Thursday, April 22, 2010

Putting my money on their quality

by Lenny Rudow

Cat Advantage #8: Modern cats have the same quality as a high-end mono hull

Look, let’s use some common sense: you can find high quality builders, low quality builders, and everything in between whether you’re talking about cat boats, monohull boats, or for that matter, cars or powertools.

Wait a sec—I know what you're thinking: "Hey Rudow, that's easy to say, but why don't you put your money where your mouth is?" Well, I already did. When I wanted to go from a single engine boat to twins last fall, I set out to find a Glacier Bay 22 that was 10 years old or more, with trashed engines. I knew darn well that I could strip a boat like this down to the hull, repower and rewire it, and have a boat that was solid and reliable. If I thought cats were built poorly, do you think I would have intentionally looked for a decade-old hull that I planned to run offshore with my own kids? I found the right boat in October of 08, followed my plan, and put 278 hours on it from last May through last week. So far, I've had zero problems with the boat's structure and major parts.Dead outboard #1 comes off of a 12 year old cat - which is otherwise in excellent shape
Dead outboard #1 comes off of a 12 year old cat - which is otherwise in excellent shape. Would I really seek out and repower a cat this old, if I didn't have confidence in its construction? The answer is obvious.
You want more evidence? When I ran "Project Boats" for Boating Magazine, I spent entire seasons testing boats of all makes and models. I would make a list of all the major items that broke during the year, and that list ranged from one thing to 26. On monohulls, an average of eight items per boat broke. On cats, the average was five. Yes, we had one cat that was a stinker with over 15 problems including a near-sinking due to faulty plumbing, but two of the monohulls also had major-league issues. And the company that built that bad kitty has since gone out of business—exactly what’s supposed to happen in a capitalist economy. If you build an inferior product, the marketplace will eliminate you. Done deal.

Would I really seek out and repower a cat this old, if I didn't have confidence in its construction? The answer is obvious
If you need still more evidence of workmanship in a cat (more then your own eyes show you when looking at the fit and finish and comparing it to other boats), then check out World Cat’s new 320CC. (You can read my full review of this boat at www.HookedOnFishingBoats.com). The entire hull of this boat is resin-infused. Resin infusion is a cutting-edge technique that sucks the fiberglass resin through the glass cloth under vacuum, which minimizes the weight of the final item while maximizing its strength. Many boat builders use resin infusion to create parts like hatch covers. But very, very few build their entire hull this way. Next, look at the T-top supports. They’re integrated into the console structure, windshield, and hard top. Again, this is something a mere handful of builders have been able to accomplish. You simply don’t find construction techniques like these on second-rate boats. In fact, you don’t find them on many first-rate boats. So please, look a little closer before believing this myth. Do your homework, and you won’t merely question its accuracy—you’ll laugh at it.

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