|LOA||29 ft., 10 in.|
|Draft||(engines down) 30 in.|
|Displacement||(dry) 7,500 lbs.|
|Engines||Twin Mercury 150 hp FourStroke outboards|
|Base Price||(base) $204,000|
|Twin 150- to 250-hp outboards, Isotherm refrigerator/freezer, microwave, anchor windlass w/bow and helm controls, hydraulic steering, custom helm chair, 1500 watt inverter, electric “quiet flush” toilet, shower, maple or African mahogany wood accents, transom shower and more.|
|Power-assist steering, 16,000 Btu air conditioning, gas or diesel generator, diesel heat, galley stove, insulated fish box w/macerator pumpout, Bimini, reserve fuel tank, electronics/navigation equipment, stereo/entertainment system and more.|
|ArrowCat Marine, Everett, Wash.;
(877) ARROW99; arrowcat.com
|West Coast Dealer|
|Visit arrowcat.com for a complete list.|
Posted: November 1, 2013 | Boat Type: Power Cat
A multitalented cat with a few surprises in store“Go ahead, try to break my boat.” OK, that’s not literally what ArrowCat’s Rob Harty told us as we tested the ArrowCat 30RS on a choppy, confused Puget Sound just outside Shilshole Bay Marina, but that was the reading-between-the-lines message I took from his comments. Harty was hosting me and editorial assistant Shane Scott for a sea trial, and he wanted us to gain a full appreciation for what the 30RS could do.
As if it knew we needed a helping hand, the big container ship came into view as we cleared the Shilshole breakwater, and we decided to move in that direction for the purpose of using the giant ship’s wake as a testing mechanism. As we approached the wake at about 27 knots in the planing cat with a Kevlar-reinforced hull, I saw it was a solid wall of water with a right break — Shane’s inner surfer lit up — and readied myself for what I knew not. Now, until this point, Harty had seemed like a level-headed guy, but a second or two before we reached the wake, he took his hands off the wheel.
Whenever I step onto a catamaran, I know I’m boarding something a little different, but a spaceship? Let me explain. Our test boat is named Forty Two!, which I puzzled over until Harty explained that the owner is a fan of Douglas Adams, the late British author of the laugh-out-loud hilarious “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series — a six-novel trilogy. Forty-two is the answer delivered by a computer that a civilization built to calculate the answer to life, the universe and everything — at which point the civilization realizes it doesn’t know the actual question. Anyway, I liked the purple-striped boat and the unknown owner immediately.
It’s appropriate the boat was named with a galactic bent, because its conception and construction are certainly global. Designer Roger Hill is from New Zealand, the hull is manufactured in China and the rest of the boat is finished in Port of Everett, Wash., with parts and equipment from Italy, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and the U.S.
We boarded over the starboard gunwale into a cockpit that is free of any obstructions and covered by a fiberglass cabin-top extension, which is an option this owner preferred. There is a platform between the twin outboards that can be used for boarding if the stainless steel ladder is removed or deployed. A pair of hatches lift to reveal spacious storage below. Our test boat isn’t, but the 30RS can be outfitted for fishing with stern rail rod holders, cabin-top rocket launchers and an insulated fishbox with a macerator pumpout.
Through a glass door is the main cabin. Immediately to starboard is the inline galley with a refrigerator, a microwave, a sink and an optional stove. Forward of that is a companion seat whose back adjusts to create a side- or forward-facing seat. An L-shaped dinette settee with a folding table occupies the port bulkhead. The centerline helm includes a Raymarine multifunction display (though there is room for two with a little reconfiguring), engine controls and gauges, an autopilot, the Optimus 360 joystick control (which we’ll get to) and more. A captain’s chair comes standard, but this owner wanted a second one, so ArrowCat accommodated that request by shortening the settee and installing a rotating captain’s chair to port.
Each hull has two separate spaces, accessed via steps to either side of the helm. The port hull has a wet head forward and a 7-foot mid-berth, and the starboard hull has a 7-foot mid-berth and the master cabin forward. The berth is 6 feet, 6 inches and is raised three steps, with storage underneath. An opening hatch and porthole provide light and ventilation. The starboard mid-berth gets shortened by 6 inches if you opt for the second fuel tank. I would consider the mid-berths singles — unless you wanted to throw two or three kids in there — and both are kneeling height.
Back at the containership wake, we were going in. I’d read a sea trial by one of our boat testers where the driver had done something similar — another cat guy, whatever conclusion that leads to — so I was prepared for the hands-off-the-wheel maneuver, and so was the boat. It stuck the landing off the peak of the wake, without attempting to porpoise at all — the bow and stern stayed level — and our course stayed true. During hard-over turns and figure-eights on the choppy sound, the fly-by-wire equipped cat maintained its upright posture, keeping the horizon line mostly level. No sportboat lean, which defied what my brain expected given the boat’s sporty look and performance, despite my previous experience with cats.
The 30RS topped out at 38.1 mph at about 5330 rpm, which had the outboards getting 1.3 mpg. Right at 3500 rpm seemed to be a sweet spot for fuel efficiency, as the boat was traveling 24 mph and getting 1.7 mpg, which was better than the 1.5 mpg it got at 16 mph and the 1.6 mpg it got at 27.5 mph. The Mercury outboards are pretty consistent across the speed spectrum, though, getting 1.5 mpg at 32 mph, which is about 4500 rpm. After the speed run, we settled into the chop and then punched the throttles forward, going from 0 to 30 mph in 14.8 seconds.
People familiar with ArrowCat may think of them as fishing vessels, which they are adept at — especially when the stern rail and cabin-top rod holders and the insulated fishbox with a macerator pump are added — but they make fun watersports platforms, too. The 30RS planes at around 13 mph, so it can accommodate wake- and kneeboarding, and it definitely goes fast enough for skiing and tubing. It doesn’t throw the kind of wake you need for wakesurfing, but you wouldn’t want to partake of that activity anyway, since the boat is outboard powered and wakesurfing shouldn’t be done on outboard boats. The platform between the outboards has a telescoping boarding ladder that automatically extends into the water when it is dropped in, so reboarding is easy after a set. There’s a shower on the transom, too, so skiers and boarders can rinse off before entering the boat.
The boat’s hardtop can accommodate a 9-foot dinghy or a couple of kayaks, if you’re into a different kind of watersport. Its 30 inches of draft allows it to go places other boats can’t, which opens up new areas to exploration.
Harty was headed to Vancouver, B.C., with the 30RS after our test, and if he went with the cat’s sweet spot around 24 mph, his range would have been around 250 miles, if he really wanted to push things. Figure 220 to 230 miles if you want to have some reserve. Extend that range by about 30 miles with an optional 30-gallon reserve tank. That will take you a long way offshore to pursue the big one of whatever species strikes your fancy, up or down the coast with careful planning, or out onto the water for a day of nonstop watersports runs.
Something else operators will appreciate about the 30RS is the Optimus 360 joystick control system. If you’re familiar with IPS or Zeus for inboard engines, picture that kind of low-speed maneuverability around the docks but with outboards. Optimus 360 works with twin outboards, and it allows each one to point in a different direction to facilitate close-quarters maneuvers.
In the end, we came nowhere near to breaking the ArrowCat 30RS, but that wasn’t a realistic expectation going into the test. With its multifaceted skill set, joystick controls, tougher-than-nails hull and $204,000 base price, the 30RS is likely to be the answer for a lot of boaters, from fishermen to watersports enthusiasts to coastal cruisers to commuters. You just have to know the question.