By Capt. Steve Larivee
I've yet to test a catamaran that didn't impress me, particularly when it comes to the ride. When we went wave-hunting in the 2780 as luck would have it, we had flat seas. Thankfully, ferrys do a pretty good job of churning them out. So when you decide to head at full throttle into a 2' (.6 m) ferry wake, it's hard not to brace yourself for an impact, and that's exactly what I did. Only the impact never came, and we sailed right through the wave like a hot knife through butter. That is why I like well-designed cats.Taking the waves on the beam or stern made no difference. The 2780 handled them as if they weren't even there. It's characteristics like this that make the 2780 a good cruising boat. Set your course and head out, come hell or high water. While I couldn't verify this by running her through a named storm, the voice of experience tells me what I want to know. This boat has the right stuff.
The 2780 is designed to bean island runner, but one with a lot of fishing in between. Because she is a stable cat, Mom will not mind coming along and for that reason she also makes an comfortable weekend cruiser, as well as a fishing boat.
The Elephant in the Room
Old habits die hard, so when the subject of cats comes up at the Square Grouper bar, you are likely to hear that "cats lean out in a turn." Since it has two hulls instead of one, of course it handles differently in a turn, what would one expect?Yes, the 2780 does lean outboard in turns, and while the sensation was a little unsusal at first, after 10 minutes, it came to be quite expected and natural. So if it's a concern to you, my advice is to get over it. The rough water performance far outweighs the outboard turning non-issue. (For the monohull diehards, I recommend seeing the new movie Moneyball, which will put things like evolution and change in perspective.)
Trimming is Different
Here's another thing with cats: Like any other boat, they lean into a crosswind, and list with an uneven distribution of weight. But correcting it with engine trim is opposite of a mono hull. Remember, "high hull, high engine". The hull that is elevated gets that engine elevated. Then you're good to go.
Redundancy is Good
Probably the best feature of cats is the power system redundancy. Because there are two hulls, it is natural that each contain its own propulsion system. There are separate fuel systems, separate electrical systems, and separate batteries. Each hull is a mirror image of the other. It's for that reason that you rarely hear of a cat getting stuck due to a breakdown. It is unusual for a gremlin that affects one system to also affect the other. (Bad gas from the same marina in both tanks, is one example.) Fry one set of batteries… just flip the switches to the others and head home.
So, with twin Yamaha 150 four-strokes doing the heavy work, our test boat had a top speed of 35.5 kts at 5900 rpm. At that speed we were burning 32.4 gph for a range of 178 nm. Best cruise was at 3500 rpm and 18.6 kts. Now we were burning only 10.6 gph for a range of 286 nautical miles. Acceleration was just nuts with a time to plane of only 4.1 seconds, and we reached 30 mph in 7.3 seconds. To compare, I've tested jet boats that barely beat that time to plane. What's more, the 2780 remains fairly flat during the acceleration so no worries about losing the horizon.
The Layout is Different
The most significant changes to the 2780, over the previous 2670 are surrounding the layout. The helm deck has been completely redone and features L-shaped seating with an optional cocktail table ($772). Across there is an entertainment center with a sink and a refrigerator ($873). Having the fridge in the helm deck is a direct response to customer feedback about having to go below for a drink. Add the optional gas grill ($1187) that resides in a rod holder and now you can have your drink and dinner without leaving the deck (or your lines).
As for the helm, it could still use a little tweaking, in my opinion. Let me preface this with the fact that I'm relatively short at 5' 8-/2" (1.74 m)…but so are other captains. That said, the helm seat needs to be raised a few inches. I was fine standing, but frankly, my most comfortable position was standing on the footrest with my butt on the seat bolster. That got me high enough to be comfortable with good visibility. The panel on our test boat was bare but contained enough real estate for a 12" (30.5 cm) display and additional analog gauges as well, or perhaps an autopilot. As for what is offered by Glacier Bay in the way of electronics, you're on your own and I like it that way. No disrespect intended to the good folks at Raymarine, but there are other choices and while I may end up with a Ray unit, I don't appreciate having the decision made for me. Good on you Glacier Bay.
Below is a large queen berth with gobs of storage underneath, a small head separated by a curtain, and a cabinet with a microwave. Clearly this is an overnight boat, or a weekender, since no one I know actually cooks on their boat when they go to a distant island. Here the emphasis is on the sleep-ability (yes it is a word).
Power and Options
Back to choices: You do have options with power, but only with the manufacturer, not with the size. This boat ran fine with twin 150s so don't mess with it. You can choose between Suzuki or as with our test boat, Yamaha. I also wouldn't even think about getting this boat (or any boat with twin 150's) without power steering. Definitely consider the flush mounted, fold-away seats that deploy and stow better than any seats I've seen.
Other options worth considering are the windlass, a canvas enclosure, and a Clarion stereo with USB input. If you spend a lot of time at the dock, then perhaps the air conditioning/heater is for you, and you'll need either shore power or a generator to go with it. Finally, if you're sick of white boats, then you can opt for Cobalt Blue, or Ice Blue or get creative with a custom color.
So as it turns out, change is a good thing and Glacier Bay stepped up and gave their customers what they wanted in an already successful design. And the plan seems to be working as the dealer I spoke to says he sells them as fast as he gets them. And I believe that. Our recommendation is that if you have not taken a ride on the Island Runner 2780, you should do so. Bring your significant other along with you and you may be surprised at her reaction. When it comes to boat buying, we believe on having both members of a couple on the same page.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the World Cat 2780 (2013-) is 40.9 mph (65.8 kph), burning 32.4 gallons per hour (gph) or 122.63 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the World Cat 2780 (2013-) is 21.4 mph (34.4 kph), and the boat gets 2.0 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.85 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 329 miles (529.47 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 150-hp Yamaha four-strokes.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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