POWERCAT WITH BENEFITS
Asia Catamarans yard in Phuket has just completed a new sailing powercat, an interesting boat that I enjoyed looking around recently, reports KEVIN GREEN
A powercat that can also sail is a versatile way of enjoying both sides of the boating equation. However when the prospective customer asked Australian expat builder Alan Cawardine at Asia Catamarans to design one that could also navigate the European canals, he and partner Roger Diggelmann, had some head scratching to do. However, given the yard has produced many lightweight hulls for cruiser-racing catamarans and has done a 44 powercat before, it didn’t take long to work out a design. “Making sure the rig plan worked was one of the more challenging jobs,” explained Alan.
So what I saw before me as Alan and I wandered around the nearly completed Stealth 12 powercat was an interesting concept in a lightweight (3.3ton) hull. The Austrian buyer will cruise extensively both offshore and inland, so the layout has the port hull devoted to working space – workshop and storage forward, large head aft with a shower cubicle in the middle – while sleeping space comprises two berths and plenty of storage in the starboard hull. EU requirements mean that an escape hatch is included in the nacelle and the foam cored hull will have positive buoyancy.
The skipper's bed is right beside the main helm. Image Asia Catamarans
Most interestingly is the third and main double berth located in the saloon, allowing the skipper to keep watch at sea while having an airy room in port. The saloon has a navigation station on the forward port quarter with inside helm station nearby that uses a hydraulic steering wheel. Between them is a corridor to the bow cockpit. This deep cockpit with bench seating also allows safe operation of the anchor windlass.
The aft cockpit differs from the yard’s usual design of drop-down doors but instead has a single centralised door and is shaded by a central fibreglass spine, an extension of the saloon roof. The port side of the saloon roof is where the elevated steering binnacle is located. Here the steerer has all lines for the sailing rig running back. The unusual rig has no mainsail or boom, instead has a genoa, a Code 0 plus an unusual double runner sail for off the wind. These hang from the lightweight carbon mast that can be lowered on a tabernacle. This drops onto the saloon roof, to allow entry below those small bridges, like the ones on the Canal Du Midi in France which I navigated myself earlier this year, on a flybridge cruiser.
All structures are vacuum foam cored epoxy with the launching weight of only 3.3 tons, so should be efficient under power or sail. Plenty of volume allows both space inside and good load carrying ability while the upright bows maximise the waterline. Bridgedeck clearance is 750mm, which reduces wave drag, aided by a smoothly finished nacelle underbelly. Deep mini keels with flanged bases to reduce leeway have been fitted, which are also good for grounding and the twin rudders have a similar base to support them. This is a good idea, given the long tidal ranges of Europe.
The heaviest items aboard are the two 100kg diesel outboard engines made by Yamaha (but discontinued now I believe). “The owner already had these in his possession so wanted to use them,” said Alan. These produce 27hp each and are expected to propel the Stealth 12 to cruising speeds of 10kts and maximum of 15kts. Recreational use of diesel outboards has been limited but the military have used them. Advantages include easy access to fuel, reliability and of course safety. Like all Carwardine designs the outboards are elevated by a winch to give a clean hull profile under sail. Since there would be plenty of diesel aboard, the Austrian buyer wanted it used to power the stove as well – so avoiding the danger of gas aboard. Being a European based boat, a diesel cook top and heater were also fitted. As we go to press the Stealth power cat is undergoing sea trials and initial experiences have been good the yard reports. “The fold down mast works a treat, taking only 15 seconds from being down to full erection,” Alan told me after his first day of sea trials on Chalong Bay, just south of Phuket Town.
Mast height 12.5m stepped on cabin roof
Double Runner 60sq/m
Code Zero 43sq/m
Engines twin diesel outboards (27hp, cylinder, weigh 100kg each)
Fuel 200 litres
Water 800 litres
Design Alan Carwardine