BOAT TEST: POWER CAT PARTY CAT 7.60

By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Lou Martin


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You’ll struggle to find a more aptly named boat than Powercat’s Party Cat. But as Rick Huckstepp discovers, this remarkable boat’s ability to host a cracking shindig is only the beginning of its charms.

BOAT TEST: POWER CAT PARTY CAT 7.60
POWER CAT PARTY CAT

Lounging around the sumptuous surrounds of Powercat's Party Cat is the closest thing you'll get to the lap of luxury as far as open dayboats are concerned. So what better place to test such a boat than the capital of lifestyle and luxury, Queensland's Gold Coast?

An overcast day matured into a sunnier one, but strong winds from the northeast kept small boats at home - but not the Party Cat, which revelled in the choppy conditions. Noticeably absent was any slamming of the hull, great amounts of spray over the front, or the catamaran's telltale "leaning out" during turns at speed. This hull shares the same behaviour of conventional monohulls: the ability to lean into a corner rather than outwards, as is a common and somewhat disconcerting trait of many other cats.
Ride over the chop was extremely smooth and not the jarring, bumpy ride that would have resulted from some other hulls in the same conditions.

 

 

BOARDING PARTY


However, it's not just the ride that makes this boat shine. Practicality abounds in the layout - the result of a lot of work on the ergonomics and user-friendliness front, which is a definite requirement of a boat designed to stage waterborne parties, barbecues and river cruising.
This particular boat was owned by entrepreneur Keith Williams, who has built more large ships and owned more classy boats than I've had hot dinners.
He bought it to take his dogs for a ride and a walk along the island beaches of the Broadwater every Sunday.
The stability of this boat was apparently the catalyst for his decision to buy, as an incident with a monohull on the beach last year involving some big waves very nearly cost him his life.
This hull is typical of the design of most of the Powercats in this size range - including offshore fishing boats - and it delivers incredible stability. The topsides are particular to the Party Cat range and are high and rounded, offering a feeling of security, while deeply padded coamings mean you'd have a hard time bruising yourself on any surface around the cockpit.
Entry to the cockpit is via a door in the starboard side immediately in front of the large helm console, which allows for boarding and alighting on pontoons. It also puts the skipper right at the docking point for better control at that critical moment.
Once you're nuzzled up to a nice, quiet, sandy beach, the shallow draft of the forward sections of the sponsons will allow passengers to climb out through the forward bulkhead onto a low foredeck before disembarking down a solid fold-down stainless-steel ladder.
If deep-water entry is for you, like
when you want to take a dip, a swim platform between the two Yamaha
four-strokes incorporates another fold-down stainless-steel ladder.
BEACHCOMBERS
Now that you have sand between your toes and saltwater in your hair, the relaxing part of the day can be enjoyed in dedicated areas forward or aft. A small table in the starboard forecorner sits in front of a wraparound lounge, while opposite there's a sunlounge with cushioned ends to allow a party of six to stage a picnic in comfort.
The aft end has a similar setup, with a larger table that drops down to form a cushion base for a large double bed - so overnighting is well within this boat's capabilities. Say goodbye to cold, haemorrhoid-inducing aluminium thwart seats next time you feel like spending the night chasing huge jewfish with live baits. Night fishing from the Party Cat would be like fishing from your lounge room.

 

 

MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE


The two lounge/dining areas are separated by the big helm station, which has a neat console and comfortable seating position.
A door on the inner side of the helm opens to a macerator toilet that pumps waste to a 35lt holding tank. The area has full headroom, which not only makes going to the loo a lot easier, but also offers more room when changing into your togs.
One of the best features of this boat is its hot-water transom shower, so you can wash the salt and sand off while standing on the swim platform without getting too cold.
Opposite the companionway is a brilliant galley from where you can prepare hot meals for a small family on a weekend away. It has the lot: an insulated icebox compartment, garbage bins, stainless sink with fold-down taps and pressurised hot water, and a three-burner gas stove, which is also stainless steel.
If you thought the only thing missing was a BBQ, have a look under the right side of the galley unit and you'll find a contoured stainless-steel BBQ plate custom built for the stovetop. It has drain holes and two stainless fat cups that are easily removed for emptying and washing.
The sink and stove have hinged lids
that convert the entire galley top into a bench and food-preparation area with a stainless-steel retaining fence.
And get this: there's even a 55lt Engel fridge in the galley, so there's a good amount of cold storage for food and drinks.

 

 

DRIVE TIME


With so much relaxing, retrieving the anchor by hand would be an ordinary affair. But fear not - there's a Maxwell windlass under the starboard deck.
This handy number has a full chain locker, and the plough anchor is retrieved to a dedicated cradle concealed under an access hatch. This is a really smart and practical idea.
Okay, so you've reached your secret beach and are kicking back in the sun with a beer. But how fast did you get there? The twin 80hp Yamaha's at 5000rpm will push this rig out to 50kmh - and ever so quietly.
There is no holeshot; rather a smooth, flat acceleration. This is attributed to the amount of planing area offered by the twin hulls, and it augers for better fuel economy all-round. With twin 60hp motors at 6000rpm, this boat will run out to 48kmh.
Should rain be a problem, optional clears will come in handy even if they're only used to cut the breeze running home on a chilly winter's evening. This boat also had option flyscreens for camping.
Hull spray is not a problem. In fact, throughout the test the duco on the engine cowls remained salt-free.
The thought that's gone into this boat is evident. The finish is exemplary; quality of fixtures irreproachable; and the overall look and feel is very pleasing. It's not cheap by any means, but it's very usable.
Canal-side homeowners would do well to check this boat out: it has space for a large party of people, the amenities to feed and water them and keep them in total comfort.
You could tow a kid on a watertoy, fish your favourite bream hole in total comfort, and even spend a weekend away on the water. No campsite fees; and I defy you to find a camping area closer to the water than this floating caravan could get you.
Little wonder media judges for the Australian Marine Industry Federation voted this rig the Australian Day Boat of the Year in 2004.

 

 


HIGHS


• Excellent design and build
• More amenities you can poke a stick at
• Great comfort and very good stability
• Soft, dry ride

 

 

LOWS


• A large boat to handle on and off the
trailer single-handedly
• Not a "cheap" boat for its length, but should hold good resale value
• Will require a daylight towing permit in most states

 

 

 


Specifications: Power Cat Party Cat 7.60

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $113,837
Options fitted: Winch, heat exchanger, shorepower kit, battery charger, exhaust fan in head, vanity unit and hand basin, infill for double bed at aft lounge, extensive safety and mooring kit, soft-top, clears and flyscreens
Priced from: $89,200 w/ twin 50hp Yamaha four-strokes

 

 

GENERAL


Hull type: Asymmetric powered catamaran
Material: Fibreglass
Length (overall): 7.60m
Beam: 2.6m
Draught with legs up: 0.35m
Freeboard: 1.2m
Towing weight: 2000kg
(hull only w/ 2 x 60hp engines)

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 2 x 100lt
Passengers: 12
Fresh water: 80lt
Holding tank: 35lt
Rec/max hp: 2 x 60hp / 2 x 115hp

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Yamaha F80
Type: Fuel-injected four-cylinder four-strokes
Rated hp: 80hp each
Displacement: 1596cc
Weight: 172kg
Gearbox ratio: 13:30 (2.31)
Propellers: 17in stainless steel

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Powercat Marine Australia, Gold Coast Qld, tel (07) 5428 0043, email admin@powercatmarine.com.au or visit www.powercatmarine.com.au

Originally Published In TrailerBoat #188

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