Cantieri di Pisa’s Kaitos
76— By Richard Thiel —
Talk of the Show
|A Matter of Degrees|
You could spend a lot of time learning to drive the Kaitos. Not in harbor, where she maneuvers as well as any long, thin, shallow-draft speed machine and better than some. There’s certainly no shortage of power. With the Arnesons trimmed down, each gear engagement is a memorable event, so the skipper of our boat had taken to maneuvering with them trimmed up to give the props less bite and himself more thinking time. The bow thruster, he said, was an absolute essential in any crosswind.
It’s out at sea that you’ll want to do your homework, specifically between about 1300 and 1700 rpm. In this rev band things happen fast. If you’re not paying attention, pretty soon the boat is about a quarter-mile ahead of your “decision loop,” as fighter pilots say, and even before she reaches top speed, you’re thinking about when she’s going to slow down so you can catch up.
Everything depends on drive trim. From rest, she responds best with the Arnesons down, but be prepared to lift them almost immediately. If they’re still down at 1400 rpm, she’ll be doing about 20 knots and not happy about it. Lift them a little, and within seconds she’s at 30 knots. Give the throttles another careful push, and acceleration is steady through to the upper 30s. Experiment with the Arnesons; the slightest dab of the joystick—half a degree of trim—can make a three-knot difference. Then at 1600 rpm the second set of turbos kicks in. Forty knots has come and gone, then 45, then 50, and she’s still accelerating. Try raising the Arnesons again. It doesn’t help that the joysticks and throttles bracket the wheel. You need a good grip on the wheel at these speeds, and you certainly don’t want to be changing hands often.
Once you get your breath back, you can take stock. Visibility is pretty good; only the thick bases of those corner mullions get in the way, and then only on the high side in steep turns. Handling is quite good: light steering and the sort of high-speed agility you associate with muscle boats half this weight. Hull sections are not especially deep, but the fine stem flattened the slight chop off Monaco with little fuss. Once you’ve mastered the subtleties of trim—and it will take a while—you’ll find good cruising at around 40 knots and 1650 rpm, with the second set of turbochargers just in play and the Arnesons trimmed out. For more relaxation or efficiency, try 1450 rpm and 31 to 32 knots, with the Arnesons down but, alas, no roostertail. —Alan Harper
This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.