Dreams do come true sometimes. When Fred Vial took study breaks during medical school, his only indulgence was reading every issue of Salt Water Sportsman cover to cover and dreaming about owning an offshore-fishing boat. When he was able to make that dream a reality recently, he had specific criteria in mind. All the midsize convertibles under consideration had various shortcomings, he felt. Then he heard about Florida-based Calcutta Boats, and today this successful radiologist is the proud owner of a Calcutta 360 semicustom catamaran.
“I needed four air-conditioned bunks for full-size men, a 350-mile range and shower,” Vial explained. “With this boat I have a 400-mile range, it comfortably sleeps six big guys, and it has a stand-up shower with plenty of water. It met all my criteria, and the rest is gravy.”
Gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and sirloin steak, actually. I met Vial and his crew of family and friends this fall at their fish camp on Grand Isle, Louisiana, and found the 360 to be one of the best-executed boats I’ve ever been aboard, period, let alone among catamarans. It is a distinctive blend of fishability, performance and comfort.
Vial’s 360 is powered with a pair of Volvo D6 330 hp diesel sterndrive engines with dual counter-rotating propellers and joystick control. The model can also be rigged with twin outboards. We were able to make a top speed of nearly 40 miles per hour with a typical fishing load. At a cruising pace of 3,000 rpm, the fuel burn was 24 gallons per hour. That efficiency, combined with the extra fuel capacity built in, provides the range to stay out long weekends offshore.
With its wide beam and variable sponson deadrise (45 degrees outboard and 25 inside), the 360 powers through a head sea without pounding and only the occasional tiny sneeze effect. The ride in small-craft-advisory conditions was downy soft with no bow-steering whatsoever. It’s very stable, even in full beam-to seas or when tied off to a rig. The best attribute, though, might be the handling. It’s surprisingly nimble, and with the intuitive joystick control, the boat will spin on its axis. The hottest marlin doesn’t stand a chance in a battle with this particular cat.
Vial enjoys all the various fishing the Gulf has to offer, and the boat is rigged accordingly. A 52-gallon oval transom bait well with an acrylic monitor will hold dozens of live mullet and croakers. Redundant high-flow pumps ensure plenty of aeration. In the starboard corner, a full transom door will accommodate a hefty tuna. Once aboard, it will quickly disappear into one of three large insulated deck boxes, including the 1,000-quarter with freezer plates to port. All drain overboard and have diaphragm sump pumps.
A large tackle center behind the console bench seat has a freshwater sink, cutting board and freezer cabinet for bait. To port, drawers store tools, lures and terminal tackle, and on top, a Kenyon custom grill handles offshore cooking duty. A Westerbeke genset in the port engine room provides ample power. The oversize fiberglass hardtop is equipped with full upper-station controls, outriggers and bolstered leaning post. The hinged top has great visibility for sight-fishing to dolphin or cobia, and includes a 10-rod rocket launcher.
From the single Lebrac helm chair, operating visibility is unobstructed. The wide console is equipped with hydraulic steering, full Raymarine electronics package, duplicate Volvo Penta electronic monitors and a rockin’ stereo system with adjustable speakers. A wraparound Strataglass enclosure keeps everyone dry, while the 18,000 BTU air conditioner maintains the cool. A second 12,000 BTU unit provides cabin comfort.
The spacious console has a full head, including a stand-up shower with curtain. Calcutta fabricated a 100-gallon tank under the machine room to accommodate the extra freshwater requirement. They also built huge compartments in the forward sponsons to maximize storage capacity. The galley is equipped with a sink and cherry cabinetry, refrigerator, microwave and fill-in berth for two amidships. The main cabin forward will sleep four adults in twin berths located over the sponsons. A cherry hardwood entertainment cabinet and cherry batten hull sides accent the yachtlike finish.
In fact, the attention to detail and meticulous fit-and-finish extends throughout the boat. Hatches are snug, wiring bundles are color-coded and quality components are used exclusively. The cored hull with solid fiberglass keel is rock-solid, with a vinylester skin coat. There’s no scrimping on safety features either, with six automatic bilge pumps with high-water alarms, battery switches, and GFCI circuit protection on all outlets. From bow to stern, this boat is built with the same quality construction as yachts costing three times as much.
So if you’re searching for your own offshore dream boat, jump aboard the Calcutta 360 and take it for a spin in the nastiest slop around. You’ll find it elevates the catamaran style to a whole new level of fishing.
LOA: 36′ 2″
Draft: 3′ 3″
Weight: 15,000 lb.
Max hp: 1,000
Fuel: 300 gal.
Water: 42 gal.
Base Price: $399,000 with twin Volvo D6 diesel engines