If there is one thing that the Europeans do, and do well, it is mould a boat to incorporate equal parts luxury and functionality. None do it better than Jeanneau. Despite its comparatively small size, at 4.7 metres, they’ve also managed to fit quite a bit in to this tidy little package. It is the baby of the range which extends up to 8.5m, which I would love to get my hands on at some stage. Cruising, relaxed boating and fishing are all possible on this platform and quite comfortably I might add too.
Jeanneau is probably better known in Australia for its impressive yacht range. More recently, in Australia, we’ve seen the addition of power boats under the same marque with the Merry Fisher range of outboard-powered cruisers and the Cap Camarat range of centre console boats. All feature the luxury appointments Jeanneau as a brand is synonymous with.
WHAT YOU GET
The Cap Camarat 4.7 is a beamy fibreglass centre console with plenty of space up front and behind the helm seat. It has neat lines and an on water presence that commands attention. At this length it can be safely launched and handled by one person, but has the space and stability to handle more should you wish.
It’s well appointed too with a comfortable bow area that can be used as a place to lounge around on the plush upholstered cushions. Add the optional table for a light lunch on the water or fill the entire space in with cushions and lay in the sun. You can also remove the tough and durable cushions easily and use the space as a standard casting platform which, courtesy of the non slip finish, is very comfortable and safe. For serious luring pursuits, the difficulty of mounting an electric engine here is exacerbated by the way the deck line rolls away, resulting in some beautiful lines at the bow, but there is no obvious flat space for an electric engine. That said, it would be quite easy to fashion an aftermarket mount with some fibreglass. Underneath the cushions is spacious storage, including an anchor locker that is easily accessible.
Storage on any centre console has limitations and I see this the most likely place for everyday items.There is more space in the console which is large for a boat this length. The storage area under the console is big enough to accommodate a few bags and incidentals. Access to this area is via folding the entire console forward to open up space at the helm area. Interestingly, there’s also a large fuel tank here and while it takes up some space there is still plenty of room to store your bits and pieces for a day out on the water. This is perhaps my favourite part of this design. Most locally made and even American centre consoles tend to have small consoles in boats this length, which are impractical at best. The Europeans, like us, value space and do their best to provide ample amounts of it.
The helm position offers protection from the elements due to the width of the console and all the important parts are well within reach. Additional safety can be found behind the windscreen which is surrounded by a handy grab rail. The steering wheel is best used from a standing position which is perfect as most users of this vessel will be more than happy doing so. In fact it is my personal preference when driving as it allows full 360 degree vision and complete control of the boat. The throttle controls sit in a recess on the dash which allows them to be mounted at a very comfortable angle for the driver. The steering wheel is a standard design, not overly fancy but certainly functional and controls the boat well. The helm chairs, one each for driver and passenger, as opposed to the bench seat most manufacturers provide, are very accommodating and rotate through 360 degrees meaning while at anchor or sitting down for lunch, you can spin them around to fish or interact with the guests at the rear of the boat. If you do prefer to sit down when driving all the controls are still within easy reach. One thing that I thought was missing was a foot rest which would make driving from a seated position more comfortable.
At the rear of the boat there are jump seats in either corner that are very comfortable, again padded in some very nice tan coloured upholstery. A small esky could slide under one side, while the battery is hidden beneath the other.
The test boat was powered by a 60 hp Yamaha high thrust four-stroke engine with electronic fuel injection which, as you would expect, is very quiet. It’s built on a four cylinder platform with the high output achieved through a different gearing ratio than standard engines.
While not supremely necessary on a boat like this, it turns in exceptional performance. The high thrust gets the Cap Camarat 4.7 onto the plane quickly and keeps the power coming all the way through the rev range.
The standard controls such as trim and tilt are all there and work smoothly to bring the engine to the desired angle. The prop was standard but some experimentation with different pitches would deliver a slightly different feel and performance.
ON THE WATER
The Cap Camarat 4.7 is a sprightly little package with top end speed and mid range acceleration courtesy of the Yamaha 60hp engine. The ride is interesting in that I would liken it to a personal watercraft in some ways. Trim the engine up and accelerate through a corner and you can feel the hull sliding through the turn. It never skips and never feels out of control, almost like drifting a car round a track. Heaps of fun! On some corners, I did get some cavitation (air getting into the prop area which results in no bite in the water and one almighty loud rev), although I was driving it far harder than most owners would ever dare.
Trim the engine in and she turns hard and maintains a flat aspect throughout. New owners will love the stability and sure-footedness this provides. At rest the hull is equally stable and is quite manageable even with two on one side.
Underway it feels like it cuts through waves reasonably well, but the low angle and flatter hull design, which gives it a nice beam and space forward, isn’t entirely suited to 100 percent offshore use and I doubt owners would envisage constant trips out to the heads. It’s a capable hull and would more than handle light offshore work, but is more suited and designed for inshore waterways, or the Mediterranean if you’re lucky enough.
ON THE ROAD
The boat as tested did not come with a trailer, but it would sit neatly on a Boeing single axle trailer galvanised unit. With a total weight including trailer somewhere in the vicinity of 1100kgs, a standard medium-sized family sedan will tow this package without too much trouble.
Add some rod holders to this boat and you could quite easily use it for a day boat and fish comfortably with friends and/or family. It’s spacious enough for kids with very little in the way for them to trip up on and I believe for this reason, it’s perfectly suited to a small family new to boating with one or two children who are looking for something that has plenty of room on board but also has a little bit of luxury should they want to cruise and visit some of the beautiful coastal hide-aways we have on offer.
For the full review with photos go to…