WORLD CAT 290 DUAL CONSOLE CATAMARAN REVIEW

By: ANDREW NORTON, Photography by: BARRY ASHENHURST

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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More than just two hulls, there is a lot of science behind the ride of the American-built World Cat 290 Dual Console, so-much-so it won’t upset the champers. Andrew Norton explains…

WORLD CAT 290 DUAL CONSOLE CATAMARAN REVIEW
American made World Cat 290DC makes for a great social dayboat and entertaining platform for when you need to impress a few guests

A key factor for Matt Ruwald when choosing a stable, performance dayboat for his family, was that the hull should ride soft enough not to take the bubbles out of the champagne. And he says at 25kts over a stiff chop aboard the World Cat 290 Dual Console the bubbles will stay in suspension until consumed, so objective achieved. As the driver Matt is abstaining from the champers, but we get his point.

Of course this boat is more than a drinking platform. The VectorFlo semi-displacement hulls and wave-breaking tunnel offered ride and stability characteristics that presented a persuasive argument, even for a dyed-in-the-wool monohull lover like me.



TOUGH CONSTRUCTION

Economies of scale in the USA enable local boatbuilders to put more features into boats than many of their Australian counterparts. Based in North Carolina, World Cat utilises what it calls Unibody construction using foam and fibreglass stringers arranged in a complex grid structure that can handle the waves likely to be encountered in the North Atlantic. So while the 290DC was designed for sunny summer conditions it can still cope when the weather turns nasty.

Closed moulding is used for components such as hatches and the standard of finish has to be seen to be believed. Open a hatch and the underside is as smooth as the exterior. Pop-up knobs for tying off fenders are something we usually don't see locally, just a small indication of the attention to detail.

Don't get me wrong, the repowered Caribbean 26 we were photographing was soundly built, with a proven hull design well suited to our East Coast conditions, but compared to the 290DC it had a distinctly seventies feel about it. The World Cat is a current generation design, with features expected in an upmarket boat nowadays.



CLEVER LAYOUT

The moulded bowsprit is long enough to keep anchor line and chain away from the topsides when the hull is swinging around at anchor. Aft of this are dual cleats and deep ground tackle compartments easily accessed from the massive forward cockpit. A fibreglass chute is provided for the line and chain when a windlass is fitted.

The forward cockpit has space for up to six adults but frankly four would be my recommendation. There's plenty of storage space under the seating for odds and ends, with four cupholders fitted per side. To port is a lockable dry storage compartment for up to six rods, with an auxiliary 212lt fishbox to starboard. A bi-fold weather door is fitted between the helm consoles and it sure was needed on such a cold winter's day. The World Cat 290DC is essentially a big open boat through which the wind whistles from stem to stern.

Thankfully the three-piece safety glass windscreen has a mild tint so it can still be seen through during night navigation, although I question the effectiveness of the dinky nav lights. The port helm console contains the head compartment with full standing room, a stainless steel sink and even a magazine rack - when your guests get boring you can retreat to the throne until it's time to go home. The starboard console houses the cockpit table and via a removable floor accesses, the three batteries (two for starting, one for the house) and the holding tank. It's large enough to throw in an airbed and kip there overnight, caressed by the gentle sloshing of water outside the hull.

Both the helm and passenger seats have footrests and are well positioned in relation to the helm area and head compartment. The starboardside dash has space for full instrumentation and in-dash screen displays with switch panel located directly beneath the stainless steel steering wheel. Interestingly the wheel has a control knob which, when mastered, is a really useful addition, complementing the electro-hydraulic steering.

Matt had opted for a fibreglass T-top with polished aluminium frame that housed the radio, overhead lights and rocket launchers as well as providing good shelter on hotter days.

Aft of the passenger seat is a compact galley, while similarly aft of the helm seat is a 175lt insulated fishbox/cooler with tackle storage. A raw-water nozzle is provided for a cockpit washdown, with an access compartment for the raw-water and power-steering pumps.

The aft cockpit is huge with six gunwale-mounted rodholders and six pop-up cleats attached to backing plates. A transom walkthrough with platform between the twin outboards increases the feeling of spaciousness. To fully tilt the outboard legs clear from the water when moored Matt had fitted hydraulic jacking plates, which also allow the legs to be kept in neutral trim while negotiating shoals and giving better boat control than running with tilted legs.

Soft blue LED night lighting had been fitted throughout the demo boat and proved a subtle and pleasant touch.



DRIVING THE 290DC

The twin Yamaha F250D outboards fitted were a perfect match and the maximum rated power. The digital drive-by-wire controls and unique SDS props with slipping hubs eliminated any "clunk" into ahead or astern and there was no transition felt through the helm or boat as we increased rpm from idling speeds.

Because of the size and displacement of the 290DC, we didn't try planing the hull with one engine stopped and in any case Matt said the ability to do that wasn't of concern. As it was, with three adults aboard, we planed easily at 2500rpm - though planing is not the right word as being a semi-displacement hull the 290DC never really planes. It was more like lifting out of the hole as happens with all semi-displacement hulls I've ever tested, mono or cat. Very few cats I've tried really plane and the concept of semi-planing does give the 290DC better low-speed to midrange efficiency.

Across their entire rpm range the Yammies were beautifully responsive and at one stage when Matt floored the throttles and I was daydreaming I had to hang on for my life. Being blonde really does make me an airhead occasionally as I'm sure the bleach has seeped into my skull.

Through tight turns at 4000rpm the hull leaned slightly outwards but never as obviously as a full-cabined cat of this size, most likely due to the low centre of gravity. The steering was reasonably direct but remained light. And when pushed hard over the wash of the Caribbean 26 we were photographing the hull had surefootedness about it even when falling into a trough, with no slamming from the tunnel. Across the low chop it didn't ship a drop and downwind the tracking was so good the helm could be left untouched for short periods.

At wide open throttle we could talk normally at the helm and the open cockpit design of the 290 DC ensures engine noise doesn't get trapped or resonate in the cockpit as so often happens with full-cabined hulls.

Back at rest, while photographer Barry Ashenhurst was snapping away at the Caribbean 26, the 290DC was rock solid with none of the rock and roll as found in a deep-vee mono, just a slight fore and aft pitching motion.



THE WRAP

The demo boat was the first one I'd tested with outboards colour-matched to the hull and the result was stunning, in keeping with the overall finish of the 290DC, which I must confess would shame most Oz fibreglass boatbuilders. The Yammies were the right engines for this hull, although other four-stroke outboards to 250hp each may be fitted.

The World 290DC is not to everyone's taste because it is so open, but if you're not interested in overnighting and want a really social dayboat that can look after itself on a mooring or in a marina berth then this cat gets the cream.



[HIGHS]

› Brilliant entertaining platform

› Flawless mouldings and finish

› Soft ride over steep boat wakes

› Hands-off downwind tracking

› Incredible stability

› Dry cockpit in beam seas

› Throttle-responsive hull



[LOWS]

› Better suited to summer days

› Dinky nav lights



[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]

The World 290DC is not to everyone's taste because it is so open, but if you're not interested in overnighting and want a really social dayboat that can look after itself on a mooring or in a marina berth then this cat gets the cream.





Specifications: World Cat 290DC



PRICE AS TESTED

$265,000



OPTIONS FITTED

Fibreglass T-top, electronics package, LED lighting, and more



PRICED FROM

$199,000



SEA TRIALS

Twin 250hp Yamaha outboards



RPM SPEED FUEL BURN

1000 5.3kts 10.2lt/h

1500 6.9kts 15.9lt/h

2000 7.4kts 26.5lt/h

2500 12.4kts 37.1lt/h

3000 18.2kts 47.3lt/h

3500 25.4kts 63.6lt/h

4000 30kts 86.7lt/h

4500 34kts 108.6lt/h

5000 37.8kts 133.6lt/h

5500 41.8kts 164.6lt/h

5950 44.3kts 185.1lt/h

* Sea-trial data supplied by the author. Fuel burn for both engines combined.



GENERAL

TYPE Semi-displacement catamaran

MATERIAL Fibreglass with grid structure

LENGTH 8.9m

BEAM 3m

WEIGHT 4.3 tonnes (w/ motors and half fuel)



CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (DAY) 8

REC. HP 2 x 250

REC. MAX HP 2 x 250

FUEL 940lt

WATER 132lt



ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Yamaha F250D

TYPE V6 four-stroke outboard

RATED HP 250 (each)

WEIGHT 253kg (each)

DISPLACEMENT 4169cc (each)

GEAR RATIO 1.75:1

PROPELLER 17in stainless steel with SDS



MANUFACTURED BY

World Class Catamarans,

Tarboro, North Carolina

Website: www.worldclasscat.com



IMPORTED BY

New Boats Direct,

GPO Box 322,

Brisbane, QLD, 4001

Phone: 1800 752 661

Web: www.leisurefreightandimport.com.au

 

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #434, December 2012.

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