After my last cruise north, I decided I needed something smaller and easier to handle.


While I still enjoy a good sail, it isn’t the all encompassing thing it used to be. My boating destinations haven’t  got any closer, and if anything I want to explore further now.


So after going thru my requirements, what you see is the result.


There will be the usual detractors, but so far everybody that has been on O.F.D. (see below) has been very impressed by it, especially the performance and comfort at sea.


I have friends building smaller 7.5mts long  x 2.5 to 3.5mts wide power cats that will be quite capable boats and satisfy their criteria neatly.


But I wanted something with a big enough footprint that I could travel down to Tasmania from Queensland when it’s hot and sticky up here, in reasonable comfort.


I also think I could slip over to South Australia and explore that fascinating area. I could either go into the Murray via the Goolwa barrage or if at 5.2mts wide it won’t fit I’ll see if I get in some other way. I have a good friend who lives on the Murray river near Waikerie that can advise me.


Then a cruise back north in early winter, slipping up the  rivers as far possible is something else on the list.


The boat is to be powered by a pair of 20hp to 30hp 4 stroke outboards.


The numbers say it will cruise on one motor at 6kts using around 0.5lpm.


With 2 motors cruising at 10kts it should be using around 0.6/7lpm.

I’m very much looking forward to this next little boat.



Further to the Power pod cat concept.


In the past, the most common comment is why didn’t you extend the cabin sides out to the hulls sides then you would have a much bigger cabin? That’s missing the point entirely.


So I explain.


You currently have a smaller boat with accommodation that satisfies your requirements but you wish it were a bit bigger so you could go further offshore in bigger conditions with safety and stability, while carrying extra water, fuel, stores, toys etc to explore places further away.


A bigger, conventional boat is out of the question because of expense, complexity, insurance costs etc. So what do you do?


Back in 2007 I had an 8mt power boat x 2.4mts wide that was good for local cruising but simply couldn’t carry enough for longer distance cruises and exploring. After a bit of thought I decided to build 2 x 40’ hulls and hang the 8mt boat between them. Obviously there was a bit of jiggery pokery but after about 12 months of casual work O.F.D. was launched.


From the beginning I realised we had gone to another level entirely in comfort and surety at sea. Simply put, the bigger the footprint the more comfortable and capable the boat is and because the boat is generally considerably lighter, than any other option, smaller outboards become the best and logical choice for most applications. Consider this, no engine room and the maintenance, complication and expense within.


No underwater appendages, ie no rudders, no skegs. Just clean, smooth, strong hulls. Generally, average speeds are usually 20% to 50% faster (sometimes with better economy as well) than most displacement cruisers, cruising yachts and sailing cats.


With a draft of less than 500mm your cruising grounds extend to include all the shallow bays, lagoons, rivers etc. No more anchoring way offshore in the rolling swell because of draft and no need for a big, heavy, expensive tender that has to be anchored out and monitored, While the others just drag their simple light dinghy’s up the beach.


Now you (and your friend) can row or paddle over to the neighbours for coffee or drinks. No longer is your friend reliant on the tender driver for a social life. This is actually a surprising reality.


Mustn’t forget the downsides;


Wider marina berths required although not as wide as sailing cats.


O.F.D. is a raging success and the current owners speak highly of it, as do other very experienced offshore sailors that have travelled aboard.

The enquiries so far have been from cruising sailors and diesel displacement cruisers that really want to simplify their cruising lives. I have done simple concept study’s for this style of cruising boat from 8mts up to 18mts and Wow, do you get a big footprint then.

The first 11mt version is to start in the next few months.



9mt Power Pod Catamaran

L.O.A.: 9.0 mts

BEAM: 5.2 mts

DISP: 2,500 kgs (max. gross)

Construction time:

(unpainted shell) 900hrs

(simple fit out - finished) 1800hrs

To be kept as simple as possible.

Power: 2 x 20 / 30 hp 4stroke outboards

Water: 200lts

Fuel: 200lts for 400 mile range @ 6kts

Wheel or Tiller steering.

Pod has 1 x king bed and 1 x single bed, or 3 single beds.

Toilet and shower in Port hull.

Galley and dinette.

Build for under $60k plus labour. 

Web Design by Bob Oram and Art Malak

© 2018 Bob Oram Design

Queensland, Australia.