The French yard’s lat­est of­fer­ings are both re­mark­ably fast, ca­pa­ble craft. But which of the two is the bet­ter bet for your style of boat­ing?

Motorboat & Yachting - - Contents - Words Nick Burn­ham

Nick Burn­ham goes for a blast in two dif­fer­ent ver­sions of its lat­est sports cuddy

There’s a de­li­cious guilty plea­sure in jump­ing a boat so far out of the water that you get the props clear; that tell­tale frac­tion of a se­cond as the en­gine revs sud­denly flair, caus­ing your adrenalin gland to do the same. It’s the same fris­son of ex­cite­ment, that same sense of law­less­ness, that you get from briefly slip­ping the back end of a pow­er­ful rear-wheel drive car out of line on an empty wet round­about – just for a mo­ment, you’re Tom Cruise buzzing the tower in Top Gun. But just like the car, it only re­ally works if the boat is well bal­anced, if it feels born to do it – there’s lit­tle plea­sure to be had op­po­site lock­ing a camper van! The mere fact that we’re try­ing so hard to get the props out of the water on our sea trial of Jeanneau’s new Cap Camarat 9.0 mod­els speaks vol­umes – it wasn’t al­ways like this with the French builder.

A decade or so ago, if you’d vis­ited Jeanneau’s boat show stand in search of a sporty 9m sportscruiser, you’d have been po­litely

di­rected to the group’s Leader line, ei­ther the Leader 8 or its ear­lier in­car­na­tion, the 805. Great boats, ca­pa­ble, com­fort­able and spa­cious, they made ex­cel­lent fam­ily cruis­ers, but no one ever at­tempted to get their props out, and with typ­i­cally a sin­gle Volvo Penta diesel, they’d have been dis­ap­pointed if they’d tried. To­day the mar­ket has changed, and so has the hard­ware. Twin out­boards, each as pow­er­ful as its pre­de­ces­sor’s sin­gle diesel yet weigh­ing less in to­tal, of­fer per­for­mance that’s sim­ply in a dif­fer­ent league. Avail­able in two dis­tinctly sep­a­rate model lines, one is an open walka­round boat, the other more of a large cuddy cabin, but con­fus­ingly it’s the cabin ver­sion that’s called the WA and the walka­round boat that’s called the CC (it ac­tu­ally stands for Cen­tre Con­sole, ap­par­ently). At the rear of the cock­pit, the boats are iden­ti­cal, with a fixed tran­som bench and flip-out seats around the other sides of cock­pit (you get the star­board one and one be­hind the helm seats for free but pay ex­tra for an ad­di­tional port­side seat). The cock­pit ta­ble can be fixed in po­si­tion on tele­scopic legs that al­low it to con­vert to a lounger or de­mount­able on re­mov­able legs. Opt for the lat­ter, it takes up quite a bit of space. The double helm is cen­tral, which gives rise to the ‘walka­round’ tag of the 9.0 WA, and ac­cess for­ward is eas­ily achieved via steps on ei­ther side of the helm con­sole lead­ing to a to­tally flat fore­deck which Jeanneau has utilised as a huge sun­pad.

It’s a good use of this nor­mally dead space, but it has an ob­vi­ous trade-off in the cabin where head­room around the dinette is ad­e­quate, but only just. In fact, it’s a per­fect metaphor for Jeanneau’s pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of out­side liv­ing. The min­i­mal­ist fin­ish (if we’re be­ing kind, ba­sic if we’re not – there’s a lot of GRP mould­ing on show down here), the open-plan lay­out of the double berth be­neath the cock­pit and the lack of hang­ing lock­ers all col­lude to re­mind you that this is no cruiser. Only the heads is any­thing more than the bare min­i­mum, it’s ac­tu­ally quite gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned. The spec­i­fi­ca­tion level backs this up. You’ll be want­ing to add the Com­fort Pack if you re­quire hot water, the sin­gle gas hob (po­si­tioned in the cock­pit) or 240V shore sup­port.

If you’re re­ally not both­ered about what’s in­side, then maybe you should check out that 9.0 CC. The aft sec­tion of cock­pit is iden­ti­cal and the helm area is broadly sim­i­lar, but rather than steps up to the flat fore­deck, you stroll past the

cen­tre con­sole at deck level to a bow area with a long, wide bench in the cen­tre, back­rest against the con­sole. A fur­ther seat that curves around the in­side of the bul­warks makes this a ter­rific so­cial space – sud­denly the whole boat is cock­pit.

Clearly the trade-off for this is the cabin, but not as much as you might think. In fact, Jeanneau has clev­erly utilised the area be­neath that large cen­tral seat to squeeze in a sur­pris­ingly use­able double berth. Best of all, that gen­er­ous heads is present and cor­rect. There’s even a small sec­tion that runs back be­neath the cock­pit. You need to re­move the steps to ac­cess it but it’s great for chuck­ing bags and coats into, and Jeanneau is go­ing to add a base cush­ion which will al­low young chil­dren to sleep in there. Fi­nally, in recog­ni­tion of the re­al­ity that the cabin is go­ing to be a dump­ing ground for cock­pit cush­ions at the end of a day on the water, you can lift the base of that for­ward seat and throw them straight in.


But enough of the lay­outs, we’re here for the drive. You can opt for a sin­gle 350hp out­board, but the twin Yamaha 4.2-litre V6 250hp out­boards hang­ing off the tran­som of both test boats (one a WA, the other a CC) will do the Michaël Peters-de­signed

hull far more jus­tice. Bald fig­ures tell half the story – nail those throt­tles and you’ll have all three tonnes of boat (in­clud­ing those mon­ster en­gines) plan­ing in un­der five sec­onds. Keep them pinned and you’ll be at 40 knots just ten sec­onds later, the re­lent­less up­ward flicker of the dig­i­tal speed log only tail­ing off once you reach 45 knots (we briefly saw 47 knots out of the 9.0 CC). These are prop­erly fast boats. But they’re not su­per-fo­cused scary fast, and it doesn’t take a badass race­boat pi­lot to get the best out of them – they ab­sorb and then trans­mit that com­bined 500hp with con­sum­mate ease and friendly re­as­sur­ance. And fun though it is, you don’t need to nail the throt­tles to get the Cap Cam 9.0 over the hump. Ease the power on gen­tly and you’ll be plan­ing ef­fort­lessly at 20 knots. At 3,500rpm (a full 2,000rpm short of WOT), you’ll be can­ter­ing gen­tly at 24 knots, or set the elec­tron­i­cally syn­chro­nised throt­tles at 4,000rpm for about 30 knots (at which point the boat is only burn­ing an ex­tra 0.3 litres of petrol per mile).

Even flat out, whilst you and your crew will be glad of hand­holds like the stain­less-steel rail that loops around the curved screen, you won’t feel the need to have a chi­ro­prac­tor on speed dial. Low-geared steer­ing (it’s hy­draulic, but not power as­sisted) means that hard fast turns are not wrist-flick quick but once you’ve wound it in, it grips ev­ery bit as tena­ciously as it avoids cav­i­ta­tion.


Hav­ing fully ex­plored the han­dling and taken the per­for­mance fig­ures, there’s only one thing left to do. The gen­tly rolling swell of a sunny Cannes after­noon pro­vides all the temp­ta­tion of an empty wet round­about, and it’s time to buzz the tower. Point­ing the nose out to sea, di­rectly into the swell, we build speed grad­u­ally but re­lent­lessly, the gaps be­tween take off and land­ing steadily in­creas­ing but re­main­ing ut­terly con­fi­dence in­spir­ing as the hull soaks up our tom­fool­ery with­out com­plaint. Fi­nally, with the nee­dle touch­ing 45 knots, we crest a big one. The Cap Camarat 9.0 CC leaps sky­ward and holds its tra­jec­tory just long enough to elicit the brief tell­tale tor­tured howl from the twin Yama­has, fol­lowed by a soft ‘whoomf’ from the hull as it trans­forms our land­ing into sheets of white spray that jet out low and fast. All four crew cheer – this is no camper van.

With twin 250hp out­boards, both mod­els are ca­pa­ble of over 45 knots

The helm of the WA model has two seats [THE CC] The CC model squeezes in three

[THE CC] The CC has a large seat­ing area in the bow The WA’S fore­deck is given over to sun­loung­ing

There’s a small fridge tucked un­der the helm seats

The WA’S larger open­plan cabin has a dinette that con­verts to double

[THE CC] Not a bad sized berth for a cen­tre-con­sole craft The WA has a se­cond double berth tucked un­der the cock­pit

[THE CC] Even the CC gets a sur­pris­ingly roomy day heads

[THE CC] The open deck lay­out is well suited for day boat­ing with mul­ti­ple guests The WA’S larger cabin makes week­end­ing pos­si­ble for fam­i­lies

The WA’S im­pres­sively well-ap­pointed bath­room

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