Turbo Cat

The rc gas “Turbo Cat” racing model boat 

To sum it up in one word, it would have to be - “WOW” – an exclamation  that has definitely become synonomous when around this awesome rc gas model “TURBO CAT” racing boat.

From recalling my own ,out loud, WOW expression, even though to myself in the workshop, when I opened the boxes’.  (It comes well packaged in a box, within another box)


I was simply blown away by the presentation and quality of what I saw. Especially considering the cost of it.

To the WOW’s exclaimed by the many model boat enthusiasts who have seen the TURBO CAT doing its stuff, on the water, now already, all over South Africa.

Even the magazines appointed photographer for the day, fell under the “WOW” spell, as I launched the TURBO CAT for the photo shoot. (He then checked to see if his state of the art camera had the necessary shutter speed)

I do recall him asking me to slow down!

And as it stands, posed, in  waiting anticipation on its CNC cut boat stand on its well deserved focal shelf in my workshop, ready for its next run, like a well bred racing stud, all who pass bye it, simply fall under its spell, and say “WOW”

By way of my own introduction, I am a proudly South African,  rc racing model boat manufacturer. I have, for the past 20 years, been designing and manufacturing rc racing boats and have had the privilege of getting to know and befriend some of the manufacturing greats in the industry, from all over the world. I now run a full time workshop and serve the local, national and international markets with my specialized products.

I have spent many years investing time and money in developing my products, as well as learning that realizing exactly what the modern rc model boat enthusiast/ racer is in need of and wants, is all important, and I have to say, the TURBO CAT has it all, to offer.

To often, mostly through to the power of the ever impressive eye-catching marketing media, now available to us in so many accessible forms, we are sold on what a product looks like, rather than what it goes like, and in the hope of it going as well as it looks, we order the product, only to be, in many cases,  disappointed in its overall performance, especially when we equate it to the actual  cost of the purchase and realize the poor return of value for our money.

There has been, for a number of years now, the ever increasing availability  of imported RTR (Ready to Run) Gas powered model boats introduced into our markets, of which I have to say, for the most of them, they look absolutely stunning in there overall  presentation, especially when caught up admiring there colorful race appealing decals, often representing there full scale racing boat “FAST” appearance. 

However, when put to the test on the water, they fail dismally to get the old adrenalin pump to kick into action and are often then retired to a dry life style, only to be presented in ones workshop at home, as an interesting conversation piece, never to be run again, due to performance failure. (A stigma most men don’t take too kindly to. LOL)

These RTR boats are also, almost all, already completely built and decaled.

This, I feel robs the enthusiastic model boater of achieving any self satisfaction and fulfillment  sought, which would otherwise be realized when completing the build of the boat himself ,through the various processes: 

Namely, researching and realizing the desired power plant one wants to run. Assembling the hardware running gear set up and ensuring all is as you like it. Expressing ones creativeness and character through custom decal presentations on the boat or even undertaking colorful spray paint finish, for those who have the ability and means.

All of this, in truth, is very much part of what makes model boating what it ought to be “Fulfilling” and the TURBO CAT has it to offer.

In the current financial  economy that we find ourselves in, one needs to be more frugal and seek to spend ones money far more wisely.  Most of us have learnt, especially in the world of rc model boating, that purchasing cheap is not always better, especially in the long run. But then , many of us have also spent a small fortune, only to be as disappointed in the actual end results.

The TURBO CAT for me, really broke all the rules of the above, and definitely delivers a competitive, exiting and quality package, when it comes down to realizing value for money.

When the Importer of the TURBO CAT first approached me to share with me what he had on offer, I have to say, that it all sounded “to good to be true” 

Yet, to my absolute surprise, when I  set eyes on the boat for the first time, after digging for it, through  its packaging, like a magician doing his box in a box act, I was absolutely amazed.

The packaging in itself speaks volumes of the care that the manufacturer has taken, not only in the boat, but to ensure that every boat reaches its destination in one piece. Yet, to ship it is still affordable in size and  weight, to make it a product that can be imported  feasibly.  Even for it  to be couriered around the country, to your door if need be, at a very affordable rate from your closest agent.

The first impression that the actual boat itself presents, is the high gloss exterior finish it has. No exterior surface pin holes need to be filed or any  final finish paint coatings applied, as is the case with so many epoxy hulls that are manufactured.

The exterior surface is ready to receive your custom choice design of vinyl decals and stickers, that are so popular now days due to there convenience and creative measure, especially through  the advent of  affordable computer technology, available as a service to the public, at the various print shops.

The boats common stock colour is white. There are singular primary colour choices, that range from yellow, red, blue and black, although this is  limited to available stock.

Given that, the surface is well presented, and it makes spraying  any  custom colour desired if need be, a whole lot easier, considering that all  the hard work of preparing a good surface, is taken care of.

The interior, is a very neat example of a well  hand laid up, epoxy and woven cloth layup, and does not require any finishing.

Overall, the boat itself is light in weight, as the designer and manufacturer obviously realized the importance of  the power to weight ratio, when developing it, as it is primarily intended to produce competitive racing results. 

Yet, the overall structure is still sturdy enough to present a rigid and durable hull, that has even shown the ability to endure some of my poorly calculated driving lines which result in the boat colliding with the buoys, at full speed, 90km/h plus. 

Further more, all the necessary running hardware is supplied with the boat and some even already fitted

To name the components:

 Fitted in the correct position to ensure the desired Centre of gravity, is the brass drive shaft tube, lined with a Teflon tube to reduce friction. The flex shaft with its square end and supplied Colet to secure it to the motors crank.  The actual surface drive strut, adjustable in angle and height,  with a strong ¼ inch drive shaft,  which is furnished with the prop dog drive, an appropriate aluminum surface piercing propeller as well as a bullet, prop retaining, shaft end. The efficient wedge shape rudder with an  extension transom mounting bracket, which optimizes the steering ability and stability The rudders mounting point also comes with a brass pin which simply shears when  struck by an object in the water This to prevent any severe damage to both the rudder and hull.   The actual engine mounting brackets are supplied predrilled and taped with all the necessary bolts and rubber mountings required mounting and cradling the motor to prevent any severe vibration which would otherwise destroy the boat. The molded Radio box has a laminated ply pre cut servo mount tray to house the standard size servos required  with the screws to secure the servos. It has the necessary pre cut and bent servo linkages required to reach the throttle and steering arms, with the concertina rubber booties fitted in the wall of the radio box to prevent water leaking into it

The radio box has a rebated with a neoprene seal and a clear Perspex lid The lid  has a pre drilled switch location and peripheral mounting holes to secure it by means of knurled head, hand tightening bolts.

The most critical decision in the success of most boats is the exact  location of the motor, which in turn determines the CG (centre of gravity). This position plays the biggest part in the success of how the boat will perform on the water. In the case of the TURBO CAT this is all sorted out bye the laminated ply mounting struts, which run the full length of the hull, not only being fitted in place, but also bye having the  engine mounting holes predrilled, to ensure that the motor is located correctly. All the necessary water pickups and water exit fittings are supplied and located, as well as the silicon pipes required to connect them to the relevant points on the motor and exhaust cooling inlets and outlets.  

The lid is prefitted and has a front locater and two fittings at the rear to secure it.

What I found so beneficial of having all the necessary running gear supplied with the hull, was not only that the guess work was already done and paid for bye somebody else when it came to selecting the correct components and set up, but that I have also saved allot of time in avoiding resourcing and waiting for shipments of parts to arrive from various sources to complete the project

 I have no doubt, that this is also all starting to sound to good to be true for you as well now, and at the current price of R3299-00 excl. Vat, plus shipping, you have to agree with me, that it continues to defy  the current expectation of pricing one would to pay for this boat Kit.

Other than all that is already supplied in the TURBO CAT kit, you have a number of added purchase choices to make, to complete the build of your boat, these will depend on your desired results and budget restraints. 

When it comes to choosing the Power plant that you want for your boat.

The boat is designed around accommodating the petrol powered 26cc Zenoah or Sikk range of purpose built, marine motors, of which there are various performance output models available.

There are a wide variety of exhaust pipes systems (tuned pipes) to suite these motors  which have  proven to vary the overall power of the motors output considerably.

One needs to install a fuel tank of which there are many options, once again dependant on your desired results and volume   of fuel required. You can use the purpose  manufactured tanks that come in various sizes, available at most hobby shops, or simply install the ever popular  medical IV bag installation, which is the least expensive and does not require a breather pipe, which limits the risk of water contamination in the fuel.

There is the need to purchase a radio, which is purely a personal choice, mostly between stick control or pistol grip, although there are those who love all the lights and digital display “stuff” which does not make it go any faster. A boat radio does not have to be an expensive affair. A good quality, two channel radio, is 

all that is required. The steering servo will have to be a standard size Heavy duty, and often when purchasing your radio the shop will consider upgrading one of the two servo’s that come with the radio for a small added charge.

To end this review,  I will say is that the time and money spent is all worth it when it comes to the desired Performance on the water.

I have run model racing boats for most of my life and have to say that this boat amazes me more and more.

It has not required hours of work on and off the water to get it set up correctly, in fact, I have spent very little time having to play around with settings. The biggest challenge for me, has been growing my own understanding and confidence in the boats actual ability on the water, in all the various conditions.

On flat water, it has the amazing ability to break free and literally fly across the water, as if it is airborne and in the rough, even into the wind, somehow it can hold its nose down, and still run at good speed.

It executes 90-180 degree turns in a flash and can run a smooth oval turn without any sign of hooking.

The Off-Shore Gas class, in which the TURBO CAT is raced against  a number of other designs of both catamaran and V bottom styled hulls, is becoming the leading rc racing class in most model boat clubs nationally, and the TURBO CAT is no stranger to the podium.

A awesome boat, sure to deliver “instant gratification” and good results !


See you on the water!