Power catamaran fishing boats hold a small but dedicated sliver of the market. Most folks — by far — opt for monohulls, yet those who own cats tend to love them and buy cats in the future when they upgrade. If you’ve been looking at new boats lately, you may have noticed that power catamaran boats:
- Tend to ride smoother than most monohulls of a similar size and weight.
- Have enhanced stability when compared to single hulled boats.
- Have more deck space, specifically in the bow, since they’re more or less squared-off instead of coming to a point.
- Usually require less power to attain the same speed as other boats of the same weight and size.
You may have also noticed that power catamaran boats:
- May have so much stability that when they do roll, they right themselves faster than normal and create a sharp, abrupt motion known as a “snap” roll.
- May “sneeze,” which is when a puff of mist that shoots out from the bow and gets everyone on board damp.
- Often cost more than a monohull of the same length.
- Look a bit on the odd side.
Yes, there are up-sides and down-sides to powercats, as there are with all hull designs. And they can’t be lumped into a one-size-fits-all category, either. Just as some monohulls ride better or worse than others, specific cat models also differ in their attributes. (Hence all the use of words like “may” and “tend to” above). So there’s a danger to generalizing too much. In fact, it gets even tougher to make broad statements when you realize that each specific designs not only have different attributes, but they have different attributes in every different sea condition, with different loads, and even when run by different captains.
So let’s circle back to the original question: is a power catamaran the right boat for you? There’s only one way to be sure—time spent on the water, on different powercats. While the above generalizations are more or less accurate, every person will step off onto the dock after a test-ride with a different opinion. And that opinion may change with changes in the conditions. So if you think a cat might be right for you, put the theory to the test. Get on one—make that get on three, or four, or five of ’em—and run them through different sea conditions. Spend lots of time running them, before you reach any solid conclusions. You might decide cats just aren’t for you, and get a monohull. Or, you might just find your next boat—and love it.
Read Lenny’s review of the Glacier Bay 2665 Powercat in FishTalk.