Historically, the reasons anglers have given for not wanting a power catamaran included its blunt-bow looks, bricklike profile and odd performance traits under way, including leaning outboard in a turn. With the World Cat 290 (and all World Cats for that matter), each of those issues is gone, gone and gone.
The wind roared out of the northeast in Fort Pierce, Florida, where it combined with an outgoing tide to completely block the mouth of this infamous inlet with breaking surf. Fortunately, our local knowledge and catamaran hull allowed us to plow through it with impunity. Once outside, we ran beam-to, topping out at 52 mph and 6,100 rpm while burning 44.7 gph through the twin Suzuki four-strokes. Cruising along in abject comfort at 35 mph, we burned only 19.1 gph at 4,300 rpm, providing economy on the order of almost 2 mpg.
As I said, many catamarans tend to lean outboard in a turn, a trait most monohull aficionados find disconcerting. Not the case with the World Cat that leans into a turn and reverses course in a dramatically short distance, all without causing passengers to lose their balance.
Backing down, the twin hulls act like giant skegs, helping the World Cat track straight and true at quite a healthy clip. And with the engines spaced so far apart, pivoting is a dream.
Most catamarans eschew trim tabs. Rather you affect both lateral and fore/aft attitude simply by trimming one engine or the other or both in the case of raising or lowering the bows. To raise the port side, you'd lift the starboard engine, and vice versa.
The high, proud bow of this World Cat does more than just improve the profile. It also makes for an incredibly dry and smooth ride in head seas.
This World Cat 290 CC boasts storage for up to 20 rods around the cockpit when you buy the optional hardtop - as the majority of owners do. Some of that storage can be found in lockable compartments that drain onto the deck.
The huge in-deck fish boxes now sport diaphragm pump-outs rather than macerators to cut down on failure rates and clogging. The forward seats all have drainable, insulated storage that can also double as fish boxes.
Standard equipment also includes a 42-gallon livewell with full-column intake and soothing baby-blue interior.
In addition to a virtually clear wake at trolling speeds, the 290 CC features a walkthrough transom, allowing you to release or boat a fish with far greater ease than leaning over a gunwale.
Again, stability makes the World Cat a terrific platform for fishing with an extremely short roll moment. But one of my favorite fishing features comes from the squared-off bow and four bow cleats. When bottomfishing, you can move the boat laterally across structure by simply moving the anchor line from one cleat to another. Rather than a single fold-down seat in the transom, World Cat places single seats in each corner, ideal for being right next to the in-gunwale trolling rods.
Design and Construction
Overall, the 290 CC feels like most 33- or 35-footers. Thanks to the squared-off bow, it offers measurably more internal volume. The large console houses a fixed marine head below and a foldaway seat complete with armrests on the forward side.
World Cat has integrated a beefy windshield atop the console that also seals to the standard hardtop. Add the Strataglass enclosure, and you suddenly have a pilothouse model for those cold and rough-water venues.
Other new and innovative features include spring-loaded pop-up fender tie-off points where you've never had a cleat before, optional blue underwater lights and one option I'd never go without - the extended swim platform with integrated handrails and mammoth boarding ladder. The ladder acts as a fence, keeping people aboard, and as a swimmer's entry deployable from the water. The wide walkway between the engines also serves well as the path of least resistance for dragging big fish into your insulated boxes.
Because of the nature of tying two separate hulls together, catamarans need to be exceptionally strong. World Cat bonds the hull and deck through its branded Unibody construction that uses advanced methyl-methacrylate adhesives. This process transforms two hulls into one solid, seamless unit.
Each hand-laid hull consists of fiberglass and composite materials. The transom is built from fiberglass and high-density urethane composite with aluminum backing plates molded in to deal with the greater stresses incurred from the higher horsepower and heavier weight of four-stroke outboard power.
I love going on sea trials in rough water with people who've yet to experience a catamaran's ride. Purposely launch off a wave and laugh as the passengers all hold on for dear life. Then laugh again - with them - when the boat lands as if dropping into a down pillow.
LOA......29 ft. 1 in.
BEAM......9 ft. 6 in.
HULL DRAFT......1 ft. 3 in.
WEIGHT......8,700 lb. (w/ power)
MAX POWER......Twin 250 hp OB
MSRP......$189,500 (w/ twin 250 Suzuki OB)
World Cat / Tarboro, North Carolina / 252-641-8000 / www.worldcat.com