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LeisureCat: Extreme Fishing And Leisure

LeisureCat: Extreme Fishing And Leisure

The unpredictable weather that day made us excited for a sea trial. The weather forecast for the Gold Coast Seaway was a rainy morning, with 60% precipitation, and 25-knot winds. But the clouds cleared up a bit to show the blue skies that the Gold Coast is known for. The Broadwater was choppy and the wind was blowing from the southeast.

We boarded a LeisureCat 8000 Westerner, which was recently delivered to Gary Russell, and made our way along the Nerang River, having chats along the way as we observed how this power catamaran was performing.

 

A VERSATILE CAT

Well-known local businessman Gary Russell, previously of Noble House, is no stranger to powerboats. He has owned 17 different boats in his lifetime. His latest one is a customised LeisureCat 8000 Westerner that he believes will be a bestseller in Queensland.

Licensed to carry 10 passangers, the Westerner is perfect as a fishing boat, with more than adequate luxurious aspects and loads of features that also makes it a very capable family leisure boat. “The versatile power catamaran sets the standard for premium coastal centre-console with its walk-around deck, allowing you to fish right around the boat, while providing sufficient luxury space for the family,” explains Gary.

 

INNOVATIVE HULL

During our test drive, Gary demonstrated how this cat performs along a wave crest. For sure, we all felt the boat tilt to one side as we drove along side a large wave. But Gary assured us that the hull balances itself out very quickly, as it did.

The hull of the Westerner has multiple compartments with foam flotation. The full length has reinforced keels with a rubber gunwale rub-rail and a heavy stainless bow rail.

“The standard build includes four well-positioned fishing rod holders and a locker for five rods,” Gary points out. “Moreover, there are a number of well thought-out grab rails around the boat that keep all passengers safe. There is also a very practical height bench seat behind the helm and another along the port stern.” Forward, it has comfortable bow lounge seating for four adults with under-seat stowage that doubles as an esky box.

The bow is mounted with an easy access flip hatch covering the Stressfree brand marine anchor winch with 150ft of rope, all of which is controlled from the helm.

 

NOTABLE FEATURES

The Westerner has a draft of just 40cm, which is ideal for shallow water passage.

The self-draining deck has a transom door leading to a platform between the engine wells that is fitted with a swim ladder. There is also a handy saltwater deck wash, a heavily-duty stainless mounted cutting board, and a plumbed live bait tank.

The Westerner is built standard with two 260lt fibreglass fuel tanks, and a 120lt freshwater tank. Beneath the floor are two kill tanks, which can be saltwater-fed or easily drained of a freshwater slurry.”

At a length of 8.8 metres with a 2.55 beam, the Westerner can be towed on an optional twin-axle Australian-built trailer.

 

USER-FRIENDLY HELM

The large driving cab is quite impressive. We were sitting on an upholstered deluxe helm bench for two. There is an excellent all-round visibility through the safety glass windscreen, which has sliding side panels, and a centre screen with a ventilation louver.

Fitted at the helm are: a compass, an EPIRB, a VHF Radio and a CD player with two speakers.

By tipping the helm bench forward, a galley with sink and plenty of room for a burning stove becomes exposed.

Gary’s boat has a flush-mounted large screen Garmin computer, providing sonar and navigation capabilities, and integrated gauge controls. The computer allows for mix-screen mode, ensuring he is always aware of all running systems.

The all-weather protection fibreglass cabin top and sides have a lock-up cuddy with plenty of stowage and an electric toilet fitted. This particular model was fitted with an extended hardtop, five rocket launcher rod holders, and Reelax outriggers.

 

ADVANCED ENGINE TECHNOLOGY

The joys of driving a boat come easily when the drive is as smooth as possible. LeisureCat decided to integrate the newly released Suzuki 2.8lt, 4-cylinder, 200hp outboards with the Westerner to make driving a pleasure.

These new engines utilise the Precision Control computer-based throttle and shift system. This system replaced the traditional mechanical control cables with a digital fly-by-wire system to eliminate friction and resistance in the controls. Admittedly, while this innovation has made the controls very sensitive, the smooth operations make it a welcome technology. With just a little push of the throttle, we were instantly on drive. After a little practice and mastering its use, the very smooth throttle and shift operations make driving the vessel definitely a pleasure.

The Suzuki Selective Rotation provides counter-rotation props by incorporating a special, unified design of gears, shaft, and bearings in the lower unit that allow the outboard to operate reliably and efficiently in either direction. Gary explains, “With one engine in forward, the other in reverse, the boat turns in its own length. Moreover, the stainless sports steering wheel is fitted with a lazy wheel knob making the drive and turns effortless.” What is most important, when the boat is not in use, the engines are tilted completely out of the water avoiding the need to antifoul any part of the legs.

 

SPEED AND EFFICIENCY

The robust lightweight fast-planing hull has a dry weight of less than two tonnes. Combined with the Suzuki’s high 10.2:1 compression ratio, an impressive acceleration and low-end torque is generated.

“The Westerner is capable of 42 knots at 6100rpm, getting you where you want to go fast,” declares Gary. “An ideal cruising speed, for economy and performance, is 26 knots using approximately 20 litres-per-hour per engine.”

A demonstration of the LeisureCat 8000 Westerner reveals a boat of high quality, safety, and reliability. The long list of features of this fishing and family fun boat is evidence of the meticulous attention to detail given by the manufacturer. The hull innovation ensures the boat can handle any sea conditions, translating to enjoyable days on the water more often.

 

By Andy Kancachian

 

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Gary has taken on the LeisureCat agency in Queensland and established a support team to manage the pre-delivery and ongoing maintenance of the boats.

The base price of the Westerner, with 175hp engines, is $168,000.

LeisureCat has sold Westerner models to several government agencies and commercial applications as they are built to 2C standards with survey easily completed on request.

The Westerner is manufactured to a high standard in Malaysia and fitted out in Perth, Western Australia. According to Gary, all LeisureCats boats are covered by a full four-year structural warranty on hull and deck.

The LeisureCat range boasts nine different models up to 24 metres.

 

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