Prowler NZ 10.4
The word on the street is that local boat builder Formula Cruiser’s new Prowler 10.4 brings more poise and polish to the world of twin hull power cruises…
- Airy and comfortable saloon
- Eco-friendly, frugal and self-sufficient for long periods
- Shallow draft gives access to more destinations
- Little drag from hulls that slice through water
- Smooth ride with little roll
Originally based on a Schionning 9000, Prowler has lengthened the hulls, redesigned the topsides and added a whole new dimension to the accommodation in its new NZ 10.4.
With the Prowler’s shallow draft of just 0.5m you have access to destinations that are often inaccessible to other boats. It is also ultra-efficient and well suited to economical long-range cruising.
The long, slender hulls slice through the water with very little drag rather than planing or skimming across the top. Fitted with a pair of 60hp Yamaha FT60DETX four-stroke outboards, the test boat easily attained a top speed of 18kts. The ride is surprisingly smooth with very little roll, even when beam-on to the sea, and the boat produces very little wash.
This eco-friendly vessel operates on the smell of an oily rag and can be self-sufficient for long periods. Four solar panels on the roof each generate 5amp of power, giving a total of 20amps in optimum conditions. There are three deep-cycle batteries; the refrigeration runs on gas and 12V power, while gas heats the water and does the cooking. As you would expect, all the lighting is low-demand LED.
The saloon has L-shaped seating on the portside that seats five around a table, with the galley to starboard. There is a four-burner cook-top with oven and griller and an under-bench fridge. The Corian bench top contains a large sink and flick-mixer. Tucked into the corner at eye level is a cupboard for glass and crockery, and more stowage under the bench.
A large windscreen and full-length side-windows let in plenty of light, adding to the airy feel of the saloon, and retractable blinds are on call for privacy.
At the wheel
The helm is situated centrally, forward of the galley, with a single swivelling skipper’s chair. There is good vision through the large five-panel windscreen fitted with wipers with an intermittent setting.
The dash is simple but nicely laid out and, on the test boat, it accommodated Yamaha engine monitoring gauges, a 10in Lowrance screen incorporating GPS/plotter/sounder, a Coursemaster autopilot, C-Zone monitoring system, anchor controls, and an assortment of rocker switches.
The engine controls fell nicely to hand and I was comfortable easing her out of the berth inside the marina. With good all-round vision and the engines so wide apart she’s easily manoeuvred. Travelling at 8.5kts the engines were just ticking over at 2900rpm.
Running her through the rev range and easing up to 3600rpm recorded 10kts; 4500rpm saw 14kts; 5000rpm, 16.4kts; and at 5200rpm, 18kts. At one stage, heading directly into the 1m swell with a slight chop on top, we took a bit of water over the bow but a slight adjustment to the trim solved the problem. It felt very stable and surefooted.
Tweaking the ride
Formula Cruisers is currently making some minor modifications to the Prowler hull, which will see the deck raised by around 300mm off the waterline. It will improve the ride even more when heading into a sea, and should minimise, if not eliminate, a common problem with cats where water pounds between the pontoons and slaps the underside of the tunnel.
Who is the Prowler targeting?
I imagine this boat will suit a range of buyers: someone who has owned a sailboat and doesn’t want the hassle of setting sails but still wants economy; a family looking for a wide, stable platform with plenty of outdoor deck space; or maybe someone coming from a powerboat wanting a more economical way to get out on the water.
On the stern, there’s a davit that will take a 2.3m tender and an electric winch to make launching and retrieval hassle-free. An in-built workstation on the transom has a barbecue port plumbed for gas and a sink with hot and cold water, with plenty of storage underneath.
The customer is always right
Getting to the foredeck means clambering over the cockpit seats and, while the side-decks aren’t overly wide, there are ample hand-holds to assist in getting you there safely. The side-rails on the test boat didn’t really go back far enough, but I’m told these will be extended right back beyond the cockpit on newer models.
One of the big advantages of a catamaran is the huge foredeck for kicking back and entertaining. The trampolines between the pontoons are easy underfoot and all of the anchor gear and chain is fully enclosed beneath hatches, leaving this whole area unencumbered.
The accommodation is accessed via four steps down from the saloon into each pontoon and they’re fitted out almost identically. Forward of the steps is a large double bed and beyond that another area that can be used as a single berth or for storing kit bags or luggage. Aft of the steps is the head, fitted with electric toilet, shower, mirrored vanity and basin.
As with many cats, the accommodation is tight but the sense of light and space is enhanced by the large port-lights overhead and in the side of the hull, each with enough opening hatches for adequate ventilation.
The Prowler is eco-friendly, uncomplicated and well suited to day trips, family weekends or extended coastal cruising. You can loll about at a sedate 8kts or ramp her right up to 18kts. Either way, she’ll get you where you want to go comfortably and without burning a hole in your fuel card.
Holding tank 2 x 60L
Engine make/model 2 x Yamaha FT60DETXL
Type 60hp EFI four-stroke petrol outboard
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