 18in pitch



SUPPLIED BY:

Offshore Marine Master

3/7 Dual Avenue

Warana, Qld, 4575

Phone: (07) 5493 5111

Web: www.offshoremarinemaster.com.au

 

 



Originally published in TrailerBoat 255.

Find Offshore Marine Master boats for sale.

 


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