October 2001 Issue

 
   


Nice Kitty - Little Cats
By John Page Williams

Two friends of mine, captains Hank Norton of Deltaville and Chris Dollar of Annapolis, guide fly and light-tackle anglers on the Bay and its tributaries from 20.foot Twin Vee cats, made in Port St. Lucie, Fla. These hulls tend more toward the planning mode, with length-to-beam ratios of about 9.6 to 1. Unlike the yacht-finished Glacier Bay and World Cat hulls, Twin Vee uses woven roving, pressure-treated plywood, and polyester resin to build spackle finished hulls without liners. They are tough, strong and relatively inexpensive. Norton powers his boat with a pair of Honda 50s while Dollar runs his Voodoo Cut with a pair of Suzuki 50 four-strokes. Both boats cruise in the high teens and low 20s with outstanding fuel economy.

Two years ago, I spent a blustery day running my Whaler beside Norton's Twin Vee in the mouth of the Rappahannock and the open Bay off Windmill Point. In 2- to 3-foot seas, it's a graceful boat to watch, rising onto plane gradually, without squatting at speeds in the low teens, and slicing waves open cleanly. Norton's party that day stayed comfortable even though they were in those seas the whole time. The twin hulls provided excellent stability while drifting for working fly rods. A short stint running Voodoo Cat a year later in a sharp chop on the Rappahannock confirmed these impressions. The secret for that nice balance and soft ride lies in the Twin Vee's tunnel. There, the combination of the inner hull shape and the anti-sneeze pod forces the water-air mix in the tunnel into a pair of inward-turning spirals that provide lift while minimizing sneezing, according to Roger Dunshee, president and chief designer of Twin Vee.

Once Norton gets to his spots, he spends a lot of his time carefully drifting the edges of grass beds, oyster reefs and creek mouths. He likes the Twin Vee's low sides for their minimal windage and easy access to the water, but he has added the security of side rails. Otherwise, his boat is rigged simply.

Dollar, on the other hand, fishes everything from the April catch-and-release rockfish season on the Susquehanna Flats to tuna and other offshore gamefish from Ocean City, Md., to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He has enjoyed rigging Voodoo Cat himself with a T-top, electronics, rod holders and a stern casting platform. He also has great confidence in his boat, having fished it 35 miles off Ocean City, where it ran easily through 4-foot seas at 17.5 knots, and in wicked breaking seas in Hatteras Inlet, N.C. The only problem he has encountered was a time when Voodoo Cat, idling forward in a sharp chop, sheared the top off a wave and took a couple of inches of green water over the bow. The boat shook off the water immediately as it ran across the self-bailing cockpit and through the scuppers, but Dollar and his clients were surprised. That tendency to take a little water in the face is the tradeoff for those fine bows that cleave waves so well.

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