1700 (56′) Merengue


This was an offer too good to refuse. We asked us if we would like to join some friends for a long weekend aboard their latest 56 foot (17 metre) power cat for a shake down cruise. (They recently sold their 51′ Metallica to make this upgrade). It didn’t take us too long to come up with an answer, let me tell you. This latest cat “Merengue” was launched 2 weeks ago for an Asian client who was planning on basing it in the Caribbean. The contract stated the motors had to have at least 60 hours on the clock and done an extended passage to ensure all the “bugs” were ironed out.

We planned a trip to the Palm Group of islands to the north of Townsville on Friday afternoon, then a run out to the reef for a day trip on either Saturday or Sunday, and after a bit more cruising around the Palms, a return home on Monday. The forecast was looking fantastic for most of the weekend, but a strong southeaster was due Monday. We arranged to meet at 3.30pm on Friday at the Local Marina.


Finally Friday arrived. We had stocked the boat Thursday night, and it was all fuelled up ready to go. When we arrived at the marina our friend had already loaded our gear and we were throwing the ropes off by 3.45pm. The plan was to get to an anchorage in North East Bay on Great Palm Island. We had only been around there the one time because it is often too exposed, but with a perfect light ocean breeze it would be fine. The cat was tied up to the fuel dock, so it was really easy to back it off and spin it around with one motor in reverse and the other in forward, and then off.

laving port

Once we got into open water we started playing with all the toys (GPS, chart plotter, radar, radio, auto pilot and all the other usual toys). We soon had the course plotted out on the chart plotter. It was a total of 34 nautical kilometers, as we were running in new motors we figured a nice easy 2 hour passage would do the trick. With the twin Yanmar 370 HP enginees down below it would nearly be able to do that run in 60 minutes when they were run in. The trip down was smooth. The kids were watching a DVD in the saloon, the women were chatting, we were keeping an eye on the autopilot and our course, and my friend was fussing around the engine rooms, genset and water maker to see if all was well.

LWL                     58 ft (17 m)
BWL                     25 feet (7.5 m)
Draft                      3ft 3” (1 metre)
Displacement         35,840 lbs (16,000 kgs)
Motors                   2 x 370 HP Yanmars
Fuel                       3,000 litres
Water                    800 litres
Speed                   2100 RPM        18 knots
Max speed            3200 RPM        28.5 knots
Range                   RPM dependant