- This is a serious offshore boat for those that appreciate what it can do.
- The central helm works well, both from a driving and a berthing perspective.
- With 700hp on the transom she does not hang around, hitting 30 knots in under 10 seconds.
- … the true external focus of the boat is its superb cockpit.
Jeanneau Cap Camarat 10.5 WA
As the flagship of the Cap Camarat range, the 10.5 WA is a bit of a rare bird to our shores, so Greg Copp went to find out more about this serious, and extremely versatile, offshore craft …
At a glance, this T-top version with twin 350hp Yamahas lurking on its transom could easily fool you into thinking it might be a Boston Whaler or a Grady-White. Closer examination will, of course, reveal otherwise. However, the truth is that this boat rides on a Michael Peters-designed twin-stepped hull, based on one of his designs for the US Coast Guard. Needless to say, Google can tell you plenty about his long design history in the field of high-performance and commercial craft.
The 10.5 WA is the ‘walk-around’ version of the 10.5, and probably the most versatile. Having a reasonable amount of internal accommodation and the optional T-top, it is more than just a weekend sports tool. The design of this boat is very focused on enjoying life up top. The deep bathing platform enables you to walk around the engines, instead of clambering over the back seat to get to the starboard side. However, the true external focus of the boat is its superb cockpit. It makes maximum use of the boat’s wide beam, and has an L-shaped seating arrangement where the starboard section of the seat folds up when not in use. The table in our test boat owner Eric’s boat is the optional adjustable teak table, with an impressive high-gloss finish. Sitting inside the port coaming of the cockpit is a fender cage, conveniently housing the boat’s five fenders.
Built to cater equally for social boaters and fishermen, the wet bar/galley can either be specified to have bait wells or, as was the case with Eric’s boat, contain a fridge, sink and BBQ griddle. Full marks go to Jeanneau for the fit, finish and design of this. In particular, it has a waterproof seal on the outer door covering the fridge and all the drawers have locking catches, as do the cupboard and the galley lid. If you run through some heavy weather, nothing is going to get in and nothing is going to fall out. Below there is another galley, including another fridge. This set-up is smaller in nature, but ideal for knocking up breakfast and coffee.
The £5,400 T-top deserves a special mention, as without it this boat would have a different character. Eric had already put the T-top to good use, having recently returned from the Channel Islands. With its ‘Closing Kit’ drop-down covers lowered, the boat becomes a coupé for the day, while on our blazing test day the T-top provided badly needed shade. Sitting on an aluminium frame, the GRP roof houses a sunroof, with a quick-release bar that you can open one-handed from the helm. It opens and shuts with easy precision, unlike some. Flush LED lights sit in the roof lining, a searchlight is mounted on the roof, and it is supplied with a full set of instrument and seat covers. The social side of this craft is not limited to the cockpit, as being a ‘walk-around’ boat you can easily migrate down the 10in port-side deck to the foredeck. This has a simple but effective design, providing two sunlounger seat backs that can be quickly raised, supported by two struts contained in deck recesses. Also, as I discovered, the sunlounger cushions stay put at 47 knots. Deck movement is safely contained by tall hand-level guard rails.
From a first impression, one could easily consider the 10.5 to be just a big cuddy boat. However, the moment you descend the companionway steps, any such illusions disappear, as the depth of the forward cabin hints that accommodation sits below the cockpit sole. The open-plan amidships double cabin is what Eric and his wife use, leaving the forward convertible V dinette as living space. This under-sole cabin is not only generous in the bed department, but it also has a lot of storage. The forward dinette can, of course, provide extra sleeping space if need be, with the table dropped down to provide an infill. What you do get is plenty of headroom around the galley area, and in the heads/shower compartment – the only two places where you need to stand properly. Though it has a 60L fridge, the galley is a compact set-up, which with the cockpit galley is no hardship. The heads/shower area, like the galley, has teak veneer joinery, and is fitted to a high standard, with the shower/toilet section separated by a glass door.
Driving the 10.5 WA
The 10.5 WA has a central helm position, faced by a triple bench seat with folding bolster. The central helm works well, both from a driving and a berthing perspective. If you are driving the boat in rough weather, unless you are very tall, you will probably want to stand to get that perfect view over the bow. You can access the seat on both sides, though on the starboard side it is a bit of a squeeze. The dash can accommodate two large plotters, as was the case with Eric’s boat. This makes very good sense, especially if you have one of the latest high-tech fish finder sonars as well as a plotter. They sit high enough to be a quick glance down from looking over the bow. The primary switch bank sits over to the starboard side of the wheel, so you do not have to reach over the top of the wheel to turn on the windscreen wipers or navigation lights. Yamaha’s automatic engine trim system is par for the course, and you can opt for Yamaha’s joystick.
With 700hp on the transom she does not hang around, hitting 30 knots in under 10 seconds. However, this boat does not really start to plane until she is running at 16 knots, which equates to 3500rpm. At 4000rpm she is happily planing at 28 knots or more – quite a jump in speed for a 500rpm increase. The Yamaha F350 produces maximum torque around 4000rpm, so this explains this relatively quick performance increase. The boat has a sweet spot between 4000rpm and 4500rpm, which is supported by the fuel figures I recorded. Running between 28 and 33 knots, the ride softens and sound levels are far from intrusive. Pushing up to her maximum speed of 47 knots, the ride is deceptively composed, with only the howl of two 5.3L V8s on song to remind you how much fuel you are burning. Most of the sea we encountered was pretty ‘mill pond like’, but running in and out over Chichester bar, where the sea can get confused, showed just how dry and steady this boat can be in a seaway. She shoulders aside with relative ease any opposing waves, without a single groan or complaint. It was a shame we did not have the sort of weather that this boat is built to take, as I imagine she is great fun to drive on a windy day.
Driving the Cap Camarat fast in the turns does require a bit of work on the wheel, as she is not a 2-tonne sports boat. This could be improved by ramping up the power steering, but this is subjective, and most people will not want to buy this boat purely for wakeboarding. She is very sure-footed, and even with the engines on wide-open throttle the 10.5 holds a steady line when exiting tight turns.
Many people will flinch at the concept of having twin 350hp petrol engines on a 5-tonne boat. But as Eric, an experienced skipper, put it, the overall cost of feeding twin F350s when considering the bigger picture is not as dramatic as you might expect. Having previously owned a Seaward 35, he said the overall running cost, taking into consideration fuel consumption at semi-displacement speed and inboard diesel servicing costs, made for little difference between the two. There is the option of fitting twin Yamaha F300s, but apart from saving 200kg in weight, which on this boat would be insignificant, there is no advantage – in fact, probably the opposite would be true. Hopefully, Jeanneau will rate this boat to take the new direct injection 425hp Yamaha XTO, which will be a perfect match with similar running costs.
This is a serious offshore boat for those that appreciate what she can do. She is generally seen without the T-top, which makes little sense, as it really gives her a new dimension. Many will consider her natural home to be on the other side of the Atlantic where such boats are commonplace, but such a versatile craft will find its feet anywhere.
Fuel figures (Yamaha flow meter)
RPM Speed (knots) Fuel consumption (nmpg – both engines)
1500 7.8 1.8
2000 9.1 1.2
2500 10.0 0.9
3000 11.1 0.7
3500 16.5 0.8
4000 28.5 1.2
4500 33.2 1.2
5000 37.6 1.0
5500 42.4 0.9
6000 (WOT) 46.6 0.8
Range 170 miles with a 20% reserve at 30 knots
What we thought
- Good performance
- Solid build quality
- Lots of storage
- Very good heads/shower for a 33ft boat
- A long extras list to get it to the spec as tested
- LOA: 10.5m (34ft 8in)
- Beam: 3.2m (10ft 6in)
- Draught: 0.86m (2ft 10in)
- Displacement: 5 tonnes (dry with twin 350hp Yamaha F350s)
- Power options: 2 x 300hp Yamaha F300s or 2 x 350hp Yamaha F350s
- Fuel capacity: 2 x 400 litres (2 x 88 imperial gallons)
- RCD category: B for 8 or C for 10
- Test engine: 2 x 350hp Yamaha F350
- Designer: Sarrazin Design
- Hull design: Michael Peters
- 46.6 knots, sea conditions F3 with 70% fuel, 2 crew
- 0–30 knots: 10 seconds.
- From: £166,402 (inc. VAT)
- As tested: £209,684 (inc. VAT)
Blackrock Yachting ltd
West Sussex PO20 7EJ
Tel.: 01243 550042
Photo credits: Greg Copp