Hoping for a wind-free and calm cruise? Nah -- when a catamaran leaves the dock you need whipping wind and a back-breaking chop to get a feel for the boat's capabilities. Lucky for me, when I ran the new Sea Cat 227 Cuddy through the inlet, a 20-knot breeze provided me with an ideal sea state.
I expected the 227 Cuddy to perform like a champ. Why? It's built on the same hull design as the 22 Sea Cat center console -- the winner of BOATING'S 22' comparison cat rally. And it lived up to my expectations. In fact, it felt more like 24' or 25' underfoot. No surprises there. The shocker lies in this boat's design above the waterline -- its cabin. Big deal, you say? Well, it is, because there are only a few cats in this size range that offer cabins. And like the ride, the cabin on this boat makes you think you're on a larger one. Since the Sea Cat maintains its full beam all the way to the bow, the actual volume of the cuddy is close to that of a much longer boat. Look through the port-side entry and you'll see a queen-size berth, rodracks for six rigs along each side, a portable MSD, and forward stowage pockets. Pull up the cushions, and there's bulk stowage beneath. Want to access the bow? A walkthrough windshield makes getting to the anchor locker a breeze. Once there, note the beefy anchor pulpit and roller, but curse the wimpy strut on the anchor locker hatch.
The cockpit design does well at splitting the difference between cruiser and fisher, though you'll have to determine your mission beforehand and decide whether to remove the aft bench seat or leave it in place. Either way, you'll love the easy bilge, battery, and pump access in the transom, the freshwater shower, and the toerails.
The 227 Cuddy is built with an extra degree of strength, thanks to molded boxes inside the hull that are pumped full of foam. Since that foam is fully encased in fiberglass, it won't gain weight from water absorption. These boxes are built high enough to reach the deck, providing extra support. Why add this, which would be considered overkill by most other builders? Simple: It's a cat. It won't beat you up like other boats of its size, so you're bound to go a little farther, a little faster, a little more often, in bigger, nastier seas. Conditions you'll be calling "ideal."