There's no shortage of decent alloy crafts on today's market and I often reflect on how difficult it must be for newcomers to make a choice that will stand the test of time. The decision is not really about the initial outlay, but whether the owner can look back after a few years and still agree the decision to purchase was the right one.
I've reviewed several craft from Offshore Master Marine in the last three years and I can’t imagine anyone regretting buying one of their crafts. They have superb workmanship, easy functional layout, sea worthiness and high performance. So it is no surprise that the 115hp Suzuki powered 5300 WA Reef Master All Rounder, a walkaround style craft, could fulfil general family boating requirements just as easily as a run offshore with a team of diehard fishos.
In best standard, the craft came with a decent bowsprit, bollard and anchor well. There is a large bow rail up front that is very reassuring for those less surefooted, along with carpeting throughout. And for those who like to feel the wind in their hair, there’s a neat dickie seat set up on the front of the centre cab.
A carpeted step goes down into the cockpit where a wide storage box bench seat is sheltered by the windscreen, overhead bimini and above screen clears. Up to three people could enjoy the seating with handholds for security, plus ample padding mated to a fore/aft bolster style backrest for a comfy ride.
A flat section of dash extended aft of the windscreen and a high lip at its rear will ensure that items placed up there stay put. Also installed on this flat upper section were a Humminbird 777c sounder and 785c GPS for ease of monitoring while driving. The craft's soft-feel wheel (linked to its hydraulic steering), main gauges and switches were set up on the upright bulkhead below the GPS unit, alongside the forward controls and ignition switch.
The 5300 Reef Master's cabin entry door was a zip down fabric job with a very handy fly screen to keep insects out: a nice touch given that one or two people could sleep aboard quite comfortably. An overhead shelf plus forward hatch was standard within the cabin, as was a toilet below the removable floor.
The storage box below the helm seating is also worthy of mention; it's multi compartments can be used for dry storage as well as an ice box for the catch or cold drinks. The box hinged aft for ease of access, with neat gas struts keeping it open so you could devote both hands to slipping a big fish in, or removing enough drinks to keep the crew happy. It’s an excellent design from Offshore Marine Master.
Cockpit features were also well set out with large 2m long side pockets capable of swallowing up plenty of gear. Gunwale grab rails, two rod holders per side and a two tiered bait station situated centrally on the transom were handy for the angler, as was a large plumbed live well set into the starboard corner of the transom.
A removable aft two person seat, with padded coaming for a back rest, is handy during travel time and I noted that the seat could easily be slipped out and stored within the cabin if additional cockpit room for fishing was required. And the plumbed under floor kill tank in the aft cockpit floor was a beauty.
The OMM's transom features included neat boarding platforms with associated grab rails set up each side of the 115 Suzuki, a useful berley distribution tube was installed on the starboard platform, and a retractable boarding ladder was set up to port. The craft's stainless steel fuel filler was also located within the transom, adjacent to the boarding gate, which means you could stand on the port boarding platform to fuel her up – very convenient.
The OMM 5300 WA Reef Master All Rounder is rated for engines from 75-115hp or a maximum transom weight of 200kg. Offshore Master Marine do turn out solidly constructed craft, the 5300 has 4mm plate sides and bottom and sports a dry weight of around 1300kg. Yet the 115 Suzuki four-stroke made such an easy job of powering the rig that I could easily see a 90hp engine doing the job just as well.
The very quiet, yet responsive, 115 Suzuki easily planed the craft at 2,800rpm at a speed of 18.3km/h, 3,000rpm saw 23.6km/h on the Humminbird 785c GPS, 4,000rpm a smooth 36.2km/h and 5,000 pm saw 50.7km/h. Fast enough for a fishing boat, and the response from the 115 Suzuki showed its ability to kick the craft away from waves with ease. If a nasty wave was on the tail offshore, the engine/hull combination had the ability to get Skipper and crew away from danger very smartly.
I also had the opportunity to see just how well the OMM 5300 could handle waves and chop. The first point to impress me was the quietness of the foam filled hull, and the next was the dryness of the ride. We certainly hit some of those waves quite hard but the bow's design and above water flare ensured we stayed dry. Although there was some wave impact, as expected, it was certainly not excessive at any time. A sensible driver would find very little to complain about as regards to the ride and handling of this craft.
With a 15º deadrise the hull was certainly not inclined to lean excessively; two people on one side had little effect while at rest. A couple of under water strakes, a solid keel, plus slightly reversed outer chines all aided the hull to settle and grip at rest, and to track straight and true while under way.
The OMM 5300 WA Reef Master All Rounder is a well put together rig that has been primarily designed as an excellent fishing craft yet would fulfil family boating chores quite easily. I saw it primarily as a great offshore rig, one that should – given the outstanding build quality and standard of fittings used throughout – last for years.
The 115 Suzuki was a great choice of engine and had ample power for the application. The craft is rated for up to five and would fish that number easily. Price is from $47,800, as reviewed $55,449. Offshore Master Marine can be contacted on (07) 5493 5111 or 0438 778 330 or fax (07) 5493 5110.
|Engines:||75 to 115hp|
|Engine fitted:||115 Suzuki four-stroke|
|Towing:||Family six sedan or wagon|