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 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.

Extraordinarily good head-sea performance

by Lenny Rudow

Cat Advantage 11: Cats love a head sea

Extraordinarily good head-sea performance is the exact reason many people, myself included, choose a cat in the first place.

Just look at a cat's bow, and your eyes will show you the first reason why this myth is as ridiculous as they come. Plenty of monohull brochures talk about a boat's "knife like" entry, but few monos have an entry that's anywhere nearly as sharp as the average cat's. As common sense tells you, a thinner entry means the boat can cut open waves instead of slamming against them. Meanwhile, the tunnel between the two hulls helps cushion the blows of a head sea by compressing air. Remember your basic hydraulics; water can't be compressed, but air can be. As a cat moves forward it crams air in-between the boat's hulls, the tunnel, and the water, creating an air-water slurry that acts as a cushion. The whooshing noises you often hear when running a cat are that compressed air escaping. And this is also why some cats "sneeze," or shoot a fine puff of mist out, as the air gets pushed forward. Yes, sneezing is one of the potential down-sides to owning a cat (most newer designs have eliminated or greatly reduced the problem, but some still do it to one degree or another.) For those of us who have bad backs due to decades of pounding through the seas in relatively small monohulls, however, a puff of mist is a small price to pay for greatly reduce pounding.
The tunnel compresses air, creating an air/water slurry that cushions the blows.
So how could this myth have ever come into being? Maybe overzealous monohull salesmen, or maybe some people charged full-tilt into an eight foot head sea and expected the boat to remain perfectly level. It could also be that people have mistaken tunnel slap for a "bad" ride. So let's clear the air on tunnel slap: this pounding sensation occurs when a wave strikes the underside of the tunnel, and it feels a lot like a monohull slamming into a wave. In short, the sensation stinks. There are a few cat models out there with endemic tunnel slap problems, but most of the time this is the result of an overload situation. You have to remember that cats are more weight-sensitive then monos, and if one's loaded down in the bow, tunnel slap can be the result. For this reason it's a far more common problem on cabin boats then on center consoles, particularly when a center console design has been modified to carry a cabin, thus changing its basic weight distribution. The problem can sometimes be mitigated by trimming the engines to bring up the bow, but the best way to avoid tunnel slap is to distribute the bulk of your weight load aft, and if you're looking at cats with cabins, choose one that was designed from the ground-up to carry one.

One other situation that should be addressed: many cats experience tunnel slap when motoring into a head sea at low RPM. Since the bow doesn't have any lift at speeds under eight MPH or so, the tunnel sits lower then the designed running attitude and may get whacked by a wave now and again. In my experience this is a pretty common phenomenon, but it's easily solved by either speeding up a bit or merely angling the bow a hair off the seas. A 10 to 15 degree course change is usually all it takes to eliminate the problem.

Let me briefly take you back to opening weekend of the 2010 striper season on the Chesapeake Bay. We had a 20 knot wind out of the north, and a 12 mile cruise dead into it to get home. But I knew my Glacier Bay really shines at its brightest when running into a head sea. And on the way home, cruising at our usual 25-mph in comfort, we passed several boats between 24' and 32' which were mushing through the slop at about 15 MPH. So here's my challenge to you: take out any modern reputable powercat and run it on plane into a head sea. Then get on any monohull you like of about the same size, and run it into the same head sea. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that afterwards you'll agree that the cat rides smoother then the mono. I'll take French Crullers and glazed, please.

As air and water pass through the narrowing tunnel, they combine to create an aerated mixture that becomes compressed and increases in velocity. The ever-increasing compression and acceleration literally sucks the aerated mixture (and spray) aft. The increased velocity and pressure rushing beneath the hull creates an aerated water-cushioned suspension that works like a shock-absorption system, softening the ride, increasing stability and improving fuel efficiency. This is especially true in rough water.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Some cats have graceful shear lines, round bows, and traditional lines

by Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage #2: Modern powercats have traditional boat lines

When these boats were first introduced in the United States years ago they were unsightly. But through the years and from demands of American aesthetics these boats have come a long way, especially in comparison to the mono-hulls. They have a graceful shear line, round bow, and traditional lines.

Cats can be easier to drive than a monohull

by Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage 3: Cats are easy to drive and much more maneuverable than a monohull

These boats are no more awkward to drive than a mono-hull boat. All you need to know is how to operate the boat and it's instrument panel, which is required of all new boat owners. These boats can even be easier with greater pivoting points, etc.

Cats extremely stable in a beam sea

by Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage 5: Cats drift well in a beam sea

Physics will totally show this advantage. Beaming in a Cat vs. a mono-hull with the stability on the outside. They are extremely stable and have been compared to a NFL lineman in a 3 point stance.  They just don't roll that much.

High quality boats will retain a higher resale value

by Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage 12: Preserve your investment with a strong resale value

These are high quality boats that will retain a higher resale value. The PowerCat Group offers a 10yr warranty that is transferable up to 5yrs. If these boats were not high quality would they offer a 10yr warranty; try comparing this to any other manufacturer.

Experienced boaters actually prefer a cat

by Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage 7: Experienced boaters prefer cats

The really experienced boater prefers the benefits of a catamaran. Some of the advantages are better fuel economy (when trailered or on the water), more stable, easier to drive and trailer. Cat owners are also able to take their boat out more times per year because they are built to handle the following seas and the head seas and the mono-hulls are not.

PowerCat Group's Unique Management Style

by Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

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

The PowerCat Group is certified, award wining and a growing company with a unique management style that has found a niche in the boating industry. Boat manufactures without high quality standards don’t succeed in this market or this economy. They currently build four different styles of catamarans which is a testament to their success in the industry.

Cats lean inboard like a mono at high speeds

By Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage #4: Modern cats can lean inboard when turning

The dynamics of these cat boat are truly amazing. Generally at low speeds in a Catamaran the boat is going to lean outboard, but at low speeds you are NOT likely to throw anyone out. At high rates of speeds a cat will lean inboard like a mono-hull.

Capitalize on the advantages of a cat

By Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage #9: Cats are easy to learn to drive

With any boat, if the trimming is not correct on one hull or on a mono-hull boat it can dip without any apparent reason. But with the catamaran, one hull will dip lower than the other which in turn means you will not have balance until you adjust the trim, mono-hulls don't have this advantage.

Not all cats sneeze

By Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage #10: Cats are very stable in rough seas

At slow speeds with a head sea due to fluid dynamics if tunnel (space between the hulls) is blocked by a wave, then hit by another wave this myth could be true. However, the World Cat has a hydropod between the two hulls that breaks up the pressure that usually resolves this issue.

Cats best boat in a head sea

By Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage #11: Cats love a head sea

Catamarans are the best boats in a head sea. The analogy would be would you prefer to push your way through the water with palm first, or the side of both hands; which do you think would cause you less resistance? There is no other boat Dean would prefer to be in with a head sea.

Cat boats flex like an airplane wing but do not break

By Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage #14: Cat boats are designed to flex like an airplane wing

With all the strict global requirements of the boating industry do you think that they could produce something that would ultimately not perform and break in half and still be in business? We know of no-one in the industry that has ever heard of this happening before.

Trailering a cat is easy

By Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage #13: Cats are easier to trailer

These boats do require a differently designed trailer with two guides, but this is not a disadvantage. Because of the tunnel between the two hulls this makes it more aerodynamic with less resistance, which means better fuel economy when towing.

Mono-hulls can't compete in big seas

By Dean Travis Clark of Sport Fishing Magazine

Cat Advantage #6: Cats are BEAUTIFUL in rough seas

The purpose of a catamaran is to handle the heavy seas; which is what they were designed to do. They were developed in South Africa to handle the heavy seas. Cats can be used when the bigger 50'-60' boaters go out on the heavy seas and can run as fast if not faster. The mono-hulls cannot compete with this in the bigger seas.