Review: World Cat 320 DC
The World Cat 320DC power catamaran has a versatile layout and features to suit everyone in the family. Its performance will get you quickly and safely across the harbour or the bay for a day’s fun and it can have you on the widest fishing grounds in quick time.
It’s hard to get your head around the World Cat 320DC power catamaran. On one hand, it looks like a dayboat, yet overnighting ability is included; it might be a perfect harbour cruiser for a flock of friends, but I would happily take it wide of the horizon. It’s also a luxury head-turner that you could easily get dirty catching big fish. With so many personalities it might be the boat for all reasons. So, in being something for everyone, it begs the question: has something been compromised along the way?
World Cat 320DC
Before the introduction on the water at the Sydney Boat Show, who had even heard of World Cat power catamarans? That’s surprising for a company that claims to be the largest maker of power catamarans in the world, with a history going back to the 1980s and with production totalling some 80,000 boats.
The lack of availability locally is about to change with Queensland-based Fishing and Leisure Boats forging a deal to import the brand. Their debut is a 32ft open style dual console version, the World Cat 320DC, from a lineup that includes 17 models between 2.7 metres and 9.8 metres.
Layout and design
World Cat claims its twin hull designs have superior performance, through a Vectorflo design that uses a patented central pod between the sponsons to break up incoming water, aerating it and reducing friction. The water then passes under the boat between a narrowing channel at the flatter transom to provide lift and soften the impact of waves.
Construction is timber-free and involves bonding the hull, stringer grid and liner into a monocoque entity with strategic areas filled with foam to increase buoyancy and reduce noise.
Most of this is hidden from view, but on show is a perfectly executed fibreglass finish and robust and well-integrated mouldings throughout.
Embarking over the narrow rear platform between the engines is somewhat unusual in that you need to take a left turn through a transom gate that is offset to port to facilitate a larger twin seat in the cockpit.
Boarding is also offered from the starboard side through a very robust dive door on hinges that leave nothing to chance. In fact, all the hardware on board appears, if anything, to be over-engineered. Grab handles, cleats, rails, hinges and even the steering wheel are quality stainless steel and have a reassuring feeling of strength without looking out of place.
Luxury seating is everywhere and a substantial Corian wet bar hits you with a distinct party-boat impression. It takes a while to absorb it all, especially as the port side lounging area can transform into so many different configurations.
From the smallish cockpit, it’s one step up to the main deck, which extends on a single level all the way to the bow’s lounging space. A doorway at the console can separate the bow completely to establish distinct entertaining areas in the bow, the main deck and the cockpit.
It’s in the cockpit that the boat’s concessions to fishing are most on show with a 132L live bait tank, padded coamings, tackle drawer, monster kill tank, rod holders, cutting board and the side door to haul in the big one that didn’t get away. Even so, there’s not enough room to consider this a serious game boat capable of allowing a gaff or tag operator alongside an angler fighting an angry fish.
As an entertainer it makes more sense. A twin lounge, permanently set into the starboard corner, has cup holders and wide mouldings either side. The base lifts to reveal a giant locker with a slot for the swim ladder and space for an optional generator.
Within reach of the cockpit is a starboard side galley with electric BBQ, Isotherm drawer fridge, wine cooler and sink. Combined with a small microwave elsewhere there is potential for cooking a decent BBQ for a crowd or breakfast for a more intimate crew.
Port side seating moves into a seemingly endless array of positions: it can work back-to-back, as a café style diner, as both forward or rear facing, as a chaise lounge and even as a sun pad/double bed.
Lounges in the bow will seat up to six adults, but a full infill turns the space into a monster sun pad. Voluminous hatches either side of the bowsprit should hold all the fenders and lines you would ever need, while the free-fall anchor is well placed and has a foot switch as well as the dash control and a raw water washdown.
Facilities in the twin console add to the boat’s versatility and live-aboard nature. A wide swing–out door and two steps offer access to a cosy nook with a lounge, TV and a cedar-lined hanging cupboard. It would be a great place for children tired of adult company or bored with a lack of fish. The seat converts to a compact 1.83m x 1.37m bed so overnighting is an option, but the larger upstairs lounge has considerably more room, so it might be a more preferable alternative for the larger folk.
Ahead of the helm is the en suite, where a flushing toilet has a 60L holding tank and a teak covering for a sit-down hot water shower. There’s also a small sink and an overhead hatch.
The helm chair could seat two, but the central steering wheel probably means there is only room for the skipper when things are busy. I liked the sensible layout of instruments and switches and the large black panel with room for big screens.
Our World Cat 320DC review boat came with a single 12in Garmin 7400 combination screen, but you could install one up to 15ft or opt for another 12ft item to separate navigation and sounder.
The suicide knob on the stout steering wheel hints at sporty performance and I was tempted to hang an arm over the side window hot rod-style. Twin 300hp Yamaha outboard motors add to that high-performance impression, even with over five tonnes of solid glass and Corian cabinetry to get moving.
Handling and ride
A silky smooth shift into forward had the World Cat underway, and the hole-shot was impressive. With virtually no lift at the bow, there was hardly a transition to a plane of 13kt at 3100rpm and a slow cruise of 18kt around 4000rpm. In conditions on Sydney Harbour under an 18-22kt sou-easter, the big cat felt stable and smooth as the sharp entries cut through the water.
We were able to run the fresh engines for short bursts to 6000rpm with an indicated 37kt on the GPS across the breeze. It could improve even more with additional hours on the clock and 4500rpm gave the most economical cruise. Both engines consumed 108L/h at 27kt for a theoretical safe range of 240nm.
Handling is what you would expect from a similar sized monohull. It’s lively and responsive without leaning out in turns while the ride is so soft that the hype about the Vector bubble technology is believable.
For some reason, the weather during the last few tests conducted in Sydney has been pretty nasty – and this day was no different. We had a short 3-4m swell and a sharp sea with spray curling off the top of breaking waves.
Progress was a steady 18kt into the sea and an easy 25kt with it. Stopped for a while and beam on, the boat was easily fishable and as stable as they come. Wide arcing wipers kept the screen clean, but we had omitted to install the side clears so we did cop some spray. Most sensible folk would have foreseen that.
The Trade-a-Boat verdict
Everything about the World Cat 320DC is impressive. After experiencing the boat in a decent sea, I can even forgive its compromised fishing room. There is abundant performance and creature comfort to make it a worthy all-rounder and if keeping the rest of the family happy is the price you pay, then it’s worthwhile.
As tested, the World Cat 320DC price is A$468,000. Add in an options list including two-tone colour, electronics and anti-fouling and the World Cat 320DC price comes to A$480,000 at today’s parity.
Stepping up from a 5m Fishmaster, the price tag will probably hurt, but coming off a 40ft cruiser for the added usability makes a lot of sense. Either way, there isn’t anything that stands out in the market to match the Word Cat’s versatility and style.
- Handing and ride are well above average
- Solid construction and well finished mouldings throughout
- Storage holds have sealed hatches and drain overboard
- Room for up to 14 people and comfortable seating for everyone
- Console bed is quite narrow
- En suite head height is limited
World Cat 320 DC specs
World Cat 320 DC price: A$468,000
Two-tone colour, underwater transom lights, Garmin 7400, 1kW transducer, VHF, anti-foul, more
PRICE AS TESTED
MATERIAL GRP, full composite construction
TYPE Express cruiser power catamaran
WEIGHT 5262kg dry (hull only)
PEOPLE 2 (night) 14 (day)
MAKE/MODEL Yamaha LF300XCA and F300XCA outboard motors
TYPE Fuel-injected, quad-cam four-stroke V6 outboard motors
RATED HP 300
WEIGHT 253kg (ex. prop)
GEAR RATIO 1.75:1
PROPELLER 15.75X15in Saltwater Series-II stainless steel propellers
Fishing and Leisure Boats
167 Currumburra Rd, Ashmore QLD 4214
Phone 0429 680 504
See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #482, on sale September 8, 2016. Why not subscribe today?
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