Reviewed by Erwin Bursik (SKI-BOAT March/April 2013)
MOTHER MAJESTIC — Whither goest thou? — Two Oceans 750 Power Cat
PICTURE yourself aboard the Two Oceans 48 Sportfisher or her 750 Power Cat mothership … breathtaking! Then drool when I tell you that I’ve been there, living the life of the rich and famous off the Bazaruto Archipelago, with these two craft rafted up against each other.
As the sun’s last rays bathed the Moçambique mainland and her early evening sky in magnificent hues of red and orange, there we sat on Quo Vadis’s aft deck, enjoying a few sundowners and reliving the day spent searching for big marlin in Bazaruto’s seas. Spending time aboard craft like these in Southern African waters is a fairly unique experience and something I could very easily become addicted to.
However, I was officially there to work, to review both the new Two Oceans 48 Sportfisher, Big Bob (see January/February 2013 issue of SKI-BOAT), and the magnificent Two Oceans 750 Power Cat, Quo Vadis (Latin for “Whither goest thou?”).
During the early stages of construction of both these craft in the huge hangar workshop in Cape Town, Mark Delany, Two Oceans Marine’s MD, shared the details of the ambitious project with me. Initially I was so fascinated by the working drawings and computer-generated visuals of the 48 Sportfisher that the details of the 750 Power Cat faded into the background.
I remember Mark saying she was going to be bigger than another Two Oceans’ craft of similar design that was then in her final stages of completion, the Open Ocean 630 (see the July/August 2011 issue of SKI-BOAT). That craft, Pelican, was rigged for sailing, but the new Power Cat was redesigned to be powered by two big engines.
On subsequent visits to Two Oceans Marine the 750 Power Cat seemed to grow by the month. Indeed, I became more and more intrigued with her transformation to the magnificent craft she has turned out to be.
Her stunning lines, royal navy blue hull and overall size really struck home when I finally saw her on the water off the Moçambican mainland port of Vilanculos. Wading out from the beach to the inflatable dingy that would ferry me to Quo Vadis, I remember being fascinated by the entire experience — going out to board this big Power Cat mothership, then cruising out to the western lee of Bazaruto Island where we would meet up with the 48 Sportfisher. For me it really was a dream come true.
Quo Vadis, as I eventually found out, is as much a fuel tanker as she is a luxury mothership, but this is not obvious to those aboard, nor does it negatively affect any of the onboard facilities. On one of the days I was shown the fuel storage system of interlinking tanks that enables her to carry up to 9 000 litres of diesel for both her own use as well as that of the 48 Sportfisher when required. Very impressive.
I watched the computerised fuel management system closely as both craft were being fuelled to capacity for an upcoming trip to Bassas da India that took place a few days after I returned to Durban. I found it fascinating to track the movement of that amount of fuel and see it stored to ensure the stability of the vessel for her long sea voyage that lay ahead.
If looking at Quo Vadis from a distance was exciting, being welcomed aboard and eventually seeing the fully completed craft with her beautiful interior décor and finishes really blew my mind. But what enthralled me more than anything else was the fact that this was all built and finished off here in South Africa by one of our own boat builders, Two Oceans Marine. Indeed, it made me extremely proud to be associated with a South African company that produced a craft of such an incredibly high standard.
It was a big job for the designers to create a craft that would fulfill her projected function as a motherboat to the 48 Sportfisher, cater for the visiting anglers as well as the crew of Big Bob, and provide accommodation for the owner and his guests. However, they’ve done it admirably.
Quo Vadis has four spacious, air-conditioned en-suite cabins that can be converted from twin beds to double beds as required to suit the guest configuration. Not only are the bathrooms very spacious and well set up, but a lot more cupboard space than usual is available in each cabin to allow guests to store their clothes for easy access when required. This latter point is generally a major problem when living aboard a boat.
Two Oceans have, through experience, established what is required from the living spaces aboard craft like Quo Vadis. Open-plan is the answer, and to this end the galley-cum-bar-cum-inside lounge and aft covered deck achieves its purpose beautifully. It allows everyone aboard, be they guests or crew, to move about freely, without having to continually dodge one another or move aside, as I have experienced on most of the craft I have spent time living aboard.
Again I must stress that acting as the mothership as opposed to being just a live-aboard craft means the boat has to accommodate a lot more people: there are more to house, more to cater for and more to supply cold beverages for which requires more fridge, freezer and food storage than would normally be required.
Then come the power sources that make this boat work. Twin motors supply her overall movement, plus two generators and two water-makers supply the other two basic necessities — electricity and water. Quo Vadis makes 200 litres of water per hour and has holding tanks for 2 000 litres.
To cater for those who don’t just hunt marlin, an inflatable boat powered by twin 70hp Yamaha outboards is housed on the stern deck and is launched and retrieved very easily by two aft hydraulic davits. The RIB acts both as a tender and as a light tackle offshore fishing craft. Up forward are two kayaks which can be deployed when the mothership is lying at anchor in protected waters.
The captain’s domain on the flybridge, with the helm station up forward of the large flybridge deck, provides him with great all round views of his craft and all the electronics he requires when the craft is underway. Furthermore, the captain also has a fully enclosed “office space”. Here you’ll find the full array of often duplicated electronic instrumentation, computers and radios necessary for running the craft, her motors, generators, accessories and fuel tanks.
Those tasked with ensuring that Quo Vadis fulfills her functions are Captain Richard Denison, his first mate Armand Smith and the hostess, Marlie Monser. To keep it all functioning as perfectly as it did while I was aboard takes an immense amount of work by all three of them. Indeed, I received five-star treatment, five-star food and five-star beverages provided by ten-star crew.So, how does the Two Oceans 750 Power Cat perform at sea? Having only experienced her performance during runs from Vilanculos to the Santa Carolina area and back again, I can but speculate and share with you the views of the professional captain who ferried Quo Vadis from the Cape Town docks to Vilanculos. During that journey he experienced calm seas, big head seas and a few hard westerlies pushing her from the stern, and as a man with much long distance, open ocean yachting experience, he spoke very highly of this craft’s heavy weather capabilities.
My concerns on craft this size would be the effects of a big head sea and the pounding one would expect when powering directly into such a sea. Captain Denison said initially these were his concerns as well, but with her length and aft sponson design she rode those seas exceptionally well. The same aft stability provided a safe run forward when wind, sea and swell were exerting their full power on her transom.
Even though her stance at speed when we ran trials in the choppy water off Vilanculos was very prone, with her fine entry bows causing minimal upward trust on the craft’s ride, apparently there’s a reverse effect which, combined with aft stability, prevents her from digging in her bows in a following sea.
As big as she is, I was impressed at the SOW she achieved at various throttle settings. She cruises very comfortably at 8-10 knots at 1 000 revs, and during her run up the coast often ran at 16 knots. Her top speed is 17 knots at 2 300rpm.
During my time aboard Quo Vadis I experienced the routine of pulling and setting anchor a few times. It’s not as straight forward as it sounds to those of us who normally perform the task on ski-boats, but was still very easily undertaken with the assistance of a high-quality, electrically-operated anchor winch. As with all the other boating aspects of moving and running this craft, the captain and his two assistants managed this task with ease.
When it comes to the furnishings on Quo Vadis, I have to compare her with craft I have seen primarily overseas at marinas and boat shows and judge accordingly. Quo Vadis is furnished to a standard that is closely comparable to the craft mentioned above, except her finishes lean to the side of practicality and not the glitz and bling so often seen overseas and which often prove to be totally impractical whilst at sea.
A close inspection of the photographs accompanying this review will hopefully provide one with an idea of how the Two Oceans 750 Power Cat has turned out. No doubt you too will come to appreciate the incredible capabilities Two Oceans Marine have shown by completing this mammoth task on time, and in the manner she has been delivered to her new owners.