Powercat’s Steve and Brendon Shaw like to tell prospective Powercat owners their cruising speed is around 25 knots, which, frankly, is somewhat ridiculous to contemplate in an average mono-hull equivalent of the 3000 Series Powercat Sports Cabriolet.
But the Shaws aren’t kidding. And the 20-knot sea breeze and 1m wind chop that assailed us during this test is the norm for northern Moreton Bay. So typically, we cruised back from the photo shoot head-on into some of Moreton Bay’s best at 27 knots. But there I was, sitting writing up my notes in longhand. Brendan said, “I’d like to see you try that in brand X”!
There’s no denying that these Powercats offer excellent high cruising speeds, but that’s not the only reason behind their popularity. The other is the design and layout of the interior of this short-term cruiser.
One aspect of the Powercat’s configuration that some find not as convenient as an equivalent mono-hulled boat, is the cabin and bunk. All cats have a whopping great tunnel through the middle so you have to step down into the starboard sponson; then, climb up onto the bunk. However, once in “bed” the bunk is huge, square, (not shaped to suit a pointy bow) and should satisfy even the most demanding sleeper.
The cabin is well ventilated with a big hatch and large offset cabin door. Both are screened to stop insects. There’s also a standard electric marine toilet in here. That’ll keep the ladies happy.
Up in the cockpit it’s all good news. The Powercat’s ‘central living console’ behind the helm contains an effective galley with food/crockery/cutlery storage, refrigeration, a stove, rubbish bin and a square stainless steel sink with pressurised water on tap. It makes onboard living very easy.
From the cabin bulkhead at the helm to the aft lounge, the deck of a 3000 Sports Cabriolet model is completely level. The aft U-shaped lounge opens to access the walkway between the motors. This has safety rails and a flip down ladder to exit the boat into the water or onto a beach. A removable moulded Granicote-topped table fits into a socket between the lounge seats for dining and socialising. There’s enough room for two couples, plus the kids or a couple more adults without rug rats.
The aft lounge is easily removed to free up the spacious cockpit for fishing. With 480lt of fuel and 120lt of freshwater (600lt of fuel and a heat exchanger hot water system are optional), family day boating and cruising for a few days are listed on the job description. And don’t forget about the boat’s fishability. The 3000 series is without doubt one of the most liveable and versatile configurations available in Australian boating.
Performance & handling
Minimum power for a 3000 Series Powercat Sports Cabriolet is twin 150hp Suzuki four-stroke outboards, but the test boat ran twin 300s! Hmmm; twice the power, this should be interesting. The camera boat was another 3000 Series Sports Cabriolet powered by twin Suzuki 250s.
Interestingly, the two boats’ top speeds weren’t dramatically different ? 48 knots for the 250-powered boat and 52.4 knots for the one with 300s. In real life; however, top speed is of little importance, because for any number of good reasons, you rarely run a boat at wide-open throttle (WOT).
But one case for powering with the 300s gets stronger from there. Just sitting at rest in the water, the extra weight of the bigger motors made an inherently stable platform even more so. Also, at speed the hull seemed to prefer the extra weight on its transom. The boat with bigger motors felt perceivably easier to steer and generally easier to handle.
Both boats were fitted with power steering. How anyone could set up a 30ft boat without power steering is beyond me and Brendan was only too happy to agree.
The ‘hole-shot’ from both boats was awesome. We timed the 300hp-powered boat a full second faster to 25 knots, although at 5 seconds compared to 6 seconds, the 250s were hardly tardy. It took only 10 seconds for the 300s to reach 40 knots from a standing start. Yes, it would give plenty of so called ‘performance boats’ quite a fright.
But most impressive of all was the fuel burn. The 300s used only 39.7lt per hour at 25 knots (both motors)! That’s below the old 10 gallons per hour standard for two motors totalling 600hp.
Okay, Brendan, we agree. Given the soft ride Powercats are justifiably famous for and fuel economy of this order, 25-knot cruising speeds are fair enough…
WORDS : WARREN STEPTOE