A 50mph fishing catamaran? There aren’t many of them out there, but the Kevlacat 2800 is right at the mark. Most power cats are famous for a smooth ride and great fuel economy. However, the sharp displacement hulls that give them such a smooth ride have a downside: they prevent full planing, so speeds a usually moderate.
The kevlacat boasts sharp huss forward and in our test out of Miami’s Government Cut it went through seas like a sword. But flattened hulls aft form a planing surface and consequently they skip on the surface like a pompano fleeing a shark. Results? With a full load of fuel and Suzuki 200-hp outboards, the test boat topped out at 49.5 mph.
Of course, maximum speed is not what fishing cats are about, but this Australian design can cruise at 36.4 mph while delivering 1.6 mpg – excellent figures for any cuddy in this class. Despite boasting a beam nearly 1’ wider than most competitors in the 24’ to 28’ range, this is a light boat, scaling just 3,500 pounds. The secret? Using Kevlar instead of fiberglass in the layup shav3es off about 875 pounds on the 2800, saving about 25 percent of the full weight.
The boat is tough under the skin too. There are nine fiberglass bulkheads with laminated plywood/glass bridges rather than the seven or fewer seen in most competitors. On catamarans, strength and placement of bulkheads is critical because they hold the hulls together.
The prototype we tested was a rough-and-ready Australian version. Shift cables and wiring were exposed inside the cuddy. There was minimal storage space and no under-gunwhale rodholders, and batteries sat under the gunwhales. However models built in the United States will include rodholders, more stowage, transom battery stowage and a circular baitwell in the transom. Cabin options will include a $7,250 dinette and galley. With the changes, the base boat is still priced right at $46, 416 less power.
One more change that might be considered for US buyers who visit McDonalds a bit too frequently: the cabin entry door is only 16 and a quarter inches wide.
Comparison shopping? Check out the 26’2″ Glacier Bay 2760 cuddy, a smooth-riding displacement cat that is narrower at 8’6″, but heavier at 4,400 pounds. It lists for $44,995 without power. The Glacier Bay probably winds on fit and finish, the Kevlacat on performance and fishing space.
Looking for a tough, no-nonsense cat that delivers a smooth ride and high speeds? The Kevlacat 2800 might be for you.
By Frank Sargeant