Tested: The AMM Tournament 7000


For the unlucky north Queenslanders who weren’t in Mackay on the Monday following the Boat Show and super-boat races, let me state categorically that it is was cold.  Bloody cold!  It was, in fact, colder than it was in Brisbane.  So, I feel vindicated for my small faux pas during the testing of two of Australian Master Marines’ (AMM) finest.

What was my mistake?  When the sun is still rising, the temperature is in single figures, you are about to do “on water” testing and you have the choice of a beautiful 7M hardtop and an open 4.9M centre console to take out first, what would you do?  Of course you would do as I did, and quickly jump aboard the larger boat and hide behind the beautiful curved windscreen out of the biting cold.  So, what was the issue, I hear you ask?  The issue is that at some stage you have to exit your cosy cocoon and stand behind the wheel of the smaller, open boat and let your eyes water and nose run as you blast around at 30 knots.  Keep this in mind if I tend to “wax lyrical” over the larger vessel and appear a little blasé when reporting on the smaller boat.

I must also add that both of the test boats have owners and have been set up to suit their requirements.  We all know that a boat is a very personal thing and what suits one person may not necessarily suit another; so my comments on each particular vessel are what I would have if they were mine.  This also highlights one of the advantages of buying a plate alloy boat over fibreglass, especially when you are dealing with an experienced, professional company like AMM where you can personalise your purchase almost at will.  It’s also worth noting that AMM have been manufacturing Australian-made, custom plate aluminium boats for over 20 years under the same Australian ownership, so they know what options suit our conditions.

AMM Tournament 7000

For most plate boat builders, a seven metre model is the top of the range, but not for AMM where this model sits nicely between their 4.5m baby and the 10m monster.  While the standard package runs a Yamaha F225, the test boat was fitted with a new Yamaha V6 F250DETX.  They can also be built for twin engines or even a diesel stern drive option.  The deluxe fit out package also included an electric anchor winch and flush toilet located under the V berth cushions among a myriad of other options.  With the owner clearly dedicated to long range fishing, the boat was designed to suit and had extended, insulated storage under the passenger seat, dry storage under the helm seat, live bait tanks and large under floor kill tank as well as cavernous side pockets.  The three-quarter hard top was extended even further with an extra soft top providing protection from the harsh, north Queensland sun.  Rod holders were abundant with eight on the rocket launcher (installed on either corner rather than across the back to allow for differing rod angles), two on the bait board and then four along each side.  A hinged, port side door allows for easy access onto the large transom and would be ideal for hauling aboard those larger captures or for those of you (leave me out thanks) that like jumping in the briny with the fishes.  Showing excellent usage of space, the transom/pod also houses the 50L freshwater storage.   The finished package is impeccable.  I could not see a blemish when looking along the external side plates.  The paintwork is of the highest standard and, more importantly to me, all the internal aluminium incorporated large, smooth radius corners.  When you see a large AMM, you suddenly realise how they are closing the gap between plate and fibreglass boats in regards to the product finish.

I have stated in previous tests that I love hardtops and this boat only reinforced this opinion.  Full size sliding windows provide excellent ventilation and combined with the huge, curved windscreen there was no obstruction to visibility in any direction (both are made from toughened safety glass).  Matt even advised they can fit sweeping wipers, if required, and this would be an option I would have.  Roof hatches are also a handy option in FNQ and would be worth considering if this was your area.  Both the helm and passenger seats are well mounted and comfortable with the helm seat having sufficient adjustment to accommodate almost any build.  I did note that while seated I was inclined to bump the digital throttle control with my knee and would consider raising it a little higher.  In saying this, it did feel fine while driving in the usual Nth Qld standing position.  The dash was well laid out and large enough to accommodate a single 12 inch combination display or two smaller units.  My preference would be one large display in the dash and a quality sounder mounted on the top.  When I put on my VMR cap, I noted a lack of overhead grab rails on the roof and would definitely install one running the length of the hard top and a couple of extra ones on the cab sides.  When the going gets rough, you can’t have too many “Jesus” bars!

While not a true walk-around, the Tournament 7000 has 300mm of nonslip flooring along each side of the hardtop and a front deck more than suitable for throwing beer-can-size poppers at rampaging GT’s.  This really is one serious fishing machine with a generous V berth up front, and by adding the stove/sink option would also make a comfortable couples escape for a few days.

That’s enough cosmetics; it’s time to do the real testing.  When you have 7 metres of boat built from 6mm hull plates and 4mm sides, throw in 300L of fuel and 50L of water, the result is a feeling of size and security on the water.  The 20 degree dead rise is carried through to amidships and a large chine deflects water with ease.  With only 5 knots of breeze, we were not going to be able to test the rough water capabilities with jumping a few wakes our only option to see how the hull behaved.  As I eased the throttle forward the first thing to strike me was how quickly the big boat moved onto the plane.  While most vessels of this size will start “falling off” around 12 or 13 knots, the Tournament 7000 was happily planing at 10 knots with the big Yamaha (driving a 17 inch, 3 blade SS propeller) spinning at 2500RPM.  Moving through the rev range, we achieved a top speed of 37 knots at wide open throttle (5800RPM) using 96Lt/Hr.  Most economical cruise was at 3500RPM where we were doing 21 knots and burning 30 litres per hour.  At this speed, leaving a 20% margin in the standard 300L tank, you have a range of 168Nm.  Knowing the distances travelled in boats as capable as this, I would be optioning the larger tank to extend my safe range.  Matt Thomas, AMM’s GM, advised that a 600L tank is an available upgrade.

Over the years, I have driven a lot of boats powered by 4 stroke outboards and have come to accept the smooth, albeit gentle, acceleration that is the norm for these motors.  Well, not any more, if the new Yamaha V6 is any guide.  Give the throttle a shove and the 7000 accelerated like a ski boat and blasted out of the hole.  Yamaha states: “Their big capacity has been matched with Yamaha’s Variable Camshaft Timing system that dramatically increases power and throttle response at low and mid-range RPM.  This allows Yamaha’s new 4.2 litre big-bore V6 Offshore Outboards to deliver awesome “out of the hole” performance and mid-range acceleration you have to feel to believe.” And from the seat of my pants feeling I have no reason not to believe this blurb.  If there is an issue with this boat and motor combination, it would be the difficulty in maintaining an economical cruising speed.  The fun to be had in playing “boy racer” would be hard to resist.

The AMM Tournament 7000 is up there with the best in this market.  From design, build and finish it is hard to fault.  Quality of this magnitude does not come cheap, with the highly optioned, test boat and custom made, dual axle, aluminium trailer coming in at around $135,000 including electronics.   At almost three tonne fully loaded for a boys’ weekend away, it also requires a significant tow vehicle.  Would I buy one?  If I was in the market for something in this range, I would be hard pressed to find better.