When it comes to the great outdoors, there are few better ways to escape than aboard a boat. Once again, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre has played host to the Annual Melbourne Boat Show - the largest boat show in the southern hemisphere. On show were millions of dollars worth of boats, along with water displays, boating, diving and fishing accessories and entertainment for all the family. The 47th Annual Boat Show saw TV's Geoff "Coxy" Cox, the Show's Ambassador, accompanied by officials from the Boating Industry Association, arrive via the Yarra River and make their way to the show aboard a new amphibian boat called "Sealegs". The show was a mecca for all manner of water craft from rubber dinghies and tinnies through to big dollar pleasure craft that offer every conceivable luxury. Recreational boating continues to grow in this country, and according to Lindsay Grenfell, CEO of BIA, "sales of boats are growing faster than the rate of the population." Just 4x4s and Outdoors went along to the Boat Show to check out the big range on show. While the Exhibition Centre was crammed with hundreds of boats, there was also plenty of outdoor accessories, navigation aids, gadgets, fishing gear and boating holiday destinations. We hope you enjoy our special coverage of the Melbourne Boat Show.
Find your Sealegs..
In the age of "been there, done that," Sealegs boats have the capacity to leave you speechless. And it manages to do so quickly, smoothly and without getting wet - pretty impressive for a boat! To be fair, Sealegs is an amphibious boat, meaning it handles both the land and the water, and while amphibious boats aren't a new phenomenon, ones that work this well are. By focusing on the core values of a boat, then building in a tough engine that handles the three all-terrain wheels, Sealegs shine where others simply managed. Sealegs is the brainchild of New Zealand businessman Nick Fox, who grew frustrated by the rigmarole of launching his boat from his beachside home. Rather than reversing a trailer, submerging it enough for the vessel to float and then clumsily climbing aboard and moving the trailer, you simply get in, start the engine and drive toward the ramp or beach - when you're deep enough, just start the outboard engine and you're away. It's such a smooth process that it's difficult to know where one starts and the other ends.
Already operating at full capacity, Sealegs have proven popular all around the world, taking orders from Italian Firefighters, remote holiday resorts and even retirees who find regular boats difficult to launch. "People are skeptical to begin with, but once they actually use one, they're converted. There was one customer who asked for a test drive - as soon as I called him from his driveway he was convinced," says company Director Will Burrell. In fact Will himself became involved with the company after using them in his own business. Any remaining questions about the quality of Sealegs were quashed in 2005 when it smashed the previous world record for crossing the English Channel. Will laughs when recounting the story. "We managed to do it in 43 minutes and 12 seconds, compared to over an hour and 40 minutes. That record was previously held by Sir Richard Branson, and he wasn't too happy about us breaking it! We've got some other wild ideas in store for the future that will really illustrate just how good these boats are."
Yamaha F350 world beater
Yamaha took the wraps off its new four stroke model - the F350. The new model is the first production outboard utilising a V8 engine and also delivers the world's highest output at 3530 horsepower, rated at the prop. With a displacement of 5330cc, the new V8 F350 delivers a maximum power output of 257kW (350hp) at the prop shaft, which is the highest horsepower rating for an outboard motor in the world today. The massive power and torque of this model ensures a big boost and acceleration performance. The F350 also features a new streamlined external design with a completely new look from any of Yamaha's previous four stroke outboards.
New from Supra Boats is the 22SSV. Featuring the $12,995 Limited Package, this stunning boat features a special audio pack, dual batteries, tower mirror bracket, Black Tower accessories and custom paint pattern. The boat in standard form comes powered by an Indmar Assault 325 HP MPI engine and is priced at $86,950. The Limited Package and boat trailer round this out to $103,180.
The Stabi-Craft is a strong boat built to tackle the toughest conditions. The hull is thoroughly tested beyond what you are ever likely to ask of it, and the build quality is there, even in places you'll never see. The Stabi-Craft is virtually unsinkable, with superior rough water handling.
Ology Batwing tower
New Zealand company Ology has introduced the Batwing tower (above). The tower fits all boats and comes with many options, such as board racks, tower speakers, tower lights, Bimini tops, rod holders or high poles. Ology products are crafted out of high grade stainless steel and aluminium to withstand the elements. The Wake board tower (Batwing) above is custom made for a unique look. It is designed to collapse for storage when not required.
A host of new navigation devices were launched at the Boat Show.
Navman has launched a new range of products offering you even more chart plotters and fish finders to extend their already impressive range. The Navman 8084 is a powerful new non-networked multifunction device, sporting an 8.4-inch display. The 8084 features chart plotter, sonar and video capabilities, support for the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and compatibility with Navman brand new High Definition Digital Radar. Navman High Definition (HD) Digital Radar solution compatible with Navman's 8120 and 8084, the new Navman HD Digital Radar offers superior target discrimination, separation and presentation.
Navman's enhanced Digital Signal Processing* (DSP) techniques, combined with 10-bit target discrimination, provide unparalleled radar images. Featuring a full VGA display, the Navman 6507 is a combination chart plotter and fish finder with a 5-inch high-resolution, full VGA colour screen, external GPS antenna, 600W dual frequency 200/50 kHz sounder and SmartCraft integration. The Navman 5607 and 5507 are powerful solutions. The 5507 & 5607 feature a high resolution 640 x 480 VGA screen. Navman offers the 4607 and 4507 fish finders. The Navman 4607 and 4507 are equipped with a dual-frequency, 200kHz/50kHz sounder,`` boast 600-Watt RMS power.
GME has a range of entertaining products for your boat. The forerunner for this range is the 180 watt GD9520, a state of the art, multi-function entertainment system featuring a DVD/ CD player with AM/FM RADIO. Specifically designed for bulkhead mounting, the GD9520 provides boat owners with a compact audio/video system with the added flexibility of wireless remote control, auxiliary SD, USB and audio jack inputs. Housed in an IP56 rated weatherproof casing, utilising marinised componentry and circuit boards, the GD9520 continues the GME tradition of innovation and functionality. In a further expansion of its marine entertainment product range, GME has announced the introduction of GT9600 Acies Digital Television Receiver. The Acies digital receiver overcomes the age old problem of TV reception on boats.
By drawing on the latest digital reception techniques, GME's Acies compact digital receiver, provides clear, focused pictures whether moored or underway anywhere within the free to air digital transmission footprint. The GME GT9600 is a fully featured digital receiver, with Teletext, infrared wireless remote control ideally suited to the marine environment with conformally coated circuit boards and various mounting options. Another product is the new GME GX620 Hand Held Marine VHF Transceiver, which offers boat owners a substantially lower cost portable option without sacrificing features or compromising on quality. With most of the features of the larger 25 Watt fixed-mount marine VHF radios, including channel scan, instant Channel 16 access, dual and triple watch the compact 3 Watt GX620 is ideal for dinghies or tenders that need to keep in touch with the "mother ship" or small boats that don't have space for a fixed-mount radio.
VISION TRAK - YOUR EYE IN THE SKY
The three letters "GPS" have become a large part of the modern landscape, and while it has managed to cut down the number of people going the wrong way down one way streets, and getting lost on roundabouts, Vision Trak have much bigger ideas for the technology. By joining the advanced capabilities of global positioning with cutting edge communication technology, Vision Trak is able offer absolute peace of mind for boat owners at a fraction of the price you'd expect. It may be the best money you spend on your investment. Utilising a small one off installation cost and a small subscription service, Vision Trak fit an unobtrusive GPS transmitter to your boat and can keep tabs on your pride and joy, no matter how far away.
With constant monitoring from the Vision Trak control centre, the instant someone moves or boards your vessel without authorisation you're alerted along with the appropriate authorities, and the property is tracked in real time. Removal of the transmitter is impossible, and tampering with the unit triggers an alarm to the control centre. While security is the main benefit to the Vision Trak system, peace of mind is also included with the ability to track the movements in real time online. That means that loved ones movements can be traced from the comfort of home, while authorities can be alerted should the vessel veer off course. With a range of options and plans to suit every boat, there's no other security system as advanced, user friendly or comprehensive as Vision Trak. If you love your boat, find out the benefits of having an eye in the sky by visiting www.visiontrak.com.au .
Oceantalk SuperDigi signal stretcher
Oceantalk have upgraded their SuperDigi TV?tuner to further improve on board TV?reception.
Utilising ‘diversity' reception with twin tuners and antennas, the picture suddenly looked a lot clearer. The introduction of more sensitive tuner circuits has made it even better, and best of all the price has come down.
The Super Digi Signal Stretcher, a small box that connects to your Premium Digi TV tuner, boosts the signal to provide vastly superior reception.