The first time I saw the 565 FC was on the beach at DSBC alongside the centre console version. It was also just one of those boats that really struck the pose and whose looks grabbed my attention. This is definitely not your normal 18ft 6in craft.
The Seacat 565 FC is very bold looking, having a decent beam and large shoulders which make her look far larger than she actually is, while still keeping it in proportion. Indeed, she’s boat that looked worthy of spending a day at sea on.
Assisting us on the test were Shaun Lavery from Yamaha and Grantley Read, the manufacturer of these craft.
It was still winter, which meant we had another ideal day for a boat test off Durban, with a light south-wester blowing to start with, and a moderate swell coming from the east.
I arrived late due to the traffic in Durban, and the boats had already been offloaded on the beach. Needless to say, I received a tongue lashing as we now had a bit of a push to get the boats into the water. Surprisingly, considering the boat’s size, four of us easily managed to swing both of the models around on the sand and get them through the small shorebreak.
The Seacat 565 FC 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 FC was fitted with twin 70hp two-stroke trim-and-tilt Yamahas that looked fairly small for the boat, but were more than suitable on the power side.
Controls were the 704 binnacle mount boxes which were very smooth and easy to operate, and the boat had a hydraulic steering system. A point of interest is that Shaun Lavery runs his forward console 565 with the new Yamaha 60hp four-strokes and apparently it performs exceptionally well. This is a big bonus for fuel economy, and they are quiet, smooth and far less smoky than the two-strokes.
Once out through the shorebreak, getting onto the plane was effortless on the 565 FC. The low down torque on the 70hp Yamahas 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. Power on the 70s was very similar to the 75s, the only noticeable difference being the noise factor, slightly less on these than on their bigger brothers.
Moving offshore into the now rough conditions, holding the 565 FC at a constant speed of 20-25 knots into the south-westerly chop was fairly simple. She still maintained a good, stable, soft and fairly dry ride considering the rougher conditions. Running side-on to the south-westerly 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. The forward console definitely gives extra protection from the wind and spray.
As mentioned in previous tests, setting your motor trims to suit the prevailing conditions and raising the windward sponson can eliminate unnecessary spray. Running with the wind and swell, and handling a cross-swell from the north-east, the 565 FC again performed very well at multiple speeds. She remained comfortable, stable and showed no major signs of wanting to broach or plough in the troughs, even with the extra weight of the forward console on the bow.
From stationary and full locking into tight turns to port and starboard, the 565 FC held tight, banking onto the inner sponson on a good turning circle without major cavitation. These are important characteristics to have for surf launching on our coastline. At low speeds the 565 FC was again easy to handle in the rough conditions and maintained a good all round ride, just like the 565 CC.