Katama 30
JULY 2002
Length overall  30'
Length waterline  26'3"
Beam 11'
Draft  5'7"
Displacement  9,500 lb
Fuel Capacity  125 gals
Water Capacity  28 gals
Standard power  440hp Yanmar diesel coupled to Ultra Jet 305 jet drive
Base Price  $239,400

'Jet boats aren't supposed to do this!" That's what I found myself exclaiming as we ran the new Katama 30 through the big chop outside the Government Cut in Miami. Forget everything you've ever been told about jet boats. The new Katama does things that jet boats are notorious for not doing. Like performing excellently in big seas. Like maneuvering in tight turns with no fishtailing or skidding. Like tracking like a laser-guided missile. Yet, it does all the neat things that jet boats are thought to do well, like maneuver in tight spaces with a touch of a joy stick.

I had a chance to play with the Katama at the Miami boat show, and boy, was it a blast. I went out with Bob Grout, with C.W. Hood Yachts' sales department, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and Matt Shanley, who describes himself as "Chief Bottle-Washer." We eased the boat away from the Sea Line Marina into the light south Florida drizzle and out under the bridges to the cut. The Katama can be controlled with either the joy stick or the wheel and throttles. With the controls switched to their "docking" mode, we were running at about 1100 RPM, coasting along at the required no wake speed, using the joy stick that coordinates the jet drive with the bow thrusters and having precise maneuverability even against a six-knot current.

Once in the clear, we opened up in the "cruise" mode, accomplished with the simple push of a button at the base of the joy stick. That made the wheel operable and we could push down on the Kobelt throttle. The Katama came swiftly and smoothly up to speed and onto plane, and as we headed out of the inlet and into the three foot swells, Matt's advice to this jetboat novice behind the wheel was, "in these conditions, the best thing to do is open her up all the way."

That's what he advised, and that's what I did. And we flew. The sharp entry cut through the waves, the flared bows kept us dry, the big windshield and the bimini kept us comfortable even in the drizzle, and it was a hoot. It's a solid feel, with no slamming or rattling. The whole thing is pretty quiet. Even out in those conditions, flying over the waves, we could carry on a normal, albeit excited conversation.

I pulled tightly into a left turn , no skidding, no slippage, none of what you thought you'd get from a jet. I headed into the wind and waves at full bore and let go of the wheel , it tracked remarkably well, thanks to a short skeg in front of the jet intake. There was little banking in the tightest turns, and at rest, it presented a very stable platform, with little wallow in the troughs.

Powered by a 420 HP Yanmar diesel , which Yanmar now markets as a 440 HP , coupled to an Ultra Jet 305 jet drive, the factory tests indicate a top speed of about 34 knots and a cruising speed of about 28 knots, with a cruising range of an estimated 250 nautical miles on approximately 112 gallons of fuel.

We headed back reluctantly and docked under extremely trying conditions , I didn't. I let Bob and Matt take care of backing into their assigned slip against that current with all those people watching.

The first impression is that the lines are neat and clean, with nice teak trim around the coaming, rails, and the engine box in the middle of the cockpit. Louvered sliding hatches to the storage bins tucked under the gunwales, salty-looking ceiling boards across the base of the bench seat spanning the transom, a nice, high coaming around the cockpit that sweeps up in a graceful arc to form the beautifully finished windshield are impressive.

The windshield is nice and high, with the bimini coming right down to the top rim, and has three big windhsield wipers, one for each big pane. It provides ample protection for the starboard helm, with its highly glossed teak accented dash and nostalgic chrome-rimmed analog gauges. There's a teak rimmed, stainless-spoked Kobelt steering wheel and jazzy custom teak joy stick - the one clue that you're not on just another pretty boat.

The custom Pompanette adjustable helm chair was quite comfortable, and served as a steady back rest while standing. The helm console hinges out for complete access to the wiring.

The cockpit boasts a bench along the port side with an attractive oval teak table propped on a stainless upright extending from the base of the bench. There's a backrest on the cushions resting on top of the engine box that's adjustable so you can sit facing forward or aft. And facing aft, there's that beautifully inviting bench spanning the transom.

There are two hatches to the engine area. The top of the box lifts up as a day hatch for routine checks and maintenance, and the sole around the box lifts up for even greater access for more serious attention to the works. Sound insulation, Aquadrive engine mounts and Aquadrive shafts all make for quiet, vibration-free running.

The cabin is inviting and yachtily appointed, though the headroom is a bit tight for this 6' 2" boater. The galley station to port has ample Corian-topped counter space, with a deep stainless sink, a two-burner electric stove under a cutting board, china storage behind pretty teak louvered sliding doors, a small Isotherm fridge, and storage in cabinets under the counter. To starboard, there's an enclosed head with more of that nice Corian countertop. The V-berth in the bow has a cushioned step up and very 'yacht-y' ceiling boards and teak paneling. The sole is finished in a bright teak-and-holly.

If you study the handsome, deep blue hull from the stern, you'll see there's a little hint of tumblehome around the transom, and a teak-trimmed swim platform. Looking forward, the hull has an exaggerated flare up toward the bow. The cabin top looks very pretty in proportion, and nice, wide side decks provide easy access to the foredeck.