It’s amazing how boat designs are evolving, and this is a perfect case in point. My first sight of the Seacat 565 centre console was on the beach at DSBC — it’s one of those boats whose looks immediately catch your attention.
This is definitely not your normal 18ft 6in craft. The Seacat 565 is very bold looking, being wide and having large shoulders which make her look a lot larger than she actually is, but still well in proportion. Assisting us on the test were Shaun Lavery from Yamaha and Grantley Read, the manufacturer.
It was another ideal day for a boat test at DSBC, with a light south-wester blowing, increasing gradually to 20 knots, and a moderate swell from the previous day’s north-easter.
Thanks to the general flow of traffic in Durban, the boats had already been offloaded on the beach by the time I arrived. Needless to say, I received a tongue-lashing as we now had a bit of a push ahead to get the boats to the water. Surprisingly, considering the boat’s size, four of us managed to swing them around on the sand and get them through the small shorebreak with ease.
The Seacat 565 CC comes standard on a well-made galvanised breakneck trailer, and obviously it was a simple enough task to drop the boat off the trailer onto the beach. Trailering at the end of the day was also simple, although I would suggest an electric winch to pull her up onto the trailer.
MOTORS AND CONTROLS
As tested the Seacat 565 CC was fitted with twin 75hp two-stroke trim-and-tilt Yamahas that looked fairly small for the boat, but were more than adequate on the power side. Controls were the standard 703 boxes — smooth and easy to operate — and a hydraulic steering system was fitted.
One point of interest is that these boats apparently perform exceptionally well with the new 60hp four-stroke Yamahas, and Shaun Lavery from Yamaha runs his forward console version with these motors. This is a big bonus on the cost side, and four-strokes also offer better fuel economy.
Once out through the shorebreak, getting onto the plane was effortless on the 565 CC. The low-down torque on the 75hp Yamaha is extremely powerful, and it only took a few flicks of the trims to get the 565 riding smoothly at a speed of around 25-30 knots in the flat water. With the extra power from the 75s you could sit at just over half throttle, which is good for a two-stroke, as it would reduce fuel consumption, wear and tear and the noise factor.
Moving offshore into the now rough conditions, I could still hold the 565 CC at a constant speed of 20-25 knots into the south-westerly chop. The ride was soft, stable and fairly dry, considering the conditions.
Running side-on to the chop at higher speeds, the ride again was very comfortable in all areas, with a medium spray coming over the gunnels on the windward side. As mentioned in previous tests, set your motors to suit the conditions at the time. Raising the windward sponson can eliminate unnecessary spray.
Running with the wind and swell, as well as having a cross-swell from the north-east, the 565 again performed very well at multiple speeds, staying comfortable, stable and showing no major signs of wanting to broach or plough in the troughs.
From stationary and full locking into tight turns to port and starboard, the 565 CC held tight, banking onto the inner sponson on a good turning circle without major cavitation. These are important characteristics for surf launching on our coastline.
At low speeds the 565 CC was again easy to handle in the rough conditions and maintained a good all round ride.