Issue: October/November 2005
Since its initial release, the 5.2m Kevlacat has become the biggest seller in the company's range. Why ? Because this boat was designed around two light and economical, 70hp, three-cylinder, two-stroke outboards.
The gutsy power delivered by lightweight ever-greens, such as the Evinrude/Johnson and Yamaha 70hp, matched the original 5.2m Kevlacat perfectly.
But now, because so many off shore fishos are heading down the four-stroke path, Kevlacat has been forced to rework its 5.2m hull to cater for the heavier fourstroke powerheads.
After a period of redevelopment and exhaustive testing, the latest 5.2m Kevlacat (now called the 1900 Off shore) looks similar to the original. But it incorporates subtle but significant changes. Primarily, these involve a pair of engine pods reshaped to support the heavier motors, but a discerning eye may also note some reworking at the bow.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
This test session was conducted wide off Queensland's Sunshine Coast, where Kevlacat's steeper forefoot and additional strakes at the bow of the revised 5.2 hull showed its merits.
The original 5.2 was a highly rated off shore hull. It had to be to remain at the top of the market for as long as it did. But the Modern Boating team found the new version even better, especially when travelling downhill.
The new 1900 Off shore is a noticeably drier boat and more forgiving of slight errors in trim settings.
Off shore, the new 1900 performed superbly with a pair of 70hp Suzuki fourstrokes bolted onto the new pods. But Kevlacat has also successfully redesigned the pods to cater for even heavier motors. The 1900 Off shore can be described as an off shore fisho's delight. Those who thought its predecessor was good can rest assured that the reworked hull 'is' even better. And that's before you add the bonus of improved fuel economy due to running 70hp four-strokes.
TOWING & TRAILERS
An all-aluminium trailer is now an option for the 1900 OFFshore. So people concerned about keeping trailer weight to a minimum will find it attractive. Although this boat requires a medium-size 4WD (or equivalent) to tow it, it is easily towed. Genuine mobility combined with outstanding Offshore capability places the revised 1900 Offshore (and its aluminium trailer) on a pedestal among trailable offshore fishing boats.
Other changes include new wider,at-side decks for easier and safer bow access and a modern-look curved glass windscreen. But unchanged is a spacious cockpit most 25-foot mono hulls would be more than proud of.
The 1900 Offshore's cockpit sets the standard for fishing boats. Travelling in the helm/passenger area, albeit with the optional bimini top and clears fitted, you'll stay sheltered from weather and spray.
Tester Steptoe didn't like the helm position though, finding it uncomfortable both seated or standing. However, when this was raised with the team at Kevlacat, they informed him they configure boats to suit individual owner's requirements as company policy. Good on 'em we say, because comfort at the wheel is critical in small Offshore boats and too many builders of otherwise good boats tend to ignore it.
The test boat had seats above a full-length insulated fish box on one side and the halflength icebox on the other. 1 e remaining space was used as a dry storage locker. A plumbed live-well in one side of the a8 bulkhead is matched by a bait-well in the other. The live-well pump also provides the water for the deckwash.
Hydraulic steering and a five-piece safety glass windscreen are standard fitments. As is the stainless steel swim ladder mounted between the motors.
This Kevlacat also has twin 180lt-fuel tanks, so long spells offshore are well within her reach.
No cabin door was fitted to the test boat, although a fully lockable one is available as an option. Kevlacat don't pretend that the 1900 Offshore's cuddy is anything but a dry-storage area. But a portable toilet can be installed here if required.
Although somewhat Spartan, the 1900 Offshore is well finished and boasts the excellent attention to detail we've come to expect from this Sunshine Coast-based boat builder.
As far as Offshore fishing boats go, trailable ones anyway, the Kevlacat 5.2m has always been one of the best 1 is position hasn't changed. In fact, the reworked hull makes it an even more attractive proposition.
Pricing starts from $74,750, which includes twin four-stroke motors and a galvanised trailer. The optioned-up test boat costs around $82,865.
WHO WANTS A CAT'
According to the team at Kevlacat, whether you're a tournament gamefisher, 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 bound to suit your needs.
Kevlacat Australia has been constructing its range of powered catamarans for more than 20 years from its factory at Kawana on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
In this time Kevlacat has earned a reputation for building some of the safest and most seaworthy boats money can buy. With this reputation, it's not surprising Coast Guards and Volunteer Marine Rescue organisations around the country choose Kevlacats.
With 12 models in the range from 5.1 to 12.4m, there is a KEVLACAT to suit all needs and budgets. All of these models can be built to survey.
Power options for the revised hull include Mercury's 'Bigfoot' and Yamaha's high thrust 60hp four-strokes, or twin 90hp Suzuki outboards for people who really want to go places fast.
With two adults onboard in a light wind chop over a long onshore swell, the Kevlacat 5.2 recorded the following performance figures: 3.1 knots @ 600rpm, 6.7 knots @ 2000rpm, 10.5 knots @ 3000rpm, 31.9 knots @ 6000 rpm
FUEL: Two 180lt tanks
REC HP: Twin 60hp
MAX HP: Twin 90hp
AS TESTED: Twin 70hp
Words : Warren Steptoe
+ Superb bluewater ride, Huge cockpit
– Spartan layout