Issue: January 2005
Since winning the Australian Marine Industries Federation Boat of the Year Award with the Powercat 2600 in May this year, Steve Shaw has not been idle. He has cloned the award-winning design and come up with an even better boat, the Powercat 3000. The 3000 sponsons are 20mm wider than those on the original Powercat 268, which now sits between the 2600 and the bigger boat, but they still retain the same reverse chines, the fine entry at the bow and the tunnel entry is the same.
The main cabin is much the same as the 2600, but now has 2.05m (6ft 10in) headroom and the cockpit sole is bigger with 40 per cent more room in the cockpit. From the back of the galley workstation, as Steve likes to call it, to the transom is a full 2.4m (8ft) and with the inside beam measurement of 2.4m there is a plenty of room. A lot of work has gone into the back of the boat to give it more buoyancy to take the extra weight of four stroke engines. The twin 150hp Yamaha engines are mounted on separate pods, unlike the transom-mounted outboards on the 2600.
The pods allow the outboards to be mounted two inches higher and have been designed to give the engines clear water so there is no cavitation, not even in tight turns at speed. The helm station is the same, but now has the addition of a split helm seat that folds up into bolsters or a combination of a seat and bolster. Along the top of the wrap-around, moulded, acrylic windscreen is a 22mm grab handle, there is another in front of the passenger seat and one each side of the Targa. Behind the helm station is the workstation with a sink and now with the addition of a single-burner metho stove.
As well as the two large lockers each side a nice addition is the foldout cutlery draw. The test boat was only the second one out of the mould and the owner wanted the best of both worlds. He wanted an all-weather boat to take the family out in and a quick and stable platform for offshore fishing. Fitted as an all season boat it is very comfortable with an aft lounge that has a lift out seat to fill the gap in the lounge at the walkthrough transom, the table is removable and the canopy over the aft cockpit comes with full camping clears.
Want to go fishing, the whole lot comes out in minutes and can be left at home. The lounge is removable, the table lifts straight out, remove two pins and the canopy folds forward or it can be removed completely and the cockpit becomes an unobstructed fishing area. It is then just a matter of fitting the 4.5m Reelax outriggers “that can be ordered as an option” and putting the rods in the rocket launchers mounted on the Targa arch, grabbing a few cool drinks and heading to sea in search of a big one. It is as simple as that.
It seems, however, that every time we call into the Powercat factory at Caboolture, which has now been extended with the purchase of another factory nearby, it is blowing about 25 to 30 knots and the Pumicestone Channel at Bribie Island is at its unsociable best. But it is in these conditions that Powercats revel. As we powered down the Passage the 3000 ate the conditions. We thought that the 2600 handled a choppy sea well, the 3000’s ride was even smoother. When a large flybridge cruiser went past and threw up a monster wake, the Powercat sailed through it at 25mph without any hesitation or that bone-jarring thump when it came down on the other side of the wash.
We have mentioned before that Powercats turn like a mono-hull and don’t have that twin-hull characteristic to lean the wrong way. The boat was thrown into a tight turn at 25mph and came around in a full circle in about three boat lengths, and not the slightest hint of cavitation or prop ventilation. And like the 2600 the boat will track straight as a die with hands off at speed. The boat gets up on the plane in the blink of an eye. Before you know it the hull is planing at 13mph. Push the power levers forward and it surges forward noticeably. Best cruising speed is at 4000rpm, which brought up a speed of 30.1mph on the GPS and a fuel flow of 25lt per hour for each outboard.
At 5000rpm the speed settled down at 39mph and at full noise of 5800rpm the GPS read 44.5mph as close to 45mph as damn it. The rev limiter on the engines kicks in at 6200rpm. If one engine decides not to play, the 3000 will still get up on the plane with one engine and you can come home safely at 20 knots on the good one. Power off quickly and the boat doesn’t drop its stern and no water slops over the boarding platform into the cockpit. Because the outboards are mounted 1.7m apart they can be used very effectively to manoeuvre in tight situations or when coming alongside a pontoon, and driving onto the trailer.
Yes the 3000 is trailable, but you would need something like a light truck or an F100 to tow it legally and it is an easy one-man operation to drive the boat on and off the trailer. Tilt the outboards up and the cat can be backed into a beach and passengers can be dropped off or picked up over the aft swim platform that has two well-placed grab handles. Off the beach the boarding ladder serves the same purpose, so swimmers can climb aboard. The Powercat 3000 is so easy to drive that it will make even the most inexperienced driver look professional, even when manoeuvring in a strong wind.
The 2600 was voted the best Australian boat in 2004, and now the 3000 has the potential to outdo it in 2005. Then there is a new 31-footer, with a new floor plan that comes complete with shower and toilet, that is about to go into production. We also spotted some very interesting drawings of a very stylish superstructure on a desk in the Powercat office “perhaps we were not supposed to have seen them” suffice to say there are some very interesting things happening in downtown Caboolture. Watch this space.
Words by Kevan Wolfe