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The Argus showcases Outback Marine’s engineering solutions

by Jeni Bone on 16 Aug 2011
Argus E35 During Sea Trials 20-4-2011 Market Focus
Gary Pacey is a dyed in the wool engineer, whose expertise extends to automotive, industrial and marine, with a particular penchant for boats. His new brand of catamaran, the Roger Hill designed Argus E35, is the showcase of the exceptional and innovative systems his company, Outback Marine in many cases has pioneered, imported and improved upon.

'Our aim is to sell solutions to boat builders,' explains Gary from his head office in Labrador, an industrial precinct on Queensland’s Gold Coast. 'We are essentially an engineering company and have established ourselves as experts in this area. We produce for local manufacturers, such as helm panels, power distribution boards and electrical panels for brands like Maritimo, as well as making for export the various componentry and accessories we have developed.'

One such example is the EmpirBus System from Sweden. EmpirBus is a decentralized DC power distribution and control system. Unlike traditional systems that use a centralised circuit breaker panel to distribute power to the consuming devices, an EmpirBus system uses remote modules situated close to load clusters. In addition to controlling power to devices the modules can also read tank levels, temperatures, current and voltages to either display the values or perform logical functions on specific values.

Finding a niche, Outback Marine has designed and made accessories for and which the company has acknowledged and endorsed for their own customers.

'We have been invited to attend METS this year with EmpirBus, showing our range of accessories alongside their product range,' says Gary. 'That will give us tremendous exposure and reinforce our expertise in this area, as well as allowing us to establish new connections with manufacturers from all over the world.'

Gary believes that his company is well placed to participate in the Asian manufacturing boom.

The Argus E35 is a coastal cruising catamaran, a state of art Roger Hill design that incorporates innovative system and fitout solutions developed by Outback Marine. It is so highly finished, that for just $438,000, fully equipped, visitors to this year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show were stunned at the value for money.

'The Argus E35 is a coastal cruising boat that makes sense for our times,' asserts Gary. 'There is an expanding sector of the new boat market that is ready for an environmentally sensible boat that redefines industry norms for configuration, performance, price point and value for money.

'Our aim is to see families enjoy the boating lifestyle, whether that may be coastal cruising or simply enjoying time on the water during weekends and holidays. The Argus E35 was conceived to comfortably and safely explore coastal regions of Australia. It’s an affordable and very practical boat offering generous accommodation for four people cruising on a limited budget.'

According to Gary, with all its technical gear, styling and finish, it’s an exquisite boat. 'The Argus at just 10.6 metres reminds me of the Tardus,' he adds, referring of course to Dr Who’s cavernous time travel capsule that from the outside, appeared to be a London phone box. 'People who come onboard can’t believe how spacious it is, nor the quality of the specifications,' says Gary, emphasising that the company does nothing by halves.

Along with a self-sufficient solar powered electrical system incorporating a split 24 volt house and 12 volt cranking battery arrangement featuring Outback Power Systems VFX inverter charger and MX60 solar panel regulator, the Argus boasts 'more than 20 unique features', says Gary, making it the ideal floating calling card for Outback Marine.

With only 0.6m draft and 2.9m overall height (excluding radar mount), the boat can negotiate the Eastern seaboard’s often shallow river systems and pass beneath any of the road and rail bridges that often impede other boats from exploring the coast’s picturesque waterways

Among the remarkable innovations pioneered by Outback Marine are the refrigeration systems. 'It has three independent Veco water cooled refrigeration units that operate from the solar powered electrical system, as well as a new reverse cycle heat pump assisted hot water system that recovers waste heat from the vessel refrigeration system, thereby eliminating the need for LPG or a generator set, which a lot of customers tell us they don’t want onboard.'

It comes complete with a fully-integrated NMEA-2000 electronics package including Raymarine GPS chart plotter, radar, sounder, autopilot, engine instrumentation, VHF radio and AIS with tank level monitoring and refrigeration system control from the EmpirBus NXT system.

Another appealing feature is its fuel economy. 'You could get from the Gold Coast to Sydney on around $1000 in fuel,' says Gary. 'And the Gold Coast to Hamilton Island for around $2000 return.'

Following on from the outstanding response at Sanctuary Cove, Gary says he will be making some tweaks and changes to the Argus. 'We are going to design an inboard diesel version, since people expressed an interest in that. The market that the Argus appeals to is taken by its all-inclusive value. It can be built with everything on it ready for immediate cruising for $438,000, with all the features to make it ready for cruising.'

At 60, Gary says he has no plans to retire. 'I am passionate about engineering,' he states. 'This is my art, my creativity. The Argus came about because I wanted to realise a boat that could ably accommodate a small family for either a weekend or extended season cruise on coastal waters. As it turned out we also created a showcase of our manufacturing and engineering capabilities for other boat manufacturers.'

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