Rapid Cat Front Cabin 25ft

By Erwin Bursik (Originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of SKI-BOAT magazine)

MY first view of the Rapid Cat 25 was after she had been loaded onto a road trailer at the Cape Town factory for its long trip to Durban. Dynamic Boating Solutions’ Silan Naiker of Durban was there to collect his Rapid Cat Front Cabin sport fishing craft which is now moored at Durban’s Point Marina for demonstration purposes as well as his and Ash Kahn’s personal fishing pleasure.
In the photographs I had seen she looked splendid and, due to her high profile and wide beam, looked far bigger than the 7.6 metre overall length.
Towing with a Nissan Navara, Silan had a trouble-free trip back to Durban, and it was at Dynamic Boating Solutions’ Bayhead premises that I first saw the Rapid Cat in person. Her prominent bow with its very stylish full cabin holds one’s attention and again creates the impression that the Rapid Cat is far larger than she actually is. Under the travel dust I saw a craft with loads of promise.
On the day I arrived to undertake the review, she was sparklingly clean and polished in the early morning sunlight and totally resplendent on her moorings, ready for her photoshoot and offshore review. She looked very impressive with all her branding in place and I looked forward to taking her helm and feeling how she physically performed out at sea.
On the day of the review we were blessed with beautiful weather and a moderate sea. It was in this that I spent a lot of time photographing her from an accompanying craft. It is while undertaking this exercise, while she’s parading in front of my camera, that I find out an immense amount regarding the craft’s hull-over-water performance.
The Rapid Cat’s wraparound windscreen is very impressive and her very full bow and wide beam not only give the craft bow lift, but also ensures that it peels the cleaved water both aft and low. As can be seen in the accompanying photograph, the in-tunnel straiking gives initial bow lift and at the same time reduces the compacting of the water in the craft’s tunnel. I really appreciated this aspect when I eventually took her helm for the sea trials.
The ocean during the period of the review was relatively calm with a moderate swell and a light to moderate land breeze that tended to blow harder the further one got out to sea. Unfortunately we didn’t have rough enough conditions for me to feel her perform in those kind of trials, but I did review footage of her in Cape Town in the really rough stuff and she looked great.
With the craft now available in this class and the ability of manufacturers to provide full cabins, walk around cabins, as well as centre consoles, crew comfort during rough sea conditions is now virtually guaranteed. You’re no longer likely to experience the continued wetness like we did in the past during inclement weather and on smaller ski-boats.
The real test always begins when I take over the helm and have full control of and feel of the craft as I put her through her paces. The Rapid 7.6 I tested is powered by twin 4-stroke Mercury 115hp motors swinging counter rotating 17 pitch props, and I set a course to run up the coast with both motors trimmed right down. This enables me to experience her initial takeoff and then to see how she reacts to both bow up trim as well as lateral trim.
I increased speed through the motors’ power curve, assessing her hull performance during moderate acceleration from a standstill to a cruising speed of 20 knots at 4000 rpm. It was relatively effortless. I could feel the Rapid Cat initially raising her bow as she climbed onto the plane at just over 3000 rpm and released her hull from the water, just allowing the aft wetted area to support her.
What impressed me was the initial lack of lateral trim required during this run and as well as the much faster runs I did further out to sea in the rougher water. I put this down to her wider beam (3.2m) and the fact that the 115hp Mercury motors had counter rotating gearboxes. Even with a beam sea swell the amount of trim necessary was relatively minimal to ensure a smooth and comfortable ride during a long run to the fishing grounds.
I can’t discuss all the intricacies of the inward or outward rotation of the counter rotating props — that would need a stand alone article — but Silan had chosen the inward rotation system which seemed to suit the hull of the Rapid Cat perfectly.

While getting to know the Rapid Cat, I tried every aspect of hull-over-water performance I could conceive, and found her both very forgiving as well as adaptable to out the hole, tight turns and acceleration, especially during simulated surf launching conditions. Considering there were three of us aboard and, dare I say it, only 115hp motors pushing this 25ft ‘big’ craft, her performance was outstanding no matter what I asked her to do. Over and above her out the hole acceleration, I did not experience any need to try and adjust lateral trim to enable her to jump onto the plane and accelerate as required.
If you were going to use her regularly for surf launches with a full crew, maximum fuel capacity and all the necessary big game fishing paraphernalia, I would suggest looking at bigger motors like 150hp.
For those interested in high speed travel, Silan says he notched up 32 knots during speed trials on flat water. I got speeds of 28 knots at 550 rpm which was, to my mind, more than enough in the speed department, and something hardly any offshore boater ever uses.
I must report on this craft’s wake produced during the full range of trolling patterns covering 360 degrees of trolling from slow on one motor through to 10 knots using both motors. With her counter rotating props, the wake she produced was tight and only started to spread out from 6 knots. It would be fishable for trolling marlin lures up to 10 knots, provided outriggers are used.
During backing up trials both the craft and motors reacted well without too much strain on the skipper. With the above in mind, I also found docking and mooring exercises, where dead slow manoeuvring is required, were both easy and efficient.
As with any craft of this size, prospective owners will want a substantial say in her onboard configurations depending on whether they’re tuna anglers fishing mostly off Cape Point, bottomfishermen or, more specifically, marlin fishermen launching off Sodwana Bay. Most of these changes can be accommodated by the manufacturers of the Rapid Cat.
With regard to the Rapid Cat I reviewed, Silan has had the internal deck layout configured to suit his and Ash’s fishing requirements; they fish mainly out of Durban, with the occasional trip to Sodwana Bay.
As they are both staunch bottomfishermen, the central above deck hatch has been fitted with seating and adequate back rests. This is extremely comfortable as well as practical both while fishing and when accommodating fishing rigs that are not in use.
The novel forward-hinged hatch top is easily lifted to expose an extremely large fish hold that can accommodate the big tuna anglers catch off Cape Town. Right aft and under the aft boarding platform there is a good sized livebait well which is easily accessible when fishing.
While talking about the aft area, I found the transom motor wells and the onboard access to the Rapid Cat, especially when she is on the trailer, is very practical as this access is quite high off the ground.
The enclosed cabin area really captivated my attention. Apart from being extremely stylish with its overall design and wraparound windscreen, it incorporates everything an offshore angler could desire, from a practical unrestricted helm station to a toilet in the forward port bow sponson and a large bed area in the starboard sponson. This craft’s starboard area has been designed to give Ash the privacy and comfort required for his Muslim prayers (salah time).
In the confines of the main saloon you’ll find the centrally situated helm station with comfortably sited steering wheel and binnacle-mounted throttle levers and controls. A full array of instrumentation and sonar equipment is provided via Simrad electronics.
A skipper’s seat at the helm station — a necessity, especially during those long hours spent watching marlin lures — had not yet been fitted to the stanchion support shown in the photograph.
This aside, on the port side there is a very comfortable bench seat and a wash basin with pumped fresh water is positioned on the starboard side.
With the size of this craft there is more than adequate storage for the necessary safety equipment as well as fishing tackle and all the extras we anglers take to sea with us.
As I do with any new craft I review, I closely inspected both the exterior hull mouldings and finishes as well as those on its deck to check the quality of the laminates as well as the final finishes and quality of hardware.
With the Rapid Cat I reviewed, these finishes are of excellent quality and, after spending a good few hours at sea, I could not find any faults or deficiencies I would need to comment on.
The Rapid Cat is beautiful inside and out, and I felt very comfortable while skippering her as well as the time I spent on the deck.
The 25ft front cabin Rapid Cat I reviewed is only one of the models the company produces, and the 25ft range also includes a centre cabin walkaround model and a centre console version.
A 28ft Rapid Cat in a centre cabin or walkaround is also being produced. The Rapid Cat 25 I reviewed is not only a great fishing machine, but also a beautiful craft with comforts and facilities that will excite any discerning owner.

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