The Kapten Waverider 490 is a highly seaworthy alloy boat with unique internal side flotation and a somewhat radical design. That’s not surprising, considering it’s the newest product from Pat Jones, the inventor of Boat Collar, an add-on stabiliser and flotation product.
The test Kapten Waverider 490 was powered by a Chinese 40hp Titan outboard. Sea trials were carried out in the ocean and although the craft featured was essentially a prototype, there’s little doubt that Pat and his team have come up with a very promising design.
The Waverider 490’s hull is a multi-faceted affair. A central hull section with a fine bow entry is nestled within outer chines so large and prominent that you might think that a Boat Collar was fotted. However, the distinctive shape was formed from 3mm alloy in a very smart piece of manufacturing.
The end result of the big chines is similar to that experienced in a pontoon craft; the ride is softened by trapped air, with all leaning reduced once the outer sections contact the water.
The chines continue the length of the hull but soften towards the stern, where they are a lot less pronounced. The hull had a distinctive lift in the sheerline towards the bow; a feature that enhances seakeeping ability and gives the craft a racy look.
Internally, the hull also benefited from the chines. Any water taken aboard flows off full-length raised floor into drains around the perimeter.
The test boat’s centre console layout reflected its prototype nature but there are a fair few modifications planned for subsequent craft.
The wheel, engine controls, switches and tacho were set up on the upper section of the moulded console, which was linked to a heavy-duty T-top supporting a fabric shade cover. Skipper and mate stand at the console and there were no seats fitted.
The console has a side door to port and Pat said that the engine battery – currently located on the floor at the stern – would likely be located in a centre or side console in future models. He said the custom internal layout would be up to the customer in these craft.
Pat also was considering several options for seating, with a padded ice box with bolster backrest as the most favoured; again, seating would be a matter for the customer.
At the front of the console there is a jump seat with storage below. A section of floor in the bow was set aside for the lifejackets and the like although Pat explained that this area was again left for the customer’s final say, a shelf or partition could be installed with ease.
The large flotation panels welded to the interior sides ensure more than just level floatation standard. This boat is available in 2C, 2D and 2E survey, testimony to the efficiency of the material.
The Waverider’s 350mm wide decks have grab rails and cleats fore and aft. Rod holders will available in future boats. A tote fuel tank for the 40hp Titan was stored in the aft starboard quarter.
The special design of the Waverider 490 hull showed a lot of promise. While I watched, somewhat incredulously, Pat did some spectacular wave jumping, sharp turns and down-sea runs to show that the craft had no tendency to broach.
When it was my turn I gave the Waverider no quarter. I really enjoyed the great feeling of stability, level ride and smart handling.
I also kept the craft exactly on the back of a wave and then slowly increased speed to move ahead of to see if there was the slightest tendency to broach. It stayed exactly on track.
Heading hard into a head sea at pace and allowing the hull to come down dead ahead, instead of best practice of sliding to the side, generated no excessive impact. There was a bit of a bump, certainly, but nothing like the wallop I expected of a sub-5m alloy boat making such hard contact with the water.
It rode similarly to a pontoon boat. The sharp central hull made major contact with water, the massive outer chines cushioning the ride and eliminating tendency to lean at rest. The Waverider remained hugely stable. The craft tracked very well, too.
Speed tests were held in the ocean with two aboard powered by the 40hp two-stroke Titan. The Waverider 490 is rated for 40hp-70hp. It planed at 9 knots (16.6kmh) at 3000rpm and at 4000rpm we saw 15 knots (27.7kmh) on the hand-held GPS and at 5000rpm recorded 21 knots (38.9kmh). I enjoyed cruising in offshore swells at 14 knots at 3000rpm.
The Titan engine was new to me but it seemed to perform quite well, albeit somewhat keener on the decibel output than other carburetted two-stroke engines I’ve experienced. There was no excessive smoke and it started first turn of the key. A bit of research into Titan outboards revealed that these two-strokes are available from 3hp-65hp and they share some components with more recognisable brands on our market.
The Kapten Waverider 490 reviewed performed well in its core business: as a 4.9m boat one could take to sea with confidence. It handled well above my expectations and was remarkably steady under way and at rest.
I’d see it as a bay, estuary or offshore craft for the keen angler. As a prototype the bells and whistles were missing but as a custom boat the buyer can have confidence in the hull’s capability and set about ordering just what is required.
Price as reviewed, on a single-axle trailer, was a very modest $23,400. Phone Kapten Boats on 07 5441 3636 or 0467 506 131 or visit www.kaptenboatcollar.com and follow the link.
|Length on trailer||5.7m|
|Engine fitted:||40hp Titan two-stroke|
|Fuel:||25L tote tank|
|Towing:||Family six sedan or wagon|