World Cat 266SF
Fall 1998 --- After spending a lot of time on the Grady-White Sailfish
during the summer of '98 (I took a 3 1/2 month summer vacation), I decided that it
really didn't meet my basic requirements. I wanted much greater range, better fuel economy, and a
much better ride
in rough water. After looking at and test driving many boats, I decided that the
best boat to meet these requirements is a World Cat 266SF. It's a 26 1/2 foot
requirements for the new boat were
- Center Console (Much easier to fish alone in a CC)
- Range : Ability to run from Port
Canaveral to Walker's Cay and back without refueling (Gas is around $3.30/gal in
Walker's). This sort of range also will also allow trips to the 120 mile weather buoy east of
- Much better ride than the Grady
Sailfish in steep 3-5 foot seas (common from October to March). The Sailfish had a
tendency to want to SLAM the bow down when slogging along in steep 3-5 foot seas.
- Reasonably trailerable. When I
say "reasonable to trailer", I mean what I consider reasonable. I know one
guy who occasionally trailers his 32' Mirage CC, twin diesel, 11 ft beam boat with a Ram
1500. Be very afraid. I have two other buddies who regularly trailer their
Contender 31 and Century 30.
I looked at many boats (Contender,
WhiteWater, SeaVee, Conch, Albemarle, World Cat, Glacier Bay, and more!). I chose to
purchase a World Cat 266SF rigged with Optimax 150 engines.
I sea-trialed a 266SF with Honda 130s, but the Hondas just did not have nearly enough
power to push the boat at an acceptable cruising speed.
I ordered a 1999 World Cat 266SF in late
September, 1998 and I took delivery of the boat in early November. It took one
week to get the T-top built and installed and then about 2 weeks for the
"cradle" to be delivered. I was able to really start using the boat
around Thanksgiving 1998. I have about 160 hours on the engines at this point (Aug '00).
Since so many people are interested in the real
world performance of a catamaran, I have written my subjective observations
about the World Cat.
Great ride into steep seas up to about 5-6'. It
has never stuffed the bow into a big wave. I have not had the cat out in seas
bigger than 6'. Unlike the West coast of the US, we don't normally get the big (10'
plus) ocean swells here in Florida except during hurricane season. The most
common adverse conditions we have are steep 3-6' seas (and bigger seas out in
Gulf Stream whenever the breeze comes from a northern quadrant). I've had the
cat out in steep (breaking) 5-6 footers and had no trouble cruising along at
around 20 MPH. You have to hold on tight, but there was no slamming, just
going up and down (whooosh). I wouldn't want to fish on a day like that, but I
felt very comfortable driving the boat through it. My Grady-White Sailfish
would have to "slog" through and would absolutely beat you to death
on a day with steep 4-6 footers. In steep 3-4' chop I routinely run the cat
around 24-26 MPH. On those sloppy/choppy real 4' days, I pass the Makos, Whalers,
and Gradys like they are standing still.
The boat has no problems running straight into
the seas, quartering them off the bow, or running straight down seas. The only
significant ride anomaly I've experienced is when running _almost_ straight
down a decent sized (5-6') sea. Occasionally as the boat "steps
over" the wave top, it will "catch" a hull and want to make a
fairly sharp turn. Now that I know this, I make sure everyone is holding on
tight when we encounter these conditions. As with any center console, it's not
a dry ride in all conditions. With a quartering breeze and choppy conditions,
you'll get some spray in the cockpit.
The catamaran is not as maneuverable when
running at speed as a monohull. You can't just nimbly dodge around things that
"pop up" right in front of you like you can in a mono hull (As one
poor sea-gull found out. It went straight down between the hulls and flopped
out from the wake behind the boat). The cat also runs "flat" in
turns. This can be disconcerting until you get used to it. I always warn the
crew if I'm going to make a sharp turn when running at speed.
The cat is much more sensitive than a V-hull to
weight distribution (ie, the crew) when running at planing speed. Usually this
can be controlled by trimming the engines appropriately, but I sometimes
request the crew to trim themselves to even the load rather than trimming the
engines so far out of wack. The weight distribution sensitivity is both side
to side and fore/aft. This load sensitivity is only apparent when the hull is
planed off. I suspect it's because the twin hulls have a small footprint in
the water when planed off compared to a monohull. When at rest or trolling,
the whole crew can line up along one side without noticeably affecting the
People who fish with me for the first time on
the cat almost always remark how much better (not beat to death) they feel at
the end of the day as compared to fishing on a monohull boat.
It's obvious that the World Cat manufacturer
really did their homework when laying out the cockpit and designing the
various features. If you compare the '98 and the '99 models you'll see many
subtle (and really nice) improvements which shows the company responds to
feedback from dealers and customers. After I had my boat for 2 months, I sent
them (World Class Catamarans) a list of the minor issues I had with the design
and manufacturing process, and they've already incorporated several changes
into the current production line.
I've got the center console version, so yes it's
a very open layout. World Cat makes a cuddy cabin version which would
definitely provide more protection from the elements, but here in Florida,
cold temperatures are very rarely an issue. I don't have a wife or kids, so
that's not an issue either. If you're interested in a cuddy or walk-around
boat, I think that the Glacier Bay boats have a better cabin layout than
the World Cat. I had vinyl "curtains" built which run on 3 sides
from the outside of the T-top to the gunwale. This should provide enough
protection from the elements for next "winters" fishing season.
The boat has tremendous amounts of lockable
storage and fish box storage. The 266SF has 6'x2'x2' compartments in the
cockpit deck on either side of the console. One is built out as rod storage (I
fit 6 trolling rigs and 4 7' spinning rigs), and I use the other side to store
5 gallon buckets, coolers, etc. Up in the bow is a storage locker which could
hold several _thousand_ feet of anchor line if desired.
The only significant design problem I have
encountered is that the transom ice/fish boxes were not adequately
insulated. I added insulation (1" foam board and closed cell spray
foam) which seems to have helped a lot.
The biggest concern I have with the boat is the
long term durability of the hull since it's a brand new design with brand new
construction techniques. I have no reason to suspect there will be a problem,
but it's not like a Grady-White where they've been building them exactly the
same way since before the beginning of time. So far the boat feels absolutely
solid and I have had only one real problem with the boat (A livewell drain
plumbing line split open and was spilling into the bilge).
The fit and finish are as good as either of the
new Grady-Whites I bought previously.
My boat is rigged with Optimax 150s. I test
drove a World Cat rigged with Honda 130s, but the boat was a real slug
relative to my performance requirements. All the test reports and reviews
indicated that the Optimax 150s would be able to push 17" pitch props.
That turned out to be not true. I had to drop to 15" props (Mirage Plus).
I've got the Floscan Twinscan instrumentation package.
With a 200 gallon load of fuel (5/6 tankful),
fresh water (20 gallons), full fishing gear, 200 lbs of ice, and 3 guys, I've
noted that the boat's performance as:
RPM SPEED MPG
42 1.3 (WOT)
With one engine pulled up, the other engine
pushed the boat 20-22 MPH when running at 4200 RPM (this was into 3' seas).
WOT on a single engine was 5000 RPM. The boat has no problem getting up to
cruising speed on a single engine as there is no significant "planing"
point with the World Cat hull.
My normal gulf stream fishing day would burn
80-100 gallons with the Grady Sailfish, and now I burn 40-55 gallons.
The boat drifts very nicely with little roll.
While drifting/trolling it is not at all sensitive to shifting weight in the
cockpit (like 4 fat guys running to one side). While trolling, it does not
have great "alleys" of clean water behind the boat. The problem is
the engines are spaced so far apart generating prop wash and then the froth
generated between the hulls generates white water down the middle as well.
I keep the boat in indoor (rack) storage at New
Port Marina in Port Canaveral, FL. The World Cat hull cannot be safely lifted
by most marina fork lifts. Therefore as recommended by World Class Catamarans,
I purchased a "cradle" ($1250) from Float-On trailers in Vero Beach.
The cradle is basically a very simplified version of the normal aluminum
Float-on trailer (same bunks, no axles, wheels, tongue, nor winch posts).
Until recently, the boat was kept on the cradle on a rack in the boat barn,
but recently the marina moved my boat so that it sits on the floor in the
barn. When I want to work on the boat, the marina just sits my boat/cradle on
the ground out in their yard.
Trailering the World Cat is more of
a chore than I anticipated. The loaded World Cat/trailer weighs in the
neighborhood of 9000-9500 lbs and stands about 12' 6" high.
In summary, I would definitely recommend a World
Cat to someone as long as they aren't looking for a race boat. My buddy has a
31 Contender and I can't possibly keep up with him in seas less than 3 feet,
but once you hit about 3' seas, my World Cat provides a much more comfortable
ride for a given speed. Other people must concur with me as my dealer has sold
at least 14 World Cats this year already. About half have been rigged with
Honda 130s, the rest with either 150 or 200 Optimaxes.
And finally, I paid $63.5K out the door (with
dealer prep/tax/tag/title) for the boat with World Cat options, engines,
props, and trailer (with disk brakes on both axles). List price for this setup
was around $74K. Adding the T-top, custom rocket launcher, outriggers,
electronics, and 3-sided curtains increased the cost to over $75K.
The electronics include:
- Lowrance Global Map 2000 with maplink
- Magellan DGPS receiver
- Lowrance LMS-350 Sonar with 50/192 khz
- Icom M59 VHF with Shakespeare 5225 antenna
- Navico PH-500 Autopilot
- Raytheon RT-74 4kw radar (crt)
Here's a picture of the World Cat on its way down to Fort Pierce to
have a T-top installed. Capt Brown added the caption. Thanks to Capt Mosley
for lending me his Suburban to tow the boat while I waited for "truckZilla" to
Here's a picture of the boat after the T-Top had been installed. It's sitting on
the trailer at the marina because we were waiting for a cradle to be built which would
allow the marina's fork lift to pickup and "dunk" the boat. I will have
removable front and side canvas added at some point in the near future to provide some
relief from the elements.
While the T-top was being built/installed
(TNT Custom Boat Works, Ft Pierce, FL), I also had TNT rebuild the helm seat to
work as a rocket launcher. We usually keep the 2 outrigger rods in the
outside rocket launcher holders and the shotgun rod in the center holder.
This keeps the rods out of the way when a fish is hooked up.
I mounted the sonar transducer (Lowrance
50/192 khz) on the starboard hull to the right of the outboard lower unit (on
the side of the descending prop blade). It usually has a pretty good
bottom lock out to around 200 feet (deeper if take the LMS-350 out of auto mode)
while at cruising speed (25-30MPH). At trolling speed, we have clearly
marked the Marathon "humps" come up off the bottom from 1400 ft deep.
Here is the helm area showing the electronics.
Note the Floscan Twinscan instrumentation package and the teaser reels (Penn
49L) inside red circles at the top.
The cradle has arrived and the fork lift can be used to move the boat....
Pictures of the World Cat cruising along through some sloppy stuff. As you can see, it has no bow pulpit or bow rail
which I believe improves the looks greatly. In the past, I thought that most of the power
catamarans were pretty ugly. And who wants an ugly boat sitting in the driveway?
I think the World Cat turned out looking ok.....
About 2 weeks before I ordered the World Cat, I ordered a Ford Super Duty Super Cab
V-10 truck to tow the boat. The boat arrived on schedule, but I had to borrow Capt
Mosley's Suburban whenever I needed to tow it. After waiting over 4 months without a
scheduled build date for the truck, and being unable to find a suitable Super Duty at any
of the truck dealer's in the state, I began investigating alternatives. I found that
the "all-new" GM Silverado/Sierra 2500s with a Vortec 6 liter would handle
towing requirements of the World Cat. I called the local GM truck dealers and
happened to find a GMC 2500 configured how I needed. They gouged me considerably on
the price, but it was a very hard to find model, so I bought it. Here is a picture of the
new truck with the boat in my driveway.
Here's a picture of the boat at the Coral Lagoon Resort on Marathon in the Florida Keys
during May '99. I highly recommend Coral Lagoon for people who bring a boat with
them. The rooms are reasonably priced, have full size refrigerator/freezers, stoves,
grills, hammocks, etc, and very fast access to open water on either the ocean or bay side.
We fished 3 days and unfortunately the fishing was fairly slow except for small
schoolie dolphin. We kept about a dozen schoolies and one 15 lb dolphin. We
hooked up the largest sailfish I've ever seen but the hook pulled when he started dogging
me right under the boat.
I finally got around to putting the name on the boat....
The World Cat is a great boat, but
obviously I have a very bad habit of "finishing" a boat, and then
starting over on a new boat. After I got
the World Cat rigged to perfection (got the 3-sided curtains installed), I started thinking about what I would do
differently if I were to get a new boat. I had to get really picky to find
significant faults with the World Cat (at least faults that couldn't be fixed by
repowering with 200HP engines).