By David Porter – Bay of Plenty Times
Peter Bell, the first retail customer for Balex Marine’s innovative and award-winning Automatic Boat Launcher ABL2500 (ABL), says he’s delighted with the product.
The 76-year-old Mount Maunganui local is a keen fisherman and a veteran of launches at Pilot Bay.
“I’m getting a bit older and it was getting a bit harder to get the boat in and out so I thought I’d try one,” he said during his first launch trial. “It’s going to make it that much easier to get the boat on and off the ramp.”
The hydraulically powered ABL is installed on trailers and lets users launch and retrieve their boat without getting their feet wet, using a remote control that allows boaties to start, stop or pause the process at the touch of a button.
Balex slightly delayed its original pre-Christmas retail release date in order to incorporate an additional hydraulic lift to the device. The lift engages the hull and lifts the boat up, drives it forward then settles it back onto the roller cradle.
“It’s made it even more user friendly,” says Balex Sales Director Paul Yarrall. “It enables the ABL to accommodate a wider range of boats and trailers and delivers better performance.”
The ABL is aimed at boats in the 5-9 metre range with a boat weight of up to 2500kg, and is suitable for both fibreglass and alloy hulls
Peter Bell sourced the ABL from Trev Terry Marine in Taupo for the DMW tandem braked trailer for his new Stabicraft 2400 Supercab. The new boat, which has twin Yamaha F115hp 4 stroke outboards, is the latest in a series of Stabicrafts he has owned.
Balex is partnering with DMW as well as Voyager Trailers and national retail chain Boating and Outdoors.
The pre-production ABL won the Most Innovative New Product Award at the 2014 Hutchwilco Boat Show. Balex reports strong pre-orders from owners of popular boat models, who see it as the perfect solution for easy launch and retrieval, especially of heavier boats where windage can create problems.
Balex Managing Director Paul Symes set up the Bay of Plenty-based company in late 2013 with Tauranga boatie Lex Bacon, who developed the original concept in his garage.
“The sale to Peter is a massive milestone in terms of highlighting that we have brought together our production supply chain and retail reseller channel,” he said. “This is really the start of getting some momentum going forward.”