When I caught sight of the fire-engine red Pulse 650 at Sanctuary Cove, my first reaction was “wow”. We all know red things go faster than other coloured ones, but the Pulse's sleek design screamed “sail me”.
Fortunately, I got that chance on Moreton Bay last week when I took the demonstrator model for a spin in ideal conditions – the winds were gusting to around 12 knots off the land so the sea state was very kind.
Stowing my camera and shoes in the hatch beneath the bright red cowling, I quickly saw that there was enough room on this little boat for some camping gear if you wanted to stay overnight. If you're going solo you could drop an airbed under the cowling and sleep there, you could enjoy the comfort of the trampoline if there were two of you, or bump her up to the beach and go ashore with your tent.
You'd get an eski, a camp stove and bit of food and drink under the cowling or in the hatch too.
But I think if I owned one of these slick little beasts, I'd probably spend most of my time just belting around the bay and enjoying the speed.
She's very easy to handle and like all multihulls, slows down quickly when you point her too high but lifts her skirts and scoots away again when you get your trim right.
Sail handling is also very easy owing to furlers on all sails. The main on the demo needs a stiffer bolt rope, but all new boats will be supplied with this minor matter fixed. The main is small enough to handle easily but large enough to give the boat her drive.
There is also a well-proportioned jib which cleats at the base of the mast and a decent-sized asymmetric spinnaker on a furler, which attaches to the end of the prodder.
Downwind the boat fairly flies, quickly accelerating to 12 or 15 knots in the gusts. Furl the spinnaker and turn upwind and you'll be surprised at the angle you can sail.
I'm a mono sailor primarily and as usual tried to point a little high. But once I remembered my multihull manners and bore away to get boatspeed, I was impressed how easily I could edge up to windward and make good progress towards our objective.
Back at the RQYS marina, there was another surprise in store. Host Phil Day whipped out a spanner, disconnected four bolts and folded the amahs (that's a fancy trimaran name for the floats on the sides) against the side of the main hull.
Fully loaded on the trailer the boat weighs just 800kg, making it trailable behind most family cars. This one was going on to the hardstand so we didn't need to drop the mast, but I'm told that's an easy task too. Phil says 10 minutes gets the craft in the water, rigged and sailing, and the same amount of time at the end of the sail has her packed away again.
Although the Pulse 600 was launched only five months ago, there are already three models racing in Asia and three more have been ordered for Australia. These two fleets, and additional boats that are expected to be added, will provide the basis for some excellent one-design racing.
You can see the boat I tested at Sydney International Boat Show from July 30 to August 3 or contact any of the Multihull Central offices to express your interest. For more details go to www.multihullcentral.com or call 1300 852 620 and for more details on the Corsair range go to www.corsairmarine.com.
– Roger McMillan