Built by gamefishermen for fishermen of all ilks, Kevlacats have become the boat of choice for many light tackle billfishermen. The company’s latest Offshore series is poised to enhance this reputation, as David Granville found out…
Seafood and fishing – it seems a logical ‘cocktail’. Well, it’s certainly a mouth-watering mix for Terry of Markwell Seafoods on the Sunshine Coast. A seafood vendor by day, Terry pursues a sportsfishing passion when time permits. But his real tastebud tantaliser is a newly-purchased Kevlacat Offshore SF2400. And he was kind enough to allow me to put it through its paces before blooding the decks. I’m unsure if Terry intends supplementing the shop’s stocks or just wishes to fill the freezer at home. But if his modus operandi is catching fish, then he’s selected the right boat for the job.
Check out the list of anglers at the top of this past season’s Sir Garrick Agnew Trophy listing. Of the top five, three fish from Kevlcat craft – in fact, two of those anglers are the principals of the company that builds these fast felines.
It’s generally considered that Kevlacat is at the forefront of powered trailerable catamaran design and construction. From its factory at Warana on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Kevlacat combines a clever use of FRP and Kevlar to produce strong, lightweight vessels.
Being able to keep the weight of its hull down translates to smaller horsepower requirements and, ultimately, better fuel economy. Of course, you can maintain high horsepower and take the benefit in performance if you wish. After all, these bulletproof battlewagons can certainly handle it.
The testboat, Reel Fantasea, is a perfect example of Kevlacat’s ability to accept greater horsepower. The recommended horsepower for the 2400 series Kevlacat is twin 90hp outboards, however, this rig was fitted with twin 130hp V-four Yamahas. The twin 130s gave the 6.5m cat a top speed of close to 110kmh. Fast, even for a skiboat – let alone a little ol’ fishin’ boat.
Our test day was one of those blustery days that have been so hard to avoid in south east Queensland this year. As we departed Mooloolaba harbour and headed north, it wasn’t long before we were greeted by an honest two metres of swell and chop…Not a perfect day for fishing, but a good day for boat testing.
The Offshore 2400 cruised very nicely, with the sea on the starboard rear quarter, as we headed up to Old Woman Island. I was surprised to look at the GPS and find we were cruising at 30kt. Considering the conditions, the ride at this speed was outstanding with not a drop of saltwater hitting the windscreen.
I actually tested a 3100 series Kevlacat (8.2m) on the same day as the 2400 and expected to find a notable difference in performance between the two hulls. This was not the case, however, with the smaller boat performing admirably in comparison to its big brother. Of course, there is no substitute for length and weight when you are offshore, but I know which one would get my money.
I was extremely impressed with the ride of the 2400 with the sea from every angle, except dead head on. To be honest, I’ve never ridden in a cat that likes a head sea. Come to think of it, I know plenty of monohulls that don’t like the sort of head sea the Sunshine Coast can produce either.
It’s no secret that multihull vessels are renowned for stability at rest, and Kevlacat is no exception. You could probably position a footy team on one side of the 2400 and still not put the gunwale underwater.
Wide-spaced twin outboards provided excellent manoeuvrability. I did manage to put a bit of water in the boat when reversing into the sea, but it’s fair to say that no outboard-powered boat is designed for reversing hard into a sea. If you find yourself having to chase a fish, a bit of forward motion would be the smarter option.
Like all Kevlacat’s fishing machines, the Offshore SF2400 is built for fishermen by fishermen. So it’s not surprising that the boat is packed with angler-friendly options, and maximum use made of every available space.
The list of standard equipment incorporated in the Offshore series is impressive. Basically, the only additions required are electronics, rods, reels and tackle – and you’re away.
The cockpit of the 2400 is huge for a boat this size, and ample storage compartments ensure the deck remains uncluttered.
Lockable battery compartments are located in the port and starboard bulkheads, and a hatch in the aft bulkheads conceal the oil reservoirs.
The cockpit coamings are padded, and the deck is non-skid providing sure footing as you tango on stand-up tackle with a big fish.
Two bait storage compartments are incorporated in the aft bulkhead on either side of the vessel. The starboard compartment is plumbed for livebaits, while the port compartment is ideal for deadbait and/or burley.
Directly above the port bait compartment is high quality cutting board with two stainless steel rodholders. Six rodholders are situated in the gunwales, while another six are provided via a stainless steel rocket launcher off the hardtop.
Other cockpit features include true self-draining decks, stainless steel grabrails, and cockpit lighting which allows for nocturnal activity.
Located between engines is a moulded swim platform that incorporates a stainless steel boarding ladder. Each outboard is mounted on individual aluminium pods that are bolted to each sponson. The counter-rotating 130 Yamahas were fitted with standard 19-inch alloy props.
The helm station was well-laid out with all electronics flush-mounted.
Reel Fantasea was fitted with a Koden CVS-106 colour sounder, Garmin 120XL GPS, and GME VHF and 27MhZ radios. All gauges, including fuel gauges, hour and voltmeters for each engine, were in clear view. Both the compass and switchboard were also flush-mounted in the dash. Completing the helm station inventory is a hydraulically-operated sports steering wheel, and binnacle gear and throttle controls.
Comfortable Reelax pedestal seats are located above large moulded boxes on either side of the vessel – one for the pilot and one for a passenger.
Padded seating is provided atop each box. These seats are hinged in order to allow access to insulated storage below.
Lockable dry storage is also located beneath the helm seat. Ahead of the passenger seat is a large glove compartment which has a GME
stereo-cassette player hidden inside. (Just the thing for cruisin’ to Jimmy Buffet during those long days at sea).
Access to the forward cabin is via a centrally-located sliding door. The cabin is fully-lined and carpeted, and features a single bunk on either side. A toilet is fitted beneath the port-side bunk. The cabin has fixed windows and a centrally-located ventilation hatch.
The foredeck features a split stainless steel bowrail, anchor locker, bollard and recessed cleats. Stainless steel grabrails and non-skid decks prevent any unnecessary swims when tending the anchor.
Launching and retrieving the 2400 was a breeze due to the drive-on/drive-off trailer with nylon skids. The trailer is alumiuium and is fitted with vacuum brakes. With an overall length of 7.68m and a beam of 2.5m the 2400 is a fair hunk of boat to tow, although the Kevlacat Landcruiser took it in its stride.
Hardtop & clears, stainless steel cockpit rails, transom boarding ladder, engine upgrade.
|Material||FRP and Kevlar|
|Length (overall)||7.68m (moulded 6.5m)|
|Weight||1700kg (dry with engines)|
|Make/model||Twin Yamaha Saltwater Series L130B|
|Type||Loopcharged, 90°, V-four, carburettored, two-stroke|
|Rated hp (ea)||130hp|
Article taken from Blue Water Boats & Sportsfishing, Jan/Feb 2000