This is a boat designed to fill the needs of many boaters. That’s not always an easy task and for most it simply is a marketing ploy, like adding bow cushions to a center console and calling it a “family fishing boat!” Well rest assured, when the design team at World Cat comes up with a crossover boat, they aren’t just kidding around.
If the lessons of the 295DC have taught them anything, and we’ve no reason to think otherwise, then this 320DC is a showstopper. She has three distinct entertaining areas in the bow, the helm deck, and the cockpit, each with its own set of innovations and attractions.
Of course, since these are among the best sea keeping boats out there, it’s safe to say that fishermen will love her as well. And for those impromptu getaways, she has a portside berth that will accommodate two for overnights.
Why a Catamaran?
Look around any marina and count the catamarans and it’s pretty evident that this is a concept that is not the most popular, but that’s more the fault of the boaters than the boat. Most boaters are so insecure about their boating knowledge that they are afraid to try anything that may be considered different. Newbies are rarely the customers of catamarans. Cat owners are, for the most part, veteran boaters that are looking to spend more time in challenging conditions or, and this is important, want more space in the same size boat. All it takes for a boater to see the benefits of a cat are to look a little closely and then get out in one. We’ll help here with a closer look at the advantages of a cat.
The Pros of a Cat
• More Comfortable in Chop. Because a catamaran has two relatively narrow, deep-V hulls, instead of one wide V-shaped hull it is less likely to pound. Rather, catamaran bows easily slice through waves rather than hitting and bouncing over them, or slicing through at the bow then taking the brunt amidships where the boat widens and flattens. Look at any harbor where high speed ferries operate and see what sort of hull they are. More than likely, they’re catamarans. This smooth ride makes trips more enjoyable, less tiring, enables cats to maintain speed when conditions get snotty, and lets cat owners go out when many monohull owners would prefer to stay at the dock.
• More Initial Stability. The twin hulls are spread apart providing a wider footprint against the same size boat with a single hull. Also, the mono hulled boat is deeper in the center, and shallow at the sides. For those two very simple reasons, mono hulls roll more -- both underway and at rest than any cat ever will. The ultimate roll, of course, is to capsize, something that power cats are much less likely to do in hazardous conditions.
• More Deck Space. Because catamarans have two hulls instead of one, and because they are both widely separated, the bow of cats is not pinched in, and therefore is far more open. Moreover, most mono hulls have a beam that is one width on deck, but one much more narrow at the waterline. This is done to make them faster and more fuel-efficient, but it also means that the floorboards are not nearly as wide as the beam indicates.
Catamarans, on the other hand, have very vertical hull sides in order to maximize their buoyancy, and a resulting benefit is far more usable deck space. Virtually all catamarans will have a greater usable inside cockpit deck beam than any mono hull of the same published beam, length, or dimension.
• Shallow Draft. Because cats have two hulls instead of one they are able to spread their load over a wider area and therefore generally don't sit as deep. Mono hulls, which often don't displace much on their outboard sides near the chines, must rest deeper in the water at their keel to displace the same amount of weight.
• Systems Redundancy. This is by far one of the biggest advantages to a cat, probably right behind their superior wave handling abilities. Cats will have twin engines, one for each hull. Each of these engines is connected to a separate electrical and fuel system. So bad fuel, or water in the fuel, in one system will likely not affect the other, and the boat can still return home on one engine if need be. For both to fail, something exceedingly rare and catastrophic has to occur. Either that, or something stupid like running both tanks dry. With a mono hull, this redundancy isn’t always the case, and in fact, it rarely is.
• Other Advantages. There are numerous other advantages, such as low bow rise upon acceleration, being easier to maneuver at the dock because their outboard engines are farther apart, more security for anglers in a rolling seaway drift fishing, and a lower wake at high speed, among other things.
What You Might Hear About Cats
There’s just no walking past a mono hull dealer without hearing of the downsides to cats so let’s go over some of what they get on their soapboxes to tout.
• They Cost More. There is more fiberglass and resin in a catamaran than in a mono hull of the same length and beam. The reason is because of what has been outlined above -- a cat has two deep hulls rather than one deep keel, and so enabling more usable space onboard requires a bit more material inside and more labor to make. That means that foot-for-foot they are also usually a little heavier. For this reason they sometimes -- but not always -- cost more than a similar length mono hull.
• They Look Different. This is the biggie. That insecurity of doing anything different than what everyone else is doing is a hard nut to crack. Some of us feel the same about beer. Why buy a Mexican beer and then add a lime to make it taste better? Because everyone else is doing it perhaps? Same goes with a mono hull. A majority buys them, but cats owners are passionate believers in the design. (Just ask one of them).
• They Turn Funny. In turns, catamarans are perceived to either lean slightly to the outside or stay relatively level, as well as not being able to turn as sharply at speed. However, in reality, in the hands of an experienced captain they are capable of performing very tight turns with motion very similar to a monohull. Our test captains report that it takes about 15 minutes to get used to these differences and then it is business as usual.
The bottom line is that there are certainly more valid reasons to own a catamaran than to not own one, and in our opinion, a simple ride through snotty conditions will sell anyone on one. Of course, we’re boat handlers and that’s the biggie to us. To others, it’s simply the crazy amount of room that these boats represent that is the main selling point.
The World Cat 320DC
Here's a quick overview of the 320DC.
The bow has an offset walkway between the two consoles. This provides more room in the portside console berth than in the starboard side head. There’s seating for 6 in doublewide lounge seats and World Cat has angled the backrests for added comfort. On the inboard sides of the seats there are flip-down armrests, which we prefer over flip-up armrests as they don’t have to be unlocked to stow them. Inserts to port and starboard have cup holders, storage bins and speakers. Being recessed into inserts means that things like the speakers won’t be pushing into ones back when seated.
As this boat is surely a crossover into fishing, there’s a 300-quart (284 L) insulated storage box under the starboard seating. Use this for storage, or fill it with ice and fish. It’s self-draining overboard. Naturally there’s a filler cushion to turn the bow into a sun pad and a bow table comes standard.
Portside Console Berth
Spending the night onboard is a simple matter with the 320DC and the inclusion of a berth does not take away from any of the many on-deck features. Tinted portlights are to both topside and inboard. We’d rather see a portlight to the outboard side for privacy and better influx of natural light. The cabin sole is be teak. An aft facing couch converts into a berth 72” x 54” (183 cm x 137 cm). All lighting is LED for low heat output and current draw. A microwave and LED TV round out the comfort features. As the compartment is lockable, there is also be rod storage.
The head occupies the console to starboard and is, of course, a wet-head. It includes a Thedford 10-gallon (38 L) head with a teak grid seat on top. The sink is recessed into a Corian counter and a pull-out sprayer serves as the shower head. Water is plumbed into a 45-gallon (170.3 L) water tank and hot water is limited to 6-gallons (22.7 L).
The helm has plenty of open real estate for mounting a single 15” (38 cm) navigation display or a pair of 12” (30.5 cm) displays. Fire extinguisher boxes are to port and starboard. The seat is a bench type with pull-up armrest inboard and a single flip-up bolster. Dry space for cell phone storage is provided next to 12-V supply. A 12,000 BTU reverse cycle heat/air conditioner is connected to the berth, head, and cockpit. The windshield is integrated with the hardtop for maximum protection from the elements without the need to add filler pieces to the top of the windshield. She’ll be powered with a pair of 300-hp engines from either Suzuki or Yamaha. World Cat is expecting a best cruise speed of 28 mph and a top speed of around 50 mph.
The center of the boat is on a raised deck for better visibility, as well as to accommodate a centerline 250-quart (236.6 L) fishbox. To the port side is a cushioned seating for four on separate fiberglass pods, all of which converts to a single aft-facing dual lounge, dual-facing seats, or dual seats facing either fore or aft. The usual accommodations for storage are under the seats. To starboard, there is an entertainment center with a refrigerator, sink, 1300-watt electric grill and storage drawers.
Overhead, a fiberglass hardtop is standard. It includes louvered vents for the air, two forward-facing hatches, two aft-facing speakers, LED spreader lights, downlights, a standard shade extension and a TV.
The cockpit is mostly dedicated to fishing and watersports and it is accessed from an offset starboard side entry from the helm deck. A cockpit side door serves for hauling in large fish or divers, the latter being large or small. Rod holders are in the usual space under the gunwales, two to each side.
Aft and to starboard, there is transom seating for two adults. Under the seat box is a storage compartment with a tool kit, dive tank storage, and a mounting area for the optional 4.2 kW Fischer Panda diesel generator and its separate 10-gallon (38 L) fuel tank.
A 35-gallon (132.5 L) livewell is in the portside aft corner and it includes a cutting board, knife, and pliers holders. There also is a raw water washdown and a transom door leads to the aft swim platform extension.
The 320DC comes with a 10-year hull warranty and a 1-year material and workmanship warranty.
Obviously, this is a versatile boat. We understand that World Cat is undergoing some cosmetic upgrades in production models, and we're looking forward to seeing that. We can’t decide if we’re looking forward more to viewing the finished layout or actually getting her underway and seeing her handle some rough sea conditions. Either way, the 320DC is not a disappointment.
Standard and Optional Features
|CD Stereo||Standard Marine Entertainment System|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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