This fishing-friendly catamaran is bulletproof and delivers a magic carpet ride. Wayne Kampe reports.
WHEN a boat is extensively used by such entities as the Coast Guard and VMR it’s obviously endowed with standards of sea keeping ability and performance that set it apart from its contemporaries. This is exactly where Kevlacat stands in the marine hierarchy.
After spending some time aboard the 2400 Kevlacat Offshore, with twin 140 Suzukis on the pods astern, I’ve formed the opinion it is indeed an offshore craft of colossal ability that’s well suited to game fishing, blue water tournaments, and fishing as far out as one might like to.
Kevlar is one of those wonder materials that’s both very light and very tough Ð it’s been used in bulletproof vests for years. The material’s incorporation within the hull of Kevlacats must surely guarantee great strength plus long service life – both very important aspects for the purchaser.
With refinements in design over the years, the current 2400 Kevlacat is a state-of-the-art machine with ride and handling attributes that permit owners to slip out for a crack at the fish when conditions might keep less capable craft ashore.
Those knife-like symmetrical hulls can handle rough conditions that might phase a larger mono hull and yet occupants are isolated from spray and buffered from impact, thanks to Kevlacat’s brilliant ride qualities.
The 2.5m beam is incorporated right from the bows where a high rail and plenty of non-skid surface offer sure footing for anchor tending. One could fish up here of course, but why go to the effort with such a large amount of cockpit space on hand aft? Six can fish back there. Access forward is via a non-skid walk-around area serviced by solid stainless rails on the hard top.
The 2400 has a quite serviceable cabin, given that it’s really a dedicated fishing craft. Lined and with well cushioned bunks each side, the cabin is also airy thanks to a wide central hatch plus elliptical side windows. The craft’s FM radio/CD player is located to port, just inside a lockable bi-fold door that’s accessed between the craft’s strongly constructed Reelax sliding seats mounted on large moulded boxes; these boxes, incidentally, are well set up. There’s a storage/ice box to starboard, a massive kill tank to port and access is as easy as lifting the hinged aft sections on which the seats are mounted.
Up front, occupants are well and truly protected by a five-piece windscreen and sheltered by a solid hard top with roll up clears; skipper and mate are well catered for with the craft’s side recess and lockable glove box to port, foot rests for both.
The 2400’s dash is a three-tier affair that indicates Kevlacat has gone to some trouble to make it user friendly. The upper section of the dash, directly behind the windscreen, was graced with a Furuno GP7000F sounder plotter and plenty of room for more nav aids if required. On the lower dash section paired gauges to monitor the 140 Suzukis were neatly set out centrally, with compass and switches to port. On a lower section there was a marine radio to port, ignition switches plus forward controls for the Suzukis to starboard. In all it’s a very easy set up to become accustomed to, one that made driving the rig a pleasure.
The 2400 Offshore’s self draining cockpit is virtually all fishing room. It features a depth of 0.67 metres, extra large side pockets, deck wash, several storage compartments, four gunwale mounted rod holders complementing the six on the hard top, bait station with rod holders and cutting board on the transom, plus ample room for the whole crew to fish in comfort.
On the water
The test day was nothing short of a minor miracle. Brisbane’s weather had been a depressing constant 20 to 30 knot southerly blast (with rain most days) for over four weeks continuously. We finally cracked a brief window in the weather with gales abating and rain reduced to occasional showers. Rafe Holm and Elissa, from Brisbane’s Springwood Marine, met me at Cleveland and we headed east to Stradbroke Island.
First up, let me tell you that this cat can really lope! With the twin counter-rotating 140 Suzukis spinning 13″ x 21″ pitch props at 6200rpm on the run across Moreton Bay, the 2400 hit 42.6 knots (78.8kph) with three aboard plus a full fuel load. Planing was at 2800rpm at 9.8 knots. A sweet cruising speed of around 32 knots was achieved at 4500rpm with the twin outboard’s noise levels hardly intrusive.
We stopped for a fish around the wrecks at the southern end of Peel Island on the bay’s eastern side for a couple of brief but happy hook ups which saw all terminal tackle missing after short sharp fights. Shark or big ray?
After no more takers we made a run down Rainbow Channel adjacent to North Stradbroke Island and headed into the South Passage bar area where ample wave action and swell gave the Kevlacat a gallop in her real element. So smooth was the ride upon reaching the bar Ð even at a zippy 32 knots – there was hardly a need to reduce speed. Actually, it was advantageous to keep speed up in the moderate seas as it ensured plenty of air was trapped under the hulls to soften the ride even more. In breaking waves I noted there was no need to reduce speed at all, just keeping the power applied did the trick with the combination of fine entry, sleek hull design (and that air cushion) providing the sort of ride that any offshore angler would love.
Stability was astonishing. It was raft like at rest, but when heading smartly across swells, the craft did no more than rock slightly. Running downhill was a blast with the hulls tracking as straight as dies with no driver input required. Just for the fun of it we jumped a few waves; again there was minimal impact as we landed thanks to that air cushion.
It’s obvious why the Coast Guard and VMR run Kevlacats. These craft are so much at home in the rough stuff that only a mono hull of far larger dimensions might compare with that fine ride and terrific stability. And that translates to a fishing boat of prodigious capability for the angler lucky enough to own one.
KEVLACAT 2400 OFFSHORE
Length: 6.5 metres
Beam: 2.5 metres
Weight: BMT package approx. 3000 kg
Fuel: 450 litres
Power: Recommended From 2 x 115hp; as reviewed 2 x 140hp Suzuki four-strokes
Towing: Large 4WD
Price: From $125K, as tested $137,860
Contact: Springwood Marine (07) 3884 7250; www.kevlacat.com.au