Review: Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop review

By: NORMAN HOLTZHAUSEN, Photography by: NORMAN HOLTZHAUSEN


Bladerunner 6 8 fishing boat The Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop is built for purpose – a real fishing‘machine. Bladerunner 6 8 fishing boat
Twin Hondas on Bladerunner Hardtop It has high gunwales to tackle big water without any clients getting wet. Twin Hondas on Bladerunner Hardtop
Twin Honda outboards Twin 100hp Honda VTEC engines provide performance with good economy and quiet running. Twin Honda outboards
Stowage on Bladerunner 6 8 Hardtop Plenty of useful storage space in and around the main deck area. Stowage on Bladerunner 6 8 Hardtop
Bladerunner 6 8 Hardtop rodholders Rodholders for everyone. Bladerunner 6 8 Hardtop rodholders
Bladerunner 6 8 Hardtop construction Getting inside the Bladerunner, Bladerunner 6 8 Hardtop construction

Bladerunner Boats has been making aluminium cats for more than 20 years. The most recent model, the Bladerunner 6.8m hardtop, is aimed squarely at the recreational market.

Bladerunner Boats are tailor-made for commercial and recreational fishing boats. The Bladerunner 6.8 hardtop has attracted the attention of yet another commercial charter operator who is more than happy with his choice.

 

BLADERUNNER BOATS

Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop power cat

It was probably inevitable, given its profile in the commercial market, that the first buyer of the Bladerunner 6.8m would be a charter operator. Graeme Bee, of Rampant Charters in New Zealand’s beautiful Hawkes Bay, wanted a fuel-efficient boat with lots of cockpit space for his clients. He previously had larger alloy powercat fishing boat and was looking for the flexibility of a trailerboat.

After trying some of the most respected alloy monohulls on the market he did not like the ride of any of them (owning a poweredcat can do that to you), so decided to stay with the soft-riding characteristics of a cat. He finally settled on the Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop powercat.

 

COMMERCIAL POWERCAT

Fishing layout on Bladerunner Hardtop

At first glance, the Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop fishing boat looks bigger than its 6.8m hull length. The hardtop cabin is slightly further forward than on most monohulls, opening up a high cockpit space. The high safety rails in the bow and stern and no less than 13 rodholders in the rocket launcher, indicate this is a serious fishing machine. In fact, when you add the three attached to the bowrail and the 10 set into the gunwales and transom, this boat has an incredible 26 rodholders.

The flat foredeck area on the Bladerunner is designed as an active fishing space, with non-slip pads and a special baitboard that fits into one of the rodholders on the bow. Two self-draining anchor wells hold the anchor, chain and rode neatly out of sight, with the owner choosing not to fit an anchor winch.

 

CABINS

Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop cabin

Inside the Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop, the forward cabin is big enough for a double berth across the boat, achieved when the infill is dropped in place. With the full beam of 2.45m extending almost all the way to the bows there is plenty of legroom. On a charter boat this will not often be used for sleeping, but a flushing toilet is fitted under the port side squab to cater for the needs of clients.

Both cabin seats on the Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop are on sturdy pods providing additional storage. The skipper gets a swivelling upholstered plastic seat, with fore-and-aft adjustment, while the passenger position has a double padded squab that can be used facing forward or aft. The dashboard is carpeted in dark grey to avoid glare and gauges for the twin engines take up most of the space. The Honda ‘smart’ gauges have NMEA2000 interfaces, so the engines can also be monitored on the chartplotter screen. Twin engines allow the skipper to vary the trim separately if required and hence trim tabs are not required.

Bee has elected to fit separate fishfinder and chartplotter displays, so he can monitor both functions on full-screen displays. Unusually, he has selected a Furuno fishfinder and a Lowrance HDS-7 chartplotter.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

Ride for Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop

Once we had the Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop on the water we headed out into the murky waters of Hawkes Bay, stirred up by the massive storms that had hit the county in mid-June. There was a fair bit of debris in the water and at one point we hit a submerged floating log. However the double-layered 4mm hull plate either side of the keel merely shrugged this off and when we looked afterwards we could not see so much as a scratch on the boat.

The massive rolling swells were ideal for testing and we were able to explore all sorts of conditions. The high gunwales mean that big water is no problem. We were able to power through huge four-metre swells as well as smaller chop with no problems and took almost no spray on the windscreen. A wiper takes care of any that does get there.

What makes the Bladerunner unique among powercats is of course the hydrofoil between the hulls. This provides additional lift, making the already-efficient narrow hulls even more so. With the foil providing lift, the hulls can have an extreme vee profile for a soft ride without needing a planing surface. The foil also ensures the boat planes in a very level position, counteracting the weight of the engines at the back.

Other than when crossing large waves the foil remains under the water surface, smoothing the ride and eliminating porpoising. A slight adjustment of the trim of the motors enables the effective foil angle to change, increasing or decreasing lift as required.

We had a bit of fun crossing and surfing the huge swells outside port Napier. When running with the waves, the hull tracks extremely straight thanks to the narrow hulls acting as a keel, so we could drive hands-off without worrying about the boat swinging around and broaching. In fact, we deliberately sat side-on to a large swell and, although it lifted us, we rolled far less than a conventional hull would have. We felt safe and comfortable throughout.

On this hull the tunnel between the hulls is clear of the water and this makes the boat quiet and smooth. We deliberately powered hard over some massive swells, getting airborne several metres into the air. Holding on, we waited for the crash … which never came! The hulls trap air between them and, despite the size and weight of the hull, we settled down with a whoosh rather than a crash.

 

ENGINES

Twin Hondas engines on Bladerunner boat

The twin Honda BF100 outboard motors are the latest from Honda and include their BLAST (boosted low-speed torque capability). This provides remarkable holeshot ability despite the size of the boat.

The econo-mode of the engines enables the skipper to cruise at the most economical speed for the conditions. When we found some flat water we were running most economically at 28kts and, while conditions were not conducive to top-speed testing, we were easily into the high 30kts despite four people on board and full fuel tanks.

The boat has two separate 120lt fuel tanks with a valve that enables the tanks to be joined if required. Bee has found that the boat is still capable of close to 15kts on one motor so, even in the unlikely event that one of the ultra-reliable Hondas gives trouble, he could still get home at reasonable speed. The best fuel economy we were able to achieve was just over a litre per nm for both motors, giving the boat a range of around 200nm at cruising speed.

 

THE VERDICT

Graeme Bee of Rampant Charters

As we headed back in to shore it became apparent just how quiet this hull is, with little noise from the water or the twin Hondas. We were able to conduct a normal conversation even with the engines going full-tilt – a testament both to their quietness and the fact that the cabin is further forward than on most boats. Designer, Greg Shine says their cross-braced design and additional dampening placed inside the hull during construction ensure the hull sides cannot bang against the stringers and the results are certainly impressive.

 

HIGHS

• The ride

• The space

 

LOWS

• This is set up as a commercial fishing boat, with fewer comforts than a private boat would have.

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #243, July / August 2014. Why not subscribe today?

 

BLADERUNNER 6.8 HARDTOP SPECIFICATIONS

PRICED FROM

Bladerunner 6.8 Hardtop price: $125,000 w/ twin 90hp motors

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Aluminium

TYPE Catamaran

LENGTH 6.8m

BEAM 2.45m

WEIGHT Under 2500kg

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 8

FUEL 240lt

REC. HP 180 to 200

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Honda BF100

TYPE Four-cylinder, four-stroke outboard motor

RATED HP 100 (each)

DISPLACEMENT 1496cc (each)

 

FOR MORE DETAILS

BLADERUNNER BOATS

(Greg Shine)

PHONE +64 9 412 8096

WEB bladerunnerboats.co.nz

Keep up to date with news from Trade-A-boat or like us on Facebook!