Every cat is different, even among models of the same manufacturer. Each demands different trim and favors different speeds for a variety of conditions. In fact, that's probably why they call them cats: Each has its own peculiar likes and dislikes.
The early-morning flat calm in the inlet of Morehead City, North Carolina, blessed our speed testing. But offshore, the calm eventually yielded to 20-knot winds and an ugly 3- to 4-foot chop. The X26 loves running on top, preferring to go faster rather than slower through messy seas.
Our speed tests using two GPS units determined that twin Yamaha 200s produced a 35-mph cruising speed at 4,000 rpm while burning 21.3 gph or 1.6 mpg for both engines combined. Obviously, new direct-injection engines will proffer better economy than our carbureted power. Top end at 5,400 rpm proved to be 48 mph using 42 gph or 1.2 mpg total.
The new X26 Tigercat carved a tight, high-speed turn, but only up to a point. When it bled off enough speed that the inside bow dropped and dug in, the stern broke loose and the boat pivoted. I consider this a great safety feature as it keeps passengers from flying over the side in a tight turn.
I prefer to chase fish bow-first in most outboard boats. But with the engines trimmed up about halfway, I was able to back down at over 6 mph in calm seas. At a 2 1/2-mph trolling speed with only one engine in gear, the wake remained perfectly clear - no turbulence whatsoever. Trolling at 8 mph, a modest amount of foam both on and under the surface developed, spreading out evenly with no clear channels. Slow-trolling into a head sea, the Tigercat provided just a slight compression thud when the bow dropped off a wave.
The slip where the X26 tied up suffers from powerful tidal currents, demanding some of the trickiest handling of anyplace on the East Coast when the tide is full ebb or flood. This real-world test showed the X26's close-quarters handling to be outstanding with very predictable control response.