No fools, those people at the various divisions of Mercury Marine. When they wanted to show off their latest and greatest products, they turned to Bob Leach at Eliminator Boats in Mira Loma, Calif. Leach and company have earned a reputation for building high-quality stuff—that dresses up well. And the Eliminator 30 Daytona we tested was dressed to thrill.
The 29'10"-long, 9'-wide catamaran was outfitted with twin 496 Mag HO motors—the biggest power in the MerCruiser line, but actually quite tame by Eliminator standards. But that was the point: to show what can be done with mild power in an efficient cat. Another reason for the power choice was the PCM 555, the electronic control unit that manages it, which also happens to be the brains behind Mercury Marine's SmartCraft instrument series. Our test boat sported SmartCraft?s flagship System View SC 5000 multifunction LCD readout.
Lest the Mercury Racing people feel left out, the 30 Daytona was equipped with their new Integrated Transom System, the company's hydraulic steering/7-inch extension box and Bravo One XR drive packages (For more information on the entire ITS system, see "The Complete Package," Page 46, October 2001). As tested, the boat cost $203,369. Base price with small-block power is $128,100.
The big question on the docks at our test site on the Colorado River in Parker, Ariz.: Would the 30 Daytona run 100 mph? If so, would it do so on mild engines with five-year warranties? And that's what made the top-speed number so intriguing. For putting power to the water, the Bravo One XR drives had 1.5:1 gear reductions and lab-finished Mercury Bravo One 15 1/4" x 34" four-blade stainless-steel propellers.
Running on an 80-degree desert morning, the 30 Daytona got its number—and then some. Top speed was 105.3 mph at 5,050 rpm. The boat did take its time, and several runs, with all of eight gallons of fuel (according to the pleasantly precise SC 5000 readout) getting there. But given the relatively low power of the motors, we didn't expect the cat to be a rocket. Time to plane was 9.4 seconds with the Mercury Racing 30S K-plane up (one tab was mounted at the trailing edge of the tunnel), 8.3 seconds with it down. In 20 seconds, the boat reached 67 mph and it ran from 40 to 70 mph in 8.8 seconds.
Eliminator designed the 30 Daytona with two steps and a strake on each of its somewhat wide (for the size of the boat) sponsons and a center pod. There was a notch in the transom of each sponson.
The bottom produced docile, predictable handling. The 30 Daytona displayed outside lean typical to most catamarans in slalom and circle turns, but it wasn't the least bit alarming. Running in a straight line, the boat tracked perfectly and it decelerated without wandering off course. During one speed run, right around 98 mph, a strong gust pushed the boat slightly off line. Our driver corrected with ease.
About the only things we'd change about the boat were the height of the bucket seats and the view-blocking black sections of the acrylic fairings. The buckets provided comfort and the fairings knocked down the wind, but forward visibility while coming on plane was poor. Even when the boat was on plane, visibility of the water immediately ahead was only fair.
The big buzz on test day revolved around the 30 Daytona's impressive top speed, but the boat's gelcoat and mold work also earned high marks.
Hardware consisted of a blend of production and custom pieces, such as Accon Pull-Up cleats and billet grab handles. A bolt-on swim platform was located on the transom between the drives.
Hinged at the transom, the engine hatch was raised by an electric screw jack. Access to the big-block motors, which were installed on Mercury mounts and L-angles through-bolted to the stringers, was excellent.
Rigging was straightforward and well executed. The boat's two batteries were mounted in aluminum boxes from Eddie Marine. Wires, cables and hoses were routed with care and supported by aluminum cushion clamps.
The 30 Daytona's cabin was unfinished, and that was appropriate given the size of the boat and the available space belowdeck. The cockpit, however, was well-appointed and uncluttered.
Two bucket seats and a rear bench comprised the seating arrangement. Snap-in carpet covered the nonskid sole, which had a ski locker with a lift-out lid. Grab handles were provided for the co-pilot to port and the outer rear-bench passengers.
Front and center at the starboard helm station above the Dino polished billet steering wheel was the System View SC 5000 screen (For an in-depth look at the system, see "Know It All," Page 38, December 2001). Complementing the SC 5000 unit were Auto Meter Pro Comp tachometers and analog gauges for oil pressure, oil temperature and water pressure. All gauges were set in polished bezels. Rocker switches in Eddie Marine panels activated the accessories.
No doubt about it—the 30 Daytona was a Mercury Marine companies "project boat," from the engines under the hatch to the throttles and shifters that controlled them. But the foundation of the project was an Eliminator and that, as much as any of the products added to it, made this cat a winner.
Hull Information and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||14 degrees|
|Hull weight||6,800 pounds|
|Engines (2)||MerCruiser 496 Mag HO|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.5:1|
|Propellers||Mercury Bravo One lab-finished 15 1/4" x 34"|
|Price as tested||$203,369|
Twin 5.7-liter engines, full Eliminator instrumentation, Mercury power steering, bilge pumps and blowers, four-color paint and graphics.
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to twin MerCruiser 496 Mag HO engines ($30,066), full-hydraulic steering with stand-off boxes and tie bar ($17,695), Kevlor graphite cloth ($11,000), high-performance gimbal ($4,736), Mercury Racing 30S K-plane ($3,150), gelcoat upgrade ($2,500), SmartCraft ($2,000), sliding cabin door ($2,000), mufflers ($1,200), electric hatch lift ($643) and drive showers ($600).
|5 seconds||17 mph|
|10 seconds||35 mph|
|15 seconds||51 mph|
|20 seconds||67 mph|
|30-50 mph||6.1 seconds|
|40-60 mph||7.8 seconds|
|40-70 mph||8.8 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Radar||105.3 mph at 5050 rpm|
|Nordskog Performance Products GPS||105 mph at 5050 rpm|
|Time to plane||8.3 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||19 mph|
|At 35 mph||1.8 mpg|
|At 45 mph||1.9 mpg|
|At 55 mph||1.9 mpg|
|At 65 mph||2.2 mpg|
|Fuel capacity||160 gallons|
Test conducted atParker, Ariz.
For More Information
10795 San Sevaine
Mira Loma, CA 91752