by Dom Wiseman

Open boats like the Jeanneau Cap Camarat range are uniquely suited to our exquisite weather in Australia. They offer plenty of open space that appeals to our out and about nature and they are fantastic lounging, cruising and fishing platform. In fact they are the SUV of the water with very little if any restrictions on what you can do with them as we found out on the day of the test.

This market of large outboard powered walk-around and centre console boats has traditionally been the sole domain of US imports but like everything Jeanneau does, they’ve taken a concept,  improved it and added a little more luxury to create an appeal for families that may not have been there before. They have a habit of always combining a the perfect mix of amenities for all onboard.

WHAT’S ONBOARD

The Jeanneau Cap Camarat 10.5WA is a stylish design that oozes class and performance in one and will appeal to those looking for something more than just your run of the mill boat. It has a great mix of open space up top and accommodation and amenities below with two berths, one forward and one at the rear for those interested in overnight stays but it is the space and usability that really stands out.

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Our test was on the water out of Sydney harbour and it coincides with whale season which runs between April and November with peak season in June/July and this makes the perfect start to our day with dozens of whales cruising up the coast from Antarctica to calve and feed in the warmer waters off the South Pacific Ocean.

The 10.5WA features a stepped hull designed by architect Michael Peters. Like all Jeanneau hulls it’s easy to drive and feels extremely sure of itself in all conditions. Spray deflection is excellent and the ride was about as comfortable as it gets.

If you do find a whale on any trip, it’s important to maintain a distance as per the local regulations. In NSW that means no approach from behind or in front and no waiting directly in front of a whale. You can approach them from the side at a slow speed leaving a negligible wake and come to within 100m of a single adult or 300m of a whale with calf.

We were lucky enough to find several whales just off the heads and the open cockpit provides the perfect vantage point with the central helm offering exceptional control and visibility. It is truly easy to manoeuvre even for a boat of this size. The seating is plush and comfortable too with three across and a wrapping lounge down the back. The front sun pad also provides an excellent viewing platform in calm conditions.

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Once anchored up the standard sun deck at the bow will be where the kids will want to hang out, and no doubt jump off, leaving the adults to the cockpit and well appointed entertaining area. Once the sun goes down and you ferry your guests off, down below the bow area converts into a private cabin and there is a double aft cabin as well. This is an exceptional layout with 4 berths in 2 distinct living spaces.

There is also a full interior galley and spacious head with separate shower compartment which means multiple night stays aboard are not only possible but extremely comfortable while large platforms either side of the outboards are the perfect place to land your catch although serious anglers may prefer a removable rear lounge for convenience. The standard one impedes a little too much for the serious angler.

POWER

Power is delivered by twin outboard engines, in this case Mercury 300hp Verado Four Stroke engines. These engines run a supercharged 2.6L inline six cylinder set up and are insanely quiet. While this may seem obvious given the advances in engine technology, to my mind these could be the quietest 300hp engines I have heard.

It’s a large boat and yet they still deliver excellent acceleration and will run on 87 octane minimum fuel. The boat doesn’t so much launch onto the plane, it’s more a steady coming to speed with an impressive top end of around 40 knots.

ON THE WATER

The Cap Camarat hull is a unique one designed by Michael Peters. The hull features a step which runs beautiful lines. The handling of the boat is impressive and it turn as if it is on rails, considering the size of the boat that is an excellent achievement. The helm position is supremely comfortable with seating across for several people and there is more than enough space to drive standing or seated.

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While we hardly had extreme conditions, the hull chewed up the Harbour slop with ease sending any spray well out to the side. handling at slow speed was equally comfortable with the steering offering a precise engagement.

The power from the twin engine set-up is evident and pushes the hull onto the plane steadily. Heading out the heads into oncoming swell and small chop was effortless and the fine entry cuts through waves with ease.

Inshore and at rest the stability sits is a neat sweet spot making you feel right at home on overnight stays.

OVERVIEW

The Jeanneau Cap Camarat 10.5WA is definitely a versatile package. Within one day you could find yourself watching whales, catch dinner and take in the sights of Sydney Harbour. You could even tuck into a bay for the evening or even a few days. It is definitely the SUV of the boating world and perfect for our active lifestyles.

The finish and ride in the Michael Peters designed stepped hull is excellent and I might add the boat looks absolutely fantastic on the water too.

+

Brilliantly executed layout below decks

Perfect mix of uses and levels of luxury

Sporty and fun to drive

Cockpit lounge impedes serious angling

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: $TBC (as tested)

Construction: Fiberglass

Length Overall: 10.57m

Beam: 3.21m

Draft: 0.56m

Dry Weight:4,250kgs

Engines: Twin Mercury 300 hp Verado Four Stroke

Fuel Capacity: 400 litres x 2

Water: 160 litres