7.2 DIESEL INBOARD POWER CATAMARAN
The wide beam 7.2m Kevlacat has an excellent record as
an offshore sportfisherman with outboards or sterndrive power
units. Now its available with diesel inboards, opening
up a whole new range of possibilities for the sportfisherman.
First conceived as the Magnum series, powered by big V-6
outboard motors, the 2800 or 7.2 metre series Kevlacats have
enjoyed mixed sales success here and overseas, probably because
it falls into the category that makes it too big to be a trailerboat
and for a long time, because it was not available with diesel
inboards, the choice of many of Australias top fishermen,
it was passed over in many fishos selection process.
As well, this model has always gone head to head with the
Noosa Cat 7.0m series which offers the advantage of normal
24 hour trailering ability with its 2.5 metre beam, as distinct
from this big crafts wide 2.77 metre beam which requires
a special permit for towing, and in daylight hours only.
Given the Cougar Cat also produce a model in this price range,
its obviously a highly competitive market sector, and
as most readers are aware, it is a buyers market in
just about every category, let alone outboard powered, 7 metre
high performance powered catamarans.
Kevlacat are amongst the first manufacturers to grasp the
potential of the new technology, light weight high performance
diesel engines now coming on to the market, with the Yanmar
170 hp 4 cylinder engine (the 4LHDTE) being one of the most
These extraordinary engines only weigh 406 kg including the
gear box, a truly remarkable figure considering that only
a decade or more ago, to get such horsepower, one had to buy
a 6 cylinder diesel that weighed as much as 650 kg or more.
Go back two decades, and youd need something akin to
a 1300 kg tractor engine to get 170 hp at the flywheel.
Kevlacat's Fred Temminck saw the potential of the new light
weight Yanmars, and ordered two for the factorys own
It was a good decision. Not only is there considerable interest
in the 7.2 Kevlacat with its flush mounted under-floor engines,
theres obviously significant interest in the Yanmar
Last month, we travelled up to Kevlacats factory at
Warana on the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, where we
joined Fred, Michelle and Will, for an extremely interesting
double test (we tested the 5.2 m Kevlacat too for a report
later on) off Mooloolaba and Point Cartwright, in conditions
that were positively superb and enough to make a shivering
southerners heart green with envy.
Design: The 7.2 metre Kevlacat is an extremely well developed
craft. Many of them have been built now, both in the companys
most recent life, and in its much publicised earlier life
when its demise and placement into the hands of a Receiver
back in 1994, was the subject of considerable adverse publicity
and scuttlebutt throughout the Australian boating industry.
But those painful days are slowly falling behind them, and
todays proprietors, Harry Carter and Fred Temminck,
are rebuilding their companys somewhat tarnished image
with a concentration on quality control and boat building
skill that is very heartening. Following an extensive inspection
of their Warana facility, we concluded that the current Kevlacat
build standard is the equal of any in Australia, and we were
particularly taken with the standard of engineering and electrical
fit-out. This was considerably above the average found in
boats of similar size from years gone by.
If you want a good reason why you should always first consider
buying new instead of second hand, may I suggest five minutes
behind the dash of this Kevlacat 7.2 would provide more that
a subtle hint at the advantages of todays much higher
boat building standards.
Much of this has come about because of Kevlacats growing
international sales involvement. Shunned by the local market
for several years in the wake of the 94 financial disaster,
the new Kevlacat operation turned its attention overseas,
where it has enjoyed renewed success, and has now built up
extensive contacts in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and
America. Interestingly, Kevlacat are now manufacturing several
of their boats in America with Harry Carter taking care of
business in that part of the world.
But back to the 7.2m diesel cat.
Design: Measuring 7.8m overall, with a moulded hull length
of 7.2 m, this model has a moulded beam of 2.77metres, an
internal freeboard of 0.75 m (average) around the cockpit,
and it draws 0.60 metres in most configurations. Its
available with an excellent variety of power systems including
outboards, sterndrives, jets and inboard diesel or petrol
engines. Fuel capacity for the inset tanks is 2 x 450 litres
each, with a 1 x 113 litre (25 gal) water tank.
Its a big boat, and theres plenty of room for
most in-line 4 cylinder engines in the sponsons, and its
been very carefully designed with this in mind.
Likewise, there are quite a few different variations in layout
as far as the cockpit is concerned. Its available with
a dinette to port and various ice chests and tables to starboard,
and any number of seat combinations.
Like a number of these specialist power catamaran manufacturers,
Kevlacat are moving to the increasing use of "modular"
furniture components, so the customer is given a much greater
choice with the layout and fittings without any major
alteration to the cost. As long as they have the moulding
in stock (the "part") they will fit in.
Most fishermen have it the way it is in the photographs
this is very close to perfect for most fishos. For them, a
dinette is not much more that a waste of space, and greater
interest is shown in the live bait tank than in the placement
of (say) a galley unit.
And what a cockpit the 7.2 has with the underfloor Yanmar
diesels. It measures no less that 4.95 metres long from the
principle bulkhead back to the transom by 2.42 (inside) m
wide thats a vast 11.97 square metres of useable
self draining, cockpit space that is going to keep the most
ardent mackerel fisherman happy. It also has heaps of space
for fishermen who like to install a gamefishing chair to work
with the bigger fish species.
The 7.2 Kevlacat is available with a hard top or without,
and given todays availability of excellent waterproof
clears, a snug wheel house arrangement is easy to configure.
Similarly, Kevlacat has built several half towers and a full
tower for sportfishermen keen to have the vision advantage
from above. If necessary, Kevlacat can install a full second
station, high up in the tower.
Down below, the cabin is quite a useful size, and comprises
the toilet directly ahead of the companion way down into the
cabin. From there, a big triple berth spreads right across
to the starboard side utilising the space very well for two
people and probably three.
But make no mistake, this Kevlacats not set-up as a
family cruiser, and nor is it really designed with cruising
in mind despite its undoubted capability in this area. 99.9%
of its buyers are into fishing and when youve spent
a couple of hours at sea in this boat you can see why.
Construction: It is a fairly gloomy way of looking
at things, but sitting in Kevlacats yard at the time
of writing is one of their big 10 m commercial crabbing boats,
locked away pending a coronial inquiry.
It seems the big LFBs lone skipper was lost at sea off
Mooloolaba recently, and the Kevlacat, running at trolling
speed on the autopilot, steamed itself back home. It bumped
its way right through the surf, before running straight up
the beach, where it sat, its twin diesels grinding away until
an alert surfer had the nous to climb aboard, shut down the
engines, and alert the authorities.
Apart from one seriously damaged prop and a bent shaft, the
rig incurred no structural damage whatsoever, and could go
back to sea tomorrow. In another incident the writer is aware
of a 6.0 m Kevlacat hit a retaining wall at the bottom of
a waterfront homes garden up the Lane Cove River a few
years back, at full speed, and bounced off! Apart from a serious
bump on the nose the Kevlacat was quite okay,
although the crew were injured by the severity of the impact.
The moral here is simple these boats are very strongly
built, and they do genuinely utilise 2 layers of unidirectional
Kevlar cloth in the hulls construction. They are not,
nor are they claimed to be, fully moulded in Kevlar. Apart
from costing the earth, such extravagance would be a total
wasted of time and money well, unless you were a Columbian
drug lord, perhaps, with the US Navy on your trail!
In fact, they are built with a fairly traditional lay-up,
using good quality isothalic resin and chopped strand glass,
the two Kevlar layers combining to provide an extremely powerful,
long lasting total laminate. Much of the superstructure is
of divinycell core construction, whilst the tunnel entrance
is carefully reinforced with balsa core laminate.
The writer studied their construction schedules and procedures
in some detail, and was impressed by their thoroughness and
further, the attitude of the guys working in the shop. Its
good to see blokes so obviously taking pride in their work
and all commented that "management" was more
concerned about doing it right the first time, than saving
a few bob here and there, or knocking back their hourly rate.
Application: Serious fishing. Either on a commercial
basis, or in recreational mode. Or as a charter boat for mixed
light and heavy tackle fishing with two man crews.
From a private viewpoint, it is a superb rig. Things I particularly
Flush floors in the cockpit
HUGE self draining deck
Excellent live bait tank
Interaction between skipper and crew; the skipper
is really involved, right in the thick of things.
Shelter/protection for skipper, especially in
view of above
Excellent cockpit ergonomics (height of rails
to your waist, thighs, etc)
Economy, safety, durability of the diesels
Nothing absolutely nothing to fold
down or put away at the days end. Just wash er
down on the way home with the big deck wash hose, tie er
up in the marine hey, and pass me a coldie!
Performance: The Yanmars were too new and had not been
finally serviced for us to conduct all our usual trials, and
Fred Temminck was still a bit unhappy with the vibration coming
from the port engine. This was suspected to be the result
of a slightly out of alignment prop shaft, so until that was
cleared up, we were understandably reluctant to hammer the
Yanmars to the max to discover what the ultimate performance
of this 7.2 Kevlacat could achieve.
Nevertheless, we were able to put away 35-36 knots with disarming
ease, suggesting that fully tuned and run-in (this boat still
had only 20 hours on the clock) the Yanmars were more than
capable of pushing this big rig to mid 30s performance
with a load of blokes onboard plus ice and fishing gear.
This may seem a bit hard to believe for some mono-hull skippers,
but the Kevlacat 7.2 is easily capable of cruising offshore
for hours and hours at speeds of up to 26-27 knots and in
quite choppy conditions at that.
Throttled back into the low 20 knot range, quite rough seas
can be taken with ease, and a good cruising attitude and ride
is achieved that will simply blow most mono-hulled skippers
minds clean off their shoulders.
Fishing guys who have worked (say) good old boats like the
Bertie 28 or sportfishing rigs like the OMC Haines Hunter
680 SF along the Eastern Seaboard, should really get into
these new cats to check them out. Considering this boat is
only 24 feet long overall, its performance, ride, handling
in a seaway is just simply magnificent, and light years ahead
of the traditional monos of this length especially
the traditional big plate boats around this 23-25 ft length.
And no, Im not just saying that because Peter Webster
is a cat enthusiast. I like cats to be sure, but
Ive also spent a great deal of time recently with the
Black Watch people, testing the B.W. 26 and 40, and F&B
owns and operates almost daily the superb Signature 702 hull,
so I am in a position to make the comment about this Kevlacats
ride and handling relative to some of the best monos
The Black Watch and Signature people too, have upgraded modern
design standards to an extent that makes them almost unrecognisable
from fishing boat standards of quite recent years.
How come? Well, a lot of its to do with these new technology
diesels not only are we getting big, grunty horsepower
outputs from these reliable, economical diesel engines
were also getting them now in incredibly light packages.
So the boats are running lighter, (the Black Watch 40 is only
10 tonnes) and theyre working more easily in the seaway.
Theyre not dragging their bums through the water like
theyve done in years past, partly because they
no longer have to carry such big loads of fuel nor great big
hunks of engine iron in the bilge anymore.
This is quite a revolution in the whole philosophy of modern
boat design and the Kevlacat 7.2 is right on the forefront
of this technology. By applying modern, light weight engine
know-how to very sophisticated high tunnel cat design, the
result is truly outstanding.
Summary: Dont believe me? Well, get yourself
into gear, get up to the Sunshine Coast and go fishing with
Fred and Michelle. Apart from having a fantastic day with
a top crew in an exciting boat, it will reshape your thinking
about power boat design, and youll probably get yourself
onto a billfish as well.
Go there to enjoy one of the best 7.2s in the business.
The wide beam Kevlacat 7.2 has rock solid stability, a genuinely
soft, dry ride, inboard diesel fuel economy and range, a huge
self draining fishing cockpit and comfortable overnight
accommodation for two. Throw in seaworthiness to handle the
worst conditions youll ever fish, and it is not hard
to see why the Kevlacat 7.2 has such a strong future in mid-sized
It is the perfect "bridge" from the big trailerboats
across to a full size, 10 m game boat, although I suspect
for many of todays more financially conscious fishermen,
this is in itself, the perfect gamefishing boat.
For more information please contact Kevlacat by phone on 07
5472 8470, fax 07 5472 8559 or email:
Article taken from Fisherman & Boatowner