Capt. Steve Says...
It seems like every time I get onto a boat that’s made for taking on snotty water, I get calm sunny days and flat calm water. When I woke up on test day for the Glacier Bay Renegade 2740 it was more of the same. However, the test was scheduled for later in the day and the forecast was calling for an increase in winds so I was cautiously optimistic. Sure enough, as late afternoon approached, we had winds of 15-20 blowing against the Gulf Stream’s northerly current. All I had to do was get out far enough to get into it. Can do.
Let’s start this report with the meat and potatoes. Cats are well known for being more docile in rough seas. To test this theory, we headed out into the Stream to find 3’ (.9 m) rollers. The first order of business was to get the performance numbers, and in these conditions, there’s no writing anything down. You hit the target speeds and voice record for later writing. This allows you to later re-experience the building speed and how it felt all over again.
I started out at idle. Not a stable feel to be sure as I’m bobbing like a cork. Add speed and I have more control and the boat starts smoothing out a bit. As I increase speed to around 2500 I’m running at roughly 13 mph-ish. Now I’m hitting the waves at irregular timing and the up and down of the bow is working against the frequency of the waves. Still, it’s not so bad. The hulls are so narrow that they knife right into the waves and there’s no pounding whatsoever.
I advance to a cruise mode of about 3500 rpm (more on that later) and I’m hitting the mid twenties for speed. Now it’s much more manageable and I’m more in sync with the waves. It’s now a fun roller coaster up and down and the frequency of the boat is more in line with that of the waves. Still, I’m going through those waves instead of over them. It’s pretty exhilarating. Forward go the engine controls again and up go the rpms of the twin 150-hp Yamahas. At 4500 I’m into the thirties for speed, and now I’m starting to get air under the boat. Then, I launch off a wave and I’m headed right into the oncoming bigger wave. I’ve been here before and it’s never pleasant. You know, boat coming in for a hard landing and big wave coming up to meet it at the same time. So I simply curse (as boat captains do) and brace for impact. Only the impact never comes. Instead, the 2740 simply presses into that wave, throws water off to the sides, a mist of spray into my face, and continues on. Those narrow bows are really making a difference. But we’re not done yet.
I shove the throttles to the stops and the boat lurches ahead instantly. I top out in the low forties for speed and the port throttle starts doing a creep back on its own. It’s just an adjustment of the tension but I can’t do it here so I have to keep my hand pushing against both controls to keep the speed up. Now the ride is unbelievable. I’m launching over the waves and getting airborne to the next wave. The troughs are not a factor. Just the tops and I fly from one to the next. The timing is nearly perfect. Still, the 2740 refuses to pound and I just enter the wave and launch off it. It does take a good grip, because the boat descends faster than I do, so to be a part of the ride you have to hold on. I probably would slow down with the family onboard, but for now it’s just me and I’m loving it, so I only slow down to turn around.
Big difference here. Now I’m hitting the backside of the waves which are nearly matching the height of the bow. I’m not stuffing the bow but I probably could so I take corrective action. Just a couple shots of up trim (I’m talking engine trim here, there are no trim tabs) brings the bow up and now I can add speed. Again, it’s a dream ride. I see a boat about half a mile away and he’s throwing water everywhere while I’m just slicing through. If only I could get us both on camera. In the head sea, my bows were causing a mist, not spray, to blow up into the windshield (and my sunglasses). Now, there’s nothing. Back off to a normal cruise and I could keep up this pace forever. No hanging on for dear life, no fishtailing, just a straight run downwind.
Even better. The beam seas are the clear winner for comfort. The cat stays flat and just lets the waves lift the whole boat up and back down. I did notice a slight tendency to lean downwind, so I dropped the trims back down (from the following sea run) and experimented with individual trimming. What I found was that by bringing the upwind engine up a bit I could level the boat out nicely and the feel was much more comfortable. Adding more trim wouldn’t cause the boat to actually lean against the wind. It only went to level, which I found interesting. I’m already about 10 miles offshore and heading further off. I know the Bahamas are ahead of me and it wouldn’t take much for me to just keep going, but my morals (and, to a lesser extent, the gas gauges reading only half tanks) compelled me to turn around.
Cats turn differently than monohulls. It’s a fact of life. This one stays flat in the turns, rather than leaning into the turn. That’s a sore spot for some, but for others, myself included, it’s a fair tradeoff for the stellar sea kindliness of this boat. So it’s not a ski boat. It’s not meant to be. It’s a “get you out and back when others are sitting at the dock” boat. That means a lot when you get caught offshore and a squall hits unexpectedly. As an entertainment platform it’s second to none as no mono hull can compete with the roominess of a cat of the same length. And those guests will not take kindly to hard turns anyway.
Top speed was reached at 5500 RPM and 40.1 MPH. The twin Yamaha 150 four-strokes were burning a combined 30 GPH which meant a range of 217 miles with a 10% reserve.
There was a lot to like about the Glacier Bay 2740 layout, and a few things that could use a little tweaking. Stepping aboard was the first item to adjust as there was a lot of height to the gunwale. This meant a great safety factor, but an uncomfortable drop of about 2’ when stepping aboard from a fixed dock. A fold down step would be a welcome touch. Of course stepping on from a floating dock would also alleviate that problem as you could simply step onto the platform sticking out between the two engines. A large and beefy door opens into the 35-sq.ft. cockpit. I add emphasis on “into” the cockpit as a door opening outward has little safety to it (but it is great for quick dewatering.)
On both sides of the transom are flip-down seats, and I always have trouble with these, but not this time. These went up and down in a flash and with no effort. Open them half way and you have access to the hatches underneath that cover the independent batteries. Having a separate electrical and fuel system for each engine is one of the perks of cats. There’s a rigging station to port with a sink and livewell. The sink cover flips over to reveal a cutting board; counters are Corian. Our test boat had an optional gas grill set into the port side caprail.
Moving forward, there is roomy L-shaped seating to port with an optional refrigerator at the end. The seats easily hold four adults, but one facing aft on the lounger has the best seat in the house.
The helm is uncluttered and nicely laid out. The Triple Yamaha gauges help with that, but they also take up valuable real estate on the panel and reduce the size of the obligatory display from a 12” (30.48 cm) to an 8” (20.32 cm) unit. I noticed that the compass was mounted off to the side, rather than in line with the driver’s eyes and when I mentioned that to Glacier Bay’s president, he assured me that they were still tweaking this prototype and that would be corrected. Ship's electrical is under the raised helm seat base.
I found sightlines to be excellent, even with the heavy tubed supports of the optional hardtop. Back over to port there’s a head that is roomy enough to hold races in. It’s massive, and falls just shy of making you not want to leave. There’s a solar fan overhead and ample lighting, plus the sole is self draining so no worries about cleanliness. The helm console had storage underneath but a house battery was mounted in the center of the sole. I’d like to see that recessed or moved off to the side and covered so we can still toss stuff in there.
Take a Bow
Up forward is an open bow that is wide enough to easily allow four adults to sit without having knees knocking together. In fact, it’s so roomy that it’s virtually screaming for the addition of the optional pedestal table that our test boat lacked. Facing forward in the seats was ultra comfortable. Your arm rests on the raised seatbacks and just outboard was a stainless grab rail. There when you need it, out of the way when you don’t... brilliant. There are fishboxes under each seat that are all self-draining and all could easily be used as ice coolers or just dry storage. Two additional storage hatches are on either side of the optional windlass and they access a single compartment that can swallow up fenders, lines and a probably a kitchen sink. This, by the way, was the only spot on the whole boat that wasn’t gel coated on the inside.
Glacier Bay went to a lot of trouble to make the 2740 ergonomic and it shows. Heavy duty piano hinges are even on the smallest of doors, seats are comfortable and roomy. The rounded gunwales really draw your eye to the boat's clean curving lines. All drink holders are self-draining with hoses leading to the cockpit. If you picture water coming over the bow, you can how easily it will flow aft and out the four large deck drains. Corner areas of the L seating and helm seat soles have additional deck drains. The aft platform has massive rails leading right to the end, making this a functional dive platform. You can hang on while hauling your buddy’s tanks aboard without fear of losing your balance, or your grip on safety. And Glacier Bay recognized the need of having four pull up cleats on each side of the boat. Additionally, all components are molded into the deck and full fiberglass liner; not bolted on modules or worse... glued in. Seats, rigging station, consoles... all molded in. I’ve been on Glacier Bays that don’t feel as if the boat was made with boaters in mind, but those days seem to be behind us. Ergonomics really is the key word for this boat. It felt right all around and handled seas exceptionally well, as only a cat can. It seems that this is a portent of the future for Glacier Bay, for the company is under new management. The new owners are dedicated catamaran people who have been building cats for years and know what saltwater anglers want and more.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Glacier Bay Renegade 2740 (2011-) is 40.1 mph (64.5 kph), burning 30.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 113.55 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Glacier Bay Renegade 2740 (2011-) is 18.2 mph (29.3 kph), and the boat gets 2.38 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.01 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 385 miles (619.6 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 150-hp Yamaha.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
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