words & photos - Jeff Webster
A very capable, custom outfitted trailerable cruiser

- Full fit-out for long range coastal cruising
- Heavy-duty construction
- Excellent stability and ride comfort
- Economical, reliable Steyr diesel power
- Ample headroom in cabin and helm
- Bow thruster works a treat
- Low BMT trailer weight

- Boarding ladder too short
- Needs a wider/larger foot-rest at helm
- No passenger chair due to fridge/freezer
- Not enough bench space in the galley

- Built to order
Brisbane’s Australian Master Marine is one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of aluminium trailerboats and has been at the forefront of plate alloy boat design and construction since the company’s inception more than two decades ago.

AMM, as the company is best known, specialises in the production of deep vee plate alloy monohulls from 6.8m through to 10m in length.

A semi-production range is available with the company’s Tournament and Weekender models, but the AMM team will also build to custom order.

A fine example of AMM’s custom work is the subject of this test report, the AMM 8000 Tournament Inboard.

- A turn-key trailerable cruiser with the works
With the test boat AMM were tasked with creating a vessel capable of coastal, live-aboard cruising. Starting with the company’s standard 7400 Tournament model as a base, a wide range of modifications were made and options and accessories fitted.

The cabin and hard top were extended and raised for more cabin room and weather protection, and the overall length of the hull increased with the addition of a larger rear boarding platform and the extension of the topsides and outer hull chines. These modifications have increased the overall hull length from 7.7m to 8.3m -- including the bowsprit.

The interior layout of the 8000 Cruiser is custom designed and a large range of accessories have been added. They include, but are not limited to a 220-litre fridge/freezer on the port side of the saloon area, freshwater deck wash (with 2 x 50-litre holding tanks), deck shower, cabin galley unit with two-burner diesel stove, sink, storage, 12-volt hot water system, desalination unit (in starboard-side helm seat box), full camper covers to enclose the rear cockpit, insect screens to cabin windows, custom helm station with an array of Raymarine electronics, electric flushing toilet, 500-litre sub-floor fuel tank, multiple batteries, upgraded alternator for battery charging, Hella LED cabin and cockpit lighting, Stress Free anchor winch, and a Vetus 150mm bow thruster.

All of the above features (and others not listed) are in addition to the standard equipment included with AMM Tournaments models. There is so much custom gear in fact that AMM has advised that the price for the test package will be given out on application only.

As a guide however, the starting price for the 8000 Tournament Inboard comes in at $135,786. This includes AMM’s regular deluxe fit-out package (check the AMM website for full details) combined with a custom-made alloy trailer and a 280hp Steyr diesel inboard mated to a MerCruiser Bravo 11 sterndrive leg.

With a single 250hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard, the BMT price drops further to $114,295.

- A water-borne motorhome
Maximising forward cabin space was a priority with the test boat so the berth set-up is modular in design with various infill cushions that can be moved about to suit different sleeping preferences. The berths can be rigged as a full size double or as two singles with the two centre berth cushions removed.

The starboard side berth is the longest at 2.7m. The port side berth is shorter (but still 2.07m) due to the galley station situated at the foot of the cabin entryway.

There is ample storage space throughout the cabin and the electric flush toilet is tucked away under the starboard berth, below the enclosed wiring box.

At the cabin entryway there is full standing headroom, though this tapers down going forward. There is about a metre of headroom over the berths in the main part of the cabin so the area feels quite open and spacious.

A hatch in the forepeak opens to provide access to the foredeck -- though it is just as easy to climb around the cabin sides.

A Stress Free brand anchor winch was fitted to the test boat, flush fitted below the foredeck in the very larger anchor well.

Back inside the cabin, the galley set-up up looks to be practical and there is plenty of storage space. To save weight, the galley unit is made from a foam-core composite material instead of alloy.

The hard top on the boat is made from the same composite material. I’m told the construction of this special hard top and galley was both time consuming and costly -- but was worthwhile because it saved around 700kg in weight. The BMT weight of the test rig is a comparatively light weight 3,300kg. It would have been closer to 4,000kg with a regular alloy hard top and galley unit.

Galley features include a two burner stove and sink with hot/cold running water. Unusually, the stove runs off diesel not gas as the owner did not want any flammable materials or liquids onboard the boat.

A fold-out table provides space for food preparation, but more bench space would be useful.

Separating the lower cabin from the helm or saloon area is a full bulkhead, but instead of a cabin door, the test boat was fitted with a zip-up canvas privacy screen. A hatch and lock-up cabin door is an option for those who would prefer to secure the forward cabin.

One of the most striking aspects of the helm area is the amount of head room under the hard top and the height of the dash and instrument panel.

The helm position is also elevated -- to the extent that there is a step beneath the Reelax helm chair to help you climb up into it. Once you’re up in the chair though, the comfort factor is pretty good -- although the foot-rest provided was a bit too narrow.

The view through the reinforced glass windscreen is excellent, and the up-sized glass side windows slide open for good ventilation and vision.

From the helm, all the electronics and engine gauges are easily sighted and the stainless-steel steering wheel and throttle are well placed and comfortable to use.

In the test rig the Reelax helm chair was pedestal mounted above a box which contained the onboard Horizon Seafari mini desalinator. This small, but pricey unit is capable of making 27 litres of freshwater per hour.

Opposite the helm chair and desalinator was a big fridge/freezer box with 130 litres of capacity for the freezer, 90 litres for the fridge. A cushion can be clipped down over the top so that it can be used as a passenger seat -- though I would have preferred a proper helm chair.

Moving aft, the sealed, self-draining cockpit is long and wide, although the Steyr inboard engine box restricts the amount of walk-about space.

Overall, cockpit length from the cabin bulkhead to the transom wall is 3.6m. Behind the helm seat boxes the length is 2.33m by 2.34m wide.

The internal freeboard is a constant 700mm all the way around the cockpit. The side storage pockets are 160mm wide and extend the full cockpit length.

Full length stern rails and six built-in rod holders grace the 240mm wide side coamings.

Kill tanks are located under the floor on each side, while overhead, under the hard top is a horizontal rod storage rack.

Other features include a port side transom door, railed-off boarding platform and ladder, vertical alloy rod rack, cutting board, cushioned engine box cover, heavy duty stern cleats and a bilge access hatch.

- Reliable diesel engine power and economy
The AMM Tournament 8000 test rig was powered by the Austrian manufactured Steyr MO286 diesel inboard, driving through a MerCruiser Bravo 11 sterndrive leg.

The MO286 is not the latest in the Steyr diesel line-up (following the release of the SE series in mid 2012), but this 3.2-litre six cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled engine is able to punch out a healthy 280hp @ 4300rpm.

The Steyr diesel proved a good engine choice for the AMM 8000, pushing the craft to a top speed of 33 knots. The big diesel has plenty of torque so the boat accelerated strongly through the low and mid range.

Feeding the Steyr diesel was an underfloor fuel tank with a custom capacity of 500 litres. Standard models come with 240 litres.

The installation of the Steyr diesel looked neat and tidy and there was ample space within the engine box for servicing and maintenance.

- A big, solid, easily handled and surprisingly nimble cruiser
The AMM Tournament 8000 is a big and comparatively heavy cruiser, yet it feels quite agile on the water. There’s no getting away from the size and weight of the rig -- especially with sterndrive diesel power -- but I was impressed with the boat’s mid-speed handling and manoeuvrability.

The hydraulic steering was very good and the boat felt quite nimble in high-speed turns.

At docking speeds the manoeuvrability of the test boat was boosted by the fitting of a Vetus bow thruster. With the push of a button and joystick, you can quickly compensate for current or wind drift when coming into a boat ramp or marina berth.

With regard to ride comfort there are few boats in this size range capable of bettering the AMM 8000 -- in aluminium or fibreglass. The boat rides softly through chop and swell, and with its reverse chines and high topsides it is also quite dry.

Stability at rest was excellent and in a following sea (what little there was on the test day) the hull handled well and tracked straight.

- Another winner from AMM
As a trailerable cruiser, the AMM 8000 Tournament scores highly in my book. With diesel engine power and a full custom build and fit-out, it is not a cheap boat, but it is equipped with all the good gear -- including the proverbial kitchen sink.

Coastal passage making is genuinely possible with the AMM 8000 due to its level of equipment, build quality, fuel range and inherent seaworthiness. This is not a boat for beginners, but experienced boaters will appreciate all it has to offer.

4.3kts (8km/h) @ 1000rpm
6.0kts (11km/h) @ 1500rpm
7.8kts (14km/h) @ 2000rpm
12.5kts (23km/h) @ 2500rpm
20.0kts (37km/h) @ 3000rpm
25.1kts (46km/h) @ 3500rpm
29.5kts (55km/h) @ 4000rpm
33.1kts (61km/h) @ 4500rpm (WOT)

Overall rating: 4.8/5.0
Mechanical/equipment: 4.9/5.0
Packaging and practicality: 4.7/5.0
On the water performance: 4.8/5.0
Value for money: 4.6/5.0
X-factor: 4.7/5.0

Standard Boat Price: $135,786 including Steyr MO286 turbo diesel engine (or equivalent) with MerCruiser Bravo 11 sterndrive, custom AMM tandem axle trailer with electric/hydraulic break-away brakes, and AMM’s deluxe fit-out package. Refer website for list of inclusions.
Price as tested: POA
Priced from: $114,295 with a single 250hp Suzuki four-stroke
Length overall: 8.3m
Beam: 2.5m
Dry weight (incl. engine) Approx. 2500kg
Towing weight: Approx. 3300kg
Deadrise: 20 degrees
Bottom alloy: 6mm
Topside alloy: 4mm
Cockpit floor alloy: 3mm
Roof thickness: 3mm
Maximum power: 350hp
Engine as tested: Steyr MO286 TDi 280hp with MerCruiser Bravo 11 drive
Fuel: 240 litres (upgradeable to 600 litres)
Maximum Persons: Eight

Supplied by:
Australian Master Marine
234 Leitchs Road
Brendale QLD 4500
Phone: (07) 3889 7380.

Read the latest Boatsales Network news and reviews on your mobile, iPhone or PDA at the Boatsales Network's mobile site. Or download the all-new App.

Published : Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Prices and specifications supplied are for the market in Australia only and were correct at time of first publication. makes no warranty as to the accuracy of specifications or prices. Please check with manufacturer or local dealer for current pricing and specifications.