Issue: March 2005
It was quite a simple idea. Knock up a couple of aluminium pontoons build a platform between them, bolt on a barbie and hang an outboard off the back and you had a party cat. They were pretty basic, but soon took off in the US where they were ideal for the many lakes and waterways around the country. It wasn’t long before some enterprising manufacturers cottoned on to the idea and started to build them professionally. Now the party cat has gone up-market and a good example is the Party Kraft Admiral 2400 Luxury Edition. The fun area of the Party Kraft Admiral 2400 LE Cruiser is mounted on two 25′ aluminium sponsons, held together by an anodised rail system, over which MarineDeck decking is bolted.
Each pontoon has three watertight compartments built in, and full-length V-keels keep the craft tracking in a straight line under power. The 90hp Honda outboard mounts on an aluminium pod between the two sponsons. There are three ways to get aboard, over the bow, if the boat is bow on to the beach, swimmers can get onboard up a ladder and through a rear entry and there are side gates port and starboard for easy access next to a pier or marina pontoon. The fit-out is very practical with two full length lounges up front. There is also an optional insert to fit in between the lounges at the bow to form a wrap-around lounge.
There is another lounge down the back opposite the helm station with a table that can be moved to two other positions on the craft. A novel idea is the removable drink holders that can be placed on the lounges just in the right position, within arms reach. Behind the rear lounge is a sun lounge that lifts up to reveal a fold-up change room, which doubles as the toilet with a flushing “loo”. Opposite is a place to mount an optional barbecue. The driver’s seat is akin to a seat found on a large cruiser and comes complete with armrests.
For the type of craft it is, the helm station is probably a little overdone, the steering wheel is adjustable and there is a full set of Faria gauges, including speedo, tacho, hour meter, voltmeter and an in-dash digital depth sounder. Why you would want a depth sounder when the sponsons only draw 200mm is debatable. Nevertheless, the helm station looks impressive. A feature, often pointed out by salesmen, is the use of circuit breakers instead of fuses. This means that if there is a short you don’t have to go hunting for fuses to get the system up and running again once the problem has been found.
An Aquatronic’s CD stereo system is also part of the package. In front of the moulded helm station is an icebox and a locker underneath to take a portable icebox or Esky. The Party Kraft is rated to take 15 people, but about 10 would be a more comfortable number. It’s designed to cruise sedately on an enclosed waterway with a good red or a glass of Chardy in hand, OK a stubbie if you want, on a pleasant sunny afternoon. The bimini offers plenty of shade from the sun, but for the “I want to get a good tan” types, it folds back in to a Targa.
We suggest that it wouldn’t be in this position too often in Queensland. If you want to get somewhere quick, like a favourite anchorage or sheltered bay, the Honda 90 will push it along at 35mph at 5500rpm. It’s rated to 220hp, but that would be overkill. The ride is smooth and not a drop of water comes over the bow, and not a drop of Chardy will be spilt either. For those who tarry a little and get home after dark, the cat has regulation navigation and docking lights. This type of craft can be so versatile.
It is the consummate on-water entertainer, it can be used as a “mother ship” and anchored in a location and all your friends can bring their toys, or it can be used for cruising a waterway and having a jolly good time. Although, it can be towed on a trailer at 8′ 6″ it is just a little over the width allowed by Australian regulations. But if there is a need to tow it to another location, it can be trailered with a permit for a wide load. If you are looking for a boat purely for entertaining friends or corporate clients; then, have a look at the Party Kraft range.
Words by Kevan Wolfe