Reviewed: April 2009
Author: Warren Steptoe
Powercat’s 2900 Sports Fisherman is a breeze through the rough water. This fishing catamaran knows that few power boats can hold their own against a Powercat across sloppy wind chop.
Bolsters help maintain leg support while fishing and there are plenty of rod holders. The helm is well sheltered and comfortable for socialising. Bunk is spacious with room for two.
In a nutshell, Powercat’s 2900 Sports Fisherman is a big sister to their 2500 Sports Fisherman, a boat which took out the AMIF Trailerable Fishing Boat of the Year in 2007. Which immediately raises the question whether bigger is, in fact, better.
After a day on northern Moreton Bay, which, in a typical mood opposed gusty winds to a falling tide creating what we locals consider the usual choppy mess off Bribie Island, the short answer is yes. We tested the 2500 on a similar day and it earned a brilliant rating. The 2900 is simply better than that.
Few boats indeed can hold their own against a Powercat across sloppy wind chop, and the 2900 Sports Fisherman treated the rough water off Skirmish Point with disdain. It takes more than chop to slow a Powercat down and in fact Powercats are typical of good power catamarans in the way they enjoy a bit of throttle to keep the sponsons up and dancing.
Testers way back in the early Shark Cat days used to talk of their ‘magic carpet ride’, particularly when quartering wind chop; and in contemporary Powercats, the carpet’s clearly been upgraded to plush pile. Admittedly, even experienced mono hull skippers take a while to learn to drive them; those seat-of-the-pants nuances of trimming two sponsons as opposed to a single keel do take some getting used to.
You think, “Gee, this is a good ride,” to start with, yet once you tune in, it only gets better. Go for a ride with Powercat’s Steve Shaw or his son Brendon and you’ll soon see what I mean.
The 2900 Sports Fisherman, like its smaller sister, uses the back-to-back seat each side arrangement, which distinguishes Powercat’s Sports Fisherman series from their Sports and Cabriolet models. Those models have a central console incorporating a sink, fridge and stowage, and helm seating arranged on the front. Access to the cockpit is along each side, whereas the Sports Fisherman models have a roomier central walk space from helm to cockpit.
The layout suits fishing of any kind. When a ratchet goes off, you don’t want to be moving around anything to get to it! In our test boat, space beneath the aft-facing seats was used as a pair of ice boxes, despite the fact that the cockpit contained Powercat’s usual twin 270L underfloor fish boxes.
The forward-facing seats are very well done for fishing, too. They feature a flip-down cushion that instantly changes the bucket seat to a bolster—a handy brace when travelling at speed on rough water.
Aft in the cockpit, the sides and deck are moulded in one piece but the negative effect of your toes touching the side before your upper leg encounters anything to brace against is largely negated by upholstered bolsters around the cockpit periphery. Pedantic types like myself might consider asking Powercat to increase the size of the bolsters to improve this even further, but most people would, I expect, be happy to leave this as it comes.
About the only other compromise fussy fishermen have to live with in the 2900 Sports Fisherman’s cockpit is the distance to the back of the boat over the motors. Any boat powered by a pair of 250hp outboards inevitably has issues reaching over the motors and a wide central deck between the motors allowing access all the way aft is very much in the Powercat’s favour in this aspect.
Best possible use is made of the walkthrough by a high rail securing it, the aft section of which unlatches and folds down into the water to become a boarding ladder.
Sports, game and bottom fishers alike will find a great deal to like about this boat. One of the things the Modern Boating team particularly likes about Powercat’s Sports Fisherman line is that they seamlessly blend clear-cut, hard-core fishing intent with considerable social cruising amenity.
An electric toilet with a 45L holding tank comes standard. It’s in the port sponson to create stand-up space. Admittedly, the cabin’s ceiling is low elsewhere, though the roomy bunk is definitely large enough for a couple to sleep in comfortably.
Our test boat’s hard top was an option (a bimini top comes standard, although the stainless Targa arch/rocket launcher/rod rack comes with both). We’d find it hard to do without because it makes the helm and passenger area secure in the worst weather.
In fact, while the keen fishos in the test team were enamoured with the seats each side configuration, there did ensue some debate whether even the keenest among us wouldn’t choose a Sports or Cabriolet Powercat because they maintain an entirely fishable cockpit (albeit smaller, although ‘small’ is entirely relative) while their central sink/fridge/larder, etc., significantly improves the ability to live aboard one of these boats for a few days. Dreamin’ of multi-day trips out to the Reef? Absolutely!
At 3.3t all up on a trailer, the 2900 Sports Fisherman is reasonably trailerable (with the right tow vehicle), so if you have the space to store it, saving mooring and marina fees and an occasional road trip well away from home are all attractive propositions.
Which leads us back to our first question regarding whether being bigger than the 2500 Sports Fisherman—a boat which, incidentally, we love unashamedly—is better. The answer is ultimately tied up in the extra $25,000 to $30,000 you need to find to choose this boat over its little sister. You’re certainly not going to go wrong either way.
Propellers fitted during test : 22in pitch stainless Suzuki
Location : Northern Moreton Bay
Conditions : Confused wind chop
Load : Four adults, full fuel tanks
700 : 4.4 idling in gear slow troll
2000 : 8.5 minimum planing speed
3000 : 22.0
3500 : 26.8
4000 : 30.5
4500 : 35.2
5000 : 39.7
6000 : 41.9 WOT
Hull length : 9m
Length overall : 9.4m
Beam : 2.82m
Hull weight : 2490kg
Hull deadrise : 28° at transom
BMT towing weight : Approx. 3380kg w/150hp outboards
Power during test : 2 x 250hp
Min power : 2 x 150hp
Max power : 2 x 300hp
Material : GRP composites
Fuel : 2 x 250L
Freshwater : 120L
Holding tank : 45L
Price : from $189,300
Price as tested : $195,000