In some eyes, Invincible Boats’ 37 Cat might have a tough act to follow. Its debut came on the heels of the much-anticipated rollout of Invincible’s first-ever multihull model, the 40 Cat, which I tested for the September/October 2018 issue of Sport Fishing.
But now, as the Invincible crew welcomed me aboard the 37 Cat at Crandon Park Marina on Florida’s Key Biscayne for a summer morning of offshore fishing, one of my first questions was, “Why would a customer choose the 37 instead of the 40?”
“Someone might want a slightly shorter length to fit in a slip or to dock along a canal in back of a home,” said Bill Cordes, Invincible’s director of sales and marketing. “The smaller size also helps when maneuvering in small, crowded marinas.”
Bait Mission We would soon test that theory — the first order of business was to squeeze into a narrow nearby channel to procure live pilchards from a local bait vendor. Equipped with SeaStar Solutions Optimus steering, controlling quad 350 Verado outboards, the 37 handled nicely in the tight confines. We easily sidled up to the stern of the bait boat in a spot where the 40-footer might not have fit. Cordes was right.
Invincible’s Jonathan Lipworth and I helped fend off as Cordes and Zack Howell, also an Invincible staff member, loaded bait. The 26-inch-high gunwales in the aft cockpit made it fairly easy to net the silvery baits from the floating pens. Between the 70-gallon transom livewell and the 72-gallon well below the aft deck, the 37 hosted more than 300 live pilchards, and we were ready for action.
As we headed out, Lipworth explained that the 37 has the same 12-foot beam as the 40, but that the transom design is different. The transom interior is flat, despite the integration of the center livewell, allowing you to more easily work a fish around the outboard engines.
Bluewater Bound With 260 gallons of fuel, pressurized livewells brimming and fish lockers stuffed with ice, the 37 Cat rocketed past Stiltsville and Cape Florida at 52 mph, turning 4,500 rpm, where the four engines burned 55 gallons of fuel per hour, resulting in 0.94 mpg.
A pair of Garmin GPSMap 8617 multifunction displays — one set on sonar, the other on the chart plotter — helped guide the way. The powder-coated aluminum uprights for the hardtop meld gracefully with the center console and serve to frame the thick acrylic windshield and side windows that protect the helm.
This 37 sported a leaning-post-style helm seat with tackle stowage underneath and room for three people, but you can order three-across bucket helm seats with fold-down armrests and flip‑up bolsters.
We were headed to 200 feet of water to kite-fish for mahi and sailfish, and as we passed the shallower patch reefs, waves out of the south began to grow. This is where the design of the Invincible multihull really shines.
Smooth and Natural The Morelli & Melvin-engineered running surface features a semi-asymmetrical cross-sectional design for each sponson. This shape allows the boat to lean inward while cornering. High-speed turns felt natural and comfortable, akin to a V-hull, versus turning flat or leaning outward.
The hull rode very smoothly through seas, with little bow-to-stern rocking motion and hardly any deceleration when meeting the waves, as you might experience with a V-hull. To help soften the water that rushes between the hulls, there’s a pod in between to diffuse the pressure.
We reached our fishing destination near Fowey Light, and deployed a sea anchor on the port side, securing its line to one of the heavy-duty pull-up cleats. We let the kite line out on the starboard side.
The hull laid in the trough, yet proved very stable, owing to its wide stance and twin hulls. The crew used the rigging station with its foldout shelf abaft the helm seating to rig tackle and bridle baits. Invincible has cleverly installed racks for spools of leader line inside the tackle-stowage compartment. A slide-out 105-quart cooler resides below the rigging station.
Space Ship While we waited for a bite, I explored the rest of the boat. The 37 Cat abounds with deck space, offering plenty of room for the crew to fish in the aft cockpit and move fore and aft between the console and gunwales. In addition, like all power cats, this boat carries its wide beam all the way to the bow, and this affords plenty of space forward, including room for a wide coffin box with five rod holders lining each side and a cushion on top. Dividers inside the box let you separate different types of cold goods.
A seat for two on the forward console gives crewmembers a place to take a load off. A companionway on the port side of the console offers access to the interior, where I stowed my camera gear.
Read Next: Boat Review: Invincible 40 Catamaran
Commotion in the aft cockpit drew my attention from the boat tour. A sailfish had attacked the bridled pilchard on the long kite line, and Cordes was up first. He wound the reel quickly to tighten the line, free it from the release clip and then secure the circle hook in the corner of the sail’s mouth.
As Cordes fought the fish, I noted the thick coaming pads that encircle the interior of the 37, cushioning his legs no matter where he followed the fish. The boat’s stability made it safe and comfortable to battle the fish from the bow as well as the stern. This sail was tough, staging a longer fight on the light tackle than we all expected and adding a few aerial flourishes to the mix. But eventually, Cordes coaxed the beautiful fish boatside, where Howell leadered it and removed the hook for a successful release.
Mutton, Honey We set the kite lines back out, but this time decided to fish an additional pilchard on a bottom rig as we drifted into shallower water. That turned out to be a smart decision. About 15 minutes into our drift, the rod bent double. Howell picked it up and fought the fish, which turned out to be a brightly colored mutton snapper.
On that successful note, our time offshore had come to an end. We headed in to the smooth waters of Biscayne Bay to gather performance data on the 37 Cat. Turning Mercury Revolution4 23-inch-pitch, four-blade stainless-steel propellers, the quad Merc 350 Verados powered the Invincible to plane in 4 seconds and 30 mph in 7 seconds from dead idle. We achieved a remarkable top speed of 74.1 mph at 6,500 rpm, burning 141 gallons per hour for 0.52 mpg.
Since this test, Invincible has changed the engine height and installed Rev4 24-inch-pitch pro-finished props. This helped the 37 Cat record a top speed of 77 mph at 6,350 rpm in subsequent tests, where the engines burned 122 gph for 0.63 mpg, according to Invincible.
Our best fuel efficiency occurred at 3,500 rpm and 37 mph, where the engines consumed 35.1 gph for 1.05 mpg. However, fuel efficiency at 4,000 rpm and 44 mph was nearly identical. During Invincible’s testing, the 37 Cat achieved it highest efficiency at 4,000 rpm and 45 mph, where the Mercs burned 42 gph for 1.07 mph. At any of these speeds, expect a cruising range in excess of 500 miles based on the 550-gallon fuel capacity.
Ultimately, the 37 Cat gives up little to its larger sister ship. The 37’s seakeeping ability is excellent. Yes, it’s a tad shorter than its sibling, but in some cases, that can be an advantage, especially when you need to squeeze into a narrow channel to load the livewells with bait.
Performance Power: Quad Mercury 350 Verados Load: 260 gal. fuel, five crew Top Speed: 74.1 mph @ 6,500 rpm; 77 mph @ 6,350 rpm in factory tests Time to 30 MPH: 7 sec. Best MPG: 1.05 @ 37 mph (3,500 rpm); 1.07 @ 45 mph (4,000 rpm) in factory tests
Hull LOA: 37 ft. Beam: 12 ft. Transom Deadrise: N/A Dry Weight: 14,000 lb. (w/ engines) Draft: 22 in. Fuel: 550 gal. Max Power: 1,600 hp MSRP: $470,000 (base w/ four Merc 350 Verados)
Invincible Boats Opa Locka, Florida 305-685-2704 invincibleboats.com