BOAT TEST: STREAMLINE 8200 WALKAROUND

By: David Granville, Photography by: David Granville


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The Streamline 8200 Walkaround tips the scales at less than two tonne, but with a dry, stable ride and a top speed of 33kt on only 230hp, it’s certainly no lightweight

BOAT TEST: STREAMLINE 8200 WALKAROUND
STREAMLINE 8200 WALKAROUND

 

LIGHT & TASTY


I first laid eyes on the Streamline 8200 Walkaround on the set-up day at this year's Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. There were a few things that grabbed my attention immediately and that differentiated this boat from the rest of the pack of powered catamarans.
Firstly was the Streamline's modern styling with rounded corners and sweeping lines. Second was its size - it was a big boat on the trailer yet being towed by a Nissan Patrol. Third, it was powered by a pair of 115hp Yamaha outboards which didn't seem like much horsepower for an 8.2m boat.
My curiosity got the better of me and although the boat show hadn't even started I needed to find out more about this sexy cat.

 

 

LIGHT YET STRONG


My questions were soon answered. The Streamline 8200 Walkaround is constructed from a composite material called DuFlex, a very light yet extremely strong material. The use of this material allows the 8200 Walkaround to boast a lightship displacement of just 1750kg, which is why such a big boat only needs twin 115hp outboards and why it can be towed by a standard large 4WD.
Its good looks are thanks to NZ-based naval architect Noah Thompson, who has used the latest CAD and 3D-modelling programs to produce two designs for Streamline: the 8200 Walkaround and a 7m cabin model which the owner can't stop raving about.
Noah's completed computer designs are sent to ATL Composites on the Gold Coast who pre-cut every DuFlex panel required for the construction of the boat using a state-of-the-art CNC router. Using the computer-driven router means every panel joins together perfectly and saves a lot of time during construction.
All the materials required to build the boat are sent to Streamline's factory at Hervey Bay where production manager Wayne Jones and his team of highly-skilled tradespeople can complete a boat like the 8200 Walkaround in just 10 weeks.
Wayne has been building boats from composite materials for 14 years and reckons he wouldn't use anything else. Although Wayne is better known for building composite sailing cats and charterboats to 80ft in length, he is looking forward to expanding the range of the Streamline powered catamarans with the aid of Noah Thompson.

 

 

FUEL ECONOMY AND CUSTOM BUILD


I was fortunate to witness some work in progress on a Streamline 7000 Sportfisher as well as a couple of Wayne's big sailing cats. It was interesting to see how quickly and easily the DuFlex panels come together and Wayne was also able to demonstrate the strength of DuFlex by taking a hammer to one panel.
So exactly what is DuFlex? It is a sandwich panel that consists of an end-grain balsa or foam core with a fibreglass and epoxy skin on either side. It comes in varying thicknesses and laminates depending on the structural requirements of the design.
Balsa got a bit of a bad name in the early days of boatbuilding when some companies experimented with contoured balsa, which would disintegrate if penetrated by water.
DuFlex is a totally different material. Because it is end-grain timber, in the unlikely event that water does penetrate the laminate, the water will be trapped in one cell and unable to spread.
The key advantages in using composite material in boatbuilding are the material's light weight and the ease with which it can be customised.
With the cost of fuel getting silly, fuel economy is very important; obviously, when you save weight on a boat you don't need as much horsepower to push it, and when you don't need as much horsepower to push it, you don't burn as much fuel. The minimal power requirements mean you save on initial purchase price also.
Every boat owner has his or her own ideas on what makes the perfect boat, so the ability to customise with composite is another real advantage over moulded boats. If there is something you don't like about the layout of a Streamline, changes can be made with the click of a mouse.

 

 

RIDING HIGH


After inspecting the factory it was time to take the 8200 Walkaround for a spin. Hervey Bay, three hours' drive north of Brisbane, is renowned for having some very rough conditions in exposed parts of the Bay - so this is what I was hoping for on my testday.
Unfortunately the Bay was unusually placid so finding some waves to play in wasn't easy.
The first thing I noticed was how easily the big cat slipped on to the plane. I thought the little V4 Yamahas may struggle with a boat of this size but nothing could be further from the truth. There was absolutely no bowlift when applying the throttles and I was able to get the boat to plane as slow as 12kt. A comfortable cruise was achieved between 24 and 26kt while pedal to the metal resulted in a sprightly 33kt top speed.
A hefty wake from our 40ft camera boat was the biggest wave I could find and crossing this at speed was a non-event. Certainly, there was no indication of slamming or pounding, even head on. Running parallel along the edge of the wake I was also impressed by the boat's integrity. At no time did it try to ride on one tunnel as cats can often do.
The 8200 Walkaround has a very high tunnel clearance and although I would have liked to test it in rougher conditions, this clearance should attribute to the softness and dryness of the ride.
Because the 8200 Walkaround has been designed to meet Australia's maximum towable beam of 2.5m without a wide-load permit, it is hard to obtain a really effective centre-cab design with full walkaround.
With this layout I feel it would have been better to go for a wider beam and get a wide-load permit for towing. While the walkaround on the testboat provided excellent freeboard and a good feeling of safety, it was just too narrow and you had to turn side on to make your way up the sides of the cabin.
The beam also restricted the area at the helm because of a passenger seat located on the port side of the cabin. The builders have done the best they can with the space available, but to obtain a practical and ergonomic centre-cab and walkaround design you need to go wider.

 

 

FITOUT, FEATURES AND FINISH


You couldn't fault the quality of the construction though. Wayne and his tradesmen have done a fantastic job during fitout, and the quality of the finish is first class.
The testboat featured a teak-laid boarding step located between the outboards which also incorporated a retractable dive ladder for climbing aboard after a swim. You step into the cockpit over a good-sized centrally located livewell. Rodholders located in the covering boards adjacent to the livewell will work well for a pitch rod.
The owner has opted for a sink located in the aft corner of the covering board but serious gamefishers will delete this option. Access hatches in the aft bulkhead reveal batteries and isolation switches as well as oil reservoirs for the two-stroke outboards. Big insulated fishboxes are located beneath the cockpit sole.
The cabin features a hardtop and a full windscreen which I like a lot. In rough weather you could sit in there and not be bothered by the elements. Externally, it's one of the best looking centre-cabs I have seen with very modern styling. An overhead ventilation hatch provides air to the helm area and as there is no rear bulkhead it would never be stuffy.
There is aft-facing seating for two passengers and Reelax sliding chairs provide a comfortable ride for the helmsman and co-pilot. Below the aft-facing seats are an insulated icebox on the port side and a removable Engel fridge/freezer on the starboard side.
The helm is offset to starboard and as mentioned earlier I found it a little cramped. Space restrictions meant the steering wheel was slightly to the left of the helmchair and the throttles were located up on the dash rather than by your side.
Dash features included a sports steering wheel, Navman Tracker 5600 plotter and Fish 4600 sounder, plus Yamaha gauges and waterproof switch panel. Vision through the wraparound polycarbonate windscreen was excellent. Radios were mounted overhead but aft of the helm which didn't make a lot of sense to me.
A door directly to port from the helm provides access to a surprisingly spacious cabin which is filled entirely by a double berth. There is another hatch over the berth for ventilation.
Although the walkways are a little tight, the boat does have 360-degree fishability with good space forward to fight a fish. Forward seating has storage below for lifejackets and gear. The testboat was also fitted with a windlass.
Stainless-steel fittings included a low-profile bowrail, handrails and a six-pot rocket launcher on the aft edge of the hardtop.
While I was impressed with the materials used to construct the Streamline plus the outstanding quality of workmanship, I don't think the walkaround configuration is ideal for a hull with a 2.5m beam. The hull itself is fine and seems to work very efficiently; I just feel it would be better suited to a cabin version. Increase the beam, and then by all means go for your walkaround.
That's the beauty of this style of construction method though. If you want changes made it's a simple matter of design alterations on the computer. It's this flexibility that ensures you end up with exactly the boat you want.

 

 

GENERAL


Material: Composite
Type: Symmetrical catamaran
Length: 8.2m (26ft 11in)
Beam: 2.5m (8ft 2in)
Draft: 0.3m (1ft)
Deadrise: n/a
Weight: 1750kg (3858lb)

 

 

CAPACITIES


Berths: Two
Fuel: 400lt (106 US gal)
Water: 80lt (21 US gal)

 

 

ENGINE


Make/Model: Yamaha
Type: V4 carburetted two-stroke outboard
Rated hp (ea): 115
Displacement (ea): 1730cc
Weight (ea): 167kg
Gearbox ratio: 2:1
Props: s-s spline

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #198

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