|AquaCraft Lucas Oil FE Catamaran|
|Hull Length:||29-3/4" (756mm)|
|Overall Length:||32" (813mm)|
|Weight:||88.5 oz (2.50kg)|
|Motor:||Brushless Inrunner 1800 kV w/Aluminum Water Jacket|
|Prop:||FRP 43x50mm 2-Blade (dia. 1.68, pitch 1.98)|
|ESC:||AquaCraft 60 Amp,4S Lipo Ready, Water Cooled|
|Servo:||Hobbico Standard Size servo|
|Transmitter:||Tactic TTX240 SLT 2.4GHz (RTR)|
|Receiver:||Tactic TR325 (RTR)|
|Battery:||Two 4200-5000 MAh 2S 7.4V 30C-40C LiPo|
|Available From:||Hobbico Dealers|
The AquaCraft Lucas Oil Racing Catamaran is a scale representation of the beautiful #13 Lucas Oil offshore racing Catamaran. Like its full-size brother, the AquaCraft Lucas Oil shrugs off rough water and is very fast to the finish line. If you've got a hankering for some high-speed offshore racing action, then this is your boat. It is fully IMPBA race legal in the "P" Class of Fast Electrics (FE).
A very long time ago I tried model boat racing, but the tricky surface drive hardware adjustments and the 2-stroke engine tuning problems proved too much for my limited time and budget. On the few occasions everything worked, I really enjoyed the experience, and I've been looking for some way to get back into model boat racing. I recently reviewed the new AquaCraft GP-1 Hydro, and that was all it took to get me hooked on electric racing! When I saw the new Lucas Oil Catamaran, I knew I wanted one. This new Cat was larger than the little hydro and looked like it should be more stable on rough water. When the big brown truck brought my new boat, I could hardly wait to get that beautiful Lucas Oil box open and get this baby out on the water!
|Pole Count:||6 Poles|
|kV rating:||1800 kV|
|Shaft Diameter:||5 mm|
|Operating Current:||5.0 Amps No Load|
|Max Current:||80 Amps (5 seconds)|
|Input Voltage:||7 to 18.5 Volts|
|Dimensions:||1.4 in (36 mm) x 2.2 in (56 mm)|
|Weight:||7.5 oz (212 g)|
|Rated Current:||60 Amps|
|Battery Connector:||Deans Ultra Plug|
|Motor Connectors:||4 mm Bullet Plugs|
|Wire Gauge:||14 AWG|
|Warning Type:||12 Volt Stutter Bump|
|Low Voltage CO:||11.6 Volts|
|BEC Max Current:||2 Amps|
|PWM:||8 k Hz|
|Dimensions:||3.9 in (100 mm) x 1.5 in (38 mm) x 0.7 in (17 mm)|
|Weight:||3.8 oz (109 g)|
The 8-page Instruction Manual includes numerous illustrations and important safety tips. Since the Lucas Oil Catamaran is already assembled, putting the fastener material on the LiPo batteries and getting them on charge should probably be the first order of business. The Rx-R (Receiver Ready) version of the boat will only take a few more minutes to get ready, so charging the LiPo batteries should still be job #1.
The Ready-to-run boat requires 4 AA batteries for the transmitter and two 2S 4000 to 5000 MAh LiPo batteries. The battery hook and loop fastening material is already installed in the hull so all that remains is to install the included loop material to the LiPo batteries.
This whole process takes less than 2 minutes. Once the batteries are fully charged and installed in the hull, the Lucas Oil is almost ready for the water. When I checked the throttle and steering for proper function, I found that both the throttle and steering channels had to be set to reverse on the Tactic transmitter. I later found that the steering rate should have been set to the middle of its range.
It should be noted that the AquaCraft speed control has a unique arming sequence and the sequence MUST be completed prior to every run. Once the boat batteries are plugged in, the ESC goes through an initial arming sequence and then gives a single beep. Squeezing the transmitter throttle trigger to full speed will be rewarded with a second beep. Releasing the throttle to the idle position will result in three beeps. The controller is now armed and the motor will run the next time the throttle is squeezed.
The final step is to tape the canopy to the deck to help waterproof the drop tub area. The canopy fits easily into the recess in the hull and the rectangular shape makes taping the edges a snap.
The Receiver ready boat requires a minimum 2-channel transmitter and receiver for operation. To protect the electronics, treat the receiver with a generous soaking of CorrosionX. The receiver mounting area is located on the port side by the transom. Once the receiver is properly positioned, plug the rudder servo into the receiver steering channel and the ESC into the throttle channel. If you are using a "wheel" type radio, you will need to verify proper steering direction and proper ESC arming operation. Verify ESC arming by turning on the TX, plugging in the boat battery and waiting for the first arming tone. Next fully squeeze the throttle trigger and listen for a second tone, then release the trigger and listen for three tones. The motor should now run when you squeeze the trigger. If the ESC does not arm, turn everything off, adjust the throttle trim upward, and try again. If you choose to use a "stick" radio, I suggest you use the Aileron channel for steering. The low throttle end point will need to be adjusted upward before the ESC can properly arm. To find the proper set point for your transmitter, turn on the transmitter and plug in the boat batteries with the transmitter throttle at the full idle position. Then slowly increased the low throttle endpoint adjustment a little at a time until you hear the first ESC arming tone. Unplug the boat, cycle the transmitter off and then back on, and then plug in the boat battery. You may still need to increase the low end point another 5% before the ESC will reliably arm. My transmitter required the end point to be reduced from 100% to 60% on the low end before the ESC would reliably arm.
Now comes the fun part!
The manual didn't discuss any special launching techniques, so I put the boat in the water and gently squeezed the throttle till I was at full bore. The Lucas Oil was up on step and running before I even got to full throttle. That was easy! Two clicks of right rudder trim and the boat was running straight and fast.
The Lucas Oil had a distinctive sound when it was on step and running straight. As soon as I made any input for a turn or course adjustment I could hear a pitch change that indicated I was slowing down just a little. I expected to loose momentum and slow in the turns, but I didn't expect the boat to be able to turn so quickly or in such a short distance. I had to adjust my steering rate to reduce to amount of travel available for steering control to keep from over steering the corners. Once I made that change, the Lucas Oil Catamaran was pure joy to run. It was rock solid on the course and hung in the turns like it was on rails. Wake turbulence was a non-event as the boat just stepped over the waves and kept on going.
The AquaCraft ESC has a Pre-Set Low Voltage Cutoff safety feature that will stutter bump the motor when the battery has reached a critical low voltage level of 12 Volts. GrimRacer recommends that the LiPo batteries should not be discharged below 70% of their capacity and recommends you start with a run time setting of 2 minutes and then check the charge level of the batteries. I used a timer set for 3 minutes and I never got to the ESC low voltage cutoff point.
Plan Ahead! In the event of a flip or an ESC cutoff, you should have a safe means of retrieving your boat.
NEVER SWIM AFTER AN OVERTURNED BOAT!!!
I've found that a long fishing pole with a weighted float works pretty well as an inexpensive retrieval tool. I simply cast out past the boat and drag the line across the overturned hull and snag the rudder. This usually allows for a quick and easy retrieve. A second RC boat towing a tennis ball on the end of a 15 foot length of line can work for longer retrieves. Simply circle the overturned boat and the line will drag over the hull and snag the rudder. However, I have had to use a full-size boat on those occasions when the worst occurred way out on the water.
At the end of my first run, I needed to empty out a little bit of water from inside the drop tub area. I put a couple of paper towels in the tub near the transom before my next runs and they soaked up every bit of water. A drain plug is provided in the transom to empty water from inside the hull. At the end of my first days runs, I didn't have a single drop of water inside the hull. GrimRacer recommends leaving the canopy and the drain plug open overnight to allow any moisture to evaporate.
When I'm finished running for the day, I clear out the water from the cooling system by blowing on the water vent tube at the transom while holding the hull upside down. This clears all the water out of the motor water jacket. I then remove the cooling lines from the motor and shoot a little preservative (CorrosionX) into the fittings on the water jacket. I then put a few drops of oil on each of the motor bearings.
Likewise, at the end of the day, I clean and lubricate the flex drive cable. The recommended GrimRacer Speed Grease is an excellent product for this purpose. The instruction manual details the proper procedure and lists all the tools needed for the job.
AquaCraft notes that the Lucas Oil Catamaran is not suitable for boaters under the age of 14. With that caveat, I think the Lucas Oil boat is the perfect beginners racing catamaran. It already has a powerful brushless inrunner motor, 60 Amp ESC, and quality GrimRacer hardware in a stable beautiful racing catamaran hull.
AquaCraft recommends their AQUB9725 42X55 2-bladed metal propeller as an upgrade to increase the speed of the Lucas Oil without exceeding the ratings of the motor or ESC. This will be the first item I'll change on my boat. However, metal props will need to be balanced and sharpened to get optimum performance from them. AquaCraft has an excellent publication describing this whole Propeller tuning process.
This Cat is FAST and very nimble! I had to dial down the rates to get a larger turn radius. Full rates would turn on a dime, but lost a lot of speed.
|AquaCraft Lucas Oil Racing Catamaran (2 min 30 sec)|
Turned the course 90 degrees and ran across the lake. Other than missing the concrete retaining wall on my end, it was easy. This run gives a different perspective on the running attitude, wave crossing, and turning radius of this fast Cat.
|Lucas Oil 2 (1 min 46 sec)|
The Lucas Oil catamaran is FAST! This IMPBA FE "P" Class racing catamaran is race ready right out of the box and it includes a powerful brushless inrunner motor and a LiPo ready water-cooled 60 Amp ESC. Box Stock this boat is fast, rock steady, and it turns like it's on rails. This boat would make the perfect first step into competitive boating. It would also make a great boat for cutting up the lake on a weekend.
I'd like to thank Hobbico and AquaCraft for providing the Lucas Oil Racing Catamaran for this review. I'd also like to thank my wife for shooting the great photos and smooth videos, and our editor Angela for her assistance in editing this review.Last edited by kingsflyer; Nov 03, 2013 at 12:18 AM..
Love the review! Is there any room for trimming the lower unit up to make the bow ride a bit higher in the water? I wonder if you could increase the mph by doing that? The pond at our flying field is a little low. What's a low speed turn radius? Might be in for some drag races!
Thanks for the kudos Stuart. I was amazed at how tight a turn radius the Lucas Oil boat had. At full rudder servo throw, it would turn in less than a 6' circle. I had to dial back the throw to open up the turns and keep from over controlling the turns. Yes, there is a lot of room for adjustment with the GrimRacer hardware. Take a look at these two pictures.
Too bad it isn't set up very well in the videos, they actually run much better than what is shown.
Needs a strut adjustment and possibly the CG tweaked a bit. it's running very wet, hard on the equipment and slower than it should be.
An m445 or m545 prop would also help. One of the first upgrades for this hull, along with replacing the stock flex shaft, there are known issues with them breaking.
You're right Chief, the stock setup is pretty well bulletproof on 4S. The nice thing is they left a little head room for increasing the prop size and getting more speed without changing the motor or ESC.
It's my understanding that the Lucas Oil hull is based on the Motley crew boat except the hull has additional fiberglass added to the bottom for more stiffness and the motor mount structure is thicker.
The more I run this boat, the better I'm liking it!
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