Brevilla 48: A power cat for serious fishing

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Designed by Front Street Shipyard and engineered by Bruce Johnson, the former president and chief designer at Sparkman & Stephens, the Brevilla 48 is a fast, handsome, practical power catamaran. The subtle break in her sheer line paraphrases the dramatic sheer that gives monohull sportfishing boats their distinctive profile. This treatment announces the 48’s mission: a no-nonsense fishing boat.

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Power cats, especially the cruising models, have struggled to gain popularity because in many boaters’ eyes their aesthetics don’t conform to traditional norms. Also, their substantial beam often relegates them to the face dock or mooring field, which can be an inconvenience to owners and guests.

Fast sportfishing power cats, however, have largely escaped these stigmas. Although the Brevilla 48 has the nearly plumb topsides that characterize many power cats of both persuasions, a hint of flare just beneath the sheer line softens her appearance. The graceful arc of her bow honors traditional styling, but its thrust forward leaves no doubt about the boat’s potential for speed.

Cruising power cats have remarkably high freeboard to allow for adequate headroom in the hulls and a decent amount of clearance between the water and the underside of the wing deck, but the Brevilla 48 cat suffers no such requirements. Her relatively low profile wouldn’t be out of place on a monohull. The curving line seen in the profile view reduces the perception of topsides height and adds a touch of artistry to the overall utilitarian appearance.

LOA: 51 feet (including engines); 48 feet, 4 inches (hull only) LWL: 42 feet, 9 inches BEAM: 13 feet, 10 inches DRAFT: 1 foot, 8 inches DISPLACEMENT: 19,245 pounds POWER: twin 350-hp V-6 outboards ESTIMATED SPEED: 50 knots top CONTACT: Front Street Shipyard, Belfast, Maine, (207) 930-3740.

A boat’s aesthetics have more power to open a buyer’s checkbook than almost any other design element, but the shapes below the waterline of each hull and the surfaces between them under the wing deck shoulder the greatest burden. Managing water flow through the under-wing area of a low-speed cruising cat helps the designer get the desired fuel economy and ride comfort. On the other hand, designing a fast planing cat demands that the naval architect control the air flow, as well as the water flow, in the tunnel.

The shapes that define the hulls and tunnel of the Brevilla 48 are unique, and the Brevilla Boat Co. has applied for a patent. Until this is granted, details of the hulls and tunnel remain unclear. Bear with me: In the cross- sectional view from the bows, we can see a wide chine flat on the side of each hull, much like the chines on a monohull. These run to the transom and provide lift. On the inboard side of each hull, the bottom is slightly convex in an arc that rises from the deepest part of the bottom to the height of the outboard chine.

The engines are mounted between the hulls, and I suspect that the concave shape helps to channel solid water to the props. A soft-edge vee along the centerline of the under wing appears to direct water that climbs up the inside of the hulls to the props.

I can’t wait to see the 48 out of the water. Better still, I can’t wait to drive one.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue.