When Captain Ed Kattel learned that his vessel, the 36-foot-long sport-fishing boat Cool Cat, would be the first to debut new Cat® C7.1 marine propulsion engines, he admits to being a tad nervous.
“We were all kind of holding our breath,” he says of the repowered boat’s initial day on the water in July 2016. “But right out of the gate, from the very first sea trial, she performed just perfect—and we haven’t had any problems since.”
For Kattel—who captains the Key Largo-based vessel for Cat dealer Kelly Tractor/Pantropic Power, taking customers on fishing trips around the Florida Keys—the performance and durability of Cat engines isn’t new. Built in 2002, Cool Cat was initially powered by 3126B engines and then C7s.
“Each one has been a positive step forward,” Kattel says. “I was very happy with the C7s—we got 6,000 hours out of them. But these new C7.1s are just fantastic. I’m thrilled to have them.”
Here are the top four reasons Kattel is no longer a tiny bit worried about running the new Cat C7.1s:
1. More power
Kattel says Cool Cat’s top speed has increased from 29 knots to close to 35 knots, with cruising speed up 3-3.5 knots. He’s impressed with the C7.1’s common rail fuel system, which pressurizes fuel at the pump instead of the injectors. “I’ve noticed better performance coming up out of a hole,” he says. “When you fish like we do, you start and stop a lot. She jumps up pretty quick on plane.”
2. Better fuel efficiency
Kattel reports 25-30% better fuel efficiency with the new C7.1 engines. “Before we were burning 75-100 gallons per trip. Now it’s 50-65 gallons,” he says. “I can do three or four trips before I have to call the fuel truck. That saves time and money—and anything you can save on fuel you can put toward tackle.” Next summer, Kattel expects to be able to take advantage of the added fuel economy “to run greater distances when we’re looking for fish.”
3. Fewer emissions
“We fish about 100 days a year and when the weather gets rough, the smell of diesel smoke can make people sick,” Kattel says. “There’s no smoke with these Tier 4 engines. You don’t smell it and you don’t see it.” Plus, he’s thrilled that the C7.1s don’t require urea aftertreatment to meet emissions standards.
4. Smaller, lighter, quieter design
Kattel also likes that the C7.1 engines are smaller—giving him more space to walk around in the engine room—and a couple hundred pounds lighter than the previous engines. Another bonus: “These new engines are so quiet.”
Interested in learning more about Kattel’s experience with the new Cat C7.1 engines? He and Cool Cat will be on hand at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, November 3-7. Find them at the Caterpillar tent #1212.