Robb Report Australia


Racing towards self-sufficient sailing

Kato is a high-tech, fully carbon-fibre hot-rod on water that can lay claim to being a fully self-sufficient green machine.

Its owner, Tony Longhurst, two-time Bathurst 1000 winner and owner of The Boat Works shipyard on Queensland’s Gold Coast, is a visionary in terms of alternative power, materials and design for his new Schionning G-Force 2000 Speciale.


Longhurst’s brief to the boat’s builders, Noosa Marine, was to create the lightest, strongest, fastest cruising multihull possible, and to harness the sun for propulsion – a feature that has attracted global attention for its applications across the sailing spectrum.

Boasting all the comforts of home, down to the coffee machine, 19.5-metre (65-foot) Kato features carbon-fibre everywhere, unusual beyond the sphere of pure racing yachts.

0U4A3797 2

Kato’ssails and rig are superyacht quality. Southern Spars designed and fabricated the impressive 23-metre mast in South Africa, while the sails were made by North Sails at their Nevada loft. The one-piece moulded 3Di sails are made using the TPT (thin-ply technology) patented system, a lightweight prepreg (pre-impregnated) product used in America’s Cup boats and Formula 1 cars.

Longhurst has come full circle, from burning fossil fuel to pioneering alternative power aboard Kato, which is fitted with 15 Italian-made 110-watt solar panels that supply power via an inverter to the Oceanvolt electric engine, installed in the aft utility room. An auxiliary generator is available for backup on a rainy day.


Made in Finland, the Oceanvolt system is silent, lightweight, emission-free, low maintenance and claimed as “an absolutely viable replacement for diesel propulsion”, according to Longhurst.

“We shouldn’t have to use any fuel. We will be aiming for a possible 30 knots in the right conditions, with only the sound of the wind in our sails.”

Receive Robb Report Australia
Magazine, in your mailbox. Every edition,
direct to your home.
Robb Report
Receive Robb Report Australia
Magazine, in your mailbox. Every edition,
direct to your home.