Kevlacat has forged a reputation on a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy. But its new 2100 Offshore is set to be the catalyst for change. David Granville checks it out…
The distinctive Kevlacat design has remained relatively unchanged during the past decade. And with demand exceeding supply, Kevlacat’s range of strong, lightweight, power catamarans is proving extremely popular in both pleasure and commercial applications.
With a full order book and production at full capacity, Kevlacat could be forgiven for a little complacency in the R&D department – but its new 2100 Offshore is the complete antithesis to such thinking. Indeed, the sleek-looking 2100 Offshore is a new design and supersedes the popular 5.2m model.
The 2100 series is based on the old 5.2m hull, but has been extended to include fully-moulded engine pods as opposed to bolt-on aluminium versions used previously. The new hull now has a moulded length of 5.8m and an overall length of 6.4m. The cabin and deck moulding is all-new, and the modern look conforms with a millennium-model boat.
Kevlacat has removed the sidedecks on the 2100, which means the cockpit is absolutely huge for a 5.8m boat – it also increases the internal dimensions of the cabin. Of course, the exclusion of sidedecks means accessing the anchor locker is via a hatch in the foredeck. This won’t unduly bother gamefishermen, but it may annoy a few ‘bottom dongers’. The lack of side decks also eliminates the need for a bowrail, which allows the smooth lines of the new cabin to flow.
The test on the 2100 Offshore was always going to be interesting for yours truly, as the previous day I had fished from a friend’s 1990-model 5.2m Kevlacat and was therefore keen to compare. The 5.2 certainly did its job – we tagged a sailfish, boated a couple of big cobia and enjoyed a comfortable cruise home at 24kt in a stiff northerly. The old 5.2 is an incredibly seaworthy little boat, and I wasn’t expecting anything different from the 2100.
Our test day was just the way I like it – a strong wind-warning was current. While I don’t make a habit of going to sea in such conditions, I enjoy doing boat tests in them as it gives me a ‘feel’ for the boat. After all, every boat performs well on an oily-calm sea.
The entrance to Mooloolaba is one of the safest in Australia, but with 25-30kt of northerly blowing, even it was looking nasty. There was even the odd breaking wave across the entrance, which is quite rare for this harbour. We blasted out of the mouth of the river and ran parallel to the sea, to note down some speed-to-rev comparisons. At 4000 revs we were cruising at a leisurely 40kmh, 5000rpm saw the GPS reading a sprightly 55kmh, while at full revs (5500) we were literally flying at 70kmh.
Time to head into the sea, which, in my experience, is the only heading cats don’t like. Surprisingly the ride wasn’t as bad as expected. I found by keeping the revs up, I could jump from wave to wave without copping a pounding.
Sure I was getting a bit of air, but that’s the beauty of Kevlacats – they leave the water very flat and land nice and even. On the odd occasion when the props left the water, you didn’t feel out of control. Cats don’t twist in midair like a monohull, so they are less likely to broach upon re-entry.
Stability at rest was excellent and although not fitted with counter-rotating props, I was still able to spin the boat (working one engine against the other).
I backed up into the sea and found myself momentarily sharing the cockpit with a considerable amount of water, but in a blink of an eye it was gone thanks to the large scuppers. Nonetheless, if you plan on doing a bit of backing up, the optional transom door is money well-spent.
A walk through of the testboat sees twin Yamaha 90AETO extra-longshaft outboards with 16-inch standard props mounted on fully-integrated pods. Between each pod is a moulded boarding platform with drop-down stainless steel boarding ladder, which aids entry to the boat from the water or while on the trailer.
Bait wells are located in both port and starboard transom bulkheads, with the latter being plumbed for livebait and featuring an integrated deckwash. Hatches in both transom corners provide access to batteries, each with isolation switches. A void below the boarding platform catches water prior to exit via the scuppers.
The self draining deck features a non-skid surface, while good space is provided for foot placement below internal bulkheads and coaming. While the sidepockets provide considerable storage space, they are a little on the short side for storing gaffs and tagpoles, etc. Coamings are at a nice height, and gunwales feature four heavy-duty Reelax rodholders and recessed stainless cleats as standard equipment.
Reelax pedestal seats are provided for the helmsman and passenger, with both mounted atop insulated storage/iceboxes. Below the helmseat is an additional storage hatch, recessed EPIRB and fire-extinguisher. Beside the passenger seat is a small sidepocket, while in front is a grabrail and lockable radio box.
The helmstation is nicely laid out, with the testboat graced by a Furuno GP1650 chartplotter and FCV600L sounder taking centre stage. Both units were flush-mounted on the dash, with a Ritchie compass between.
Flush-mounted gauges included tachos, speedos, fuel, hour and trim meters. A waterproof switch panel and sports steering wheel completed the dash fittings.
The binnacle gear and throttle controls were mounted, slightly recessed, into the starboard bulkhead. Initially, I thought this may create the problem of arms hitting the bulkhead. However, it seemed to work well and freed-up some leg room.
The wraparound glass windscreen complements the new-look cabin, while the stainless steel targa, bimini and clears provide the necessary protection.
Access to the cabin was via centrally-located bifold perspex doors. The cabin is not huge but does have two single bunks and good storage space. An optional marine toilet can be fitted below the port-side bunk.
As mentioned earlier, access to the anchor well is via a 500mm square hatch in the cabin roof. The anchor well is a good size, with the adjacent bowsprit featuring a cross bollard and bowroller.
The testboat was on an aluminium, dual axle, drive on/off trailer fitted with nylon skids and Hydrastar electric brakes. These trailers make launch and retrieve a breeze.
I towed the 2100 Offshore with my Jeep Cherokee and, even without the brakes connected, I found it quite easy. With a dry weight on the trailer of 1750kg, the 2100 remains in the towing range for most large family cars or smaller 4WDs.
The Kevlacat 2100 Offshore was an outstanding seaboat for its size. It handled the poor conditions with ease and was a pleasure to drive. While the 5.2m model has earned its stripes over the years, the 2100 is a more worthy successor.
Furuno GP1650 chartplotter and FCV600L sounder, trailer, stainless
steel targa, bimini and clears, fuel gauges, cabin doors
|Material||GRP and Kevlar|
|Rec/max hp||2 x 90hp / 2 x 115hp|
|Weight||Approx 1750kg (dry on trailer)|
|Make/model||Twin Yamaha 90AETO|
|Type||Three-cyclinder, loopcharged, two-stroke outboard|
|Rated hp (ea)||90hp|
Article taken from Trailer Boat, September 2000