Barcoo Drift, what a cool name. Sort of sounds a bit like a rhythm and blues song or something naughty petrol heads get up to on Saturday nights!
It is in fact something that is much more sartorial than those other activities, it describes the quiet, laid back way of fishing on the Barcoo River in the North Qld interior where the owner’s live and farm, many, many kilometres from the nearest salt water.
However, fishing is very high on the preferred activity list with this new boat and the back of the boat and cockpit is specifically set up to optimise that activity.
This was a relatively straight forward commission, the previous boat was a smaller 12.5m cat I designed that worked really well and suited their needs but after a few years was just a bit too small for the future cruising plans, not quite big enough for living aboard for long periods of time and also the space for a growing family. So following the ‘if it isn’t broken don’t fix it’ rule the new boat just needed to be a bit bigger.
Initially the owners were a bit unsure that going from 12.5m up to 14m was enough but now the boat is in the water and they are using it the size seems to be just about right. We also used the same engines that the smaller boat had and this also was an area of some concern but the end result has also vindicated that as well with improved fuel consumption for the same performance.
After initially looking at building the boat in NZ and then a period of time going by while the existing boat was on the market the opportunity to build in Noosa with Julian Griffiths and the Noosa Marine team came available, an opportunity not to be passed up. Julian and the boys had previously built the 19m Bajaca power cat (featured in Multihull World #137) and as they build only one boat at a time you need to be patient and take your turn. It is well worth the wait as any previous Noosa Marine client will happily tell you.
Clean, simple, efficient helming position.
The boat was built from an ATL Composites ‘Duflex’ panel kit. Most people in the marine industry in Australia are familiar with this product and method of construction. CNC router cut from cut files supplied by the designer, the high mechanical properties of the material and the accuracy is un-matched. ATL supply all of the panels, the building jigs, and all of the remaining composite products required to build the boat. The core material is tough PVC foam throughout, there is no wood of any type in the entire structure of the boat, in fact the only wood in the boat are the two table tops and the stair treads up to the fly bridge, a very useful detail for any boat in the tropics. Another advantage of this building system is the speed it goes together and saving labour time saves building cost.
From the GA drawings the layout is more or less what is typical for a power cat of this size. One aspect that perhaps is a little different is using the stbd. mid-ship area for a service room but as the boat will be used for living aboard a full laundry was required, washing machine and separate drier, and lots of general storage space instead of the more usual third sleeping cabin. The port side owner’s cabin has a walk around queen size berth, very large clothes storage space with hanging room and many drawers and a brilliant roll up ‘tamber’ door locker space for things like large bags under the foot of the berth, a great solution for a space that was not practical to fit hinged doors. The main bathroom with separate shower is just aft of the owner’s cabin, also with a very large storage locker and easy access to the waste tank plumbing for maintenance.
The fwd port cabin has a standard double berth fore and aft and a large transverse single berth across the fwd end making it a versatile sleeping space. In the cockpit there is the second shower/toilet that guests can access should the other bathroom be in use or when fishing or swimming and not wanting to walk through the boat wet or covered in fishing mess.
Internal spiral staircase provides access to fly bridge.
There are two places to sit and eat, the fwd raised saloon dinette and the cockpit table. The cockpit table is a foam cored panel with a plastic cutting board fixed over it which when in fishing mode is the main bait station and fish cleaning area, when the fishing is finished and everything clean and tidy a fitted cloth covers the table which can seat 6 people on folding chairs easily. This table is fixed to the central cockpit sole storage locker and the whole assembly simply hinges fwd and rests on the deck when access to the locker is required.
Staying in the cockpit, the cabinet across the back has three lift up covers. Under the startboard cover is a very large custom build tub sink, mainly used for putting fish into before they are cleaned, under the central cover is a standard domestic alloy and stainless barbecue, and under the port cover with a fold down spigot is a stainless sink for general washing duty. Foreward on the port side of the cockpit is a large freezer with a double compartment under two flush, hinged lids.
The cabin entry doors and windows complete slide away in recesses each side and there is no raised sill to step over into the cabin, instead a flush teak grating covers a large drain trough built in under the deck. This detail seamlessly connects the cockpit to the galley and saloon, opening up and creating a dramatically large living area. In the galley there are two Isotherm C130 12v refrigerators, plenty of storage space and a 2 burner electric glass hob. Straight across from the galley is the induction microwave, more storage, and the main AC and DC switch board.
From the saloon looking aft a streamlined simple open interior space.
The helm station and fly bridge is accessed from the internal stair in the saloon which is a big plus for efficient air conditioning and easy communication and contact between people up top and those on the lower deck when under way or entertaining. The helm station has a deluxe double helm seat, very robustly built on a heavy stainless steel frame and pedestal, a comfortable lounge seat and coffee table. Access to the aft fly bridge deck through a double folding door and again, similar to the doors and window downstairs, when the doors and windows are open there is a seamless indoor/outdoor space. There is a 3m RIB with 15hp outboard and electric ‘Davco’ davit crane on the aft deck. The side windows on the fly bridge are a bit unique in that both the fwd and aft panels slide to open, enhancing the ventilation.
All surface finished inside and outside the boat are easy clean, wipe down, low maintenance.
One of the most outstanding features of this boat is not easy to see, unless you start to open lockers and lift hatches to have a look. The electrical, mechanical, and plumbing fit out would have to be one the best you would every find on a boat. Externally, when looking over the boat it all seems relatively clean and simple, underneath lies quite a complex service system. There is the air conditioning, the 120L per hour water maker, the genset and electrical system, fuel and water reticulation, exhausts, main engines, drive line, hydraulic steering and auto pilot, it goes on and on!
All of it immaculately laid out and finished so that access for maintenance and servicing is easy and straight forward.
All round view from the fly bridge with sliding windows for superior ventilation and Melfi custom design twin luxurious leather helm chair.
Brad Stack of ‘Edge Marine & Auto Electrical’ was responsible for the electrical design, procurement and installation, following is a summary from Brad of the ‘Barcoo Drift’ specification -
The house systems are running off a 12v 400Amp/Hour Enerdrive Lithium House Bank. This also supplies the Enerdrive 3000Watt Inverter/Charger for 240v loads such as the convection microwave, galley appliances and washing machine. For heavier loads such as the 2 x 16,000BTU air conditioners, water maker and induction cooktop there is a 10kVA Fischer Panda iSeries generator.
The engines have their own start batteries and charge the house bank through individual Enerdrive DC to DC chargers.
Electronics are Raymarine with two of the new Axiom 12” displays interfaced with the Quantum radar, Flir thermal camera, aft deck camera and built in sonar. Evolution autopilot is controlling the Seastar electronic steering and communication is via Raymarine RAY260 with command mics at the helm and in the saloon.
Fusion sound system is 3 zones with DVD built in to play on the TV mounted on electric lift. Speakers in the saloon, fly bridge and aft deck all have their own remote.
Lighting is all Hella LED with Aqualuma underwater lights.
The engines fitted are a pair of 480 hp 6LY Yanmars with KMH 6 IV gear boxes with a 2.43:1 ratio, the driveline, props (ZF), and steering system was supplied by Rob New and all the mechanical installation and plumbing was done by Noosa Marine. The exhaust system was designed and supplied by Braden of Foreshore Marine.
PERFORMANCE IS AS FOLLOWS
1510 rpm 9.1 knots 35 L/Hr
1750 14 41
2010 17.6 53
2250 21 70
2490 23.2 88
2690 25.5 98
3000 28.3 136
3200 30 165
3320 31.2 183
At a cruising speed on the plane of 18kts the boat has a range of approximately 730nm with a 10% reserve.
The light ship displacement of the boat is 11,731 Kgs. The fully loaded displacement is 14,701kgs which is 82kgs heavier than the calculated loaded displacement.
Most of the other people involved in supplying and finishing the boat were ‘Andy’!
Andy from ‘Creative Stainless’ produced all of the shiny bits, an amazing job on the beautiful louvered air intakes.
Andy from ‘Q Design’ supplied and installed all of the laminate surfaces and furniture inside the boat.
And Andy from ‘Coastal Marine Trimmers’ made all of the upholstery and supplied and applied all of the vinyl finishes throughout the boat.
It must have been an interesting experience having all three of the Andy’s working on the boat at the same time!
The final word must go to Julian and Jen and the boys at Noosa Marine for the outstanding job they did putting together another fantastic boat and last, but far from the least, to Ian and Gwenda for having the courage and conviction and imagination to commission and build their dream boat. Thank you.