By: John Ford

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TABS is known for building strong boats and has a good reputation with its offshore product. We sent John Ford out to see how the posh-sounding Marquis Bowrider 5100 shaped up in the family boat stakes.



The TrailerBoat website,, is a popular destination for many seeking the latest boating news. If you've been on there recently, you may have noticed a poll asking which is better, glass or aluminium. Well, 56 per cent think glass is the go, but with Australia's boating industry turning out increasingly sophisticated alloy models this preference seems to be on the turn. Alloy boats still find favour as knock-about tools for commuting and fishing. They're easy to clean and maintain too, but this is partly due to the boats having little in the way of creature comforts to damage anyway.

Today's boat buying public is pretty demanding, so the days of sticking a motor on the back of a tinnie with a couple of thwart seats and calling it a luxury model are long gone. Now we want the lot. So manufacturers like TABS have risen to the call and now present the tinnie as a real alternative to the veritable "glassy".



Damien Goff from Enterprise Marine, out of north Sydney, was keen to point out the quality of finish in the 5100 Marquis bowrider that we'd borrowed for an afternoon on Sydney's Pittwater. Even so, he saved most of his enthusiasm for what you can't see. The hull is a veritable honeycomb of metal marvel, according to Damien, and is the base for what he claims to be one of the strongest and stiffest boats available.

It looks sharp too. Overall finish, and the rich black paint are high quality, and the two-tone colour and modern graphics give the boat a pleasing appearance.

The transom has a swim platform each side, with a starboard door and a ladder. These are optional though. You could have a single swim platform, which would look a bit incongruous, or none, which would be a bit impractical but certainly cheaper. All this keeps the cost down if these items are not accounted for in your budget - so it's either a great idea or a bit stingy, depending on how you look at it.

What it does say, however, is that TABS boats are very adaptable, as you can order what you think would be useful from a list rich of options.

In the back of the boat is a folding twin-rear lounge. You also get twin-batteries, T-cleats and rodholders. A marine carpeted floor takes you forward to the helm where there are swivelling pedestal seats with a sliding seat for the skipper. A glass dash panel sits each side of the walkthrough to the bow area and, I might add, tends to soften the look of the metal construction.

The bow has well-upholstered vinyl seating for three adults but there might be a bit of competition for legroom. Grabrails on the side make things safer when underway, and the large lined anchorwell is easily accessed by kneeling on the lounge. There's a large T-cleat, a small bowsprit with a roller, and grabrail around the bow, which will no doubt be useful when retrieving the anchor. There's also a large and well-made bimini that provides good shelter over most of the aft section.



With an 80hp Yamaha four-stroke turning a 17in prop, the Marquis is a bit lazy out of the hole, although once it gets moving it's happy to cruise on 4000rpm at 20kts (37kmh). The Yamaha is economical, and the power suits this size of boat, but the weight of the motor does tell at lower speeds. Wide open throttle at 5800rpm was 29kts (53kmh).

Right through its speed range the hull feels safe and sits securely on the water. Handling is good and across chop blown up by 20kts of southerly the ride remained stable and soft. The hidden benefits of the well-built hull were evident in the way the boat rode quietly and felt solid into waves. Spray was deflected well away and even across the breeze we remained dry. Stability at rest was good too - I know this because a couple of big blokes on one side didn't upset the balance.



TABS prides itself on a quality build with the catchphrase "tough Aussie boats." Despite its elegant sounding name, the Marquis fits the slogan but doesn't give much away in comfort. It's tough alright, but gentle in its ride. It's aluminium, sure, but with a touch of glass and nice fittings. It might even turn some plastic lovers into tinnie lovers.


On the plane...

Build quality

Quiet hull

Looks good


Dragging the chain...

A bit doughy out of the hole



15kts (27kmh) @ 3500rpm (on the plane)

20kts (37kmh) @ 4000rpm

26kts (48kmh) @ 5000pm

29kts (53kmh) @ 5800rpm (wide open throttle)




Specifications: TABS Marquis Bowrider 5100



Price as tested: $39,990

Options fitted: Yamaha F80 four-stroke, port and starboard swim platform, swim ladder, transom door, tie-down lugs, two-tone paint, bimini

Price from: $33,455 (with Yamaha 70BETOL)



Type: Monohull

Material: Aluminium 3mm bottom and sides

Length: 5.1m

Beam: 2.3m

Weight (hull): 525kg

Deadrise: 15°



Fuel: 110lt

Max. HP: 90

Min. HP: 60

People: 5



Make/model: Yamaha F80b

Type: DOHC, four-cylinder, four-stroke

Rated HP: 80

Displacement: 1596cc

Weight: 172kg

Gearbox ratio: 2.31:1

Propeller: 17in



TABS Boats

2 Activity Crescent

Ernest, Qld, 4214

Tel: (07) 5594 6333




Enterprise Marine

1416 Pittwater Rd,

Narabeen, NSW, 2101

Tel: (02) 9913 7767




Originally published in TrailerBoat 266.





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