in a Power Cat
By Jill Malcolm
Smooth cruising in
Skipping across the waves at 40 knots, hardly a bump to be felt, it quickly becomes apparent this is no ordinary powerboat. Accustomed to, or rather having acquiesced to, being beat around in a monohull, the Twin Vee Power Cat is like cruising across the Bay on a dead calm day, even when the waves are at a two foot chop.
On a hot August afternoon out of Annapolis, any boat ride is a pleasure, just to create some apparent wind. Cruising in a Twin Vee is boater joy; the smooth quiet ride carrying you effortlessly atop the waves, while you stay cozy and dry in the comfortable bench seat piloting this solidly built vessel. Peter Jones, sales representative for Twin Vee Power Cats in Port Annapolis Marina, takes his customers out on test rides aboard the 26-ft. Weekender, knowing that many boaters have never experienced the comfortable ride of a power catamaran.
"Twin Vees are true planing hulls so the boat jumps right on top," said Jones. "But the Twin Vee is a no-frills boat. We like to say it is two parts function, one part form." The beauty lies in the ride. In production for eight years, Twin Vee Power Cats are built in Port Lucie, Florida. The company focuses on quality hull design. Jones says it's the strongest production hull in the industry, and that the boats are built like tanks, and can take a lot of abuse. Everything under the deck is closed-cell foam, which makes the boat virtually unsinkable and very stable.
The Twin Vee Power Cat comes in nine different sizes ranging from a 10.5-ft. tender to a 32-ft. cruiser. In 2003, a 36-ft. model will enter the market: Up to 19-ft. in length, the Twin Vee is equipped with a single Suzuki four-stroke engine. Models over 20-ft. are powered with twin outboards.
Power cats are an efficient way to boat. At full power the boat jumps up on plane and the engines, once trimmed, are more than enough juice to keep the vessel skipping across the water. According to the Twin Vee website, catamaran hulls are more efficient than monohulls as they require less power to maintain equivalent cruising speeds.
The Twin Vee is an ideal fishing boat, as it carries a shallow draft and when on plane draws only ten inches of water. The wide beam allows for optimal cockpit space and storage. The 19-ft. Bay Cat is a center console model with a single engine that is offered through 2002 at a price of $19,995, which includes a trailer and 90 hp Suzuki. Options and upgrades are easily made.
"The Twin Vee is an a la carte boat," said Jones. "You pick and choose what you want."
Easy to maintain, all Twin Vees have rolled finish interiors. Without a fiberglass liner, the weight on the boat is kept down and the non-skid speckled finish can just be hosed down at the end of the day.
As comfortable as they are up on plane, the Power Cat with its two hulls positioned far apart, sits solidly at anchor. In a recent test ride, Jones was pulled over by the marine police for not having his dealer tags displayed. The two boats, the Twin Vee 19-ft. Bay Cat and the Boston Whaler rested port to starboard as Jones worked out the problem. After the encounter, Jones apologized to his customer and surprisingly the client said he was glad happened. As the two boats drifted, the customer could see how stable the catamaran hull was compared to the monohull that pitched with the passing boat wakes. Jones sold another boat that day.
With so many models to choose from, the Twin Vee is ideal for day trips or weekend cruising. The 26-ft. Weekender has a huge queen berth below, with a port-a-potty and fresh water sink. During the recent Twin Vee Bimini Bash, Jones met a couple who lived aboard their 22-ft. Weekender. With an 8ft. 6in. beam, the couple installed cabinetry below decks and had ample storage for their belongings.
The 26-ft. Weekender tested was rigged with an anodized aluminum half-tower with a soft top, rod holders and twin 140 Suzukis, priced at $48,995 with a long list of options. At 2700 RPM the boat planed out and the light chop on the open Chesapeake was negligible. Cruise speed is a comfy 34 mph while top end is about 45 mph.
Turning in a Power Cat is an enlightening experience. Instead of grinding into the turn, the boat slips easily across the surface of the water, as passengers, expecting to heel to the turn, hardly notice the directional change.
Wave action at top speed was taken in stride, as the boat would smack into the wave then gently shudder, absorbing the impact for her passengers. But according to Peter Jones, you have to experience it for yourself. "You can sit and listen to a sales guy all day," said Jones. "But until you've felt the difference, you just won't believe it."
Test rides are by appointment:
For more info on the Twin Vee Power Cat, check their website at: