One look at Hallett's new 270 Cat might conjure images of the Carlson boats used in the James Bond movies "Live and Let Die" and "Moonraker"—and there would be good reason for it. In designing the new cat, Hallett called on the services of Art Carlson, of Glastron/Carlson fame, who designed the boats for the movies derived from Ian Fleming novels. Whereas Carlson designed the deck, Ron Jones designed the hull. Hallett, in typically fine fashion, provided the high-quality construction.
The 270 model came to round one of our Performance Trials in Parker, Ariz., with no options, save for the Mercury Racing HP500EFI engine. As tested, the 27'-long boat with the 8'6''-wide beam rang up at $81,400. However, Hallett does offer a Bimini top for $750 and an acrylon cover for $800.
From the side, the new 270 didn't even look like a cat. Stepping to the rear, however, revealed otherwise. Each sponson's running surface was angled outward at about 2 or 3 degrees from the inside corner. Where a chine normally would be located, the Hallett's hull jutted up at about 45 degrees, with one lifting strake that ran forward and terminated approximately even with the front of the windshield. Farther outward, there actually was a flat chine, measuring about 1-inch wide that ran forward and narrowed as the hull curved up toward the bow. In the center of the otherwise flat tunnel, there lay a deep-V, with about 24 degrees of deadrise, about 16 inches wide and about 4 inches deep. At the rear, the transom revealed a protrusion that allowed the engine to set back farther in the hull.
Powered by an HP500EFI with a 1.5:1 Bravo One drive spinning a four-blade Bravo One 15 1/4" x 28" propeller, the 270 scampered to a top speed of 81 mph at 5000 rpm. In just 10 seconds, the 270 hit 54 mph and took just five seconds more than that to hit 65 mph. Despite not being equipped with trim tabs, the 270 climbed on plane in just 3.9 seconds.
At speed, the new 270 exhibited some porpoising, which was a little disappointing to our test crew, but given how much of this boat's weight was based toward the rear, it was not all that surprising, either. It perhaps could be fixed by adding some weight to the front of the boat, moving the engine forward a bit or both. Realize that the cabin in the forward section of the boat was unfinished—no upholstery, furniture or carpeting—so there was some extra weight to be gained in the bow.
During slalom maneuvers at 30 mph, the boat leaned into turns and performed just dandy. However like some cats, it wouldn't lean into turns at higher speeds, requiring the driver to scrub off a bit of speed before making directional changes. Weight shift was good and low speed tracking was excellent, but tracking seemed to deteriorate a bit as the boat neared top speed. Throttle response in the low end was excellent and decent throughout the rpm range.
Walking alongside the 270 it was easy to see the outstanding mold work and excellent finish on the gelcoat. And, if you looked closely enough, you'd notice that all of the Phillips screw heads were aligned perfectly. All of the graphics work was done in the mold, which isn't easy, considering that there are three color stripes interwoven and outlined with silver borders. Meticulous detail all the way here, to say the least.
Beneath the gelcoat, the lamination schedule began with multiple layers of triaxial and knitted fiberglass cloth and Hydropel vinylester resin. Hallett used sandwiched balsa-core in the hull and Divinycell coring in the deck. Once assembled, the hull and deck were reinforced with plywood bulkheads.
Deck hardware included two pair of Accon Pull-Up cleats just forward of the windshield and next to the rear bench seat. Because Hallett had to finish building the boat in time for the Performance Trials, it was not yet fitted with navigation or anchor lights. It did come standard with a swim ladder on the port swim platform and a handy grab bar for easier egress from the water.
Under the pronounced engine hatch, Hallett finished the compartment in white gelcoat with a splatter-paint treatment. The engine sat high on standard Mercury offshore-style mounts, making it easy to get to all minor and major services. Wiring and rigging was neat and sanitary, and certainly worthy of praise.
As mentioned above, the 270 came to the trials with an unfinished cabin, so it was impossible to rate its fit and finish. The exposed fiberglass and resin had been treated as if it were ready for interior carpet, headlining and upholstery. Everything was smooth and trimmed with no lumps or blobs of resin anywhere.
Out in the well stocked and surprisingly spacious cockpit, Hallett laid its traditional teak on the floor and fitted it with a generous helping of snap-in Berber carpeting. At the helm, the driver sat in a snug and supportive fixed bucket seat with stowage areas beneath, looking over a set of Faria gauges. The dash was well-appointed and uncluttered with a tach and speedo mounted up top, a Bluewater Performance drive indicator in the center, peripheral gauges to each side, with a little room left over for auxiliary instruments.
For a first effort at building a catamaran, Hallett retained the company's look and feel in the 270. The eye-popping in-gelcoat graphics are there, and the attention to detail is evident. With Hallett's craftsmanship, the 270 should provide years of solid driving pleasure.
Hull and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||13 degrees|
|Hull weight||4,500 pounds|
|Engine||Mercury Racing HP500EFI|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.5:1|
|Propeller||Mercury Bravo One 15 1/4" x 28"|
|Price as tested||$81,400|
Seating and upholstery to customer specifications, built-in stereo, smoked acrylic windscreen, custom switch panel, full marine instrument panel with speedometer, interior lights, automatic bilge pump, bow and stern cleats with ski tow, rear grab rails, electric engine hatch lift, fiberglass engine hatch, dual batteries, courtesy lights, engine dividers.
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to a Mercury Racing HP500EFI engine ($16,500), Acrylon cover ($800), Bimini top ($750).
|3 seconds||22 mph|
|5 seconds||39 mph|
|10 seconds||54 mph|
|15 seconds||65 mph|
|20-40 mph||5.2 seconds|
|30-50 mph||5.2 seconds|
|30-60 mph||7.9 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Speedometer||83 mph at 5000 rpm|
|Radar||81 mph at 5000 rpm|
|Nordskog Performance Products GPS||NA|
|Time to plane||3.9 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||22 mph|
|At 45 mph||2.9 mpg|
|At 55 mph||2.6 mpg|
|At WOT||2.1 mpg|
|Fuel capacity||80 gallons|
5820 Martin Road
Irwindale, CA 91706