Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-)
(w/ 2 x 115-hp Yamaha four-stroke)


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When the design team at Carolina Cat decides to build a crossover fishing boat for flats and offshore they didn't kid around. The Carolina Cat 23CC has the draft of a flats boat, the roominess of a center console, the legs for long distance, and the rough comfort of a deep-V. Seriously? Can all this really come together in one boat? We asked the same question when we set out to test this latest model from Carolina Cat and the answer is a resounding… Yes!

Key Features

  • Bow area anchor locker under forward center seat
  • Port and starboard forward 150-quart insulated fishboxes with overboard drains
  • Bow area cushioned seating for (5) adults with integrated grab rails
  • Through-bolted stainless bow eye
  • Console storage for a slide-out portable head (starboard side)
  • Electronics mounting area for a 12-inch screen
  • Aft deck non-skid casting platform
  • 30-gallon livewell between aft flip-up seats, lighted with overboard drain and fiberglass lid

Specifications

Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) Specifications
Length Overall 22' 7''
6.88 m
Dry Weight 3,200 lbs
1,451 kg
Beam 8' 6''
2.59 m
Tested Weight 5,024 lbs.
2,279 kg
Draft 11''
28 cm
Fuel Cap 96 gal.
363 L
Deadrise/Transom N/A Water Cap none
Max Headroom open Bridge Clearance N/A
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Engine Options

Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) Engine options
Std. Power Not Available
Tested Power 2 x 115-hp Yamaha four-stroke
Opt. Power 2 x 115-hp Yamaha four-stroke

Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) Captain's Report

Captain's Report by Capt. Steve

Mission Statement

The mission of the 23CC is to provide the main attributes of four distinctive types of boats into one all-purpose boat. Carolina Cat seems to have pulled it off and given us a boat that 1) can get into very shallow water, 2) has a range of nearly 300 miles at best cruise, 3) exhibits the handling the ride capabilities necessary in offshore conditions and, 4) has the combined roominess of a center console and a deckboat.

Carolina Cat 23CC

The Carolina Cat 23CC has the draft of a flats boat, but the freeboard of a coastal center console.

Distinguishing Features

Twin engines on a 22-footer. This is far and away the main feature that cats bring to the table that no monohull can touch. Just try to find the 23 foot center console with twin engines.

Redundant systems. These two engines are connected to independent fuel systems and separate electrical systems. A failure in one system leaves a second in play. Unless you manage to fill both tanks with contaminated fuel from the same marina it would be rare occurrence indeed to find yourself without the ability to have this boat get you home.

Seven year structural hull warranty. Aside from the security of completely redundant systems, few things will give you a comfort level like a company that stands behind its product.

Seating for 10. No problem loading this boat up with your friends and family. Bring them on! And remember, this is a 23-footer.

Stability. When anchored, trolling or in a sloppy seaway lateral stability is an important feature and this 23' cat has it.

Offshore or inshore. Her low draft makes her an inshore boat but because she is a cat and has relatively high bows she can handle reasonable offshore conditions from both sea-keeping and comfort standpoints.

Carolina Cat 23CC

There's 27" (68.6 cm) of freeboard at the stern, 40" (101.6 cm) at the bow.

Performance and Handling

Our Carolina Cat 23CC had a length overall of 22'7" (6.88 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m) and a hull draft of 11” (28 cm). With an empty weight of 3200 lbs (1451 kg), 2 people and test power we had a test weight of 5,024 lbs (2278 kg).

Speed and fuel burn. With a pair of 115-hp Yamaha 4-strokes bolted to the stern we reached a top speed at 6000 rpm of 44.7 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 20.5 gph giving us a range of 188 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 19 mph. That speed gave us a fuel burn of only 5.55 gph for range of 295 miles or over 17 hours of running time.

We had a very quick time the plane of 2.6 seconds, reached 20 mph in 4.5 seconds and accelerated to 30 mph in 7.6 seconds. These are pretty impressive numbers no matter how you slice it. Upon acceleration the 23CC exhibits a 10–degree bow rise.

Handling. Let’s get right to the meat of it and discuss this boat’s most surprising characteristic: her handling capabilities. As is characteristic of catamarans you'll remain level during a slow turn but lean 10-degrees into a hard over high-speed turn. When you take power off, she settles back into the water at a level attitude.

Carolina Cat 23CC

Here you can see in the slow turn how the 23CC remains pretty much level. In a hard over high-performance turn, she will roll 10-degrees into the turn.

But as impressive as those numbers were, I was completely blown away by what was to come next. I have tested my share of boats designed to operate in skinny water and they all seem to share the same attributes... a relatively flat hull that goes where few others can, but is just not able to handle anything more than the average wake of a passing bowrider. So with that attribute firmly planted in my head I started zigzagging across the wake of the camera boat. The experience was surprisingly anti-climatic. None of the expected pounding, spray coming and over the rails, or squirrely handling… it was as if the wake didn't exist.

Carolina Cat 23CC

Slicing across the wake of our camera boat showed how cleanly the 23CC penetrates waves. You can see here that she's throwing no spray.

Carolina Cat 23CC

Even when trying to add some speed to the mix I just couldn't get the 23CC to launch off the wave because it is so adept at slicing through the waves. But when I was able to launch her off a wave she came down as soft as you please -- no spine-jarring thuds.

Don't Try This at Home

I spotted the cross-sound ferry about 5 miles (6.4 km) distant and even at this range I could clearly see the turmoil she was generating behind her. Perfect! I put the throttles to the stops and blasted to the ferry and it's 3-4’ (9 m-1.2 m) wake that was following closely behind. Here is where I was able to test exactly what this 23CC was capable of in steadily increasing increments to the edge of her performance envelope.

I started out slowly going over the waves and found that the 23CC still tends to slice through the waves. This is consistent with other cats that I've tested with their narrow bows. I've also found that when encountering waves, slowing down is not necessarily the correct response. So I started adding power.

Carolina Cat 23CC

As you can see, when catching air in the 23CC remains in a level attitude. Notice the complete lack of spray as this boat simply penetrates through the wave rather than shoulder through.

Carolina Cat 23CC

Even taking things a little slower, you can see the 23CC just doesn't throw water due to the way she penetrates the waves. This is characteristic of a nice dry ride.

Carolina Cat 23CC

When coming off of the wave in a following sea there's no need to brace for an impact as one will never come. I was also unable to stuff the bow regardless of how quickly I entered the backside of a wave.

I found that approaching a wave at high speed had me bracing for impact that just never came. The 23CC would slice through and just continue on. Still adding more power the 23CC would continue to cut through the waves and then launch into the air, remaining in a level attitude, before cleanly slicing through the next wave. It was remarkable to see that the more that I gave, the more positively the 23CC responded. Clearly this shallow draft boat can handle herself quite well in offshore conditions.

Carolina Cat 23CC

On accelerating the 23CC exhibits a minimal 10-degree bow rise. Notice how far apart the engines are. I measured 3' 6 " (1.1 m) between the engines which makes for excellent low speed maneuverability.

In a seaway she clearly will not exhibit the pounding characteristics of a flats boat. The narrow entry that catamarans have simply cut easily through waves because the hulls are so narrow. Further when they come down there are no large, flat surfaces to slam the water.

Features Walk-Through

Bow. There's a large casting deck at the bow measuring 28" x 5' 9” (71 cm x 1.75 m). 6” (15.2 cm) pull-up cleats are to either side and in the forward corners are separate nav lights that I would like to see flush-mounted.

Carolina Cat 23CC

The foredeck is all nonskid and roomy enough to be used as an additional casting deck. As this boat has such skinny water capabilities, cast netters will love this area.

The bow features U-shaped seating topped with comfortable cushions with added support under the legs. There's storage under the center seat and to port and starboard are 150 quart (142 L) insulated fish boxes with overboard drains. There's enough seating here for five adults and because the seating runs from 35” (88.9 cm) to 27 ½” (69.8 cm) apart, I'd like to see Carolina Cat offer a bow pedestal table as an option.

With the cushions removed the nonskid hatch covers created another elevated casting deck and recessed grab rails will keep lines from snagging. An LED courtesy light is fully forward and shining onto the deck.

Carolina Cat 23CC

U-shaped seating is comfortable, and far enough apart that the area begs for the addition of an optional pedestal table.

Carolina Cat 23CC

All hatches are supported by gas assist struts and gasketed all the way around and are resin infused and Divinycell cored (as shown here) for lightweight.

Carolina Cat 23CC

The forward compartment serves as anchor storage and my finger is running through a notch in the hatch created to pass the anchor line through.

Carolina Cat 23CC

With the seat cushions removed you have a second elevated casting deck. Notice the recessed bow rails and the courtesy light forward of the deck.

Console

I measured 17” (43.2 cm) between the bow seats and the forward console seat, and 2’ (.6 m) between the console and the bulwarks. Caprails come up 22” (55.9 cm) from the deck and that height seems to be consistent all the way back to the stern. The forward seat is atop a cooler which is molded into the console and deck and includes stainless grab handles to either side. Our test boat was fitted with the optional t-top with canvas overhead and aluminum frames with spotlight bracket.

Carolina Cat 23CC

Notice how the cooler ahead of the console is molded into the deck. I measured 17” (43.2 cm) between the seat and the bow seating.

Carolina Cat 23CC

The t-top is optional and the aft rails are doubled to serve as grab handles.

Carolina Cat 23CC

The panel has room for a 12" (30.5 cm) display and is kept uncluttered due to the Yamaha multifunction gauges.

Carolina Cat 23CC

To the port side of the console is a hatch leading to storage.

Leaning post. The leaning post is nicely padded and there's room underneath for a carry-on cooler. The helm is mounted to the port side of the console and the stainless steel wheel is connected to a single ram hydraulic steering.

The acrylic windshield is wraparound and presents minimal distortion at the corners. A storage shelf is underneath the helm along with a recessed foot well. To the port side of the console is a hatch leading to interior storage.

Carolina Cat 23CC

The leaning post makes an excellent seat due to its close proximity to the aft casting deck.

Carolina Cat 23CC

Notice there's room for a carry-on cooler under the leaning post. Under the gunwales there is the usual rod storage on both sides.

Stern

The stern features two flip-up seats with storage underneath. With the seats in the closed position you have a large aft casting platform measuring 7' x 2' 7” (2.13 m x 2.58 m). Including the extended deck between the engines you have 4’3” (1.3 m). In between the two seats is a 30 gallon (113.6 L) livewell with an overboard drain and fiberglass lid.

Carolina Cat 23CC

The dual flip-up seats in the stern are quite comfortable and notice how the livewell has a fiberglass lid so you can walk on it.

Carolina Cat 23CC

There are storage bins underneath the aft seats, and the bins are removable to access the bilge area underneath.

Carolina Cat 23CC

By removing the storage bins under the aft seats you have bilge access. Notice the deck drains are plumbed overboard and double clamped.

Carolina Cat 23CC

Under the starboard seat bin storage is the battery switch. Because it is hard to find -- in fact it is hidden -- is an excellent theft deterrent.

Observations

Because the Carolina Cat 23CC comes so nicely equipped, there are not a lot of options you will need beyond the t-top and perhaps a trailer. There's no denying that this is probably one of the most qualified boats out there to utilize the term "crossover" as she is so capable in so many things. And regardless of how messy you get her, a simple hose down will return her to her gleaming white.

I can think of a lot of places where there is good game of meat fishing in both skinny water and blue water. Unfortunately I have seen all too many angler venturing out into blue water with their flats boats. This is not a good idea on anything except a flat calm day. Flats boats were simply not intended to be used offshore and do not have the design characteristics for that kind of work.

The Carolina Cat 23CC, on the other hand, has what it takes to handle both conditions and therein lies one of the most important values of this boat -- she do both well.

Carolina Cat 23CC

With a hull draft of only 11" (28 cm) the Carolina Cat 23CC can get far into skinny water, but boats that can do that typically can't handle more than your average wake. Normal offshore seas will not bother her.

Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) Test Result Highlights

  • Top speed for the Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) is 44.7 mph (71.9 kph), burning 20.50 gallons per hour (gph) or 77.59 liters per hour (lph).

  • Best cruise for the Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) is 24.2 mph (38.9 kph), and the boat gets 3.36 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.43 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 290 miles (466.71 kilometers).

  • Tested power is 2 x 115-hp Yamaha four-stroke.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels
go to our Test Results section.


Standard and Optional Equipment

Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Systems
CD Stereo Optional
Trailer Optional
Exterior Features
Hardtop Optional T-top
Swim Ladder Optional
Swim Platform Optional

Standard = Standard Optional = Optional

Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) Warranty

Carolina Cat 23CC (2012-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Hull Warranty
Years Seven year limited


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