WIN A BOAT! TrailerBoat project boat build-up, part 4

TrailerBoat project boat build-up, part 4

There are only a few months to go before we hand over our Savage “Bazziru” Jabiru 435 project tinnie to one extremely lucky reader. Of course, that hasn’t stopped us from adding several refining touches. In previous editions of TrailerBoat we’ve taken it fishing to Port Stephens, water-tested its excellent 30hp Evinrude E-TEC, and talked you through the installation of its Fusion and GME electronics. 

The next step was to devise a plan to keep most of our gear off the floor. A cluttered floor is untidy and possibly even dangerous, so we turned to the guys at Tallon for some advice.

During this build-up, my mate Pete Messenger and I have done all the work ourselves, mainly because we wanted to show readers that if they’re careful, DIY types can succeed with a small boat. We wanted to install the Tallon gear ourselves too, although doing so required that we drill several largish holes in the boat (four, to be exact), and since we didn’t want to screw up, it really was a matter of “measure twice and cut once” — or in my case, measure five times and then let Pete do the cutting.

Anyway, after a chat with Mitch Cope at Stern First, Tallon’s Australian distributor, we agreed that a set of four receivers, along with a baitboard, two drinkholders and two rodholders would be a good place to start for a couple of weenies like us. Also, we figured that four receivers were as many as most fishos would want in a 4.3m tinnie.WHAT ARE THEY?
Before we go any further with this, for those unfamiliar with the product we’ll explain how it works. Tallon receivers were designed by New Zealander entrepreneur Peter Marshall. They’re constructed from materials that look capable of surviving a nuclear blast, some sort of high-impact plastic I imagine, but they’re attractive as well and that’s always a bonus.

By design, the receivers accept any number of useful accessories, including the above-mentioned rod and drinkholders, as well as dive bottles, marine lights, stainless utility hoops, and powered devices such as iPads, GPS units and fishfinders. Tallon has a receiver that can even be installed on the tube of an inflatable boat, which makes Peter Marshall an ingenious bloke.

His idea is a simple one, though like all apparently simple ideas it no doubt took a lot of deep thinking to render it functional. Tallon’s motto is, or should be, “Lock & Rock”. With the receiver installed, you insert the accessory leg, gently push it down, pull it out, then twist a plastic tab to lock it in place. The accessory practically sets solid once you’ve locked it. The beauty of the Tallon system is that it looks posh and works really well.

Can you really fit these receivers yourself? Why the hell not? Pete and I did. You don’t need a pile of gear to do it either, but you do need to be careful about positioning the receiver accurately before you go drilling holes in your boat.

Anyhow, here’s how we did it. Along the way we discovered that it’s a terrific system and why I should never be given a hole to drill and an aluminium boat on the same day.

This, in a nutshell, is the guts of Tallon’s receiver system. The unit on the right is the receiver itself (arrowed) attached to its threaded barrel-mount. The barrel is pushed through the hole you’ve drilled, then locked in position with the threaded collar (left). Tallon’s drinkholder and RAM rodholder. Both look exceedingly durable and should outlast their owner. The ball-type mount on the rodholder (arrowed) allows it to be adjusted to a comfortable angle.  This is what the threaded barrel and a hole drill look like. Tallon recommends you drill the hole for the barrel mount with "a 50mm holesaw", but as far as we can tell there’s no such thing. All the hole drills we’ve seen are 51mm. No probs though because you get a damn near perfect fit anyway. If you’re drilling through fibreglass a portable drill will do the job but for aluminium you may need a 240V device.

The critical part of the job is positioning the receiver. We mounted ours on the sidedecks, two on each side, and enjoyed little room for error. Here, Pete traces the shape of the barrel mount by using the receiver itself. This method told us exactly where on the curved sidedeck the receiver would sit.

Pete used an adjustable angle tool (it’s very useful in a job like this) to mark the centre of the first hole, then slid the tool along the sidedeck to make a corresponding mark 300mm away for the next drill hole. Hole centres are set 300mm apart because this spacing provides plenty of clearance between accessories — and also because Tallon’s baitboard mounts are exactly 300mm apart.

I used a portable drill to cut a 51mm diameter hole for the third receiver on the opposite side of the boat. The only skill needed here is keeping the drill straight (I didn’t want to screw up as it’s not my boat; plus my boss has observed that there are enough holes in it already).

Here’s the tricky bit. On our tinnie the sidedecks have a lip at the back (arrowed). This lip prevents full insertion of the threaded collar.

To solve the problem we made a cut-out with the holesaw, then ground a little off the collar’s flange so it would fit. Here’s how the collar looked when we finished grinding.

Here’s how the collar should fit. If yours looks like this, you’ve done good, Norm.

Once the main hole is sawn it’s time to drill two 8mm holes for the receiver faceplate. These screws go through the plate and into the barrel behind it. There’s a right and a wrong way to install the faceplate so remember that the Tallon logo should be right-side up.

The receiver in position, with a baitboard in place on the leg. These legs take an incredible amount of weight.

A RAM rodholder and drinkholder are neatly installed. The job took us about two hours but we’d halve that next time now that Pete knows not to give me anything that cuts or saws or generally makes a mess.