Capt. Steve Says...
When you first look at the World Cat 320 CC you immediately think, “yeesh, she’s a big 32 footer.” With her wide 10’ 6" (3.2 m) beam and those high bows, she looks huge, far bigger than she actually is. That perception of prodigious size also has a lot to do with the amount of room inside. There’s just so much of it that you have to appreciate the utility of a World Cat, and more to the point, the stability those wide twin hulls can provide. This boat is an unadulterated man’s fishing machine. There is nothing prissy or delicate about her. She is beefy, weighing in at 9,100 lbs. (4,127.7 kgs.) dry with her twin Suzuki 300s, which means she is going to move with authority through the rough stuff without bouncing around like a cork. The World Cat 320’s 10’ 6” (3.23 m) beam, twin hulls, and sheer mass makes all of the difference when piloting through square ones offshore.
An Important Feature
Probably the greatest feature of a World Cat is that both engines have independent fuel and electrical systems. This gives “get home” redundancy that most boats in this size range just don’t have. Not only does it mean security for the people in her, but also peace of mind for the ones waiting back at home.
Yes she is very roomy but that’s just half the story. That roominess also translates into storage on a grand scale. The many compartments under the gunwales hold a myriad of things, and being a “place for everything and everything in its place” kind of a guy, I really appreciated this aspect of the boat.
The helm was another story. It was nicely laid out with the four Suzuki gauges all in a row over the electronics compartment. There’s plenty of room for dual 12” (3.48 cm) displays and the compartment for them has a removable cover and is lockable. I like this somewhat unusual feature. I also like the power-assist steering and the compass mounted in front of the helm instead of the center of the console like we’ve seen all too often. For me at 5' 6'', the helm console is too high and is difficult to see over.No matter what your height is, this problem on the 320 has a simple solution. All that World Cat needs to do is add 3-4 inch platform behind the helm, to stand up on, to accommodate us “average guys.” Now if you are 6’2” (1.90 m), then it is already a perfect height. Also, the helm really needs grab handles all over it. There’s nothing to hang on to except the wheel, and that doesn’t count – in very rough conditions they are easy to break! The double wide seat has independent flip up bolsters, storage underneath and good foot rests.
Engine Controls Are Special
The engine controls were mounted at an angle, which I don’t like, but this boat had an interesting feature: Both control levers had trim switches on the sides, but they worked differently from each other. The port control trims the engines opposite each other (one goes up and at the same time the other one goes down). This would prove to be very effective at accommodating an uneven distribution of weight. (I originally thought to stabilize against a beam sea using this trim toggle, but this boat requires no such adjustment.) The starboard control brings the engines up and down together. Additionally, to the right of the controls is a joystick that does the same thing as the trim switches, but is much more natural to use. Move to the left and the boat rolls to the left. Pull it back and the bow goes up. I’d have mounted it forward of the engine controls though, so that you can put your fingertip on it when adding power. World Cat says this is a feature that they are “trying out” but I liked it and to me, it should stand firm on the options list.
Being a cat, it’s typical that each side mirrors the other a bit, and so it goes with the fuel tanks. There are two, each mounted aft and out to the sides and they hold 150 gallons (567.8 L) each. A nice touch is that they are under a removable deck section that is screwed into place. This is great if either needs servicing since you won’t have to cut into the deck. There are also screw-in covers over the tank fittings for ease of access. And while we’re on the fuel system, I liked that the fuel/water separators are behind easily accessed doors at the aft end of the cockpit.
The electrical system was as neat and uncluttered as the rest of the boat. Wires are labeled every three inches and secured neatly throughout the runs. Anywhere there are connections, it’s always behind someplace that’s easily accessed, either through a hatch or other compartment. This wiring was installed as well as I have ever seen it done.
So now we come to it: How does she handle? In a word... "different” than a monohull. Not better or worse, just different. The boat has two hulls, not one, so how could it be otherwise? I was totally impressed with her 3.7 second time to plane and even more with her 6.1 second 0-30 mph time. With her wide stance, the 320 CC is, not surprisingly, very stable. You feel like you're riding on a platform, rather than in a boat. There’s very little bow rise, and a solid feel underneath your feet.
Offshore, she’s a dream. Winds 15-20 against a fair tide produced 2’ rollers that we sliced through effortlessly. Taking the seas bow on at speed she was surprisingly dry. If you took them just off the bow, then the bow would throw water into the wind and spray the windshield, just as you might expect to happen in any other boat. Downwind, she was rock steady and the bow tended to push into the forward wave, but never close to stuffing it. Adding a few tugs of “aft” on the trim joystick brought the bow up just enough for a level ride, through and over all of them at a relaxing pace. Because the bow is high, it would be pretty hard to stuff this boat in most conditions.The 320 CC really shines in a beam sea. She is stable, dry, and comfortable… I mean take your hands off the wheel comfortable. I didn’t want to stop the ride and was tempted to keep going until I reached Bimini some 50 miles east (and the fools actually gave me more than enough fuel to make it), but discipline reigned, and I turned around, albeit reluctantly.
At the dock, I found that the engines being so far apart added considerably to the close quarters maneuvering and I could just about make the 320 CC deal cards. Backing on one engine pulled the stern in the direction you steered, and the bow would follow, and swing at the end of the arc. Keep the wheel hard over and add forward and the whole boat slides sideways up against the dock. It didn’t take much practice to get the hang of it and be able to time it so that it touches with just a kiss.
To Lean or Not to Lean?
Now, about this “leaning outboard in a turn” issue. Here’s the story: When you’re at speed, if you just ease the wheel over, the boat stays level and does not lean into or away from the turn. However, you are turning and the law of physics creates centrifugal force that moves you, not the boat, to the outside of the turn. (This is where grab rails would come in handy at the helm.) This is what is “different” from most monohulls when the wheel is “eased” one way or the other. Now if you turn the wheel hard over, the turn starts out level, and as a little of the speed bleeds off, then the boat banks (you heard me) and leans into the turn. Now normally, you’re heading offshore and you’re not cranking the wheel, you’re steering like you’re on autopilot and you make easy turns. In the 320, those turns will be level turns. If you need to start cranking, it starts level and then banks as speed bleeds off. So the way I got into a groove with it is this: When I wanted to crank and bank, I backed off the throttles, cranked it over, and then accelerated into the turn. That forced a lean that felt the most comfortable and after doing it twice, it even became natural. It is simply the way you handle this boat. If you had grown up on a catamaran, and switched to a monohull you would say it handles “differently” and would have to adapt to the monohull.
Things I’d Change
Part of the joy of being a test boat captain is you get to spew your opinions about lots of boats… and they all can use a little tweaking, although most builders don’t like to hear it. (It is, after all, their child!). We already talked about adding a step behind the helm. There also needs to be fold down steps on the sides under the gunwales, and a grab handle that inserts into a rod holder like the ones you see on large convertibles. This is to assist in getting in and out of the boat. Right now, you step on a jump seat at the stern and that’s not good enough. A grab handle hanging under the overhead wouldn’t be a bad idea either, along with some padding on the bulkheads in the head compartment. Other than that, this boat was very cool, and a formidable weapon in the war against the fish of the world.
Our test boat was powered with a pair of Suzuki 300-hp four-strokes and they did a great job. You can opt down to a pair of 250’s and the same sizes can be had in Yamahas.With these engines in the conditions we encountered the boat’s WOT was 52 mph at 5900 rpm, getting 1.02 miles per gallon. Her best cruise was at 2500 rpm where the boat went 17.8 mph, and got an impressive 2.2 mpg for a range of 595 statute miles, or 518 nautical miles. That means with this baby you can go most anywhere you want to go to fish for the big ones. Cabo San Lucas, anyone? Cozumel? Turks and Caicos? I think you get the idea.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the World Cat 320 CC (2010-) is 52.0 mph (83.7 kph), burning 51.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 193.04 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the World Cat 320 CC (2010-) is 17.8 mph (28.6 kph), and the boat gets 2.20 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.94 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 595 miles (957.56 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Suzuki 4-Stroke.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Hardtop||Optional T-top standard|