- This is a great boat that I enjoyed driving in the lumpy conditions of the day.
- It is solidly constructed and consequently does not complain when used for the purpose for which it is built.
- It is not a jack-of-all-trades all-rounder, though it is more than just a fishing boat.
- It offers a practical sporting package, with a reassuring ability to deal with the sea when it blows up.
Greg Copp takes to the Solent in ideal test conditions to put Jeanneau’s Cap Camarat 9.0 CC through its paces …
Of all the French boats I have driven, Jeanneau’s outboard-powered Cap Camarat range, built on Michael Peters-designed hulls, has left the biggest impression, particularly the 9m and 10.5m craft, available in Centre Console and Walk Around versions. I allude to this because last year I tested the twin 350hp-powered Cap Cam 10.5 WA ‒ an impressive boat whose build, seakeeping and performance make it a serious alternative to the likes of Grady White and Boston Whaler. Not too surprisingly, there are not many people this side of the Atlantic who want to finance the thirst of twin Yamaha F350s. However, taking a step down the scale, a pair of F250s on a 9m boat seems comparatively frugal. Hence the 9.0 CC and 9.0 WA are built to fit that popular and credible 30ft offshore slot. Though designed to satisfy the French and US demands for fast fishers, these boats are great sea boats, so lend themselves to more than purely men with fishing rods.
The 9.0 CC is designed around the concept of one big cockpit from stem to stern. You can walk from the cockpit to the bow area, where you find a U-shaped seating set-up and a large central lounger sitting on the forward side of the console. This can convert into a very large sun pad with an infill, in the same way that the Walk Around (WA) version can cover its forecabin/foredeck roof with cushions. One very sensible feature of the central lounger, apart from providing the space for a cabin below, is that with the lounger removed you can lift the hatch located beneath and gain direct access to the cabin ‒ great for throwing in all that boating gear that you inevitably take out with you, or for providing air to the cabin’s double berth. A fender locker sits just behind the anchor locker and is capable of storing most of the boat’s fender complement. Though the finish of this compartment was in keeping with the rest of the boat’s internal storage, there was a wiring joint leading to a deck light that was not covered by a flexible conduit. Items will inevitably get casually thrown into this locker, so fully encasing the wiring is a sensible precaution. The anchor locker houses the windlass and a flexible remote control, so you can drop the hook from the nose.
The cockpit, like the bow section, can be fitted with an optional teak table. Our test boat had this £1,530 option, and unless you are going to extensively use this boat for fishing, it would be a loss not to choose it. With the starboard-side fold-out bench seat you can get four around it for lunch, made all the more useful by the fridge forward of it. You can order this craft with a leaning post set-up as opposed to the triple helm seats. This allows room for a galley with a gas ring and a wet bar. Alternatively, this arrangement can have a bait well in place of the gas ring and gas locker. As I subsequently found that the best position to drive the boat was standing, the leaning post option could be one to consider, since being able to boil a kettle on a cold day is a bonus. The deep flanking bathing platform is perfect for accessing the boat from the pontoon, as it is for waterskiers climbing back on board. When it comes to aft storage, the 9.0 CC has an incredible void beneath the cockpit. Accessed via a large deck hatch, you have an area in which you can store an inflatable tender with room to spare, plus two self-contained lockers on either side. For the fisherman, a lined draining locker sits under the aft bench seat.
One big extra on this boat is the aluminium/GRP T-top. Costing £5,306, I can’t in all fairness fault it. Some will not want it, but it gives this boat a degree of protection in either hot or wet weather that can’t be ignored. There is also the ‘sliding sun protection’ cover for the T-top, which adds another £2,576 to the price, but given that the alternative is a £3,258 bimini, the T-top with all the trappings that can be mounted on it is a no-brainer. The helm set-up is good bar the fact that the slightly short windscreen needs wipers. I say this because we were out in a strong force 5 and it did get wet running into the weather. It is not so short you can see over it standing, and being tinted, when wet, you get a less than perfect view of every wave. Otherwise helm ergonomics are good, with no stretching to the controls or wheel – either sitting or standing. I stood, and in the feisty weather of the day I felt perfectly secure with my feet wedged on the footboard. If you sit, there is a second, higher footboard. The test boat was fitted with Raymarine kit, but in future, Garmin will be the electronics package on offer.
Below, the boat is surprising, insomuch as you expect a tiny toilet and some storage space whereas in fact you get a double berth, a toilet compartment with sink and shower, and a double child berth under the cockpit sole. Although an adult man will generally not be able to fully stand up in the heads, it is still effective, as are the sleeping arrangements. You might not want to spend a week on board, but weekending is an option.
Driving the 9.0 CC
I was lucky in that I had perfect test conditions for the 9.0 CC, and I did not have to go mid-Channel to find them. There was a strong easterly force 5 blowing into the eastern approaches to the Solent, which in the region of the Chichester Bar is renowned for producing lumpy conditions. Having transferred from a 7.5m photo boat, which was having a hard time maintaining planing speed, the virtues of a good 9m hull were immediately felt. Designed by Michael Peters, known for his Bertram hull designs, the 9.0 CC and the bigger 10.5 WA have a proven pedigree. This is made all the better by a very solid lay-up, which is evident the moment you start piling on the power upwind.
Initially I ran downwind with the outboard legs trimmed out halfway and the trim tabs up. In this default setting the boat runs over the weather well, mildly heeling when turned with the weather beam on. There is not a hint of complaint or slamming, and the flared hull and high topsides keep the spray out of the boat most of the time. Upwind is, of course, always a different ball game, and ultimately the test that determines a boat’s true offshore potential. Running into the wind still trimmed out halfway at 20 knots was OK, but when I trimmed the legs in not surprisingly things changed. The ride softened considerably and improved further with the engines pushed to 3500rpm, where the F250s were developing maximum torque, with a consequent increase in dynamic lift at the stern. This 25/26-knot cruising speed was the boat’s sweet spot, which the fuel figures support ‒ and even in the conditions a pace that most people would be happy with.
Running into what were increasingly lumpy conditions past 30 knots, we were starting to take spray over the windscreen. This was not what I would call family cruising weather, but what I had no doubt about was that the boat would give up long after my knee joints. It responds well to working the throttles up and down over the wave crests, as two F250s are a perfect match for the boat, giving it that low-down grunt it needs to pick up quickly. From a standing start, the 9.0 CC can hit 25 knots in under 8 seconds, and it had no problems topping out at 44 knots at 5900rpm, which I could have improved on in smoother weather.
There are other engine options, notably a single F350, which will produce a likely 38 knots top speed, and a claimed 1.6mpg at 25 knots. There is also the choice of twin F200s, which are stated to return 1.6mpg at 26 knots ‒ less efficient than both the fuel figures I recorded (1.9mpg) and the consumption rate provided by Jeanneau (1.7mpg) for twin F250s. There are also options of twin F175s and twin F225s, neither of which have any virtues over the F250s apart from the price.
This is a great boat that I enjoyed driving in the lumpy conditions of the day. It is solidly constructed and consequently does not complain when used for the purpose for which it is built. It is not a jack-of-all-trades all-rounder, though it is more than just a fishing boat. It offers a practical sporting package, with a reassuring ability to deal with the sea when it blows up. The Cap Camarat 9.0 CC is one of many big-outboard open boats that are now proving popular, not least because of its price and performance, but it is the facilities that appeal to other family members.
Fuel figures (Yamaha flow meter)
RPM Speed (knots) LPH Fuel consumption (NMPG – both engines)
1500 6.8 16.5 1.9
2000 8.1 26.0 1.4
2500 10.0 40.0 1.1
3000 13.1 48.5 1.2
3500 26.0 64.0 1.9
4000 30.0 84.0 1.6
4500 34.2 111.2 1.4
5000 37.6 139.7 1.2
5500 42.4 169.0 1.1
5900 (WOT) 44.0 185.3 1.1
Range: 135 miles with a 20% reserve at 26 knots
What we thought
- Good performance
- Good heavy-weather seakeeping
- Accommodation given design and size of boat
- Solid build quality
- Lots of storage
- Good heads/shower for 29ft centre console boat.
- A long extras list to get it to the spec as tested
- Needs windscreen wipers
- The rubber trim on the heads compartment door had come loose
- LOA:9.12m (29ft 11in)
- Beam: 2.98m (9ft 9in)
- Draught: 0.65m (2ft 01in)
- Displacement 2.9 tonnes (dry with twin 250hp Yamaha F250s)
- Power options: 2 x 175hp Yamaha F175s, 2 x 200hp Yamaha F200s, 2 x 225hp Yamaha F225s, 2 x 250hp Yamaha F250s or single 350hp Yamaha F350
- Fuel capacity: 2 x 200 litres (2 x 44 imp gal)
- RCD category: B for 8 or C for 11
- Test engine: 2 x 250hp Yamaha F250s
- Designer: Sarrazin Design
- Hull design: Michael Peters
44.0 knots; sea conditions: strong F5 with 70% fuel, 2 crew
From: £96,000 (inc. VAT) (no T-top, electronics, tables, teak, cushions etc.)
As tested: £144,000 (inc. VAT)
Blackrock Yachting Ltd
West Sussex PO20 7EJ
Tel.: 01243 550042