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In the diminishing world of Australian boatbuilders, Scimitar has stood the test of time. DAVID LOCKWOOD revists the reworked 1010

Scimitar 1010

There was a time when the multihull tribe was regarded as odd, when trimarans inverted too often - and people were trapped inside - when catamarans couldn't sail to windward, and powercats were the preserve of a macho bar-jumping set with sideburns and soggy fags hanging out of their maw. I remember those days well, the columns and discussions, but the dramas weren't confined to multis.

Reel back to 1997. It was the year Tony Bullimore was plucked alive from his yacht five days after it capsized in the deep Southern Ocean. Thank heavens for his chocolate bar, bottle of water, if not sheer British bulldog determination. It was also when a bunch of colleagues and I awarded the less well-known Scimitar 1010 our prestigious Australian Powerboat of the Year award. Yes, it was a cat and that made waves.

The boat we judged back then was number one. Fast forward 14 years and I'm back aboard the Scimitar 1010. Only this is boat 65! In the interim, I've tested the Scimitar on one other occasion. That was mid-2002 after the clever catamaran underwent its first round of modifications. Actually, it's been more evolution than revolution, as the Scimitar was always ahead of its time.

"In 14 years, we've changed with people labelling our buyers greenies to now considering them mainstream, and many have come out of big-donk bloke's boats," explains Bryan Bradford, who started Scimitar all those years ago and still runs the company today after bringing the construction back inhouse. An Aussie battler, indeed.




Designed by Peter Brady, who built the first eight boats before Scimitar Marine retrieved the moulds, the 1010 is a low-drag displacement catamaran. As such, it's a responsible drinker in an age when many at the (river) bar still have a serious rocket-fuel dependency. We hear those with a social conscious are increasingly coming aboard.

Meanwhile, the Scimitar, which is named after a sword from the Ottoman period, flaunts purposeful lines with some sheer that have ensured the cat hasn't become kitty litter in the fashion stakes. All the while, the boat has stood the test of time due also to its build quality and engineering under Bradford.

Construction has evolved, too, and Scimitar now employs SP-High Modulus, a turnkey composite system using foam-coring throughout. There is some carbon in the hardtop struts, as well. This has, along with other mods, progressively removed 400kg from the early models. Cruising buffs can now load-up with victuals and lifestyle gear without affecting performance.

Though we were confined to calm water, the hull didn't have a lightweight resonance. Between the hulls, I also noted a wave-breaker to help prevent tunnel slap when venturing into a headsea. And there's a good deal of freeboard for lift.




It helps that Scimitars are built for long-haul cruising and often to survey standards, where they are known to operate in both 2C and 1F (bareboat) charter. You'll find the boats operating as dive and fishing charters in the Solomons and on Moreton Bay - at one point there were seven available for bareboat charter in the Whitsundays - and there are boats on Sydney Harbour, both American coasts, even Guantanamo Bay (the antipathy of torture unless you can see it from your cell window).

Anyway, back when we awarded the Scimitar someone (perhaps me) dubbed it the thinking man's boat. That has proven prophetic. Engineers, systems analysts, quality-control consultants, pilots, even other boatbuilders own Scimitars, says Bradford. Those who jump aboard tend to be analytical, technically minded and well-researched.

There are six repeat owners and one who is on his third Scimitar 1010. So while the boat looks unchanged, perhaps a little blocky and workmanlike with its survey-height aft-ranging rails, the modifications have been significant enough for owners to trade anew.




Unchanged since its release, the Brady-designed hull has a long waterline gained from blunt bows with a near-vertical stem. The displacement boat runs like a fast planing yacht, explains Bradford from his Brisbane digs, as we prepare to cast the lines and venture onto a pacific Moreton Bay.

Accessed by a rather steep ladder, the bridge boasts oodles of U-shaped surround seating (storage below) around a central helm station with twin pedestals and a pop-up dash. Locked down, the dash top doubles as a brilliant lunch table from which to serve a repast. Roll-up the clears and enjoy the views and grub as we did. A great place for sundowners.

As it draws just 0.8 metres and the running gear and propellers are protected by keels, you can beach the Scimitar. Scrape your antifouling, traverse skinny backwaters with reassurance, and head up the creek in case of - perish the thought - a cyclone.  Better still, get your mud crab fix.




At anchor, the layout plays into the hands of the liveaboard boater. Naturally, the five-metre wide cat has a lot of deck space for the obligatory barbecue, a broad moulded swimming platform on which a whole family can hang out, and walkaround decks for safe access to the equally beamy bow.

There's enough transom space to swing a RIB or event tinnie off davits, too. This will appeal to serious cruising types who wish to dispatch those crab traps or fish for barra' in croc country. Other owners have mounted outrigger poles for gamefishing, while yet others prefer the transom naked so they can get rod clearance when reef fishing. Yet others have added cockpit canvas and hardtops.

Bradford makes the point that Scimitar owners tend to option up and in all different ways. They add more fridges, freezers, fish or dive gear, dinghies and davits. But the base boat, at $546,000, is a perfect vehicle on which to build, low maintenance with moulded surfaces, and plenty of that Aussie utility.

The boat's enclosed outdoor loo with shower is one such Australianism - the mighty outback loo - that has drawn scepticism from some quarters. The obvious concern is that you are trumpeting your intentions when heading outdoors to spend a penny.

This might seem an issue at a marina, during a raft-up, or perhaps late at night mid-winter. But in reality, says Bradford, owners who announced their concerns and didn't follow through with a second internal door to the head have never mentioned them again. Besides, as is, the shower isn't compromised. The electric loo is saltwater only but the upside of the 650lt of potable freshwater is that you can last some weeks.

At which point, Bradford points to a little bit of Aussie ingenuity. The deck-mounted water filler is recessed in such a way you can leave the 'lid' off and the mouldings will channel rainwater into the tank. Following the first flush over the decks you could then catch ambient water to boost your supply and keep on boating. The lack of ability to catch water on boats has struck me before. Only you'd want an inline UV filter, in my opinion, to guard against guano-generated bugs. Seagulls like boat decks.




Indoors, and on the same cockpit level and through doors that can be fitted with insect screens, is an open-plan saloon with galley to port featuring a trusty gas Smev stove/oven with the twin 9kg gas bottles out in a cockpit locker. The sink is a Clark number, while the fridge is an interesting 12V solid-state eutectic system that draws little power. Add solar power, as our demo boat had, and you're autonomous away from shore- or gennie-power. Lighting is LED.

The saloon opposite can be ordered as an optional convertible twin berth, while forward and side-opening saloon windows ensure plenty of fresh air. You then descend a companionway to port to the new deeper stateroom with enlarged transverse queen-sized owners' bed. The starboard hull has a smaller longitudinal double bed. Storage and headroom were really quite good considering the narrow cat hulls. And each hull also has a small, somewhat pokey single-bed cabin back aft that can be used for additional storage if not stowing a grandkid at holiday time. Hatches ensure ventilation.

You can access the flywheels for the twin Yanmar engines through additional hatches in the aft cabins, but the more frequent access is through a deck hatch. I'm told you can remove and replace an engine as has happened before. Although the strainers and fuel filters were nearby, I felt it somewhat tight to reach the dipsticks for your oil checks and can only imagine having to do that when they were hot.

But there's not a lot to fault on the Scimitar 1010. I've admired the award-winning cat for more than a decade, talked to various owners at anchorages all along the eastern seaboard, and never heard a bad word about them. All that deck space, the up-top living areas, then frugal cruising and easy maintenance make for a great cat for coastal cruising.




Base engines are twin 100hp Yanmar diesels that give a top speed of about 20kts and a 15 to 16kts cruise. Yet most owners opt for the twin 180hp four-cylinder common rail BY Series Yanmars that, during our recent demo, give a 23.5kts top speed and 20kts cruise. Pull the reins back to 18kts and consumption drops to 32lt/h for a safe cruising range of 330 nautical miles leaving 10 per cent of the 650lt fuel supply in reserve.

Tellingly, professional skipper Peter Cook delivered a Scimitar 1010 from the Brisbane factory to Tasmania via tempestuous Bass Strait. His testimonial raves about the ride after averaging 24lt/h at 17.2kts. He made it home in seven days and wrote that the seakindly performance was in keeping with a much bigger cat. Another owner went the other way: across the top from Queensland to the Kimberley. So in the 14 years, the Scimitar 1010 has certainly got around.




Efficiency from a low-drag displacement hull
Low draft and protected running gear
Stability aboard generous decks
Smart flybridge layout for entertaining
New and improved stateroom
Time proven and well-built Aussie utility




Engine access isn't a high point
Aft cabins are a tad tight
Not quite the wow factor of freshly styled cats








Whether driving from the flying bridge, or using the internal throttles and autopilot controller from the partial lower internal helm, the trim remains unchanged due to the very nature of the through-water displacement hull. This is a boon to your vision - without a permanent cockpit awning you can just see the starboard corners of the swimplatform when docking - and the cat doesn't throw a lot of water either.




$706,000 w/ twin 180hp Yanmars, and options




Engine upgrade, electronics suite including autopilot, flybridge clears, entertainment console, extra timber trim, partial lower helm, and more




$546,000 w/ twin 100hp Yanmars




MATERIAL: SP-High Modulus system with foam-cored composite throughout
TYPE: Displacement catamaran
BEAM: 5m
DRAFT: 0.8m
DEADRISE: Flat run aft
DISPLACEMENT: Approx 6500kg (laden)




FUEL: 650lt (in twin switchable tanks with inspection hatches for cleaning)
WATER: 650lt




MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Yanmar type 4BY2-180.
TYPE: Freshwater-cooled four-cylinder turbo-diesel w/ common rail injection and 150amp alternator
RATED HP: 180 at 3600rpm (each)
DISPLACEMENT: 1.995lt (each)
WEIGHT: 292kg (inc. gearbox)
PROPS: Four-bladers counter-rotating




Scimitar Marine,
7 Dorsal Drive,
Aquatic Paradise, QLD, 4159
Phone: (07) 3822 4477; 0414 578 564



tradeaboat's says…

Though Scimitar's founder Bryan Bradford hints at a future when his boats might be built in Asia - he also has a new flagship on the drawing board - the time-proven Scimitar 1010 displacement cat will forever be quintessentially Australian. It's a thinking-man's boat with great utility and efficiency. A base model will set you back $546,000. Our demonstrator cost $706,000 as a loaded base ready for serious coastal cruising.


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