Traditional boaters love to hate catamarans. Cats handle differently than monohulls, generally cost more for the same length, and most damning of all, look strange. But after crunching a few four-foot waves at 40 mph without having their vertebrae compressed, these same boaters often become cat converts, largely due to a power catamaran's ability to run fast in heavy seas without dishing out a beating. In a center console cat, you can go out to cast, jig, and troll when you want to-not when the weather dictates.
Once you've experienced a smooth cat ride, there's a good chance you'll decide to buy a cat, which is when things get tricky. There's only a handful of production powercat builders. And because many dealers primarily depend on the sale of monohulls, they may not know how to properly rig or run a cat. As a result, demo rides are often less than spectacular. Worse, there's a lot of misinformation out there. So how is anyone supposed to choose?
Good question, and exactly why we gathered four 22' center console cats-the Glacier Bay 2260 Canyon Runner, Pro Sports ProKat 2200CC, Sea Cat 22 CC, and Twin Vee Awesome 22 CC-and made them jump through hoops to find out which handles the nicest, rides the softest, is built the strongest, likes anglers the most, and proves to be a bargain. Each had the same engines, props, amount of fuel, and number of crew. You couldn't get a more fair evaluation than this.
The least expensive boat isn't always a bargain, nor is the most expensive boat necessarily the best. It's all about value-what you get for your dollar.
At $54,962, the Glacier Bay costs a lot more than the others. Meeeee-ouch! But look at that long list of standards. Match the others by adding on their options, and the difference is not as extreme. Still, it's the most costly. Why? Extraordinary attention paid to fit and finish, the use of top-shelf hardware, and high-grade construction techniques. A lot of care goes into building this boat. It shows-you pay.