- Cheetah in Portugal are now celebrating two years in production at the workshops near Nazaré.
- There are now 10 Cheetahs working around the Portuguese coastline, with another three Cheetahs built for export to Jersey, the UK and France.
PBR reports on recent developments as Cheetah Marine celebrate two years of production in Portugal …
The first of Cheetah’s 11.2m cabin series to be built in Portugal received an incredible welcome from visitors at Lisbon’s recent Nauticampo Boat Show. The 11.2m vessel, named Maya, is built purposely as a dive boat and will continue her journey south to São Tomé island over the coming weeks.
Part of a volcanic chain extending into the depths of the Atlantic, São Tomé is located 100km from the coast of Gabon and 2km north of the equator. It’s the second-smallest country in Africa and, at over 2000m high, is a mix of peaky volcanic slopes with tropical rainforest, wildly snaking rivers and turquoise waters.
Maya has been built for Club Santana Beach & Resort, which operates its own Atlantic Diving Centre and additional water sports activities from the resort on the east coast. From this base there are cave dives that go under, through and circumnavigate one of the off-lying islands, as well as wreck and reef dives from five minutes to one hour from the resort itself.
Testing at Nazaré
Maya was sea-trialled and tested between Nazaré and the safe haven of São Martinho do Porto on the west coast of Portugal, renowned for the infamous biggest surfing wave seen close to the shore here. The 11.2m is powered by Yamaha’s 250hp outboards, with top speeds recorded of 41 knots and an efficient cruise at 3000rpm, which allows 21 knots at 48 litres per hour.
With a hull length of 11.2m and a beam of 3.7, Maya has a spacious deck space of 25m2. The cabin features a galley, table and reversible seating open to the deck, with back-to-back seating and bottle racks sheltered by the cabin overhang. Forward of the dash is a port-side toilet with open space for storage across the central bridge and starboard hull.
The Atlantic Diving Centre specified coding for 16 divers with all their equipment plus crew, although the Cheetah is CE marked for 20 passengers. Divers can access the water through the side door or aft between the engines. The electronics package comprises a Yamaha data display, and Humminbird dual Helix 12in and 7in screens for chartplotter and echo sounding. The comms also include Navicom and Entel submersible radios.
Dive master Amando Quiroz is looking forward to working with the new Cheetah after visiting the workshops near Nazaré throughout the build process as well as attending the vessel’s sea trials. ‘She’s fantastic,’ he stated. ‘She is completely made to measure. Very stable with excellent sea handling throughout the testing. She has already had huge interest both in the harbour and at the show. I can’t wait to start working her from São Tomé.’
The 11.2m will also double up for sightseeing, sunset cruises, paddleboarding and snorkelling trips from Club Santana. Tomas Jardim, Cheetah Portugal manager, said: ‘It’s a different way of being on the sea to what we are used to in Portugal. Being in a Cheetah catamaran is a different level of comfort, emotionally and physically. You feel the safety and you feel the ease on your body. In a monohull, after spending a day at sea in the conditions we often work in, your body feels very tired. In a Cheetah everything is easy.’
The most recent delivery was a 9m Amador to Peniche with Helder’s father who’s spent 40 years working at sea in hard conditions. [Helder bought one of the first 9m Cheetahs ‘Amador’ which was produced in Portugal. He comes from a family of fishermen in Peniche. He was one of the first fishermen to test the Cheetahs here.
‘With twin 80hp outboards, even into the weather, rather than slowing down, the Cheetah simply craved more power,’ he remarked, ‘and at 20 knots it was a great surprise to me that a catamaran of this type could make such speeds in the difficult sea states she often has to operate in here.’
Cheetah in Portugal are now celebrating two years in production at the workshops near Nazaré. There are now 10 Cheetahs working around the Portuguese coastline, with another three built for export to Jersey, the UK and France. A new-style 11.2m demonstrator is also underway, which will be available for testing and sea trials around the Portuguese coastline in due course.
- Wheelhouse: 2.5m long x 2.8m wide
- Deck: 4.85m long x 3.5m wide
- Between engines: 1.35m long x 0.45m wide
- Side deck to bow: 31cm