There are several points which sum up what is remarkable about
Kevlacats new 6.5 metre Offshore. They relate
to a trip back to the Mooloola river mouth from Mudjimba Island.
Having the digital speed readout on the GPS scroll up 30 mph
when youre travelling across the usual 15 knot south
east wind chop typical of offshore south east Queensland is
one thing, but what is really remarkable is how many other
non-offshore racing boats could have even kept the Kevlacat
It has nothing to do with dramatics, so much as the lack of
them. No great sky-grabbing airs followed by landings that
peel sheets of white spray out each side of the sponsons.
It was just an unbelievably rapid passage across water that
would have slowed hulls twice the size down to half the speed.
The 6.5 metre Offshore SF 2400 is an all-new Kevlacat.
Kevlacats long ago redefined power catamarans by laying to rest
what had, until then, been the established norm in power cats.
Kevlacats werent tank-heavy like their predecessors,
and as a result didnt need massive, fuel-gulping powerplants
to make them perform.
Now were looking at a next generation of
Kevlacats. Its probably fair to say that their predecessors
were good enough not to leave a lot of room for improvement.
Still, what were looking at with the new 6.5 is again
nothing so much dramatic as a noticeably further-refined
This is evident when you stagger barefoot around the cockpit
trying to keep five figures worth of Nikons finest focused
on another Kevlacat powering along beside. The point here
is that several rolls of Fujichrome later, all toes and things
are in fine shape.
Any boat claiming to be a serious offshore fishing boat should
have toes-in-under, thigh-high leg support all around the
cockpit. So few achieve this that you tend to accept small
toe busters here and there as inevitable.
This Kevlacat simply wont bust your toes right around
all three sides of the cockpit theres simply
nothing to stub your toe on. Even the batteries and oil bottles
are up above the deck. Theyre accessible through hatches,
but are in compartments that dont leave them swimming
when theres water on the deck.
Its funny how it shows when boat designers and builders
are fish heads themselves. When you walk into Kevlacats
office theres the usual cast of a (bloody big!) sailfish
on the wall although lots of boat builders have such.
The difference is when you enter Kevlacat el-supremo Fred
Temmincks inner-sanctum. Here, it takes just a moment
to peel away the PR veneer before youre being shown
the photos from the previous weeks fishing literally
just a few ks offshore from Kevlacats factory
on Queenslands Sunshine Coast.
Perhaps whats significant about that isnt so much
that Fred fishes. Its that fishing holds a high-enough
priority for him to create sufficient time out of the frantic
lifestyle running a large boat building business demands to
fish as much as he does.
This in turn explains the attention to detail there is in
a Kevlacat. So, when you get to the new 6.5 which replaces
the old 6.2 (a classic by any definition) you might take a
while to appreciate the little refinements which add up to
a further refined whole.
There arent any radical changes to the hull either.
New chine shapes, finer entry points and a different angle
to the forefoot are about it. Inside its the same subtle
touches here and there.
However, readers may not be familiar with the old 6.2, so
lets take a tour of the 6.5, leaving for now further
comment on whats refined, polished, better, or
for that matter whats new.
At 6.5 metres, the Offshore is big enough to offer both an
ample cockpit and two bunks in a cabin large enough to make
sleeping aboard a realistic proposition. Not that the cabin
is huge it could be likened more to a two-person tent
than a marquee.
Tropical residents might find the single hatch and door somewhat
inadequate for ventilation on steamier nights. However, the
couple who owned the boat pictured here had already spent
several comfortable nights in a marina at Mooloolaba when
we borrowed their boat for the photographic session.
The cockpit is ample and weve already heaped completely
justifiable praise on its periphery and how the batteries
and oil bottles are tucked out of harms way. The test
boat has a deck wash similarly stowed, and the amount of sundries
the owners had tucked into the side pockets testifies to their
Kevlacat have always built to buyer specs and while with the
new 6.5 theyre trying to offer a base model and a fully-fitted
version, it will be a wonder if a historically-discerning
customer will allow them to. The boat photographed is the
fully-fitted version, offering a range of things optioned
on the base model as standard. To prove our prediction, Glen
Piper the new owner opted for a few details
of his own.
Nonetheless, the standard equipment seen here on the fully-fitted
version (optional on the basic model) includes cabin windows,
cabin hatch, cabin doors, much of the instrumentation, the
hardtop and its folding add-on at the rear, and the targa
bar. Similarly, the seat base/ice/storage boxes seen
here and the toilet tucked under the port side bunk are standard
on the Offshore and optional on the base model.
The one thing I found uncomfortable was the seating/driving
position. I thought the wheel was too low in that it forced
an unnatural hunched-over, head-up driving position.
When this was mentioned to Fred (between skiting about how
many fish Id caught lately), he was quite surprised
to hear it because others had loved the driving position.
It may have something to do with Fred claiming two metres
plus of altitude to my somewhat height-disadvantaged 1.7.
All that can be said is to check it out for yourself.
Kevlacat might be trying to educate their customers into a
this-way or that-way option list, but you rest assured that
changing something as important as the helm position would
be dealt with as a matter of course.
Having praised the cockpit and the layout generally in surprising
few words, lets get back out on the water. No; before
we do that, perhaps a brief rewind to reiterate that the cockpit,
seating area, cabin and foredeck access, and anchoring arrangements
are all exceptionally good might get me out of trouble.
Out of Mooloolaba it took about 100 metres beyond the end
of the six knot limit (inside the river) to find that those
twin 130s can press you back into the seat. Many Kevlacats
could operate extremely well with amazingly small motors.
We accept this; theyve proved the point and with the
twin 90s listed as the minimum factory option, Im sure
the new 6.5 metre would do a good job. Two 140s is the specified
maximum, with 115s being the standard fitment to the Offshore
SF 2400 version.
The twin 130s felt right. They lifted nearly a
tonne and a half of boat up and out of there smartly. Owner
Glen told me hed seen 37 mph on the GPS a few weeks
previously while motors were still freeing up. As we found
out, over 30 mph across a pretty ordinary sea was effortless.
At around 20 mph the motors were lofting along at 3000 rpm.
This is where offshore travelling finds distance covered,
maximum fuel efficiency and comfort in any sort of sea. The
urge to point the 6.5 for Cairns or Port Macquarie was extremely
As some kind of an ultimate offshore fishing boat, you wont
use many fingers to count its peers.
For more information please contact Kevlacat by phone on 07
5472 8470, fax 07 5472 8559 or email:
Article taken from Modern Fishing, April 1998.