Voyager V625 Sportsfish Boat Test

With their V625 Sportsfish, Voyager has taken the twin-hull gamefishing trailerboat to a new level of refined design. Together with Suzuki 4-stroke outboards this is a very economical rig with greatly improved ocean performance. For cockpit space and the ability to handle rough seas or bar crossings, this is a boat to consider very seriously.

Voyager V625 Sportsfish Boat Test

Boat Test Voyager V625 Sportsfish: VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
Author and photography: John Ford

This boat test ran in ISSUE 121 of BlueWater magazine – JAN-FEB 2017

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

Readers old enough to know the names of all the Beatles may also be familiar with that great Australian offshore racing legend, Bruce Harris, and his amazing Shark Cat. The first home-built model achieved almost immediate success and went into production on the Gold Coast. Over time it achieved cult status among abalone divers and offshore anglers all the way from the tropical north to the freezing waters of Bass Straight.

Cats have proved popular because of their smooth ride, rough-water capabilities –including legendary performance in bar crossings – the safety of two motors, and all the extra room that the twin-hull design delivers. However, enthusiasm for twin-hull boats has waned somewhat in recent years, which is a shame because dramatic improvements in outboard technology, including lighter, more fuel-efficient engines have made the benefits and security of twin outboards much more economical than those older fuel-guzzling engines.

When I saw this latest tribute to twin-hull technology in pretty powder blue, it brought back fond memories of my early years of fishing from a 6m Shark Cat and a little Markham Whaler. While the basic design brief is the same, the Voyager has a softer look and much-improved finish over some of the more agricultural beasts of the past.

Baby of Large Family

The Voyager V625 is part of a family of larger twin-hull cruisers up to 12.5m, all the result of company owner Derek Appleton’s passion for multihulls. With this smallest boat in the range, he has recognised a gap in the market for an easily-handled yet offshore-capable gamefishing catamaran trailerboat. With a boat/motor/trailer package just over 2100kg dry, you can easily tow the V625 to where the bite is happening and, once there, it’s a comfortable and safe ride to the action.

Using ideas and experience from his larger models, Appleton commissioned his marine architect to design an all-new hull and interior that could be adapted to a variety of uses – from hardcore gamefishing through to family-friendly cruising. The boutique nature of his business also means that they can cater for special customerrequests. For example, they recently delivered a model with a range of live-aboard features for a couple that planned extensive travel towing the boat to waterways around Australia.

Smoother At Sea

To avoid the broaching characteristics that some twin-hull designs experience in a following sea, Appleton made sure the Voyager had plenty of reserve buoyancy, particularly in the bow where the sponsons are beefy. A significant central wave-breaker between the hulls also adds volume and softens any impact.

In addition to chines along the side of each hull, steps underneath combine with central, tapered, planing planks running almost the full length under each hull for better lift out of the hole and optimum efficiency when running at speed.

Once on the plane, the Voyager’s buoyancy and hull shape lifts the boat some 20cm higher so that the tunnel clears the water surface completely, allowing air to travel cleanly through the hulls. Unlike some cats where the tunnel’s rear opening exits below the waterline, the Voyager’s design creates no back-pressure to suck a mist of air back into the cockpit.

Haines Group Construction

Appleton has entrusted construction of his Voyager V625 Sportfish to the Haines Group, which shares his insistence on fine detail and sturdy build quality. They form the hull from multiple layers of hand-laid, double-bi-axial fibreglass below the waterline for maximum strength and weight distribution, while topsides are from a mat sandwich with a lighter core.

Resin-encapsulated marine ply bulkheads in each hull create five separate waterproof compartments, each filled with foam for sound-deadening and full floatation. In the event that a section is damaged, there are nine more in reserve – a safety feature that will appeal to anyone travelling offshore. There’s also extra security in the self-draining deck and the independent twin-engine setup.

It is evident that the moulds have received special care, with all edges beautifully smooth. Even the diamond pattern non-skid surfaces are impeccable.

Cuddy Cabin Layout

Layout includes a useful cuddy cabin taking up the forward third, with the remainder devoted to helm and cockpit. While our test boat sported a folding Targa arch with a well-fitting bimini, there is the option for a hardtop with either clears or a glass enclosure.

Access to the cabin is through a wide opening to port. A zippered enclosure adds privacy, with a lockable cabin also an option. Once inside, sitting room is limited by the low roof and the fact the hull tunnel creates a raised section between the side berths. However, it does allow the easy installation of an infill to create a monster bed, measuring 1.83m long and 2.1m wide.

Any uneasiness about headroom is soon forgiven when the port bunk is opened to reveal a full-size electric toilet set deep enough in the hull to offer standing room. It’s equipped with a moulded sink and is arguably the best setup for such a feature included in a 6m trailerboat.

Side windows and a large opening hatch permit plenty of light and fresh air, while side storage shelves will be great for holding tackle and safety gear. There’s anotherhuge storage area under the starboard bunk. The test boat’s grey vinyl upholstery and flowcoat ceiling are probably more practical than fashionable, but you can, of course, opt for other colour schemes and a full carpet liner if you want more home comforts.

A neat 7kg stainless-steel plough anchor rests on a short bowsprit with the rode led over a substantial roller to a drum winch protected under the deck. In the need to go forward, access is either along the narrow side deck or through the cabin hatch –a safer option.

A Fishing Cockpit

The roomy, uncluttered cockpit is the real deal for fishing. Wide side decks are ready to accommodate your choice of rodholders and outrigger bases, and are a safe 72cm high with well-upholstered coamings and deep toe recesses for secure footing.

Side storage pockets are strong and deep, while the floor is finished in a very grippy and durable paint-chip covering, with its grey finish easy on the eyes under bright sunshine.

Fitted into each hull is a 180L Sant Marine polyethylene fuel tank, each with an inspection port to the sender and pickup. Internal baffles stabilise the load when underway. While the bare floor of the test boat gives a fully self-draining deck with no recesses, there’s an option for a pair of 200L fully insulated fishboxes under the floor.

Handrails are recessed into the side decks and, along with pop-up rear cleats, minimise the chance of snagging lines, while cut-outs behind the helm seats for the EPIRB and fire extinguisher keep them within easy reach but out of harm’s way.

The design of the transom is functional and beautifully crafted with no sharp corners and a super-smooth finish. A walkway between the engines serves as a boarding platform, and with sturdy rails and gate this is sure to be a favourite place for casting or fighting fish.

To starboard is a plumbed livebait tank, while to port is a storage hatch/cooler with a removable baitstation incorporating drink and rodholders, as well as slots for knives and tools.

The fuel filters are located in the outboard well where they can be easily inspected. Being in open air, they are also away from any potential sparks from the electrical system.

Helm Space

Stainless-steel frames supporting the helm seats use minimal space and are designed so that large coolers can be stored below. As well as being supportive and comfortable, seats also feature embroidered logos, a rear grab rail and full 360-degree rotation.

Instruments, radios, switches and a 23cm hybrid touch Raymarine plotter/sounder are neatly laid out in a compact dash. Screens up to 30cm would fit and there is plenty of room for an extra one to be bracket-mounted on the flat panel to the left.

Ahead of the dash is a five-section Taylor Made glass screen that efficiently deflected the wind and stayed dry during testing despite a steady 30kph breeze.

Economical Suzuki Power

In line with the Haines Group connection, power is delivered from a pair of 90hp 4-stroke Suzuki outboards, although you can fit any brand between a range of 70 to 115hp. These 90s are 1500cc 4-stroke, with a 4-cylinder, in-line format and boast contemporary technology, including double overhead cams, 16 valves per cylinder and electronic sequential fuel injection. Weighing in at 157kg, they also feature Suzuki’s lean-burn technology designed to deliver enhanced fuel economy.

On the face of it, a total of 180hp might seem modest for a hull weighing in at 1100kg, and as I clicked the engines into gear on the calm water of the Gold Coast’s Broadwater I was keen to see how well the combination performed.

At 3200rpm the hulls rose smoothly onto the plane at 20kph, without noticeable bow lift, and settled into a slow cruise around 30kph (3700rpm), consuming 20L/ph for a range of 480km. Interestingly, the hull efficiency rose as the speed increased so that a fast cruise at 4500rpm returned 44kph at 26L/ph and a range of 546km with 10% of the fuel kept in reserve. This performance was so impressive that we checked the figures with Suzuki to make sure we had it right. They confirmed it was the sort of result they would expect.

Wide-open throttle gave us an average run of 65kph (35kts) and over the short 400mm chop the boat was rock-steady and smooth. Into turns, it’s a matter of applying additional throttle to the outside engine to maintain momentum. Even in sharper changes of direction there was minimum outward lean, with no forward/aft wallowing and little cavitation.

On To The Ocean

Conditions offshore presented a fair range of conditions to evaluate the cat’s seagoing performance, with the swell averaging 1.5m outside with another 1m of wind-waves on top. However, as we made our way through the rougher edges of the Southport bar, the Voyager was a delight to drive.

The sharp entry of the hulls cut cleanly through waves, and all that buoyancy up front kept the nose from diving too deep. Progress was smooth and remarkably steady as each hull balanced the other to keep things on an even keel.

Into the wind, I saw 56kph (30kts) on the GPS without bashing the crew around at all. In a following sea, there was power on tap to up the revs even more, with no sign of broaching either while heading out into the ocean or coming back in through the steep swells on the bar.

As is the case with most twin-engine vessels, there was great traction from the double props and good acceleration when needed. At no stage was I wishing for more power as the 90s delivered good performance and seemed the right balance for the hull.

Tailored To Your Needs

Price starts at $105,680, so it’s in keeping with a quality similar-length monohull but with the benefits of twin engines. As tested, it jumps to $120,820 fitted with most features needed for heading offshore. Because they build to order you can customise from a long list of options and Appleton is happy to oblige clients with specific requests.

Voyager has taken the twin-hull concept to a new level of quality and performance. The V625 looks great and handles rough water exceptionally well. Safety features and the great ride should win over customers willing to step out of their single-track comfort zone.

Highlights

  • Soft ride and impressive sea-handling.
  • Economical and huge range from outboards.
  • Immaculate hull finish and great looks.

Capacities

  • People: 6
  • Rec. HP: 150-230hp
  • Fuel: 2x 180L

General

  • Type: Power catamaran
  • Material: fibreglass
  • Length: 7m LOA
  • Beam: 2.35m
  • Weight: 1140kg (2100kg BMT)

Engines

  • Make/model: Suzuki DF90 x 2
  • Type: In line, 4-cylinder, fuel-injected 4-stroke
  • Weight: 157kg
  • Displacement: 1500cc
  • Gear ratio: 2.59:1
  • Propellers: 13 7/8” x 19R

SPECIFICATIONS: Voyager V625 Sportsfish
Options fitted: Bolsters, engine upgrade, electronics and toilet.  

Voyager V625 Sportsfish Boat Test

Boat Test Voyager V625 Sportsfish: VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
Author and photography: John Ford
Manufactured by: Voyager Catamarans

This boat test ran in ISSUE 121 of BlueWater magazine – JAN-FEB 2017

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