REVIEW: Formosa Tomahawk 740
WALKING around the halls at this year’s Sydney International Boat Show checking out what’s on display was a great insight into the trends and popularity of modern fishing boats. The obvious trend this year was in big dedicated sport fishing boats. Whether it was plate alloy or fibreglass, hard top or centre console, there’s no doubt bigger is better for many fishos these days.
One such boat which caught my eye was the Formosa’s Tomahawk 740. Jason from Aussie Boat Sales was displaying the fully enclosed cabin 740, amongst a number of other Formosa boats, and after a quick look we arranged an on-water test to check out some the finer details.
As some background, Formosa Boats is a Brisbane-based plate alloy manufacturer who’s been in business around 20 years. Formosa is well-known among plate enthusiasts for making tough fishing boats with loads of space and plenty of innovative features.
The Tomahawk 740 is the biggest in the range and is typical of the big sport fishing boat so many offshore game fishos opt for these days.
This particular test boat is owned by a keen Sydney game fisho and features a good array of fishing features, plus plenty of creature comforts to make long days offshore more enjoyable and comfortable.
The owner, according to Jason, is very tall and the big Formosa accommodates this with plenty of space inside the cabin, a tall standing bait board, high sides and an extra big bunk.
The 740 really made me feel small!
Starting at the transom, the owner had fitted twin 150hp Honda four-strokes with Solas 4-bladed stainless props.
There are twin hatch doors at the transom with dual battery system and a fuel separator.
The engines also charge another battery set up for the Weaco fridge/freezer, which is located just outside the cabin.
There’s a folding seat at the back and a large bait cutting board. The cutting board is cleverly designed being split into two with a livewell on one side and storage on the other. Great use of space!
Being a serious offshore fishing boat there are plenty of rod holders and rocket launchers on the hard top.
Fishing space is very generous, as you’d also expect from boat of this size. Fishing three or four people wouldn’t be a problem with plenty of space to move around.
The height of the sides are 60 mm high, meaning you feel quite safe in rough water.
There’s also a large kill tank under the back deck and additional space for a water tank and freshwater deckwash, which this boat features.
Moving towards the cabin, there’s the aforementioned fridge and a fuel burner on the opposite side, which runs on metho. The fridge and cooking facilities are, in my opinion, one of the best things about a boat of this size. You may as well take advantage of the space. The boat’s owner can keep food cold or frozen for extended lenghts of time and cook a hot lunch of needed. That’s a welcome change to soggy sandwiches on the shelf!
Also, given the generous length of the bunk in the 740, the option for overnight stays or trips further afield, which are made so much more comfortable.
Enclosed cabins and hard tops are a popular choice for big trailerbale boats these days. For game fishos chasing fish further offshore over the winter months, they’re fantastic choice. Given the popularity of chasing swords and tuna over the cooler month, it’s no wonder this style of boat is proving a winner.
The only disadvantage of an enclosed cabin is the disconnect bwetwen the driver and the fishos on the back deck. Some boats also lose visability, although this wasn’t such a proble on the 740. there’s was plenty of visability, making it a really safe boat.
The cabin is spacious with plenty of headroom, while the helm offers plenty of viability in a standing position. There’s are sliding windows and a hatch on the roof for ventilation during the warmer months.
As mentioned earlier the bunk is enormous and quite capable of sleeping a couple of people, rather than using for storage as you see in smaller cabin boats.
The owner of the 740 went for a premium electronics package with twin 7410 XSV Garmin displays with 3D vision and a 1kW transducer.
He also had autopilot fitted and a radar. In addition there’s a Fusion stereo and even solar on the roof to trickle charge batteries and keep things ticking on an extended trip away. There’s not much missing from this very spec’d up boat!
On the water
Honda’s twin 150 four-strokes offer whisper quiet power with plenty of grunt to push along the big hull. The four cylinder donks feature Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC), Honda’s benchmark technology introduced in the 1990s which delivers smooth idling, recued fuel consumption and increased torque curve for top end power.
The 740 was tested in and outside Broken bay north of Sydney. A stiff westerly and incoming tide meant sloppy, cold conditions for testing the boat. Luckily we had the hard top to stay warm!
The 20 degree deadrise allowed for a soft ride over the choppy water and swell. The deadrise has increased over previous models and would be a welcome addition to anyone who spends time punching offshore.
The 740 featured Zip Wake auto levelling system, which is basically an automatic trim tabs, which is said to activate in 1.8 seconds. It works well, although in the brief time I had to test the boat, it was difficult to really assess it’s effectiveness. That said, tight turns at speed weren’t a problem and it performed quite well at any direction to the swell and chop.
The engines provided plenty of grunt with WOT around 37 knots.
37knots @ 5900RPM
30 knots @ 500RPM
23Knots @ 5000RPM
13knots @ 3000RPM
All up, Formosa’s Tomahwak 740 is a spec’d up giant of a boat with all the bells and whistles.
Best of all, at around 2600 kg, the big rig is surprisingly light to tow, so there’s no excuse for not hooking it up and having an adventure!
Prices start at $150,000; as tested at $185,000.