BOAT TEST: OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER 600 JAYCAT WALKAROUND
A little tweaking of the whiskers will have you onboard one of the nicest 6m jobs we have tested, writes Rick Huckstepp
TEST: OFFSHORE MARINE MASTER 600 JAYCAT WALKAROUND
If a cat's up your alley, Offshore Marine Master's 600 Jaycat should get a look in when you're studying your options.
We took one for a spin on the Noosa Bar recently and were impressed with the quality of build, which is consistent right across the OMM range (they also build mono hulls).
One noticeable aspect of this boat, when compared with other cats of a similar size, is the amount of space it offered, especially at the helm station. Here the head height under the hardtop allows someone 2m tall to stand without hunching over. While seated, there's ample room for the knees to clear the fascia below the helm. Shoulder room standing at the helm and the position of the passenger's seat were also acceptable. And an expanse of glass and Perspex surrounds the helm with no obstructions. Just the sort of thing you need when in the confused mess of a bar crossing where waves are careering in all directions.
STILL ON THE HELM
The side windows on the 600 are made from Perspex and slide open. They are large enough to allow a good breeze through on hot days, but interestingly, the front hardened-glass screen, which is a complete pane, has been moulded and installed with a curve over its width. This minimises much of the reflection the skipper gets on the glass, which can hinder clear vision. With no room for recessing electronics' cabinets on the dash, because of all the gauges, you may opt for gimbal-mounted types on the dash top, or sling them under the overhead console that forms part of the hardtop. This boat was a demo model and had yet to be fitted with radios, but the holes for them had already been cut in the overhead console.
The base modules for the passenger and skipper's seats were multipurpose. The skipper's featured an Isotherm refrigerator installed with the door opening into the companionway to the cabin. The back section was rebated to form a seat and a dry-storage compartment.
On the passenger's side, a similar module has a padded seat lid that opened to reveal a full-sized insulated icebox. Inevitably this style of seating arrangement gets added to, or re-customised during its life, so to make any alterations easy, a robust anchoring system of cleats on the deck with bolts through brackets on the modules allows for speedy removal. However, the passenger module would require removal for major servicing to the head holding tank, which is under the deck below this seat. But for quick maintenance, a hatch under the passenger's seat allows access.
The next surprise was the cabin. Generally on small cats you don't hear them called "cabins", because they're too cramped and small to be anything more than a storage area. Typically, the deck inside is on the same level as the helm and cockpit, because it's built on top of the tunnel between the hulls. The access here was easy with a vinyl-curtain zipped open and rolled back past the rebate in the top of the dashboard. Once inside there's more than enough room for two to sleep across the beam and any gear lying around, when you want to lie down, can go into the man-sized storage compartment under the hatch in the starboard hull. The cabin roof is high enough to allow someone about 185cm to kneel upright.
A similar compartment in the portside hull has a bi-fold hatch that sits out of the way and two handrails help you get down to the head. The front bulkhead in this cabin features flush-mounted hatches above compartments for storing small bits of gear and above them is a pocket across the beam.
LED lighting is installed in the forward wall of the pocket in the front wall of the cabin - this lights the walkway. The backs of these lights and their wires are exposed to potential damage from gear getting thrown around in the pockets, so repositioning of wiring would be needed. In fact, the looms from the engines going to the dash and any wiring going forward are encased in protective tubing. We would like to have seen less of that installed along the walls; it should be mounted under sills and pockets out of sight.
A quick look at the front of the 600 reveals a practical fishing and work area.
You get there via a step built into the forward corners of the cockpit and the padded coaming in the cockpit, which extend forward into the walkaround section. When walking foot-over-foot the ankles normally cop a battering climbing onto this type of area, so some thought has gone into alleviating this.
Sturdy bowrails run along this walkway until you're on the bow, where you can park your backside on the padded seat rebated into the brow of the cabin. Two large anchorwell hatches open outwards, but you'd be hard-pressed pulling all of the ground tackle in by hand if they were full. There's enough room to install a drum winch if desired. These hatches were painted with non-slip finish, so fishing and standing on the raised fore-section is an option.
The hardtop on the 600 is also covered in non-slip paint and appears substantial. It has three rodholders and handrails along its edges at the aft end. A rail across the aft end retains anything stowed here such as crab pots and swags, but if you're looking for beach access and want to carry a small rubber dinghy, this is the ideal place to keep it.
In the cockpit are the usual abundance of sidepockets, with batteries, fuel filters and deckwash pump behind flush-mounted hatches in the transom. Two livebait tanks are moulded into this area and there's a door that unlatches and lets one out onto the walkway between the two engines.
Rather than have it on the same plane as the cockpit deck, it steps down to alleviate the need for a high boarding ladder. This also softens the look of the aft end.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The pair of Suzuki 115hp outboards fitted to the test boat are controlled by Hydrive hydraulic steering. Steering was light and easy at all speeds and when manoeuvring.
The combination of water and air pressure in the tunnel between the hulls provided graduated lift on acceleration to the point where it was near impossible to detect holeshot; rather, the 600 slipped forward and onto the plane effortlessly. Counter-rotating props freed up any torque at the helm, and when backing down as you would on a fish, steerage was precise. Going astern, only a minimal amount of water came onto the deck through the scuppers, which drained in short time once the throttles were eased back to idle.
Steering was effortless in and out of the chop over the Noosa Bar, but this hull is one of the 80 per cent of cats that lean out when cornering rather than in. The ride is as soft as you're going to get in a 6m cat and it was fairly silent to boot. Often wave slap on the tunnel generates a lot of amplified noise through the hull, but this is not the case with the 600, because the under-deck voids are filled with foam.
Out from the bar in the smooth water, we loafed along at 4300rpm for 46kmh (24.8kts) and at full throttle of 5950rpm the speed is a respectable 68.5kmh (37kts).
This is a real neat cat. If you like the stability that this style of boat offers, and want to enjoy the low maintenance of plate alloy, a little tweaking of the whiskers will have you onboard one of the nicest 6m jobs we have tested.
WHAT WE LIKED
Typically good catamaran-stability dead in the water
Big cabin for a small cat
NOT SO MUCH
Lights installed in sidepockets will get damaged sooner than later
Wiring looms in cabin look untidy
Specifications: Offshore Marine Master 600 Jaycat Walkaround
Price as tested: $113,800
Options fitted: Engine upgrade, icebox, electric toilet, and more
Material: Aluminium; 4mm bottom, sides and decks
Length overall: 6.3m
Weight: 2500kg (BMT)
Tow vehicle: LandCruiser size
Fuel: 2 x 180lt
People berthed: 2
People day: 6
Rec. max. load (inc engine): 975kg
Rec. min. HP: 2 x 75
Rec. max. HP: 2 x 115
Rec. max. engine weight: 400kg
Make/model: 2 x Suzuki DF115
Type: Four-cylinder four-stroke
Rated HP: 115
Gearbox ratio: 2.59:1
Propeller: Solas four-blade
Offshore Marine Master,
Shed 3/7 Dual Avenue,
Warana, Qld, 4575
Phone: (07) 5493 5111
Originally published in TrailerBoat 251.
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