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September 26, 2012

World Cat 290DC

A review and photos of a fish- and family-friendly catamaran

Convincing your better half that you need a new saltwater fishing boat can pose a challenge. Yet taking your spouse for a ride in the newly redesigned World Cat 290DC Dual Console might win her over more quickly.

This dual-console model offers a remarkable combination of family and fishing features, as well as a stable, soft, dry catamaran hull. We had a chance to run this 29-footer powered by a pair of Suzuki’s new DF250AP V-6 outboards off Key Largo, Florida, and we found it delightfully easy to skipper, whether running through stormy seas or docking in a tight slip. I credit the Teleflex SeaStar power-­assisted hydraulic steering and Suzuki’s electronic throttle and shift with the ease of controlling this cat.

While power catamarans have a reputation for knifing smoothly through waves, they also have a tendency to “sneeze” — that is, blow forward spray that can end up in your face. However, with World Cat’s Vectorflo hull, sneezing is all but eliminated, thanks to a funnellike design that sucks aerated water aft. This also forms a cushion to soften and stabilize the ride, and improves fuel efficiency. The rougher the seas, the greater the cushioning effect, says the North Carolina-based builder.

That proved to be the case as we powered through three- to four-footers on the blustery test day. The ride was smooth in all sea directions, though the 290DC rolled a bit more than I expected when running in the trough. Cats also have the odd tendency to pound a bit when idling up-sea, and the 290DC was no exception.

Upon finding calm water, we pegged the throttles on the twin 250s and accelerated to 30 mph in 7.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 46.5 mph. Best fuel economy during our test came at 3,500 rpm, at which the boat achieved 1.82 miles per gallon cruising at 28 mph. That equates to a range of 455 miles with the twin 125-gallon tanks. I attribute the outstanding fuel efficiency in part to Suzuki’s Lean Burn technology. The company’s new 250 also features dual overhead cams, electronic thottle and shift, and a streamlined gearcase.

Some dual-console fishing boats look like runabouts with fishing accessories added as an afterthought. Not so with the 290DC. Even from a distance, its upswept bow gives it a fishy look, particularly with the hardtop sporting six rail-mount rod holders and dual overhead electronics boxes. Six more flush-mount rod holders rim the gunwales, and there are two cutting boards with knife-and-pliers holders on either side of the transom.

The 290DC also incorporates a 30-gallon livewell with a clear acrylic lid abaft the port seat, as well as a 46-gallon ice chest/fish box and bait prep center built in behind the captain’s seat. The top sides of both the livewell and ice chest can be fitted with cushions, and both have wraparound backrests and folding footrests below to create additional seating. Also, you’ll find fold-down jump seats in both corners of the cockpit. Coaming pads on both sides of the cockpit help protect your thighs while fishing, and a toe space at deck level helps you maintain balance while fishing in rough conditions.

There are so many lockers, cabinets and drawers on this cat, it’s tough to know where to start when describing them. Two tackle cabinets are built into each inwale, and you’ll find a tackle cabinet within each seat pod. This is in addition to huge storage spaces forward of the helm, including a 56-­gallon forward fish box on the starboard side. Even more storage is located in the forepeak, including the anchor locker, which is fed by a Lewmar Pro-Fish 700 horizontal windlass. The bow has a three-tine pickle-fork a­ppearance, with an anchor roller recessed in the middle tine. No less than four pull-up stainless-steel cleats adorn the ultrawide bow deck.

At the helm, there’s a huge flat area for flush-­mounting one large multifunction display or two smaller ones. A tilt-and-lock stainless steering wheel, an angled footrest, and a thickly upholstered helm bench seat with twin flip-up bolsters help keep the captain comfortable. The port seat is identical but without flip-up bolsters, and in front of the port seat is the console, housing a roomy step-down head compartment with a sink, freshwater faucet and pump-out privy. It has also has a rack (which extends forward into the port sponson) for securely storing six rod-and-reel outfits.

An enclosed head represents just one of the family-friendly features. The 290DC also has a removable round dining table in the cockpit, as well as plentiful drink holders throughout the interior. The bow loungers are accessed via a walk-through between the consoles that, on chilly days, can be sealed off with a bifold door. When not in use, the door stores against the port console.

The swim platform can be appreciated by fishing and nonfishing crew alike. A latching door in the middle of the transom lets anglers easily step out to work a fish around the stern, and the integrated handrails just as easily allow the family to access the folding swim ladder to take a dip.

Of course, from a fisherman’s point of view, the biggest downside of a dual-console is the inability to move along the rail while fighting a fish. Yet, that might be more than offset by the family features incorporated into this big-water hull, as well as the effect these will have in convincing your better half that getting a new boat is a good idea.


World Cat 290DC

LOA: 29’1”  
Beam: 9’6”  
Draft: 15”  
Fuel: 250 gal. 
Dry weight: 8,700 lb. (with max power)  
Max hp: 700
Base price: $199,111 (with twin F250 Yamaha outboards)

World Cat / 425-508-1355 / worldcat.com