SPJ Yachts in Queensland, Australia, designs and builds custom catamarans. Its most recent project is a 20‘ (6m) power catamaran for rescue and recovery. Developers plan to configure the design for state emergency vessel service as well as military. The asymmetrical hulls are capable of operating in shoal waters, and three doors—port, starboard, and aft—with integrated boarding steps, offer options for retrieving persons from the water.
There were two lightbulb moments for principal Steve Jandt. The first occurred while he was assisting rescuers in flood-torn Queensland communities in 2010 when exposed propellers severely inhibited operations; the second was during a fishing vacation on a wide river that was not as deep as it seemed. He suffered two bent props the first day out. Jandt then set about designing a shallow-water boat with jet drive.
The result is being marketed as Jetcat. Jandt wrote to us: “Jetcat is constructed of composite materials, which allows us to change laminate schedules to suit different applications.” For example, he wrote, a military application would call for using Kevlar and carbon fiber integrated with E-glass and other aramid materials, and also a combination of core densities/compositions.
“This would produce a highly resistant structure to deal with impacts associated with combat situations, and therefore protect the occupants and equipment of the vessel to some degree,” he explained. “An additional panel of UHMW PE [ultra-high- molecular-weight polyethylene] is attached to the bottom of each hull; this allows the boat to [run dry] or ride right over underwater obstacles without damage to the boat, and is sacrificial and can be replaced when required.”
In later correspondence Jandt said that Jetcats will also be available in aluminum. Powered by twin Weber 155-hp (116-kW) engines with waterjet drives, the prototype ran 35 mph (56 kmh).