WIN A BOAT! <i>TrailerBoat</i> project boat build-up, part 2

WIN A BOAT! TrailerBoat project boat build-up, part 2

With the annual round of boat shows almost over, we recommenced work on our giveaway project boat — the Savage 435 Jabiru, known affectionately among the TrailerBoat
crew as the Bazziru.

We had to select the products we wanted for this boat and for that we turned to many of the companies that often appear in this magazine. We were pretty impressed with the GME G-Combo chartplotter / fishfinder when we tested it and, lucky for us, GME was only too glad to help. Not long after the first exploratory phone call a brand new G-Combo arrived by courier. Beaudy! And thank you, GME.

The matter of which stereo to install virtually solved itself when Fusion saw what we were doing with the Bazziru and jumped into the project head first. Boy, are those guys quick off the mark! Before we could make another exploratory phone call to anyone, Fusion had delivered an MS-RA200 marine stereo, along with two 6in, 200W God Almighty marine speakers. We were good to go.


Having received all the gear we needed to get the Jabiru looking good for the Sydney Boat Show — we, in this case, being my mate Pete Messenger and I. So being true (or maybe just brave) DIY types we decided to do the installation ourselves rather than spend a mint on getting a pro to do it for us.

The idea was to show our readers that most blokes can do this type of work if they go about it carefully and read the destructions first. It is, after all, a tinnie, not a 50ft Sunliner, so it makes sense to do this kind of job yourself if you can.

The fact that Pete is an electrician certainly helped — you can’t do without one on a job like this — but the hardest part was not installing the gear but actually deciding where the various components would go.

I say “Pete and I” got to work on the installation, but before we go any further I’d better make a confession. Pete did all the important work, which was the hard bits. I, on the other hand, took pictures and made the coffee. True, we concurred on where various components would go, but Pete did all the skilled work while I watched and cracked lame jokes.

Okay then, in pictures, here’s the first stage of our Sydney Boat Show fitout. The work occupied an entire day before Pete and I broke for dinner and a beer at the local workers club. Pete returned the next day to finish off the wiring while I wrote material for our Australia’s Greatest Boats special.

I can appreciate that some people would probably tackle this job differently, but here’s how we did it — or Pete did it — and with no mistakes.

We wanted the unit to be as close as possible to the helm position but in a spot where it was unlikely to be bumped accidentally. The Bazziru is 4.3m long but even so there’s no room to waste in a tinnie, and we had to get it right first time. You can’t drill holes all over a boat so Pete was careful where he placed the mount before screwing it down.

We learned something here too. The display unit won’t swivel with the mounting screws all the way in. So, position the mount, insert the screws part of the way, swivel the display unit to your preferred position and then screw it down.

Pete made the wiring neat and tidy by running it under the sidedecks, as you’d expect, and through the internal support brackets joining the side of the hull to the gunwales. There’s a lot of lying down in this job. And you need elbows with a universal joint.

Part of the fishfinder is, of course, the transducer — and installing it required care. Pete’s a fisherman and boat owner so he has a pretty good idea of how this should be done. Here, he uses a ruler to position the transducer so the base of it will run in the water, but it won’t be so low that it’s easily damaged when retrieving the boat or moving it around (also, that look of intense concentration could probably kill a small rodent — Ed).

To help protect the transducer, GME has given it a swivelling base so you can move it upwards and out of harm’s way when manhandling the boat. Good idea.

Holes for the plastic tabs securing the transducer wire on the transom were drilled above the water line.
On important fittings like these we used a dab of Loctite 243.

Mounting the head unit close to the fishfinder made sense so that’s what we did. The Fusion unit comes with a template that you use to trace out the shape of the head unit on the material on which you’ll mount it. A jigsaw was used to cut out the shaped slot in a piece of aluminium.

When the slot was cut for the head unit we made sure the thing fitted snugly and with no rubbing points. The head unit comes with a gasket so don’t forget that if you’re doing what we did.

Here’s the mount, ready to be positioned on the sidedeck and under the finder. Before screwing it down, Pete buffed the mount with a sander to give it a brushed aluminium look.

The most demanding part of this job was determining the best place for the speakers, and then making boxes for them. We didn’t want to hack holes in the front thwart seat, which is foam-filled, so we ended up mounting the speaker boxes under the sidedeck in front of the seat. Here the acoustics would be acceptable and the speakers were well protected.

Again, using the jigsaw we cut sections from a large aluminium drawer we had to form boxes for the speakers. A circular hole was then cut into the metal to accept the speaker.

The speaker box was then sanded to give a brushed aluminium look.

The box was tested for position, then secured with stainless nuts and bolts from the local hardware. The speakers were then installed and secured with small screws that came with the kit.

The head unit and sounder are close together so the respective controls are easy to reach from the driving position. The speakers look shmick in their alloy boxes and the thumpin’ sound they put out is great. Pete and I can’t wait to introduce the Lake Macquarie fish population to Pink Floyd, Trash, Screw Yoo, AC/DC, and the Vienna Boys Choir.

Stay tuned for more on the Bazziru project boat!