A Whole Different Animal - Wild Cats that Got the Cream
Florida Sport Fishing|September/October 2019
MOST ANGLERS HAVE STRONG BELIEFS ABOUT WHAT HULL TYPE IS BEST. Running hard in rough water requires a seaworthy platform with the strength and stability to keep you safe, comfortable and dry. Among the different trends that have consequently become evident from the evolution of center consoles, boat builders are cornering a new niche of complex and competitive catamarans harnessing more outboard power than ever before. Breaking the barrier with innovative hull designs and deck layouts, the newest catamarans offer unobstructed fishability while providing increased fuel economy and speed per applied horsepower.

A catamaran is essentially two deep-V hulls joined together. The hulls are called spon-sons, feature sharp entry forward, and trap air in the tunnel when running on plane. Traditional qualities of twin hulls contribute to a smooth ride that softens wave impact. As widespread center console manufacturers continue to optimize their monohull platforms to achieve just that, catamarans have historically excelled in this regard. In the years leading up to the recent attention shiftto the growing market share of production fishing cats, helmsmen already familiar with the advantages provided by dual hull configurations have been somewhat puzzled as to why these designs have flown under the radar of recreational anglers for so long.

One of the most appreciable advantages is the inherent roll stability they are able to provide. Comfortable at rest, on the troll or at cruising speed, these super versatile platforms are taking the offshore fishing experience to a whole new level. Lower hull resistance also helps cats get on plane faster and with less bow rise. Single deep-V hulls, while impressive in their own right, often require greater horsepower and may not be as fuel efficient as comparable twin hull designs. Despite the once underrated capabilities of center console catamarans, it’s important to note that there’s no debating whether two hulls are really better than one. There is no one perfect boat for every fishery or every family. You can’t beat the efficiency and stability of a beamy twin hull, but no cat can achieve the sleek lines and wave crushing capabilities of a comparably equipped deep-V.

While many manufacturers have recently ventured into the world of fishing catamarans, North Carolina’s Tideline Boats (tidelineboats.com) has specialized in the field for years in production of its versatile 235 Hybrid. Designed by renowned naval architect Robert Ullberg, the 365 Offshore handles distant blue water fisheries with ease while maintaining a level of comfort and style today’s discerning owners desire.

Next to the wide beam that’s carried from transom to bow, another desirable characteristic of this semi-custom cat is the material in which it is fabricated. Proven high-quality vinylester resins and vacuum infusion techniques yield top-ofthe-line toughness with lightweight construction. Surprisingly, this 36-footer has a dry weight just over 9,000 pounds! The hull is also glassed into an internal composite stringer grid, adding even more strength to the finished product. The end result is a proudly overbuilt platform that remains durable for years to come.

Equipped with twin Yamaha F350s, the 365 Offshore achieved 1.4 miles per gallon and 40 miles per hour at 4,100 rpm. Conversely, quad Suzuki 350s propel the vessel to 50 miles per hour achieving 0.96 miles per gallon at 4,500 rpm. The inherent design provides excellent fuel efficiency thanks in part to the sharp entry points of the twin hulls. The wall-to-wall beam also presents anglers with a tremendous amount of insulated storage space, including a 688-quart coffin box and two 815-quart in-floor boxes. Two spacious 45-gallon aftlivewells grant anglers effortless access to their baits, while two 88-gallon livewells in the deck and optional tuna tubes provide even more capacity for fun tickets.

With so many builders offering premium standard features, options, and yacht-like finish work, finding the perfect pedigree can be a challenging endeavor. Among the collection of popular builders breaking the mold of unattractive cats, Freeman’s (freemanboatworks.com) 42LR stands out as one of the most impressive center console catamarans available. Along with a thoughtful deck layout that provides a massive cockpit by way of moving the helm slightly forward, the 42LR is equipped with twin fuel tanks offering 800-gallon capacity. This supplements the vessel’s already efficient design to provide captains and crews with exceptional range for extended excursions and overnight explorations deep into the Gulf. It’s also worth noting that operators don’t have to pull the throttles back to experience the fuel efficient benefits of this craft, with 45-knot cruising speeds easily attainable. Since catamarans feature two hulls instead of one, the shape of those hulls can be narrower and sharper than traditional deep-V designs. This quality lends itself to impressive fuel efficiency because the two hulls effectively displace less water and reduce drag compared to competing monohulls.

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A Whole Different Animal - Wild Cats that Got the Cream

MOST ANGLERS HAVE STRONG BELIEFS ABOUT WHAT HULL TYPE IS BEST. Running hard in rough water requires a seaworthy platform with the strength and stability to keep you safe, comfortable and dry. Among the different trends that have consequently become evident from the evolution of center consoles, boat builders are cornering a new niche of complex and competitive catamarans harnessing more outboard power than ever before. Breaking the barrier with innovative hull designs and deck layouts, the newest catamarans offer unobstructed fishability while providing increased fuel economy and speed per applied horsepower.

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