It’s also a journey that was made with good local advice and a little online research.
When Rob was offered the opportunity to manage a manganese mining operation on Groote Eylandt, he quickly phoned a few contacts in the region and asked them about the best vessel for him and his family of wife Michaela and three young sons Tom, Will and Ben.
“The responses suggested something around 6-7m with plenty of fishing room and a cabin for the family,” Rob said.
“I began researching on the internet and very quickly came to Australian Master Marine. “The Brisbane Boat Show was on around the same time, so I went to the show and had a look. “I placed an order a week later.”
Rob ordered an AMM plate alloy Tournament 7000 and didn’t hold back on the options. He opted for twin Suzuki 150hp outboards with digital controls, two 300-litre fuel tanks, a slightly wider cabin and extended hardtop, Garmin 8012 flush-mount GPS/sounder with CHIRP module, LED lighting, Stress Free electric anchor winch, chill box half seat, cabin and hardtop hatches, marine fans, sunshade awnings and a hull storage locker along with a raft of other features.
“I didn’t get one out on the water and I didn’t see the boat before it left the factory, but I was pretty comfortable dealing with AMM,” Rob said. “I did however visit AMM’s factory before they started building our boat.” Rob headed to Groote Eylandt in January 2014 and waited.
“It arrived on a trailer on a barge from Darwin,” Rob said. “We towed it home, gave it a once-over and were on the water the next weekend. “It’s very easy to drive – it took a little while to get used to the twin outboards, particularly around the boat ramp and while sight fishing around the rocks, but there were no issues whatsoever.
“The build quality is worth noting.
“There are a lot of big boats on Groote Eylandt and I think AMM sits at the top end in terms of build quality.
“When we’ve been on the water in many other people’s boats, I notice they don’t compare in terms of ride.”
Rob said the Tournament is a heavier boat and he thinks the hull design helps improve the ride as well.
“There are quite a few AMMs up here – probably an unusually high proportion of them on the island, so they have got quite a good reputation,” he said.
“If we go to the (Australian) mainland it’s about a 60-nautical mile one-way trip and that’s if you can drive in a straight line. “Some weekends we might do about 300km, which will get us over and back and around a few islands.
“Most trips would take us roughly 100km, as we go out in the morning and come back at night.
“There’s fishing all the way around Groote and then you can fish the islands between Groote and the mainland, as well as the mainland. “It doesn’t matter which direction you go, you can find fish fairly easily.”
In the first five months of having his Tournament 7000 on Groote Eylandt, Rob and his family put 120 hours on the engines.
AMM builds a range of plate alloy boats from 4.5m to 10m as well as highly customised commercial and recreational craft.
For more information, visit australianmastermarine.com.au