BOAT TEST: ALLURA 60 POWERCAT

By: ALLAN WHITING

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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Many years of practical, boat-owning experience show in the construction of the Allura 60 and in its finishing touches. ALLAN WHITING jumps aboard with the cat’s designer and a hands-on boatie

BOAT TEST: ALLURA 60 POWERCAT
Allura 60 Powercat

Unlike oft-compromised production catamarans, the Allura 60 is a custom build. Bob Oram designed the boat as a spacious fishing vessel for Allura Marine's James McCullogh, but the same hulls and bridgedeck design could support cruising or reef-touring superstructure.

Oram specialises in designs that can be built using DuFLEX panels. These panels are cored with rigid end-grain balsa and laminated with epoxy resin, reinforced with multi-axial E-fibreglass. The boat design is translated by CAD/CAM programming into pre-cut panels that are then taped together. Construction is done upright, inside female frames, so gravity aids panel alignment and bulkhead fitment. The glued and stitched structure is then laminated inside and outside.

Epoxy resin is expensive, as we all know, but that's the material used in the hull and deck interior and exterior laminations. The aim is a brilliant finish, minimal maintenance and no threat of osmosis.

The finished boat has a sharper look to it than moulded craft and without the rippled effect on flat sections that's common with sheet metal construction.

I was impressed with many of the Allura 60's inclusions, starting with handrails that look similar to others, but the uprights mount over solid FRP spigots that protrude through the decks. There's no chance of some awkward 'fatty' forcing the posts out of the deck.

The hulls are connected by bridge decking that has several inbuilt conduits, so the standard wiring is housed properly and subsequent wiring has somewhere to go.

The Maxwell HWC3500 windlass is way oversize and the anchor roller is located in a position that makes dropping and weighing safe, without any chance of scarring hull or deck surfaces. Goiot hatches and popup deck cleats are standard.

The flybridge access is by way of an interior circular staircase, not an external ladder and the staircase centre post serves double duty, being a cable conduit as well.

Both enginerooms have multi-panel covers. The panels are quick and easy to remove for accessing the most common jobs, and without disturbing bedding.

The steering station is centrally positioned in the flybridge, where the helmsman can see all four boat corners. Also, the skipper can swivel the chair and check how the anglers in the cockpit are going without leaving the steering station.

Naturally, there is a second, cockpit steering station on the port side with duplicate engine and bowthruster controls. Hydraulic steering is standard.

The vast foredeck on the test boat was bare, other than for huge storage bins and a pair of bow seats, but the boys at Allura Marine can fit whatever is required. A spa? No problem.

 

 

BELOW DECKS


The evaluation boat was arranged as an owner's version, with a private head in the starboard hull, but the plan view of the standard configuration shows two double cabins and a for'ard single bunk in each hull, with walkthrough heads connecting them. Ten people can sleep in comfort and there's ample room in the huge saloon for auxiliary sleeping space.

The saloon features a large, U-shaped galley with fiddled top, full-sized two-door fridge, oven and three-burner gas cooktop. The U-shaped dinette is set on a plinth, so that there's a good view from the table. Seating eight isn't a problem. The bedroom intrusions into the saloon space have been exploited as generous serving or storage surfaces.

The quality of the headlinings, window frames and interior furniture on the test boat was very high, but the laminated surface in the galley was dimpled and the upholstered panels that hid the batteries of LED cabin mood lights had the look of afterthought about them. There was still some wiring work to be done in the cabins, so these minor blemishes could no doubt be easily rectified.

 

 

ON THE WATER


The Allura Marine 60's twin 375hp John Deere engines burst into life with a low rumble, but very little vibration was evident at idle, even when cold. There was a touch of white smoke, but we put that down to the fact that the engines were new and still lubed with running-in oil.

The big cat powered away from the jetty with a touch of starboard-hull bowthruster to pull the boat clear. Thereafter, manoeuvring her was easily done by playing the engine/transmission levers. The ZF transmission features hydraulic multi-plate clutches that operate in 'slip' mode through initial travel, so low-speed regulation was done in the boxes rather than by the engine injectors.

It was interesting to see the boat's speed increase as the levers were pushed forward gradually while the engines' speed didn't change. After the boxes moved from slip to no-slip mode, lever movement started to increase engine revs.

Taking a 7.1m-beam cat through the Coomera River channels is no mean feat, but the Allura 60 could be steered easily trough the twists, turns and tight bends of the River. The easiest method was to use the autopilot 'helm' knob, rather than the larger, stainless steel wheel, so the possibility of over-steering was eliminated. In sections where early morning mist obscured some of the channel markers and cardinal marks, the Furuno radar system, linked to the chartplotter screen, allowed the helmsman to keep the boat on the optimum course.

Once clear of the six-knot zone the Allura 60 was given its head. The engines responded with a pleasant growl, tinged with a faint turbo whine and the big cat accelerated to 20kts in very short order. At WOT, boat speed was a GPS SOG of 27kts and engine speed 2400rpm. Wake was minimal for a loaded vessel that tipped the scales at 16 tonnes, but the biggest surprise was a total lack of bow spray on the decks.

At three-quarter throttle, boat speed was 21kts at 2000rpm and the fuel flow meters showed consumption at 40lt/h per engine. At half-throttle, boat speed was 15kts and consumption dropped to only 22lt/h per engine.

We punched through the Southport Seaway swells and were surprised again: the big cat rose to the incoming short swells and we braced for the expected slam on descent, but there wasn't any. The boat crested each swell and landed softly on the other side without any sudden deceleration. The slim, fine-entry hulls obviously hid a surprising amount of forward buoyancy.

We steered inshore to check out the big boat in some short chop and put it through head-on, across-wave and broadside wave action. Those on the chase boat expected some dramatic feedback from the Allura 60 crew, but at a later discussion the crew said there was no indication of what looked dramatic from the outside.

Through all this action the decks stayed dry and there was almost no spray on the large windscreens. With 20kts showing on the GPS, I headed up to the bow seats and had a close look at the bow waves. They sprayed upwards, as you'd expect, but then curled over and downwards. How was this possible, I asked James McCulloch.

"Bob Oram employed a definite shelf chine to cut down spray, but when we built the boat, I took the concept a stage further and it works perfectly," said McCulloch, who put the boat through some tight manoeuvres that I didn't expect a broad, 60-foot cat to handle, but the big boat proved eminently 'chuckable'.

One of the main vocations for the Allura 60 is charter fishing and McCulloch demonstrated how easily it could be backed up, without shipping half the Tasman on the stern hull extensions. Incidentally, these are designed for fish handling and cleaning, so are deliberately stepped down, close to the waterline, and have large storage compartments.

The Allura 60 is a lot of boat for the money, with deck and interior space that compares with a much longer, more expensive monohull. It's also much cheaper to operate than a big battewagon, so it should have appeal for charterboat operators. The Allura 60 would be happy passagemaking, cruising shallow waters and, of course, fishing.

 

 

 

Specifications- Allura 60

 

 

PRICE AS TESTED


Approx $2 million

 

 

OPTIONS FITTED


Furuno Navnet VX2 Seamap NT Max navigation system with radar overlay; 3D MaxSea Program suite NAVpilot; LCD MU120c screen, open array 72nm radar; Furono DFrequency searchlight sonar, range 1200m; 3kW transducer sounder with integrated NEC Versa S32 laptop; Remote control fire system; bowthruster; Seabreeze marine air-conditioner; electric battery bridging system with remote switching; Jabsco spotlight; flybridge bar fridge; cockpit freezer; two Reelax gamefishing chairs; 250lt galley fridge/freezer; watermaker; 3kW inverter; and, LCD TV and stereo system.

 

 

GENERAL


Material: DuFLEX panel construction w/ epoxy laminate
Type: Catamaran
Length overall: 16.7m
Beam: 7.1m
Draft: 1.6m

 

 

CAPACITIES


Berths: 4 double cabins, 2 large singles
Fuel: 2400lt
Water: 800lt (plus 100lt/h watermaker)
Holding tank: 320lt

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: 2 x John Deere 6081AFM75
Type: Diesel
Displacement: 8.1lt
Rated HP: 375 (each)
Gearbox (Make/ratio): ZF 280-1A wet-multi-clutch; 1:1.769 trolling ratio
Props: Four-blade Nibral CompuQuad

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Allura Marine,
17 Rival Lane,
Coomera, Qld, 4209
Phone: 0407 371 133
Website: www.alluramarine.com.au

 

Find Allura boats for sale.

 


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