Prowler 10.8 Cat
THE most obvious change is in the cockpit, which has been lengthened 460mm. The wingdecks has also been extended and the centre transom unit has not only been moved further back, but is also reversed from the original design. The cockpit is now in fact around 40% larger and offers a lot better utilisation of space. While designed originally by renowned catamaran designer Jeff Schionning as a 9-metre power catamaran, it has been further developed and is now available through Fusion Marine as a 10.8m model. One of the most obvious aspects of this Prowler is the fact it is outboard-powered. The latest model from Fusion is powered by a pair of Honda DF80 four strokes, with the options being twin 60hp-90hp outboards. While for some this may appear a little from left field, the bottom line is that this feature typified the designer’s deliberate effort to provide an affordable, efficient family cruiser. It made good sense – less weight per side, more economical and certainly easier to maintain. Even more impacting though, is the extra storage space allowed when there are no inboard engines. Add the mechanical peripherals and still there is a massive amount of space left for storage of rods, wet gear, dive gear, food, spare parts etc.
Easy steps from these uncluttered (in spite the outboards on the transom) boarding platforms lead up and onto a now much larger cockpit, which is dominated by the generous lounges.On the top of the transom beam is a sink with hot and cold water, a remote shower, mounting points for the BBQ – and even an electric winch for the tender davits that were mounted on the aft outside of this beam. In a nice touch from an entertaining perspective this cockpit was virtually encapsulated by the cabin overhang above and side coamings that extend aft to the boarding platforms.
Steps moulded into each side of these coamings offered practical and safe access to a very generous- sized, uncluttered foredeck So simple yet so effective, are the solar panels for the onboard power, which were attached to the roof of the cabin. One comes standard with the boat, but you have the option of adding a few more directly to the roof top. Interestingly, other than the two outboard alternators, these solar panels either in the standard guise of a single panel or multi panels, provided more than enough power to feed the AGM batteries.
ALL THE HOME COMFORTS
Stepping through the single saloon door, you certainly get the impression you are looking into a much larger 12m monohull. It would be hard to find a 10m cruiser that provides accommodation for six, with two ensuite bathrooms and performs so well with just 160hp. The larger and more upright cabin profile, is a‘trade-off’ for the generous space allocation to each feature area, and of course the equally generous head-room. There are ‘classy’ little touches of finish, such as the fabric-covered padded panels embedded into the forward bulkhead, the impressive windscreen mullions, plush padded ceiling panels, solid wood dining table, Domani style bench-top in the galley and the polished timber flooring. All very functional and practical.
The dining setting is to port and easily handles a compliment of four to five adults. The galley has a generous bench space, plenty of cupboard storage provision, appropriate refrigeration and a 3 burner stove and oven combo. Completing the saloon picture is the forward helm station, neatly recessed into the front bulkhead. From an elevated ‘skippers’ chair you have a great view of each corner of the boat. The helm layout and equipment is very much owner driven, with plenty of real estate for large MFD screens, instruments and controls.
Below decks, the choice of configuration is simple with just the two-bedroom two-bathroom layout available. The two spacious bedrooms are light, bright and homely, with a third single berth up in the bow peak. There is storage available in the bed bases and the step modules up to these bow berths. If you need more and these bow- berths were not in use, then this huge cavern is a great place to store more gear. Innovation abounded within these two near identical cabins, for the fore and aft queen-size berths each side were cleverly designed so the foot end of the bed is under the actual deck height. At one- third distance back from the foot of the berth the lower level of front windows came into play, angling up from deck level and providing very good head-room when sitting up in bed.
Cleverly they had overcome the relatively low profile of the hulls, and the relatively high level of the central bridgedeck or tunnel. Décor in these non-claustrophobic forward cabins is more of the same as in the saloon, with fabric side panels, a tasteful upholstery package, a side porthole and two overhead hatches plus one opening porthole, good lighting and of course generous storage potential.
The designer(s) and the builder(s) along the way have all got it right opting for outboard power. Top speed is around 20 knots, give or take a knot or two depending on your power options. Twin 70hp outboards will give you around 20 knots, a pair of 80hp engines about 21 knots and twin 90s closer to 22 knots. Cruise speed with all options is around 15 knots. This boat is designed around outboard power, so it would be silly to change that philosophy and direction and make the change to small inboards. Yes they would work, but that’s not the DNA of the Prowler power cat. Underway the boat is quiet through the water, and the Prowler’s ability through the slop is especially impressive.
In genuine bluewater conditions the real attributes of this hull design quickly becomes apparent. All the factors such as weight, buoyancy, lift, stability and tracking appear totally in ‘sync’, which again is symptomatic of the better weight distribution and ‘balance’ of the design. Not once did the tunnel ‘bang’ and even better still there was a distinct lack of the phenomenon known as pitching. This hull had all the attributes of a displacement style hull, ironing the bumps out whilst still maintaining momentum!
Finally, someone has come up with a 10-metre boating package that legitimately addresses the ideal of entry-level cruising – it can be done! Simplicity with solar power and outboards, sensible features that make a house a home, it was a bonafide turn- key bluewater cruising boat for four to six people.
Consider the as-standard features; add the economy and convenience of outboards and you surely have a ‘well rounded’ boating package. Compare apples with apples, volume with volume, performance and economy and a base price tag of $NZ420000, the Prowler 10.8 sets the bar very high indeed!