Tested by Erwin Bursik
ON first sight at Cape Town’s Oceana Power Boat Club within Table Bay, the Nemesis 2200 really impressed me. Having only seen a number of photographs prior to the day of the review, I was taken aback when I saw her face to face, looking stunning.
Her beautiful looks only increased my desire to take her to sea and experience for myself what this innovative craft would feel like when being put through her paces.
With her heavy shoulders and fine entry, as well as almost racy aft line, I was intrigued to see what the Nemesis 2200 would provide for me in the way of performance, fitted as she was with twin 115hp Mercury 4-stroke outboards with command thrust.
My initial impression after a very short time behind her wheel was very favourable, and I was keen to find out more about her design and what effectively made her designer pursue his drive and ambition to build his own boat.
Alex Bromley grew up in Cape Town surrounded by all things nautical. His father, Mike, was heavily involved in ocean yacht racing and long distance races and deliveries, so it wasn’t surprising that Alex started “boating” in all its formats from an early age.
After a stint of working for a premier boat builder in Cape Town, he got the opportunity to crew on a sportfisher targeting marlin up the east coast of South Africa all the way to Bazaruto in the north. It was this experience that taught the yachty the intricacies of big game sport fishing.
Determined to build his own offshore fishing craft, Alex researched boat building and design which included studying through Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology in the USA. Using CAD systems and his acquired theoretical knowledge, he generated the hull shape for Nemesis.
Now I had control of the first Nemesis 2200 Offshore Sport Fishing Catamaran that Alex built. The build itself was done by Coastal Marine SA which is situated in Stanford, just inland of Gaansbaai. The company is highly experienced in GRP laminating and production. Coastal Marine will be producing all future Nemesis 2200 craft while Alex will continue with designing and marketing all the models of the boat.
With all that information at hand, and an acute interest in the determination of the youth of today, I looked at the Nemesis 2200 in a totally new light.
This boat is an all round big 22 foot, centre console craft. I am convinced she will confidently take on the rigours of the heavy seas off Cape Town but can still be easily towed to destinations such as Moçambique by the medium-sized four-wheel-drive vehicles on the market these days.
When it came to re-trailering the Nemesis 2200 behind Alex’s Isuzu bakkie after the test, Dillon Thomson stepped in. He is a highly experienced skipper in Cape Town and assisted Alex with the installation of the Garmin equipment on the Nemesis.
With Alex sitting in the bakkie, Dillon ran the boat up into its loaded position. “It’s all to do with the steep angle of this slipway,” he said, noting that he didn’t need to trim up the motors which allows for greater control of the forward thrust to position the craft on the trailer without getting the vehicle’s back wheels anywhere near the saltwater. The slipway builders on the KZN coast could learn a huge amount from the Capetonians.
Now let’s get down to what you really want to know — what I thought of the Nemesis 2200 after the many hours of intensive scrutiny and trials I undertook in the waters of Table Bay.
Back in the club’s small protected basin I crossed from Dillon’s photo boat to the Nemesis and finally took control. During the photoshoot I watched the Nemesis’s performance intently, and I was keen to see if she would feel as impressive as she looked.
I was not disappointed. In fact, I established a lot more about her capabilities as well as how she reacted to trim and throttle variations during the torturous manoeuvres I put her through.
As at that point, I had not seen the configuration of her wetted area hull design because she was on mooring when I arrived. I thus had to work out how the heaviness of her shoulders assisted her lateral stability during her forward movement.Her shoulders above the water line do stabilise her ride, but her fine entry and wetted area design ensures a very easy climb out the hole and onto an effortless plane. In essence, the short degree of thrust needed seems to free her hull very quickly and get her onto the plane without the normal big climb out the hole and resultant bow lift so often experienced when doing this manoeuvre.
Once on the plane at just under 3 000 rpm and 14 knots, her speed increased dramatically to 22 knots at 3 800 rpm. I soon established that she loves a fair degree of bow-up trim which not only maximises her speed, but also cushions her ride significantly. It’s interesting to note that at 4 000 rpm she runs at 25 knots not the 22/23 knots achieved in the bow-down trim position.
During speed trials undertaken with the young buck at the wheel, she touched 40 knots. I didn’t notice the rpm, but her speed over water (SOW) was very stable.
What really surprised and impressed me was that her SOW on one motor with the “dead” motor dragging maxed out at 21 knots on the plane. The same revs and speed were achieved with both motors. To reaffirm my findings I redid these trials running reciprocal paths to prove the readings. They were spot on.
Alex’s description of the aft hull configuration is a deep “V” with over 20 degrees of deadrise angle designed to provide a soft ride through choppy water. I also noticed a small V in the tunnel entrance which Alex calls a “wave splitter”. This acts as an external stiffener in the tunnel and also breaks the surface pressure of water when coming down a choppy sea into the next swell or chop.
These innovative additions and their assumed effects work on the computer model, but I had to experience the positive effect myself on the ocean.
Initially the water was very flat, as all the early morning photographs clearly show, but the north-westerly wind gradually increased in strength, and by mid-afternoon it produced a fair chop on the water.
The conditions gave me a reasonable indication of how the Nemesis 2200 would handle increased chop and wind conditions. Overall I felt that she became a lot more lively heading directly into the wind and at 20 knots seemed to enjoy the lift of the wind in the tunnel and under the impressive, very aerodynamically designed T-top.
I also needed to prove to myself that the softness of the Nemesis’s ride which shows up very quickly in the Cape waters would not hinder this craft’s ability to make extremely tight turns and electric out-the-hole progression. After all, that’s what skippers on the KwaZulu-Natal and Moçambique coast require when surf launching.
I spent an incredible amount of time simulating this style of manoeuvring to satisfy myself that, put in this position at say Sodwana Bay, the Nemesis would be able to handle extremely tight turns in white water and then pull out of it without digging in her aft sponson, and climb out the hole and onto the plane in a few seconds.
I also wanted to check that she would be able to tackle waves that were about to break and jump white water at an obtuse angle, and would accomplish that at fair speed without any sign of sponson drag or bite that would throw one’s crew around the deck. The Nemesis came through all these trials extremely well, presumably showing that the computer and I can agree on her abilities on the water!
Getting back to her SOW feel in the varying conditions I was able to conjure up, I found she provided a soft and laterally stable ride that is enhanced when the craft is only marginally trimmed up. She seems to cushion herself when she’s on the plane, and thereafter only minimal lateral trim is required to counter motor torque or wave action when quartering a sea.
During the photoshoot I studied the way the Nemesis throws her wake and then tried my best in the prevailing conditions to get her to throw water or spray under the conditions I had at my disposal. I found her to be dry and, as shown in some of the photographs, spray is spread very low and far aft.
As this craft has the size and makings to be used for big game fishing, I also studied her wake configuration, from slow troll right up to 8 knots kona speed, and was impressed with how tight her wake was. Only at 9 knots did the wake start to spread out and create surface foam.
While discussing her overall finishes which were essentially very good, I noticed that her internal hardware was basic and very acceptable, but there was no fancy hardware. Alex confirmed that this was because the boat I tested was the prototype that had to be proven on the water before they spent more money on fancy finishes.
In saying that, I found that the centre console design and seating under a very well designed aerodynamic T-top provided excellent comfort for the skipper, in addition to practical behind-the-wheel access to all instrumentation.
The top deck moulding includes decent sized fish, tackle and fuel hatches below deck level (two big hatches each hold 5 x 25 litre tanks) ensuring low level weight displacement, and keeping the overall deck surface flat and unobstructed for all round “Cape-style” fishing.
The aft transom is fully moulded within the top deck and is not only well positioned in terms of gunnel height, but also provides for easy working of a big fish around her stern. The batteries are stowed in the forward face of this module and provision has been made to fit a central livebait well if required.
I scrutinised the entire external hull finishing as well as the above mentioned deck moulding and was very impressed with both the solid feel and finishing off of the basic craft.
I was unable to view the factory where the craft was made, but can tell by the experienced moulding and finishes of the GRP work that the manufacturers know what they are doing.
Alex’s efforts are to be applauded, not only because of the craft he has designed and had built, but also because of his thirst for more knowledge — both theoretical and practical — which will enable him to move forward and further enhance the Nemesis 2200 in the future.
In conclusion, and taking into account my old-fashioned scepticism regarding computer designing, I was hugely impressed with the Nemesis 2200. I spent a lot of time and effort trying to find fault with her, and really made the boat prove herself to me. She came out tops, and I must congratulate Alex, his father Mike and all at Coastal Marine. You can be very proud of your achievement.