My current boat is an Aussie-built Powercat 328, built in around 1988 out of fibreglass. They were built in large numbers in the 1980’s, and came in two models – the 288 (28ft 8in, or 8.75m) and the 328 (32ft 8in, 9.95m). Mine started as the model 328 but is configured with Levi Surface Drives. These require an extension out the back, resulting in my boat measuring just over 11.5m overall. The stern platform, which houses the steering mechanism for the surface drives, is aluminium and is bolted to the main fibreglass hull.
KitKat is powered by twin Cummins 6BT engines, each developing 210hp. Most of the 328’s seem to be powered by two engines each of around 200hp, most often with inboard diesels but some have twin outboards. Cruising speed of KitKat is around 18 knots, and maximum speed (in light-ship mode) is nearly 25 knots.
She has a few challenges. The 6BT’s are prone to overheating, and even when run at their rated continous rate of 200RPM below max they will still start to get unhappy after a few hours of continuous running. The surface drives are very sensitive to weight distribution, and a couple of guys sitting out the back causes the speed to drop noticeably. She tends to ‘squat’ more than others of her type, probably due to the weight of the engines and surface drives being further back in the hull than equivalent shaft drives. The motors weigh 510kg, the Twindisc gearboxes weigh about 100kg and the Levi drives are 170kg. So the whole drive train is just over 1.5 tonnes, sitting in the rear quarter of the boat. An outboard-powered boat would have around a third of this weight, and even a stern-drive solution would be about 300kg lighter.
The hulls and cabins are tired but solid. She has almost a dozen watertight compartments in the hulls, making her very safe but also resulting in reduced storage options on board. Apart from the engine compartments, the only other area that goes down into the hull space is the toilet / shower cubicle.
She has twin fuel tanks which hold just over 350 litres per side. I have been slowly upgrading the electronics and systems on board, and hence she now has LED lighting throughout as well as two Lowrance HDS chartplotter/fishfinders.
She is well equipped for extended trips, with 7 berths, fridge, stove, hot water showers, electric macerator toilet, microwave and LCD TV. The only major disadvantage is that the hull is very noisy at anchor – the tunnel between the hulls touches the water, so waves slapping against this can be heard throughout the boat. I keep a packet of ear plugs on board for those trying to sleep.