December 2001 Issue

 
   

One Tough Cat
By John Page Williams

Twin Vee's reasonably priced catamaran rides soft and dry in a chop, with flat running angles at all speeds, providing a rock-steady platform for family fun and fishing.

I ran my 17-foot Whaler, First Light, alongside the tough-looking catamaran to observe how it would handle the rough conditions. To my delight, the cat rose onto plane effortlessly, with almost no squat, and at 13- to 20-knot cruising speeds sliced the waves open like a sharp knife would cut fish fillets. It was a Twin Vee Outrageous 20, and I was so impressed with it that I scheduled a sea trial with a sistership. 

Of course, all power catamarans have well-deserved reputations for soft rides in choppy seas. The flip side is that they tend to be expensive boats, because it takes more material and labor to build two hulls instead of the single one of a monohull. However, this is not the case with Twin Vee's Outrageous 20, which has a starting price of $9,995 without power.

Granted, the Outrageous 20's rolled-edge hulls are workboat grade, but this cat is tough and it's well behaved in both rough and shallow water. The rig I tested carries a list price of $24,500, but this one was well equipped with a T-top, leaning post/rocket launcher, twin Suzuki 50s and a tandem trailer. 

Design and Construction
The Outrageous 20's hulls are designed to roll water up inside the tunnel between them. A pod called a "nacelle" runs fore and aft along the centerline of the tunnel. This deflects the water back down, creating a continuous spiral of water in each side of the tunnel as the cat moves forward. This aerated water softens the boat's impact as it comes down on a sea, and it also creates lift to help the hulls run efficiently with modest power. It's comforting to know that, in the event of engine trouble, the 20 will plane with a single 50-horsepower outboard. The bows cut easily through seas, while their gentle angles of entry prevent them from digging in when running in following seas. Twin Vee lays up hulls with chopped-glass mat and woven roving, at least six layers everywhere with twice that many along the keel and in other stress areas. Lengthwise stringers in each hull and the cockpit sole are crafted of MarineTech PTP pressure treated plywood, which carries a lifetime warranty. This has excellent adhesion properties for fiberglass, and it's strong from all angles, resisting the internal twisting forces inherent in cats.

The nacelle further strengthens the boat, as do two 3-inch PVC pipes glassed into the upper comers of the tunnel where it meets the hulls. The pipes also provide commodious rigging conduits for cables and wiring. After installation of the cockpit sole, closed-cell urethane foam is injected throughout the hulls. The resulting catamaran hull is so sturdy that Twin Vee offers a lifetime warranty to the original owner.

Sea Trial
Test day brought calm seas, which simplified speed and fuel runs. With the silky-smooth little Suzukis, this TwinVee turned in a top speed of 25.5 knots at 6,200 rpm, with economical cruise at 4,000 to 5,000 rpm (12.8 knots/4.0 nautical miles per gallon to 19.4 knots/3.7 nmpg). It's worth noting that these high-revving, fuel-injected four-strokes are very happy at these speeds, with sound levels consistently 5 to 6 dBA lower than a single 100-horsepower two-stroke at comparable speeds.

The performance numbers are very good. More impressive to me, though, is the way the Outrageous 20 comes up onto plane and cuts through 2- to 3-foot seas. The test boat belongs to a friend who guides from it; another pal guides from an Outrageous 20 with twin Honda 50s. Between them, they work everything from yellowfin tuna offshore to stripers on underwater grass beds. The consensus is that they are rock-steady platforms with flat running angles at all speeds. The test boat's owner reported that a tuna trip 35 miles offshore in 4-foot seas was comfortable as well as productive, running at 4,800 rpm (about 17.5 knots).

Interior Layout
The interior of the Outrageous 20 is huge. The bow deck is 5 feet, 8 inches long and 7 feet, 8 inches wide, which provides plenty of room for a single fly-fisher or a couple of anglers with spinning or plugging gear. Beneath the bow deck is a huge storage area, with access through a pair of vertical hatches on the deck's after bulkhead.

The console holds a 36-gallon polyethylene fuel tank. A storage compartment under the front seat is large enough to stow seven Type I commercial PFDs. Placing the fuel tank right under the helm in an open compartment may seem unsophisticated, but the location provides great access to all plumbing and wiring for maintenance. Plus, a glance at the translucent tank tells you how much fuel you have left; this is one gas gauge that won't ever betray you.

The console top has plenty of room for a compass, a small GPS and a compact fishfinder, but a T-Top electronics box is a good alternative for larger units as well as a VHF radio. The top also offers mounting pads for a radio antenna and a white, all-around running light, plus plenty of handholds for folks clustered around it while running.

The test boat also had four, 9-foot overhead fly-rod racks mounted just outside of the electronics box, two on each side. The owner is considering swinging a cargo hammock in front of the box for storage of PFDs.

Pass-through between the gunwales and the T-top and console is a generous 24 inches. The hull sides are only 16 inches deep from top to deck, but Twin Vee offers side rails for those who want more security. The test boat did not have rails, but my other friend swears by rails on his Outrageous 20.

The test boat had an aftermarket leaning post with a rocket launcher for four rods, a storage compartment and space beneath for a cooler/fishbox. The cockpit is wide open at present, with each engine's battery mounted to the deck beside its rigging conduit. The owner plans to build a stern deck over the batteries, which will provide additional storage inside with a casting platform on top. It will also act as a splashwell for the low transom. In short, the Outrageous 20 is a bare-bones boat that is easy to modify

Power Options
For a hard-core angler, twin-50 four-strokes make a great choice for the Outrageous 20. With them, the boat does not have a particularly fast top-end speed; however, usable speed is another story. The Outrageous 20 can maintain 20 knots in more sea than most folks would care to challenge in a longer monohull, and the fuel economy lives up to the boat's name.

If you need more speed, choose a pair of 60- to 70-horsepower four-strokes or consider bolting on a single 115-horsepower four-stroke. Yes, you heard me right; this cat's tunnel is carefully designed to provide a single engine with a smooth, dense flow of water at planing speeds. If you go this route, just be sure you talk with the Twin Vee folks to get the right propeller for this configuration. Chances are, it'll be a heavily cupped four-blade.

Conclusions
Twin Vee's Outrageous 20 can sneak up onto a shallow flat or carry you comfortably through a steep chop offshore, all without many stops at the fuel dock. Cockpit space abounds for a big family picnic, and the price is right. Plan on doing some of your own rigging and you'll end up with a boat that will serve your family's many requirements for a long time to come.

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   Performance Numbers

We tested the Twin Vee Outrageous 20 on a fall day under clear skies with the wind blowing from the north at 5 knots.  Our test boat ran twin Suzuki 50 horsepower four-stroke outboards with 10-inch by 13-inch aluminum three-blade Suzuki propellers.  With the fuel tank two-thirds full and three people onboard, our time to plane was 3.1 seconds.

RPM KNOTS GPH NMPG ANGLE DBA RANGE
1,000 3.0 0.4 7.5 0 62 234
1,500 4.2 0.8 5.2 0 69 168
2,000 5.2 1.0 5.2 1 71 168
2,500 6.0 1.2 5.0 2 74 162
3,000 7.1 2.6 2.7 3 78 87
3,500 8.9 3.0 3.0 4 80 97
4,000 12.8 3.2 4.0 4 82 130
4,500 16.6 4.2 4.0 2 83 130
5,000 19.4 5.2 3.7 2 83 120
5,500 21.9 7.4 3.0 1 87 97
6,000 24.0 8.8 2.7 1 88 87
6,200 25.5 9.6 2.7 1 92 87

 

DOUBLE DUTY - The twin hulls of the Outrageous 20 (top and above, left) are ingeniously designed to cut through the waves with ease without the tendency to dig in when running in following seas.  Twin Suzuki 50s (above, right) were on the test boat, but this cat's tunnel is designed to provide solid water for a single engine. Note the nacelle in the tunnel (above, left and right), which softens the boat's impact when it falls off a sea.

 

PLAY STATION -  The console top has plenty of room for a compass, a small GPS and a compact fishfinder.
 

 

Photographs by John Page Williams, Offshore Magazine

 

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