Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
The mission of this boat is plain and simple. Combine fishing and family features into a single boat that also happens to kick butt in offshore conditions. From what we’ve seen of this boat, and how the rest of the World Cat line handles, I think it’s safe to say that World Cat can hang the “mission accomplished” banner off the transom.
As with any boat, there are certainly items that standout on this boat vs some of the others in class. Let’s go over some of the most obvious…
– Yes it’s got twin hulls but I think we’ve clearly proven that there’s no need to differentiate between cats and monohulls offshore anymore. Aside from the fact that these boats are incredible in rough water, and they’re roomier, and have completely redundant systems… ok, so maybe the differences are still worth mentioning.
Massive standards list
– Again, once you’ve seen a thousand “standard features” lists you quickly get to weed out the pieces that do nothing but add another line to make the list look longer, with items that every boat in the world has. These are things like drink holders, helm seat, and navigation lights… yada yada yada. But when you see things like Pro series freefall windlass with 300′ line, 15′ chain, 22 lb anchor, and foot switches at the deck, Cruiseair 12,000 BTU reverse cycle heating/cooling unit, and Fischer Panda 4.2 kW diesel generator with 10-gallon fuel tank… then it quickly becomes evident that you’re bringing more to the table.
Designed for offshore-
When a boat is made to run with the big dogs, you can quickly spot the amenities that it needs to compete, and they’re all here. Big deck drains, channels to direct water away from the cockpit, and an abundance of grab handles. Just head offshore in one of these boats and see how comfortable you feel, and you’ll get the idea. And to date, I’ve never been able to stuff a World Cat in a following sea.
Ok, so let’s go for a little stroll and take a look at the features. Now first off, this isn’t a new boat. It’s been around for a while, but there are some features that have been redone and for the better. Let’s start where boaters start… at the helm.
World Cat completely made over the helm on the 320 EC and it’s clearly a direct response to customer feedback, if not obsessive/compulsive test captain feedback. I had my share of complaints over the previous helm version, but not with this. It is impressive.
The panel no longer has gauges down each side that only served to limit the space allowed for putting in electronics. And let’s face it, if you’re heading anywhere in this boat, you’re going to need at least two good-sized (12”/30.5 cm) displays. Here, you have the room and then some. By embracing the digital engine displays offered by both Yamaha and Suzuki (you can choose 300-hp four-strokes from either) the old analog gauges are a thing of the past and now you can shop for the panel displays that suit you, and not just a limited panel.
Anyone that is a veteran of my reviews knows that I love to pick on engine control ergonomics. Just get lazy and mount your controls on a vertical panel so that you lift up to accelerate the boat, and try to shut me up. Engine controls need to move fore and aft. World Cat has gotten the word and how! My hand fell naturally to the controls and they move forward easily as they should. Now I’m happy and I’ll bet you will be, too.
The helm seat.
Gone is the lame plastic framed ladder-back seat that didn’t even have a footrest, and in its place is a luxurious, plush, faux-leather wrapped, six-way adjustable seat that you just may want to sleep in. And what’s that underneath? Yes, it’s a footrest! Frankly, I’m ready to stop looking at the rest of this boat and have a party at the helm, but I know you will need more so let’s continue with the tour.
Helm Deck and Cockpit
The helm deck has opposing lounge seating that seats 4-6 people, with a 90 qt (85.2 L) cooler to port and access to the standard generator to starboard. A 75-gallon (284 L) fishbox lies in the center of the deck right at the single step that takes you down to the cockpit deck.
There’s a lot going on in this 58 sq ft (5.4 sq m) cockpit. There are two aft facing jump seats that are the easiest I’ve seen to deploy and store. Fresh and raw water washdowns are standard. A 40-gallon (151.4 L) insulated, lighted livewell with 1100-gph (4163 Lph) magnetic drive pump and starboard bait prep station with sink, cutting board highlight both flank the heavy duty RTM fiberglass transom door. The bait prep station can be swapped out for an optional second 40-gallon (151.4 L) livewell. Of course there are the usual flush-mounted rod holders, and under gunwale rod storage, but I also like that the 320 also has small toe rails to tuck your feet under giving you just a little more stability when fighting the fish in a rough sea way.
Having twin hulls has its perks and one of them is the huge dual anchor lockers. They’re quite deep with gutters around the opening to channel water overboard via a drain. Rails are beefy, and in between the hatches is a standard, that’s right… standard, windlass with foot controls, chain, and 22 lb (10 kg) anchor.
Now would be a good place to discuss the options. First has to do with the hardtop. While it's now standard, there is an option to color match the underside to the hull color and a second operating station can be added above as another option. The hardtop, with an opening skylight, can also be fitted with Rupp custom sidemount outriggers with 15' fixed poles or Taco 370 Grand Slam outriggers with 18' telescopic poles. And of course there are the rocket launchers and spreader lights.
Of course the family probably won’t give a fin over the fishing accommodations. As long as the cockpit remains roomy and spacious the great equalizer then becomes the cabin accommodations, and the 320 EC has that covered, and then some.There are two doors flanking the center-mounted helm. To starboard is the wet-head. It is fully fiberglass lined for easy cleanups and roomy enough for even my fattest fishing bud (we all have at least one) to be comfortable whether sitting or standing. From here, a door leading forward goes to the main cabin.
The main cabin is also accessible directly from the companionway to the port side of the helm. A galley is right at the bottom of the stairs, and while it may be small, it’s just the right size for this boat and its weekend overnights mission. Besides, it’s quite well equipped with the standard galley package consisting of a refrigerator, microwave, electric cooktop, and stainless sink, so no one’s complaining.
Which brings us to the berth. As this is a cat, the cabin is quite wide, spanning the twin hulls. This allows World Cat to add the luxury of a roomy queen-sized berth, with plenty of storage underneath for a weekend away from home. In case you brought the kids along (you fools) then there’s an LCD TV pre-wired for cable and a standard DVD player as well. That’s if the optional stereo with MP3 jack isn’t enough.
There’s also another cabin just aft. While you and I may call this a mid-cabin, World Cat calls it a quarter cabin and that’s probably more appropriate. It takes up the space of one hull, as the head occupies the other, and it holds one person, or two close friends. In other words, if four guys are planning an overnight fishing trip, then some will be on deck unless they’re really good friends (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course).
While we haven’t tested this 320 EC to verify, World Cat tells us that they do have some performance figures to share. With a Yamaha 300 four-stroke doing the heavy work they report a top speed of 45.6 mph. At that speed they were burning 52.7 gph. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 21.2 mph. Now the fuel burn was down to 13.1 gph and 1.62 mpg.
Clearly World Cat had their act together when they came up with the 320 EC. In my opinion, it meets all the requirements of a fishing and family-friendly boat, and then some. They even managed to add luxury into the mix. And let me say it again… if you have any doubts about how well these boats handle rough seas, then you only need to get out into it just once to be convinced. It’s like nothing you’ve experienced if you’ve only been in a mono hulled boat. Try it.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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