On the day of our test, we had clear, sunny skies with a northeaster blowing, but not too hard. The sea conditions were not what I like to go fishing in and made for challenging photography. However, as for the boat test itself, they would be ideal.
LAUNCHING AND TRAILERING
This centre-console boat was still on the trailer when I arrived at Natal Rod and Reel Club. Charles Leydekkers from Durban Yamaha asked if I could help push her into the water. Once again the trailer was custom-made for the boat which makes it easy to offload and load in the bay. I simply pushed her slightly back, touched the brakes and she slid off the trailer.
By the time we returned the tide was very low, so we had two options — either try to drive her straight onto the trailer or else pull her up with the hand winch. We decided to drive her up and she went all the way to the front of the trailer without any hassles.
The Seacats come standard with a single-axle galvanised breakneck trailer which makes for easy trailering, especially when you have to load or offload on the sand.
MOTORS AND CONTROLS
This demo model was fitted with twin 60hp Yamaha four-stroke motors with hydraulic steering and side-mount cable controls. The steering was very light and the hydraulic system is a winner, especially when you start using bigger engines. Getting her into and out of gear was very smooth.
With these two 60hp Yamaha motors on the back of a 17ft 6in boat, there’s a lot of power behind you. Even though they’re four-strokes, the boat was nippy enough at pull away from a standing position and would be ideal for surf launching.
I was most impressed the way the new Seacat 520 easily handled the rough conditions and that I could run into the swells at 10 to 15 knots without the boat pounding.
The bow is very proud and high out of the water which prevents the water and sprays coming over the front — great for anglers who don’t like to get wet. Her turning circle is very tight and she makes a perfect figure-of-eight which is a clear indication that the engines are mounted correctly.
With three of us on board, she was still very alive when standing still and I pushed her to full throttle — she literally took off! Running with the swell and even over a swell, she gave no indication at all that she would broach. Running along the shore with the swell coming from the side I also had no cause to feel unsafe or uneasy — she handled the conditions with flying colours.
Apparently, Grant has also worked on the boat’s beam. I have found on some other boats that if they are a little broader they tend to be more stable and have a softer ride, but there’s a very fine line between wide and too wide.
Overall, the performance of the Seacat 520 CC was, in my opinion, flawless. She is stable, very comfortable with ample room to move about in, and she provides a very smooth ride.