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Caped Crusaders

by John Curnow, Global Editor, Powerboat.World 4 Aug 01:00 PDT
The new Cape45 from Composites Constructions © Composites Constructions

By Composites Constructions. Their background is boats, whether they are super-fast ski boats, or brilliantly prepared ocean racing yachts that have collected their share of silverware. With the Cape range of motor yachts, owner Stephen Campbell not only wanted to reinvigorate the boat industry in Victoria, but provide an option in the burgeoning sports yacht or sedan market. "People love the classic form, and we have ensured there is a real point of difference", said Campbell.

That differentiation has just expanded with the announcement of the new Cape45. "The 40-45 concept was my original size and thinking, so it is great to be finally here and on the way to making it. She'll come standard with a pair of 330hp Volvo Penta IPS450s offering a high 20-knot cruise and just over 30 WOT. You can always go up if you choose, but importantly, that low running angle afforded by the warped plane hull form means you can actually cruise much slower than that. Because the Capes plane so early, getting around in the mid to high teens still works."

The Cape45 will obviously be easier to handle, dock and moor for one or two souls, let alone find a pen (slip) of the right size for her. Compared to her bigger sister she has a slightly smaller cockpit and saloon, but is nearly identical down below.

"We are proud that the Cape Motor Yachts are all built in Melbourne (that's AUS not FLA BTW), and in reasonable timeframes. At this stage we'll make a start on the Cape45 mid-next year, ready for the end of 2022 - the queue starts here at the door of our Braeside facility. The Cape45 will start in the low one million dollar range, whereas the Cape50 kicks off from $1.5M."

Unable to resist that segue, we can tell you that the second hull of the Cape50 will make it in the water around late January 2022, and be on display at the Sanctuary Cove show just a few of months later.

Clearly a boat to behold in the flesh, Campbell recounted how that craft came to be sold to her new owner, "The boat stood out for herself. The female owner was looking at some higher production number type craft, when she happened to walk past the very recently splashed, Social Distancing, and said 'That's awesome!' She jumped on from the quay and had a look, immediately falling in love with the neutral and simple interior, as she put it. Later on she connected with me, we had a chat, and she took delivery after commissioning was completed."

If you're in Melbourne you can see for yourself why the Cape50 invoked such feelings, and if you are elsewhere, contact the central agent Rohan Veal, who I am sure will conduct a personal video tour for you.

Across the planet's biggest ocean

Maritimo are presently putting the finishing touches on five new craft bound for clients in the USA by the end of August.

Maritimo's GM of Operations, Phil Candler said, "There are three M55 motor yachts, one S55 motor yacht, and an M64 motor yacht all heading off. Two of them are departing out of Sydney, and the other three from Brisbane. The total value of the shipments will be in excess of AUD13.5M. Sales of the new M55 and S55 have been phenomenal, and we are delighted to be seeing the first of them head to the USA."

Standby I would say... Seems to be another announcement looming on what's coming up from the boatbuilder going from strength to strength.

You can read our review of the Maritimo M55 in Backwards to go forwards, and then also the Maritimo S55 in Make way for the Archangel.

Notably, one of the M55s is hull#7 with its distinctive black paint job, gunwale doors and 1000hp Volvo Penta main engines. She'll easily cruise at 30 knots, and will be pretty easy to spot up on the Great Lakes, which is to be her home. We got to see her during her sea trials, whilst we were out reviewing the first of the new S55s.

Maritimo has forward orders for their highly regarded craft stretching out to 2023.

Special Boat Service

We don't actually have one of them here, and nor do we have SEALs, either. Instead, the Royal Australian Navy has clearance divers. Now that's not really a title that inspires action movies, or has all the kids going ooh and aah at the 'What do your parents do?' days at the local primary school, which is all a bit of shame. It's a job description that sort of belies what they go and do on behalf of the Commonwealth, and the very, very special skills they possess.

Now I suppose that marvellous form of total understatement is archetypically Australian, but when I got to see the renders of the new Naiad Expedition Fifteen, and take a glance at her specs, I did say to myself, that on paper at least, she looked like a very special boat indeed.

Best news is that we won't have to wait too long to find out, either, for she is due to be completed before the year's out and handed over to her proud owners. Hulls two and three are also in discussion at this time.

As to the reasoning behind it all, well you need to start with the fact that Whiskey Project, who own Naiad, was created by Darren Schuback and Ryan Carmichael after their long service with the platoon of 30 sailors that are embedded within the second commando regiment in Sydney.

Now the Water Platoon, as it is officially known, is there to deal with domestic incidents of counter terrorism or maritime response. The pair's affiliation with, on, in, and under the water is profound, which is why their company is called the Whiskey Project, after the phonetic language description for 'W'. They are well regarded in the military and government agency space for their vessels serving those ultra-specific needs.

Now the group has also had notable success in the superyacht tender space, but we are going to leave that alone just for now, so that we can focus on the Naiad Expedition Fifteen. After all, a vessel resplendent with triple Mercury 600hp V12s across her transom does not necessarily say long range, off the grid, or remote touring, in your first breath.

A lengthy discussion with Ryan Carmichael certainly established what we are dealing with here.

So just what have we got?

"Ultimately we're starting with the foundations of our military and rescue hulls and set-up, but tailoring them into that specific area of recreation, so explorer/expedition", said Carmichael. So the first point on that is that alloy plate boats are inherently noisy.

The answers come from time out on the water with the client in some of the 10 and 12 metre Naiads currently in service. "The first is our sound construction techniques. We effectively build each craft to fit in survey anyway, so they're full of foam where appropriate, like in the internal cabin spaces up for'ard. We'll also be lining them."

"The chines are up high in the bow, so we don't think you'll get slap there when you're asleep. Additionally, all the fuel is down in the hull, so it's going to dampen things a lot to, as well as having a lot of baffles internally in the tanks."

"Obviously the pontoons tend to soften the blow too. We use a D-shape collar on these craft, so you might get a little bit of wetted bottom surface area at the back end with different speed conditions, but obviously they'll help. They will also dampen the reverberation, or vibrations through the hull, and it will no doubt be a bit drier back there as an added benefit.

The need for speed?

Triple rigs look good, but was 50 knots essential? For a start, there's an initial cost factor, then fuel burn to consider. 35 knots is plenty fast enough, and depending on the conditions even 25 can be tough on the body.

"Our whole methodology throughout design and thinking across the Whiskey Project is for the ability to do a consistent high speed in a way that's useful to you, so you're not getting smashed to pieces. I guess for us for this particular craft 50 knots was the target we were looking for the vessel to be capable of and the hull and the engine combination would be optimised to achieve, but we don't expect to be operating in that condition often."

"We want this high end sort of recreational explorer range to be representative of our core Naiad DNA. The client came to us as the rough water specialists, so we are not going to detune the hull to meet other requirements. Naiad hulls are optimised for rough water conditions through the whole speed range, and the deep V is part of that."

To aid with all that, across the front of the cabin there will be four, low back, swivelling, white suspension seats for comfort, and they also match the style of craft being constructed here.

All of that is terrific, but it is called 'Expedition Fifteen', and she certainly looks the part with that paramilitary kind of feel, yet in this space it often usually means coming back down to say 10 knots and going for maximum range. In this instance you might even turn off the two outboard donks, and just run the centre screw.

For instance, trolling speeds are sort of 6-12 knots, so you may even just use the two outboard screws at idle to achieve the higher point, but you blasted out to the continental shelf at nigh on 50.

It's actually a good point, because in this we get to see a lot of the reasoning behind the vessel's creation. Carmichael explains, "We had a good look at what the market might want in this space; Expedition versus Explorer or Touring. We settled on expedition because it sat nicely with our brand history and the way they might use it. Our first customers intend to ship this thing around the world; tour New Zealand, get across the top end of North America, circumnavigate Australia and that sort of stuff, so there would certainly be a lot of cruising for endurance."

"When you're up in the northwest of Australia and you're a long way between fuel stops you'd be running at an economical speed. Being able to get up on the plane pretty comfortably and run around at 20 knots between overnight areas or island and bay hopping is also on the cards. It will be really interesting to see how the Mercury's perform across the range, because none of us have had the benefit of experiencing it ourselves."

Creature comforts

Doing all of the above means you are certainly going to need some of these. It has to be kid friendly, fully fishable, relaxing not taxing, aesthetically pleasing, tactile, and functional. That's quite the ask...

"The first one sports a fully functional kitchen with integrated fridges, built-in Miele oven and dishwasher, a lot of nice white leather, and white upholstered interior around the internal cabin area. Also on offer are ice machines, air con throughout, the for'ard cockpit including the landing ramp, and out aft can open up for those times when you're at rest", said Carmichael. Exterior awnings to maximise space are all part of the offering, as well.

The vessel is configurable, so that you can have separate wet room and head, extra bunking by forgoing the for'ard cockpit and enclosing it adding a sun deck along the way, genset, more timber and stone, extra linings, paint selection, and so forth. One thing you will appreciate is the aft swim ladder, because as divers they have ensured it is easy, practical, functional and sturdy - which is just what you need.

All in all, when it comes to this particular Whiskey, you get the distinct notion that the distillery is in full swing, the cases are being loaded regularly onto trucks to get to the clients, and probably most importantly, there might just be a few new recipes on the way to satisfy different markets. So grab the tumblers, fill the ice bucket, secure a supply of your favourite splits, and then kick back to watch it all unfold.

OK. Today you will find that the site has an abundance of material from right across the globe, and if you cannot find something, just try the search button right up the top of the landing page, above our logo.

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Finally. Please look after yourselves.

John Curnow
Global Editor, Powerboat.World

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