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The Power of a Cat

By John Heselwood

click for large 2,35mb

>> Ask any twin hull boat owner and they will tell you that two hulls are better than one, especially Steve Shaw, the builder of the PowerCat. Now Steve is very passionate about his boats and proud of the reputation they have, so he was not happy to learn that one of his beloved PowerCats had escaped and its owner presumed it had sunk - something that PowerCats don't normally do.

This PowerCat tale began on 16 September 2005 when Garth and Pauline Barretts' 2600 Sports 'Nemesis' dragged its anchor during a wild storm that created wind gusts up to 90 knots at Days Gutter, a safe anchorage on the western shore of Queenslands Moreton Island. The PowerCat disappeared over the notorious South Passage Bar between Moreton and North Stradbroke Islands. The 'Nemesis' was owned by Gold Coast couple, Garth and Pauline Barrett who copped plenty of teasing with many friends asking, "How could you lose your boat?" They say it was a very empty feeling at the time and were relieved when the boat's insurer, Club Marine, wrote the boat off when much searching failed to find any trace of it. They replaced it with a new boat with the same name.

But incredibly the old 'Nemesis' was sighted 16 months later on Saturday 13 January floating upturned 60 kilometres off Wide Bay Bar on the edge of the continental shelf. Steve Shaw was one of the first to hear about it. I received a call from a fisherman friend of mine who had been out around the continental shelf and he told me he had sighted an upturned hull which he believed was a PowerCat. We obviously knew of the Barretts missing PowerCat, so I decided to work out the tidal flow and currents and go out and tow the hull back to Bribie Island. Then on the Wednesday we received a call that an upturned PowerCat had washed up on Coolum Beach.

Amazingly, it was the Barretts' 2600 PowerCat, back on Australian shores 100 kilometres north of where it disappeared. Despite the upturned hull being covered in barnacles, the boat was clearly recogniseable as the missing Nemesis. The motors were still attached. Despite the fact that at some stage during its incredible journey, the targa had broken off and the boat had been upturned, the boat refused to sink. Steve said judging by the barnacles on the hull that he thinks the boat had been upturned for the last six months - so it spent a lot of time the right way up. PowerCat boats have seven sealed bulkheads in each sponson with a crash bulkhead in the very forward compartment - this one was also built to 2C USL Code Survey. The recovered life jackets are still like new and the mattress off the double bunk was in very good condition due to the cabin being well sealed. The Barretts retrieved various pieces including the VHF radio, EPIRB, a stubby cooler and floating key- ring from the boat washed up on Coolum Beach.

Obviously the boat had floated out into the strong East Australian Current and may have drifted as far south as Tasmania and as far north as the Great Barrier Reef. Some oceanographers believed it could even have drifted as far as South America although it was more likely that the boat had drifted up and down the east Australian coast and the prevailing south-easterly winds had kept it close to the coastline. Club Marine removed the hull from the beach to assess whether the hull could be salvaged. Initial estimates indicate that while the boat has obviously suffered considerable water damage, its hull has remained watertight and a full survey will be undertaken to determine whether it can be restored.

Steve Shaw says the amazing story of one of his eight metre PowerCats washing ashore on Queensland's Coolum beach after being lost for 16 months, is proof that you just can't sink his boats. By John Heselwood


published:Boating Bus Magazine | Feb

New boats

Edited by David Harding

(prices include vat)

Bella 703


Price: from UK pound:32,250 came across this delightful little boat last year in Finland, where over 2,000 have been built since the 1970s, and thought it a shame that she wasn't handled by Bella's UK distributor.
But now she is, so if you're looking for remarkable fuel economy (her 40hp Yanmar uses 2-3lt of diesel an hour),
she's one for the short-list.
Like the Kent 31 (see PBO 456), she's double-ended above
the waterline but a 'skirt' beneath
her stem prevents squatting and
lets her achieve 10 knots or so at
full chat.

-Builder: Bella Boats, Finland
Website: www.bellaboats.fi
-UK distributor: TL Harvey
Ltd, Whitworth Close,
Darlaston, West Midlands
WS10 8LJ. Tel: 0121 568 8837
Fax: 0121 526 6391. Email:
[email protected]
Website: www.tlharvey.com

Published: Practical Boat Owner 460 | April 2005 | www.pbo.co.uk

London Boat Shoe 2007 Preview

Beneteau Monte Carlo 37

Italian-designed power cruiser

PRICE FROM UK pound141,588

Joining Beneteau's existing powerboats-the Flyers, Antares and the Trawler 42 - is the first of a new range, the Monte Carlo 37.
Designed by an Italian, Pierangelo Adreani, it has been conceived 'to evoke the spirit of the Mediterranean' and
features 'contemporary home-style interior design'.
Those more interested in the handling aspects than in the woodwork in tones of cocoa and light oak will be interested to know that the new arrival features the air-step hull developed for earlier Beneteaus, which is said to
improve both handling and economy.
-Builder: Beneteau, France www.beneteau.com
-Distributor: see the Beneteau's website (above)

London Boat Shoe 2007 Preview

Huzar 30

Coastal Shoal-draught cruiser

PRICE FROM UK pound 32,900
When the Huzar reached these shores last year - proving that the Poles don't
only build trailable lake-sailers - she joined the relatively small number of
new production cruisers around 9m (30ft) with offshore potential.
Although initially conceived with the British serious-cruiser market very much in mind, she's now also available in lift-keel form for those on the Polish lakes or elsewhere for whom shallow draught is important. Because much of the ballast is internal, the lifting mechanism has been kept both simple and easy to operate but the
righting moment has been reduced: she now falls within Category C under the RCD.
The rig is also smaller, to compensate for the higher centre of gravity.
-Builder: EM Yachts, Poland, www.em-yachts.com
-Distributor: Wittey Marine Ltd, Unit 29 Saltmakers House, Hamble Point Marina,
School Lane, Hamble, Southampton S31 4NB. Tel: 01844 344723.
Fax: 01844 342004. Email: [email protected]

Published: Practical Boat Owner 481 |January 2007 | www.pbo.co.uk