We’re confirmed catamaran fans, as is practically anybody who plays around with these stable, fast-accelerating machines for any length of time. We like them so well, we’ve made a bunch of them. But as much fun as they are in action, they still aren’t much of a thrill if the wind isn’t blowing.
So, we began to look at power boat designs, and there are a lot of nice ones. But most of them don’t like waves and are bloody uncomfortable in a chop that looks pretty flat to a catamaran sailor. Plus we were spoiled by other catamaran features besides a nice, fast, stable motion. We liked the fact that cats are unswampable, smooth riding in rough water and can be run in through surf to a beach.
So, why not a powered catamaran with unsinkable hulls and a raised center cockpit? Or better yet, as long we we’re building separate hulls and cockpit components like a sailing cat, why not make a catamaran system that could be adapted for sailing or powering? Next thing we knew, we were building the Hydrocat system.
Sailing cats are fast through the water because of their good length to width ratio, but for power boat speeds we wanted to get the hulls up to ride across the top of the water like skis. To get this sort of action we borrowed planing surfaces from competition tunnel-hull race boats. With the power deck attached, the Hydrocat is nothing more than a tunnel hull hydro without the roof of the runnel. This means a lower top speed than competition hydros, but lets the boat give a smooth ride in open, rough water, and even allows surfing or wake surfing fun.
We’ve wake surfed with as little as 4 horsepower, and you can pull a skier with a 35-horsepower attached with less than two-thirds throttle. Each component is light enough for two men to handle so you won’t need a special boat trailer to get to the water. We’ve used utility trailers and simply assembled the deck to the hulls on a beach to launch. Components can be stacked and stored against one wall of the garage.
The sailing version of the Hydrocat includes popular features such as cockpit controlled, flip up and down rudders, solid bridge deck with storage cubbys, not to mention low cost. And the payload is greater than most cats you’ll see of this length (over 1,000 pounds).
If you’re looking for a maximum funminimum expense, all-purpose sport boat, we think you’ve come to the right project.