BOAT TEST: POWERCAT 2500 SPORTS FISHERMAN

By: David Lockwood, Photography by: Ellen Dewar


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A king of trailerboats, the award winning Powercat 2500m Sports Fisherman is designed to win over the serious fishos, writes David Lockwood.

BOAT TEST: POWERCAT 2500 SPORTS FISHERMAN
POWERCAT 2500 SPORTS FISHERMAN

FROM THE ARCHIVE: First published in TrailerBoat #220, Aug 2007

 


There are two schools of boat-based anglers: those who buy the biggest boat possible, a real battlewagon, and fish out of their home port and club for the season, and those who buy trailerboats, follow the fish up and down the coast and launch forays from less-crowded coastal towns into yet fishier waters. The trailerboat-fishing brigade has gained many more new recruits in recent years and, given that fishing is always hotter in some other port, it's with good reason.
For travelling trailerboat anglers, the new Powercat 2500 Sports Fisherman is the bomb. It's about as big a boat as you can tow, about as seaworthy as you will find for its length, a safe boat with twins and a deep self-draining cockpit, and a fishy platform with its surefootedness and cockpit design that's now more mindful of anglers.
Based on the 2600 hull released in 2004 and which I praised highly, to the point it eventually won the Boat of the Year award, the new 2500 is another award winner and, moreover, the first Powercat in the seven-boat range designed especially to win the hearts of serious fishers.
To this end, or the fish's, you get a rocket launcher, livebait tank and built-in killtanks, tackle drawer, gaff storage and more as standard. This is to say nothing of the cabin with headroom, big double bed and upgraded electric loo with 45-litre holding tank. Fish all weekend.
Matched to the maximum recommended outboards, twin Suzuki 140hp four-stroke donks - which with two-litre blocks boast more torque than their rivals - and spinning 19 x 14in stainless steel props, this was a fast boat eminently suitable for tackling bars, reeling in the sea miles and subduing big fish.
On its ($12,950) dual-axle Powercat Ezy Launch trailer with sensor brakes, the rig weighs about 3000kg as tested. So a maxi 4WD, a LandCruiser, Patrol or Discovery, is needed. But who hasn't got one of them these days and, well, just imagine the new frontiers and the fish this rig could uncover. Bermagui, South West Rocks, Fraser Island… here we come.

 

 

POWERCAT PITCH


One of our long-serving boatbuilders, Powercat, has been around since 1980 but it wasn't until 1989 that Steve Shaw, who this writer first tested boats with more than 15 years ago, took over the business. Now with 25 staff and contractors, Shaw builds about one Powercat per week out of Caboolture in a range starting at 24ft and ending at 34ft.
About 40 per cent of Powercat buyers are based in local Queensland waters, but boats are sent to all states and as far afield as NZ and Fiji. And while catamarans tend to divide the market - you either love or loathe them - few have made as many converts as the Powercats. Their motion through the water is just wonderful.
The tried and tested hull on the 2500, built to 2C survey as a matter of course, is made from solid GRP, without any timber at all. The well-moulded hull and deck are glassed together to form a one-piece craft, with seven sealed and watertight bulkheads including a collision bulkhead forward. Full-length sub-frames and cross members provide rigidity. 
The engineering is a highlight and, in years past, it has won over awards' judges who don't so much as go boating but concern themselves with things like safety and construction. Consider the following: the twin long-range 250-litre aluminium fuel tanks - 200-litre tanks are standard - are pressure tested to survey standards, fixed in place and then foam is pumped around them (optional complete hull foam filling) to lock them place.
Add twin deck fillers, one of which acts as a breather, and you can pump in the fuel from the bowser at high speed without risk of blow back. The fuel system also runs through separate Racor filters, which you can see for at-a-glance monitoring at the transom.
You can also access the fuel-tank sender (linked to the dash-mounted gauge) through a moulded panel. This is important as senders often go bung over time. Also, the 60-litre water tank is aluminium, with a pressurised system linked to a decent deck shower.
The boat comes with dual engine-start batteries, a separate 100amp house battery, isolating switch and automatic battery-monitoring system, twin 700gph bilge pumps, fire extinguisher, EPIRB and full safety kit running from offshore flare kit to first-aid kit, eight PFD 1 lifejackets to fenders and mooring lines. Shaw really looks after you.
Only electronics (forever a personal choice, but with a Raymarine A65 digital depth sounder/chartplotter on the demo boat), fuel, tackle and lures are needed.

 

 

FITTED OUT FOR FISHING


Though I often struggle to see the beauty in a catamaran, this 2500 Sports Fisherman looks impressive on its trailer and doubly so when floated. The raked tinted windscreen and optional ($6800) moulded hardtop add to the eye candy.
Though the 2500 still, to my eye at least, appears a tad slab-sided, the upside is that the boat maximises the volume within its legally trailerable 2.50-metre beam. In other words, this is a big 25-footer, even though you don't need a permit to tow it.
The mouldings are excellent, with attention to detail right down to things like recessed fender holders, recessed fuel filter mounts, recessed gaff and tagpole pockets, recessed steps to the sidedecks, and an excellent diamond-pattern non skid.
All the deck fittings are 316-grade stainless steel, through bolted to backing plates, and heavy duty to the point they are often beyond the call of duty. The demo boat was also fitted with 4.5-metre Reelax outriggers and Junior bases to enhance your lure trolling ability. Rod storage comes via a rocket launcher fashioned from solid stainless steel with eight holders.
There's good access through the cabin hatch and, for the nimble, around narrow sidedecks and the cabin to the bow. Besides a bowrail, bowsprit and deep anchor locker the demo boat had an optional Maxwell windlass with 50 metres of rope, 10 metres of chain and a plough anchor.
I also noted a reasonably flat foredeck from which, in the right conditions, one could pitch a bait or lure. Underway, meanwhile, the boat didn't dip its nose like some cats. Rather, this 2500 Powercat has a high bow profile that should keep you dry when trolling into a short headsea.
At the transom, meanwhile, anglers will love the marlin board between the motors, which backed by sturdy rails - one of which folds down to make a swim ladder - offers brilliant access around the outboard legs when fighting fish. It also provides a great platform from which to gaff, net, land or tag fish.
There's scope to fit a berley pot and an integral moulded transducer pod so you are assured a good picture on your sounder when running at speed. A second starboard-side mounting pod is optional for things like paddlewheels and pickups.
Beside the fuel filters high up in the engine wells and fender baskets, everything else of interest is back inside the broad cockpit. Underfloor are twin 280-litre fishboxes linked to a macerator to chew through and discard scales, plus a remote seacock so you can flood the tanks and create, perhaps, additional livebait storage or keep the table fish fresh. Incidentally, all the underwater skin fittings have seacocks and ball valves.
I also noted good access to the batteries, aft storage for a stern anchor or bait, handheld freshwater shower and optional saltwater deckwash, four rod holders (your choice with positioning a scope for more) and two small, plumbed livebait tanks in the aft quarters. Thankfully, these bait tanks have now been enlarged, says Shaw.
There is also scope to fit a game chair in the cockpit and, though there was no rear lounge offered for social boating, Shaw is now providing liftout cockpit quarter seats as a result of feedback from the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show where, he says, this boat was a huge hit.

 

 

HELM STATION


Though optional, the moulded hardtop is a lovely bit of work that enhances the comfort and practicality of this cat. Its frame doubles as a grabrail, with lights mounted off the hardtop, the obvious place to also put aerials. Such is the strength of the hardtop you could create a fish-spotting platform with the addition of some more rails.
Helm seating comprises two bucket seats formed on CNC-cut polyethylene bases, with fold down bases so you can drive standing up. With footrests provided you can really lock yourself in behind the wheel and windscreen. Should conditions allow, crew can ride on the two moulded aft-facing seats behind the helm seats, though one presumes they will be standing holding onto the framework during high-speed runs.
Storage exists under the helm seats, in a nearby tackle locker, and for personal effects in twin moulded glove boxes behind the windscreen. The cabin door is to port, with the cool carbon-fibre dash opposite. It was graced with a suitable spread of Suzuki analogue gauges, a waterproof Sirius CD player, VHF radio and nice big switches for lights, pumps and so on, that you can operate while driving.
The Suzuki throttles for the twin outboards are similarly easy to operate, with a dual trim button and single trims so you can set-up the boat for all conditions. Vision from the helm was also excellent, both through the windscreen and back into the vast cockpit that plays into the hands of hopeful anglers.

 

 

CABIN CAPERS


When not fishing, when struck down by the dreaded mal de mer, or should nature call, the lock-up cabin calls "come hither." There is an electric loo, headroom when standing in the footwell, and a storage locker big enough for wet-weather gear. The escape hatch brings fresh air inside while also providing internal access to the anchor locker.
But it's the bed that beckons. Measuring 2.05 metres by 1.50 metres, the double bed is an absolute beauty, so-much-so that I can see this boat being used as more than just a fishing rig. Think overnighters up the river for jewfish, on the other side of the bay when the snapper are snapping, or on the protected side of an offshore island far from shore.

 

 

COOL CAT


Speaking of far from shore, the 2500 Sports Fisherman is an exceedingly seaworthy fishing boat, fast and very smooth riding, with a big range thanks to the four-stroke outboards and 500lt of juice. Because the outboards are spaced well apart the boat also backs up surprisingly well, though serious anglers will prefer to fight their game fish off the cockpit quarter while idling forward.
As for the wake, there are small windows in which to swim your lures on flatlines from the quarters and a wide main wake that the outriggers will span and hopefully put those lures in clear water where they are easily seen. Troll speed of six to seven knots, where the wave pattern was discernible, came in at 2000rpm. At such speeds the motors sip the fuel and, in the calm test conditions at least, I didn't notice too much tunnel slap.
Apply the power and the planing hull is a real winner, combining plenty of lateral lift for quick holeshot or acceleration, with a dynamic straight-line ride for getting to the grounds in one piece. The symmetrical hulls have reverse chines that contribute to this being an exceptionally dry cat, too, without any annoying spray blowing back in the cabin. Deadrise is a sharp 28 degrees that, with a fine entry, slices the swell.
Minimum cruise for traversing awful seas was 14.4kts at 3100rpm, but your everyday cruise is more like 21 to 22kts at 4000rpm or 24 to 25kts at 4200rpm. At maximum continuous revs of 5000rpm you can race home at 31kts should the sea allow, while WOT of 6200rpm gave 38kts. Once on motor the boat didn't quite break onto the plane, however.
Although the sea was agreeable during our trials, I've been in some pretty average stuff in Powercats before. Even if you're not a cat fan, you need to experience Shaw's 24 to 26ft hull to see what you're missing out on. The boat instils a lot of confidence and now, with a fishing fitout, it's bound to create yet more converts to the travelling trailerboat fishing brigade.

 

 

WHAT WE LIKED


World-class awarded Australian-made boat
A truly seaworthy offshore trailerboat
Terrifically fast, smooth and efficient ride
Excellent attention to detail and great mouldings
Engineering is consistent with much bigger boats
A lot of thought given to safety
Big cockpit to woo serious anglers
Decent spread of built-in fishing features
Great foundation to create a serious long-range tournament trailerboat
Overnight accommodation

 

 

NOT SO MUCH


Big-ticket $160,000 trailerboat
Requires a maxi 4WD to tow
Small livebait tanks (now enlarged)
No optional rear lounge (optional quarter seats now available)
Narrow walkaround decks

 

 

 

Specifications: Powercat 2500 Sports Fisherman

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $127,641 w/ twin Suzuki DF140HP Series outboards and Powercat Ezy Launch dual-axle braked trailer
Options fitted: Engine upgrade, GRP hardtop with stainless steel grabrails, long-range twin 250lt fuel tanks, Maxwell anchor winch with rope and ground tackle, cabin reading lights, salt/freshwater deckwash kit, Reelax 4.5m outriggers and Junior bases, electric head and holding tank, Raymarine A65 digital sounder and plotter, and custom Powercat trailer
Priced from: $131,800 w/ twin 115hp Yamaha Saltwater series two-stroke outboards

 

 

GENERAL


Material: GRP
Type: Powered catamaran
Length overall: 7.7m
Beam: 2.5m
Draft: 0.51m (outboards up)
Deadrise: 28° (each hull)
Weight: Approx 3000kg (dry) w/ motor and trailer

 

 

CAPACITIES


Berths: 2+2
Fuel: 500lt
Water: 60lt

 

 

ENGINES


Make/model: Twin Suzuki DF140HP
Type: In-line four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve four-stroke outboard with multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Rated HP: 140 at 5600 to 6200rpm
Displacement: 2044cc
Weight: 191kg (extra-long shaft)
Gearbox ratio: 2.59:1
Props: 19 x 14in stainless steel

 

 

SUPPLIED BY:


Powercat Marine Australia,
14 Roseby Road,
Caboolture, Qld, 4510
Phone: (07) 5428 0043
Website: www.powercatmarine.com.au

 

 

WORDS David Lockwood PHOTOS Ellen Dewar


Originally published in TrailerBoat #220

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