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Powercat 2900 Sports Fisherman Boat Test

It’s one thing to have a fast boat, but it’s another thing to be able to use that speed over the typically sloppy oceans that we usually fish. That’s where the twin-hulled Powercat 2900 Sports Fisherman shines! Warren Steptoe leads this rig into testing conditions and returns amazed by its handling at speed – and its economy.

Powercat 2900 Sports Fisherman Boat Test

Boat Test Powercat 2900 Sports Fisherman : SPEED AND ECONOMY!
Author and photography: Warren Steptoe

This boat test ran in ISSUE 85 of BlueWater magazine – JUNE-JULY 2011

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

Across sloppy wind-chop few boats can hold their own against a good power catamaran. If the disdain with which Powercat’s 2900 Sports Fisherman treated a windy day off Bribie Island’s Skirmish Point is any indication, this boat is up there with the best of them.

Northern Moreton Bay is notorious for the short, steep chop generated when strong winds oppose a big tide across the shallow banks between Bribie and Moreton Islands. It’s a sea to test any boat, so with a BlueWater boat test on the agenda for the day, we certainly put the Powercat 2900 Sports Fisherman to the test!

I am well aware how much power catamarans enjoy a bit of throttle to get enough air through their tunnel and keep their sponsons up and dancing. Ever since the once-legendary Shark Cats were something new, the balance between trim and throttle that affords what boat testers have been calling a ‘magic carpet’ ride across choppy water can be subtle at times. And while going too easy on the gas is probably the most common mistake neophyte power catamaran skippers make, if you get too carried away that’s no good either. If you’re interested in a twin-hulled offshore gamefishing rig, I suggest you arrange a test run with Powercat’s Steve Shaw who, for obvious reasons, is only too happy to demonstrate what boats like his are capable of.

At 9m with a 2.8m beam, the 2900 Sports Fisherman is big enough in terms of interior fishing space to step up with the battlewagons. But what makes it stand out as an option for bluewater fishing, is its ability to cover a lot of ground quickly – without beating its occupants around. The low-emission, fuel-efficient, high power-to-weight ratio outboards of today occupy space on a boat’s transom bluewater anglers habitually use while fishing. Twin outboard installations – and this applies whether they’re on a cat or a monohull – are the worst, because in each of those so-important aft corners, there’s a whopping great cowl between where the engine-well forces you to stand while fishing, and the water immediately behind the boat. There’s no way to avoid them altogether, although clever cockpit design can minimise the issues. This boat offers a reasonable alternative by having a walkway aft between the outboards, allowing you to actually make your way past the outboard cowls. Powercat also offer a workbench and rodholder option which goes a long way towards making up for lost access to those aft corners.

Trailerable Sibling

The 2900 Sports Fisherman is derived from a smaller Powercat, the 2500 Sports Fisherman which it just so happens took out the Australian Marine Industries Federation’s Trailerable Fishing Boat Award in 2007. I mention this smaller boat for several reasons. One is that the 2500, while it obviously gives something away in seakindliness to the larger 2900 being tested, is – at 7.5m long with a 2.5m beam – trailerable, albeit by a vehicle capable of legally towing its nearly 3 tonne combined weight. The 2900 is too wide to tow (without a permit anyway) at 2.8m beam; notwithstanding a BMT weight approaching 3.5 tonnes.

So, a 2500, being trailerable, is another option to consider for some, and the $25-$30,000 dollars you save by choosing the smaller boat may sway a few opinions too. Then there’s the fact that in both Powercats there’s a choice of interior layouts that should appeal to even serious bluewater anglers.

Powercat do what they call a Cabriolet version of both these hulls. This has a central module, a sort of a console, which has a small galley including a stove and bar-fridge, a sink with pressurised water, a spacious benchtop situated centrally behind the cabin, and the helm and passenger seating mounted on its forward end.

With that central module you still have the in-deck fishboxes and can still use the entire cockpit for fishing once the corner lounges are removed. So, for people who want to use their Powercat for socialising and even a day or two of cruising, the Cabriolet version may be the preferred option.

Fishing Layout

The Sports Fisherman version has back-to-back bucket seating, which in our test boat incorporated both stowage and an icebox underneath. I should add at this point that both interiors have twin (insulated) 220 litre fishboxes set into the deck aft, and a rear lounge arrangement which can (on request) be made removable to clear the entire cockpit space for fishing.

The deck in all versions is set high enough to self-drain efficiently, although the cockpit sides are moulded in one piece with the deck. This design usually compromises leg support when fishing in rough water, but Powercat cleverly avoids this issue with big upholstered bolsters. There are also big side pockets with gaff or rod racks set into the cockpit sides.

In the back-to-back bucket seat version, the forward-facing seats have a flip-down cushion arrangement that quickly changes them into a handy brace for standing at the helm while travelling at speed on rough water.

In the 2900 Sports Fisherman’s cuddy cabin, headroom is necessarily low over the bed, although you can stand comfortably upright in the port sponson as you enter the cabin. An electric toilet is situated here where it’s convenient to use. The bunk stretches the rest of the way across the cabin, and once you clamber in, you’ll find that there’s plenty of space. Obviously, being a catamaran, the tyranny of having a deep tunnel between separate sponsons means there’s none of  the deep forefoot you get in monohulls – or the cabin headspace that it provides. Nonetheless, I doubt anyone would consider this boat’s cuddy cabin to be cramped.

Our test boat’s hard-top is optional, as a soft Bimini top comes standard, and the stainless targa arch/rocket launcher/rod rack comes with either. Bluewater anglers would find this hard to do without, because it makes the helm and passenger area so comfortable and secure from the worst weather. A low express-style tower should work well on this boat.

Engine Options

By now, readers have probably looked closely enough at the accompanying images to notice that our test boat was powered by two 250hp Suzukis. Yes, we had 500hp on a boat weighing about 3 tonnes. You would expect it to be quick, and indeed it was, with Suzuki 22-inch pitch stainless props accelerating the boat to 42 knots (78km/h) at 6000rpm. However, what really impressed was that at cruising speeds around 25 knots, and at a mere 3500rpm, the engine telemetry showed we were burning less than 50 litres per hour – and that’s the total for both motors.

Twin 175hp Suzukis are standard for this boat, with options for a pair of 200s, 225s, 250s like our test boat, or even 300s! Interestingly, Powercat quote fuel consumption figures of: 42 litres per hour at 25 knots for twin 175s; 48 litres per hour at 25 knots for 200s, 225s, and 250s; and 45 litres per hour for the 300s. One of these Powercats with twin 300s would be quite a missile (let me at it!) and wouldn’t use much more fuel than a tinnie.

Given standard 250 litre fuel tanks in each sponson, with two 300 or 375 litre tanks optional, you’re talking considerable range here. It’s interesting to calculate time versus distance versus fuel consumption against this boat’s ability to maintain rough water cruising speeds that would have you pulling back the throttles in comparable monohulls.

Highlights

  • High cruising speeds in real comfort across choppy water.
  • Outstanding fuel economy.
  • An effective bluewater fishing option that more people should consider.

Capacities

  • Maximum Rated Power: 2 x 300hp
  • Max persons: n/s
  • Fuel: 2 x 250 litres std
  • Water: 120 litres
  • Holding tank: 45 litres

General

  • Material: GRP laminates
  • Hull Type: power catamaran
  • LOA: 9.0m
  • Beam: 2.8m
  • Draft: 0.5m
  • Deadrise: 28 degrees (at transom)
  • Weight: 2480kg (hull and 2 x 175hp motors)
  • BMT Towing Weight: approx 3380kg

Engines

  • Make/model: 2 x Suzuki DF 250
  • Type: DOHC EFI V6 4-stroke
  • Rated hp: 250hp
  • Displacement: 3614cc
  • Cylinders:6
  • Weight: 2 x 268kg
  • Gearbox ratio: 2.29:1
  • Propeller/s used for test: Suzuki s/s 22-inch pitch

SPECIFICATIONS: Powercat 2900 Sports Fisherman
Options fitted: 2 x 250hp Suzukis, hardtop, Reelax outriggers, Flexiteek decking, Raymarine C80 electronics package, cockpit spreader light, tackle locker. 

Powercat 2900 Sports Fisherman Boat Test

Boat Test Powercat 2900 Sports Fisherman: SPEED AND ECONOMY!
Author and photography: Warren Steptoe
Supplied by: Powercat Marine

This boat test ran in ISSUE 85 of BlueWater magazine – JUNE-JULY 2011

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

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