While working on a cats versus monohulls article the other day, I saw something that blew my mind. Evidently, some people out there actually believe that cats run poorly in a head-sea.
Now mind you, I’m a big cat fan. I currently have a Glacier Bay 22 and I’ve spent years at a time with cats from Glacier, World Cat, Twin Vee, Nautico, and Pro Cat. Some were better then others, but in all of these cases, the boats actually shined the brightest in a head sea. So let me try to put this rumor to rest: if someone tells you cats don’t do well in a head sea, mark them down as either inexperienced or intentionally misleading, because experience proves that a head sea is where a cat usually does its best.
Yes, there are plenty of down-sides to owning a cat. Here are the downs – and then the ups – in a very generalized nutshell. (Remember to judge each individual boat on its own merits. Different model cats are as unique as different model monohulls and this list is painted with a very broad brush!)
Downs – sneezing, the snap roll, turning differences, higher initial cost, unusual looks, and a lack of cabin depth.
Ups - Smoother in rough seas (INCLUDING a head sea!), increased stability, increased deck space per LOA, and lower power requirements.
Now, I surely don’t expect you to merely take my word for this. Even though, for an article in Boating Magazine a few years back, I was present when we measured wave impacts with an accelerometer on a 26′ Glacier Bay and a 26′ Regulator in identical seas – and proved the lower cat impact (by over a third) with cold, hard data. I’m just saying you shouldn’t believe what you hear… especially if it comes out of the mouth of a monohull salesmen. Go out and ride in a few cats yourself. Point the bow into the seas, and make your own judgement. You might decide that you hate cats – but I’ll bet you’ll still agree that in a head sea, they ride the best.