BOAT TEST: DYNAMIC 52
If you covet floor space, cavernous storage, rock-solid stability and creature comforts then try this floating home for size, says DAVID LOCKWOOD
Bruce Harris. Ring a bell? Surely it does. He was the killer instinct behind Shark Cat, one of the frontline powercats in this country, favoured for their offshore performance above all else. But this Dynamic 52 with Harris-designed hulls offers something else - hitherto new levels of liveaboard comfort thanks to the shipwrights that completed the project at Gold Coast City Marine.
A veritable floating home, the Dynamic 52 struck this writer as more of a dwelling than a mere cruising conveyance. The cabins are akin to bedrooms, the heads are like bathrooms, and there are balconies with water views on both living levels. Even the onboard laundry isn't to be sneezed at.
Catering for the floating, boating homebody, this big, broad cat has been built to 2C survey standards so you can go places other than just the local marina. Indeed, the way we see it, this would make a great adventure cruiser - and potential charter craft - for heading to the Top End or the Kimberley.
Unsurprisingly, a couple of potential owners are sniffing at the cat with just these kinds of voyages in mind. And it's that application which remained in the forefront of our minds when we ventured from the Gold Coast into the wide blue yonder.
As with Harris's own 52, a cat with a more down-to-earth fitout, economy is everything. With twin 315hp Yanmar 6LPA-STP six-cylinder turbo-diesel engines, top speed was about 20.5kts on test day. However, we've since been told this has increased to 24kts by changing the pitch and, thus, reducing the buffeting of water on the hull.
"The aim as to produce an efficient, low-drag, long-range, high-volume liveaboard," explains Patrick Goddard from Dynamic. And that he and his team have done. But we are also pleased to report that the fit and finish is of true production-boat or, better still, custom-boat standards. Attention to detail shines.
The hull is vacuum-bagged around a foam core, the accepted way to get strength without weight today, leading to a modest 22,000kg (dry) displacement, especially when you consider the volume of this double decker. And at the time of writing, there was second hull in the factory awaiting a new customer's fitout, which should reduce the 12-month build process on the boat you see hereabouts.
There's a lot else to like about the Dynamic 52 not least being, in places like the Gold Coast, the low draft and low-drag running surface. Draft was 1.3m, but less once you are up and running. And the boat gets up without dragging its tail. It turns flat like a cat but doesn't fall outwards as some do. There was some slight misting of the rear windows from suck-backed spray after our offshore run on a flat day, but the hull was otherwise well-behaved.
GOING THE DISTANCE
Equipped for liveaboarding, the Dynamic had a long and impressive specification and, when you start ferreting around in the engineering departments, commercial-standard fitout in keeping with its survey. To the aforesaid electronic Morse controls you can add an impressive Simrad electronics and navigation pack, 72,000btus of tropical-strength air-con, an upgraded 27kVa Westerbeke generator, and a FCI 230lt/h watermaker. With an enormous 1640lt water capacity you mightn't need it.
There was a bilge-manifold system with all stainless steel piping and the latest C-Bus electrical boat-monitoring system that offers preset C-Zone modes for night boating, entertaining, and putting the ship effortlessly to bed. The AV system was Bose with a sub-woofer, the heads were trusty Vacuflush, while the high-adjustable Australian-made single Melfi helm chair ensured clear views from the enclosed flying bridge with forward helm.
But we would add a second helm chair and a docking device so you could stand in the cockpit or rear bridgedeck and see the transom. As it was, the rear deck had a 350kg Davco davit, room for toting the tender, plus twin aft-facing lounges to kick back on when its launched or watch the wake when reeling in the miles.
Of course, survey-height rails trace the sidedecks that lead to the foredeck with room to relax up front and a 68kg anchor to keep you there. The deceptively accommodating cockpit, which is largely shaded by the bridgedeck overhang, has a barbecue, scope for fitting a long-range freezer, lounges for four, and room for a table and chairs. Swimladders were needed, a trifling matter.
Accessed from an internal staircase, the enclosed bridge doubles as a second living area, with seating for six and an amenities centre with sink, fridge and washer-dryer. Air-con and opening windows let you control the climate. A 3500W inverter/charger also permits silent ship and, as touched on, there's been due consideration given to natural ventilation. Without going into the detail, the engines were service-friendly and destined to serve.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Three double cabins, each with en suites, feature in the accommodation plan, as does a spacious saloon accessed via opening doors, with high headroom and an aft galley. Gourmands will note the Bosch four-burner cooktop, convection microwave, Miele dishwasher and Corian counters. The lounge and dinette opposite can seat six at least.
Unusually, the stateroom was on the saloon level and forward behind a bulkhead so as to gain privacy. With an en suite boasting an absolutely huge shower, the Dynamic 53 is fit for a king. Nose to the breeze, the ventilation and comforts are great in the owner's cabin. And you don't feel as though you are squirreled away below decks.
Both cat hulls have the potential to include an impromptu double bed in the area under their stairwells, which would boost sleeping from six to 10 for, say, charter. Either way, there are comfortable double cabins up front, with a split shower and head. Although you get to choose your fit and finish, the feeling was very much upmarket holiday house on the demonstrator.
FACTS & FIGURES
Moreover, cruising miles are what matter on a boat like this. At 17kts at 3200rpm, about 80 per cent load, where you would run the boat all day when fast passagemaking, the engines use just 60lt/h in total for a range of 510nm from 90 per cent of the 2000lt tank. If time is on your side then pull the electronic Morse controls back to 2000rpm and you'll do 9kts (hull speed) for 24lt/h in total and a safe working range of almost 700nm.
PRICE AS TESTED: $2.58 million
Semi-custom boat built to 2C Survey with all the good gear for long-range, liveaboard cruising
MATERIAL: Vacuum bagged vinylester resin and foam core
TYPE: Catamaran by Bruce Harris, Oceanic Yacht Designs
LENGTH OVERALL: 15.6m
DEADRISE: Flat aft hulls
WEIGHT: 22,000kg (dry)
BERTHS: 6 + 4
MAKE/MODEL: Yanmar 6LPA-STP
TYPE: Six-cylinder turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 315 at 3800rpm (max)
WEIGHT: Approx 408kg
GEARBOXES (MAKE/RATIO): TBA
PROPS: Four-blade bronze
Gold Coast, Qld
Phone: (07) 5577 5569
With first-class engineering, long range and slipper performance, you can leave the Gold Coast canals behind and go explore somewhere more stimulating, all the while smug in the knowledge that you have all the comforts of home travelling with you. Fly the family in at holiday time. Fly them out again. Resume your travels on what could be the ultimate home away from home.
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