When C-Fury made its UK debut at the RIBEX Show on the Isle of Wight in 2009, its prototype ‘Voyager’ made a very big impression. It appeared to combine the intuitive handlebar control of a personal watercraft with the twin hulls of a cat and the inflatable collar of a RIB. And if that wasn’t sufficiently peculiar, it also used a small hydrofoil allied to a four-stroke Yamaha F60 outboard. It came with quite a lofty price tag of course, but the builders of this extraordinary new boat were making some big claims, with top speeds of well beyond 35 knots and cruising economy of less than ten litres per hour. When this boat reached the full production stage, it was always destined to be a little bit special.
A very clever hull
The original design brief for the C-fury was ambitious to say the least. It needed to be simple for one person to launch, drive and recover. It also had to be easy to tow behind a small car and it had to fit in a regular domestic garage complete with trailer. In terms of dynamics, it had to accommodate a full family (four adults and a child) and it had to be capable of cruising at 20 knots in a one-metre sea. The answer C-fury came up with was clever in a great many ways . . .
From the bow, it looks like a trimaran with a third, smaller central hull section. This device creates a pair of tunnels that taper as they move aft, compressing the air, adding to the ride softness and increasing the stability. It also lifts the boat slightly higher in the water, reducing the wetted area of the hull and increasing the efficiency. It might sound like a feature of limited value but with repeated evidence on various C-Fury models of 10 litres per hour at 20 knots, it plainly works very well.
The benefits of the twin hulls are equally acute, with a predictably soft ride and an ability to cut through choppy seas with commendable composure. They also provide far greater stability at rest, plus very controlled handling at low (displacement) speeds.
And as for the hydrofoil, well that too has a useful part to play. It is basically a small metal wing on the underside of the hulls, which uses the water flow to create an upward force, lifting more of the boat free of the water to derive more pace from a given amount of power. The hydrofoil also tends to have a natural trimming effect, because as it nears the surface, the lift is reduced. This often limits the impact of your tweaks at the helm, but in the case of the C-fury, the impact of that is mercifully minimal. The manual trim switch brings quick and tangible results, and you can even exert a subtle influence on the boat’s planing attitude by shifting your own bodyweight. It all adds up to a very quick, efficient and agile driving experience.
Variations on a theme
The C-fury hull has been extensively tweaked and honed since the appearance of the original prototype and is now available in four guises (Voyager, Storm, Yacht and Patrol). The Voyager (pictured) is in essence the base model C-Fury, designed to offer maximum user-friendliness. It is a five-seat family craft with a full-beam aft bench and an extended central helm jockey seat. The aft bench folds up to provide access to the battery space, while beneath the central jockey seat is a plastic fuel tank and a fire extinguisher, all strapped safely in position.
The inflatable RIB-style collar is also very neatly arranged, with twin lifelines (one on the inside and one on the outside) so you can find a safe grabbing point, wherever you happen to be. The entire tube is also removable, so you can service it with ease, and the thick, oversized rubbing strake around the entire collar is a great means of deflecting any spray that attempts to find its way on board.
As for the other three models in the range, the differences are all about the layout, styling and features. The Storm model, for instance, is about driving entertainment so it is rigged like a personal watercraft, with an in-line console and fingertip handlebar controls, plus the option of either a 50 or 70hp outboard engine. The Yacht model is more of a blank canvas, enabling it to be styled as a tender to a larger craft. And the steely grey Patrol model is tailored for the commercial user, with a large, open deck, a weightier lay-up and a more modest Yamaha F40 powerplant.
The latest development
The latest development from C-Fury is the Patrol AWC (Adventure Water Craft), as we reported in our news item C-Fury to Launch new Patrol. Unsurprisingly, it follows the established format quite closely, but adds a towing ring, a seven-inch touchscreen chart plotter and an A-Frame with optional accessory mounts for a wakeboard rack. Like its predecessors, it is powered exclusively by Yamaha four-stroke outboards and is capable of taking anything up to 70hp. Given that the old Patrol with a Yamaha F40 managed in excess of 25 knots, the top end engine option on the new AWC ought to yield some ferociously aggressive performance figures.
Don’t let the outward strangeness of the C-fury put you off. This is a well-proven hull with a useful spread of models to cater for the type of boating you enjoy. It’s a very capable range, but perhaps the best of the bunch is the new Patrol AWC. With the heavier lay-up allied to the 70hp engine (and the promise of a permanent 45-litre fuel tank - currently under development), it looks like the finest exponent to date of this impressively promising concept. For more details see C-Fury
Alex Smith is an ex-Naval officer, with extensive experience as a marine journalist, boat tester and magazine editor. Having raced as a Pilot in the National Thundercat Series and as a Navigator in the inaugural Red Sea RIB Rally, he has now settled in the West Country, where he lives and works as a specialist marine writer and photographer from his narrowboat in Bath.