Issue: December 2005
Size Does Matter
What’s better than a small power catamaran? A bigger power cat of course!
Kevlacat is well known for its smaller sportfishing boats like the upgraded 5.2m Series, but its larger boats have been hiding under the proverbial bushel lately. This is a shame, because the only thing better than a small power catamaran, is a bigger power catamaran. Just like the Kevlacat 8m 3000 Series tested here ? Reel Turner III.
What’s so good about this boat? Well, how about her outstandingly soft ride, monolithic stability and the fact she has significantly more interior space than a mono-hull boat of a similar size.
But this last statement requires some qualification. The increases in interior space relate only to the cockpit area. In terms of cabin space, a power catamaran’s tunnel reduces standing headroom inside the cabin ? the tunnel raises the cabin’s floor height, where a mono hull has a deep-vee, which lowers the floor height.
FISHING VS CRUISING
A smaller cabin may not meet with everyone’s approval, but the superior ride attributes and wide-open cockpit of a cat must be weighed against the benefits of a cabin big enough to cook, dine and live in. This is what’s normally preferred in a cruising boat, but I know which way I’d go in a fishing boat for my own personal use.
Plus, the extra room created by a cat’s squared bow does allow a comfortable dinette to fit into the helm area without compromising cockpit space. There goes the dining room space problem!
It’s a compromise more potential 20-foot plus boat buyers need to consider. If only because you don’t need a measuring tape to see that a boat configured around the power catamaran concept as well as Reel Turner III, can realistically be compared to a mono hull in the low to mid 30-foot bracket. The model can also be configured for cruising comfort, but this boat remains sharply focused on what it was designed for and that’s fishing.
As a company policy, Kevlacat customise its boats to suit individual requirements. The new owners of this test boat, Reel Turner III, are Steve and Helen Turner and this boat’s been set-up exactly as they want it. And while we enjoyed getting out on the boat for a day, the team does envy them having this boat parked at their backdoor, which is so close to the prolific fishing grounds off Mooloolaba.
A mate of mine runs a similar Kevlacat to this, but his has a tower with an upper helm station and he uses it as a gamefishing charterboat. His portfolio includes the whole gambit of Sunshine State fishing, from light-tackle billfishing, to popular popper tossing for giant trevally in Southern Queensland, to the Cairn’s heavy tackle marlin season.
So, having spent countless hours watching lures splashing in his wake, I had high expectations of this new boat. I’m pleased to say the team and I weren’t disappointed by Reel Turner III.
Kevlacat has devoted considerable energy to taming some of the quirks power catamaran non-enthusiasts get uncomfortable about.
Things like the way some cats feel in tight turns ? the G-forces pushing you in the opposite direction of the turn.
But a power catamaran will always ‘feel’ like a power catamaran, so the noticeable improvement in spray deflection and the way the bow lifts after penetrating a swell are a plus. Reel Turner III’s soft ride and directional stability remain as outstanding as all preceding Kevlacats.
This places the engines far enough forward to balance weight distribution longitudinally, allowing the hull to work well under all sea conditions.
We’ve had plenty of experience with these 212hp turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engines of late and they always impress. They give Reel Turner III plenty of torque in the mid range and a high top speed.
The boat topped out at an impressive 35.3 knots at 4000rpm. Cruising revs around 2800 to 3200rpm produce 20-25 knots. Lower down the rev range at an in-gear idle 600rpm, the live-bait trolling speed was a good 3.6 knots. A fuel-efficient lure trolling speed is 6.5 knots at 1200rpm.
Reel Turner III has an enormous cockpit for a sub 30-foot sportfisher, with heavy padding around its periphery and a flat non-slip deck underfoot.
Being a fishing workshop, the boat’s cockpit is made even more functional by the inclusion of the central workstation.
It features a rigging station, an icebox (big enough to hold long pelagics like big mackerel and wahoo), an aft -facing chair and a live-bait well. There’s also a canopy shading the centre section of the cockpit.
The bunk in the cabin is big enough for a couple to curl up on in some comfort and although headroom is limited, because you step into the port sponson as you enter, it’s not necessary to crawl inside.
Kevlacat do fit a marine ‘loo in the bow of the starboard sponson. The brand and type is up to the new owner.
The Turner’s Reel Turner III is an extremely well set-up boat, which shows its owners knew what they wanted and proves Kevlacat can deliver! The only real negative comment I can make about this test is that we didn’t get the chance to go fishing!
A CAT’S TALE
Whether you’re a competitive tournament gamefisher, keen recreational angler, weekend family boater, or even a commercial operator who makes a living from your boat, then Kevlacat has a model in its range that is bound to suit your needs.
Kevlacat Australia has been constructing the range of Kevlacat powered catamarans for the last 20 years from its factory at Kawana on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
In that time Kevlacat has earned a reputation for building some of the safest and most seaworthy boats money can buy. With such a reputation, it’s not surprising that coast guards and volunteer marine rescue organisations right around the country have chosen Kevlacat for their rescue boats.
There are 12 models in the range from 5.1 to 12.4m.
The test boat was powered by twin Steyr diesels, driving through short jackshafts to MerCruiser Bravo II sterndrives.
During this test there was long, low swell, mild wind chop and plenty of wind across course. With two adults onboard, the Kevlacat produced the following performance figures:
KNOTS – RPM
3.6 – 600
6.5 – 1200
10.5 – 2000
35.3 – 4000
HULL LENGTH: 8m
WORDS : WARREN STEPTOE
+ Huge cockpit; Cockpit dinette
– Cabin head height