Tested by Kevin Smith
Length – 5.65m
Beam – 2.3m
Hull weight – 750kg
Min hp – 2 x 60hp
Max hp – 2 x 100hp
Buoyancy – Foam-filled
Power as tested — 2 x 75hp 2-strokes
Price — R243 000 (as tested).
LAST year we tested the Unique 575 RTB Cat, manufactured by Grantley Read (see SKI-BOAT September/October 2006). The ride was very impressive on this particular boat, and Erwin Bursik and I both commented that a ski-boat version of her would be great.
Well, less than a year later, the Seacat 565 forward and centre consoles hit the market, compliments of the Yamaha team and Grantley who are striving to keep up with the trends and keep improving their range. These cats have a similar hull design to that of the Unique 575. So, it was off to Durban Ski-Boat Club for the tests to see if the 565s would match the quality of the rest of the Yamaha craft available.
It’s amazing how boat designs are evolving, and this is a perfect case in point. My first sight of the Seacat 565 centre console was on the beach at DSBC — it’s one of those boats whose looks immediately catch your attention.
This is definitely not your normal 18ft 6in craft. The Seacat 565 is very bold looking, being wide and having large shoulders which make her look a lot larger than she actually is, but still well in proportion. Assisting us on the test were Shaun Lavery from Yamaha and Grantley Read, the manufacturer.
It was another ideal day for a boat test at DSBC, with a light south-wester blowing, increasing gradually to 20 knots, and a moderate swell from the previous day’s north-easter.
Thanks to the general flow of traffic in Durban, the boats had already been offloaded on the beach by the time I arrived. Needless to say, I received a tongue-lashing as we now had a bit of a push ahead to get the boats to the water. Surprisingly, considering the boat’s size, four of us managed to swing them around on the sand and get them through the small shorebreak with ease.
The Seacat 565 CC 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 CC was fitted with twin 75hp two-stroke trim-and-tilt Yamahas that looked fairly small for the boat, but were more than adequate on the power side. Controls were the standard 703 boxes — smooth and easy to operate — and a hydraulic steering system was fitted.
One point of interest is that these boats apparently perform exceptionally well with the new 60hp four-stroke Yamahas, and Shaun Lavery from Yamaha runs his forward console version with these motors. This is a big bonus on the cost side, and four-strokes also offer better fuel economy.
Once out through the shorebreak, getting onto the plane was effortless on the 565 CC. The low-down torque on the 75hp Yamaha 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. With the extra power from the 75s you could sit at just over half throttle, which is good for a two-stroke, as it would reduce fuel consumption, wear and tear and the noise factor.
Moving offshore into the now rough conditions, I could still hold the 565 CC at a constant speed of 20-25 knots into the south-westerly chop. The ride was soft, stable and fairly dry, considering the conditions.
Running side-on to the 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. As mentioned in previous tests, set your motors to suit the conditions at the time. Raising the windward sponson can eliminate unnecessary spray.
Running with the wind and swell, as well as having a cross-swell from the north-east, the 565 again performed very well at multiple speeds, staying comfortable, stable and showing no major signs of wanting to broach or plough in the troughs.
From stationary and full locking into tight turns to port and starboard, the 565 CC held tight, banking onto the inner sponson on a good turning circle without major cavitation. These are important characteristics for surf launching on our coastline.
At low speeds the 565 CC was again easy to handle in the rough conditions and maintained a good all round ride.
On the layout side, the 565 CC has been carefully designed, giving you a combination of open, uncluttered space, as well as having all the necessities to suit the avid deep sea angler. The stern section has a well-designed step-up ladder that slides away neatly into the transom section for times when it is not needed. The false transom section has stainless hand-rails integrated into the dual roll-bars, as well as having a decent sized live-well and built-in battery compartments — all neatly fitted out.
The deck on the 565 CC has a non-slip finish and features dual flush-mount fish hatches of a worthy size. A large, raised petrol hatch provides seating, and the Flotex-lined super-high gunnels have rod racks recessed into them. The console area has plenty of space for stowage of equipment and electrical accessories, and everything is well-positioned to be able to operate comfortably. To complement the console area, there’s a windscreen with stainless trimmings, plus a T-top for sun protection and rod stowage.
The bow section also has fore hatches that are accessible through cupboard-style doors, as well as dual anchor hatches, and is finished off with a wraparound stainless bow rail. One last thing to mention on the 565 is the drainage scupper situated on the outside gunnels on the stern. It’s not the standard way of doing it, but I must say that it’s practical and added to the modernisation of the boat.
The 565 CC has been designed for looks and, most importantly, as a nice offshore fishing craft. This boat is very spacious for its size due to the wide beam and high gunnels. Being a centre console, 360 degrees of fishabilty is available without the angler having to climb over anything.
At high and low troll speeds she is easy to handle when maintaining a track, and still retains good stability and comfort when running into, side-on, and with the swell and chop. At both high and low troll speeds the motors sat at relatively low revs for two-strokes. On the drift the wider beam also contributed to the stability and comfort in the rough sea.
One feature that I particularly like is the extra high gunnel. This really helps when you’re fighting fish and gives extra protection from getting swamped out at sea. This might well make it more difficult to land fish, but personally I will take this option.
The 565 is well suited to all-round offshore fishing, from trolling and jigging to flyfishing, and with the good handling and layout, many enjoyable hours could be spent quite comfortably out at sea.
Once again Yamaha and Grantley Read have produced a well finished off boat in all areas. A lot of time and thought must have gone into this boat, resulting in a craft that has a slick look, goes as well as it looks, and handles well in all areas.
At 5.65m, the 565 fits into the easy-to-tow category, is fairly easy to handle on and off the trailer, and is a versatile boat for fishing anywhere. She’s far from an entry-level craft, being more suited to the avid offshore angler, but pretty much carries an entry-level price tag. Definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a new boat.