The VK1 – the first catamaran in the Southern Hemisphere to feature MerCruiser’s amazing Axius sterndrive system – is receiving rave reviews as a great all-rounder, and has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
VK1 Roger Hill Power Cat Images supplied to Boating NZ for Editorial use only Copyright Images Will Calver-oceanphotography.co.nz
Staggeringly, the VK1 is the very first Powercat built by Lester Smith of V.K. Marine in Auckland N.Z, but it certainly won’t be the last.
Based on a Roger Hill design, the 11.2 metre aluminium cat is a superb weekend cruiser which will also excel as a fishing or diving platform. It’s well designed, well built and well priced.
Powered by twin Cummins MerCruiser QSD 4.2 litre, 320 hp diesel motors, the 7,500 kg craft cruises easily at up to 35 knots.
And of course the Axius sterndrive gives it unbelievable manoeuverability – forwards, backwards and even sideways.
'I liked the Axius as soon as I read what it could do. It’s new technology and it’s exciting to break new ground,' Lester said.
'It was also so damn easy to install. We did it all ourselves and it was a walk in the park.'
Out in the deep water, the VK1 behaves like the well-engineered boat it is. But it’s back at the dock where it 'really turns heads', according to Lester.
'We were coming into the marina recently and my 20-year-old son was driving. He’s not a boatie and he went to hand the controls to me, but I said ‘You do it’.
'So he took the joystick and very nicely drove this eight tonne, 11 metre boat through a crowded marina in 25 knot winds.
'That sums it all up to me.'
The VK1’s success came as no surprise to David Meehan, Director of MerCruiser Australia, New Zealand & Pacific.
'We were always really confident Axius would work with catamarans and now we have the proof,' he said.
'Lester’s broken new ground and he deserves a lot of praise for that. He’s shown what can be done and I think we’re going to see a lot of catamaran builders now follow in his footsteps and offer an Axius option.'
In a nutshell, the Axius sterndrive control system gives boat lovers an unprecedented level of manoeuverability.
The Axius joystick control system, working through two independently articulating Bravo Three drives, lets you move the boat precisely where you want it – forwards, backwards, sideways or you can spin on the spot. Electro-hydraulic power steering provides a smooth lock-to-lock turning response.
For information about Axius – www.cmdmarine.com/prop/axius.html