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Boat Test - Butt Cat 41 — by Kamassi Craft (January/February 2012)

Tested by Heinrich Kleyn

SPECIFICATIONS
Length – 12.5m
Beam – 4.4m
Min hp — 2 x 250hp
Max hp — 2 x 350hp
Buoyancy — Fully-filled with closed-cell polyurethane foam
Power as tested — 2 x 275hp Mercury Supercharged Verado motors

I RECENTLY took another trip down to Port Elizabeth to visit Kamassi Craft, and with people like Tielman Nieuwoudt and Len van Kempen at the helm of this company, I think I’ll be heading down that way quite often in the future. They are constantly expanding their horizons in their quest to improve their products — and most successfully too.
Last time I visited them, Tielman took me through the factory to show me where everything happened. I can tell you this without fear of contradiction — they are currently one of the biggest boat manufacturers in South Africa, if not the biggest.
With the range of moulds they have available and the way they undertake research and development to improve their craft, I believe they are on the right track. I also believe they’ll be able to weather the storm of the recession and will provide some great boats for their customers in the future.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
However, the reason I was down there this time was to test their 41ft Butt Cat. This boat is pretty much in a class of her own and compares very favourably with similar imported craft. Another reason this craft deserves a closer look is that she is a proudly South African product.
On my previous visit I had seen some photos of the 41ft Butt Cat, but nothing beats “real life”. Indeed, she was infinitely more impressive when I saw her at her moorings, waiting patiently for us to take her out to the open water.

MOTORS
The test boat was fitted with twin 275hp Mercury Supercharged Verado motors, but for her size I would prefer to see her with twin 300hp motors. That’s not to say that I could fault the 275hp motors, but for me it just makes better sense to have bigger engines on this boat.

LAYOUT
This Butt Cat is fitted with 2 x 600 litre fuel tanks on each side, giving her the ability to travel a fair distance with this fuel capacity. There’s more than enough freshwater available in her 300 litre tank for on board usage as well as for deck-wash.
Inside the cabin she is roomy indeed with ample comfortable seating for you to take the load off your feet whilst travelling to the fishing grounds or simply for a family cruise on a Sunday afternoon.
If you go fishing at night and some crew want to rest, there are two double bunk beds — one on the port side and one on the starboard side — as well as a shower and separate toilet. She is also fitted with a microwave and a fridge in a mini galley where one could prepare food in comfort. If your kids need to be entertained while you’re fishing, there are two TV screens on board. In short, the 41ft Butt Cat is fitted with all the bells and whistles to make life easy for the whole family!
This particular model has been built with a hardtop, but a flybridge can be fitted, depending on the customer’s requirements. Her console is big and wide with enough space for fishfinders and radios, providing easy access for the skipper to all the electronics.
The look of this boat is enough to get one excited before we even start talking about her fishability, and she’s certainly no slouch in that department. She has enough deck space to allow you to fish comfortably for any gamefish, either close inshore or far out on the tuna grounds, if that’s your game. And if you are lucky enough to catch one of those big 80-100kg yellowfin, her fish hatches are large enough to accommodate them.
This boat needs to be kept at moorings, but manoeuvring her in and out of the mooring was also easy and comfortable. Having a craft at moorings makes it that much easier to go fishing. You get up in the morning, decide to go fishing, untie the boat, fill up with fuel and off you go.
When you return it’s simply a matter of parking her at the moorings, enjoying a couple of cold ones and sitting back to enjoy the rugby on TV. And if your favourite team causes you to either celebrate too much — or drown your sorrows — there’s no need to look for a place to sleep over: just crawl into one of the bunk beds.

PERFORMANCE
On the day of the test there was a strong northeaster blowing straight into our faces as I took her out into the harbour. I had a quick glance at the GPS and we were doing 20 knots, but on such a big boat it felt like 5 knots. She did not pound at all, even head-on into the bumpy sea. I could not believe the speed we were doing and how comfortably she sat in the water.
Turning sideways with the swell, first to starboard and then to port, I was able to maintain the same speed without any discomfort at all. I did detect a little bit of cavitation on the sharp turns, but that is normal for boats of this size with big, strong engines.
In a following sea she sat like a dream. This boat likes the sea rough — the worse the sea the more you’ll realise how good her seakeeping is.
Also, remember that she is indeed really big. Therefore, she’s not as nippy as, say, a 16ft ski-boat, but if you take into consideration her size and weight (over six tons), from pull-away to getting onto the plane she is not that far behind. At 20 knots her ride was stable, soft and very dry, despite the poor weather conditions.

CONCLUSION
This 41ft Butt Cat is not only a fishing vessel, she is a luxurious craft. She will compete admirably with all the imported models of her size — but at half the price. And when you look at what you’ll be getting, she’s worth every cent. Essentially, you’re buying a house on the water.
If I could afford a boat like this, I would certainly consider the Butt Cat. If you’re in the market for a craft in this size class, ask the people at Kamassi Craft for a demo. Owning your dreamboat may be a lot easier than you think! •
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