Only in a Cat could being square be so cool. Step aboard the Carolina Cat 23SD (Sun Deck) and you’ll instantly appreciate how the 23SD’s wide paw print is carried forward from stern to bow. Aft, the spacious L-lounge, with accessory table, is designed for comfort and conversation. Upholstery is heavy grade, yet appealing, and there are ample cup holders for a full crew of 10. Dry stowage beneath the seats is more than generous.
Moving to the cockpit, the dual-console layout puts all gauges and controls within easy reach of the cushy captain’s chair on the starboard side. There’s a full stand-up head on the port side, and conversation flows easily from the cockpit to both stern and bow lounges. Opt for the Fusion 205 stereo system with Bluetooth and let the party begin.
More than a pontoon platform, the 23SD sports Carolina Cat’s extremely efficient catamaran hull design to deliver big-boat performance in a midsize package. It’s more puma than kitty, and during our test it proved capable of taming coastal chop at speeds approaching 40 mph. It rode smooth and landed soft and delivered a feeling of control despite the brisk wind whipping up the waters of Long Island Sound. With a range of over 250 miles at 26 mph and an 11-inch draft, it can ferry you to the nearest waterfront dining, cruise to destination hot spots or skim over the flats to reach a favorite rafting cove.
Our test boat was outfitted with the maximum power it’s rated for: twin Yamaha F115 outboards. These, naturally, trim completely clear of the water, providing a great anti-corrosion benefit to those who keep their boat at a dock or mooring. The ability to operate in shallow waters is also enhanced. As to handling, we were impressed during our test of the Carolina Cat 23SD. In a series of tight-quarters maneuvers, it turned within its length and offered precision response dockside, thanks to the dual hull draft and the powerhouses being positioned toward the outside edges of this catamaran’s generous beam. The 23SD clawed out of the hole with enough pop to pull a skier up or drag a tube around the bay. The boat leveled off without compromise of forward vision. We reached a top speed of 40.6 mph. Meow
Comparable Model: NauticStar 243 DC