Someone told me that powercats flip yet again, last week. I’ve heard this so many times from so many people it drives me nuts – particularly because it isn’t true.
In fact, I’ve only been able to locate one person, ever, who had this experience. He happened to be drunk, in and 18-footer, in an inlet, in the middle of the night, when it was blowing 30 knots. Ummm, ‘scuse me, but in those conditions you could flip a ferry boat.
I’ve logged well over 3,000 hours in powercats ranging in size from 18′ to 30′, and have encountered plenty of nasty seas, squalls with intense wind, and waves big enough to make me wish I was back at home on the couch. But I have yet to worry about flipping over in one. In fact, if anything the enhanced stability of a cat makes it less likely to flip than a monohull, not more likely. And as a general rule of thumb, the fact that a powercat is significantly more stable than a monohull of the same size and weight isn’t in dispute by anyone – not even monohull salesmen.
Of course, we haven’t even discussed the fact that all cats are different anyway, just as all monohulls are different. Would someone assert that all monohulls are bumpy, because they rode at top speed through a tight chop in one that had a flat bottom? Of course not. All cats are unique, and to lump a displacement cat like Glacier Bay’s 26 Canyon Runner in with a semi-displacement cat like a World Cat is patently ridiculous. Nor have we addressed the fact that most powerboats which flip do so after being swamped, not while they’re running through the seas.
Maybe you’ve heard this rumor yourself, and maybe it even came from a relatively reliable source. So don’t take my word for it. Do some research for yourself, and see what you come up with. You’ll see some people who repeat the rumor without citing any source or event as evidence, but you won’t find any actual facts or reports that back it up. And that’s because the flipping cat rumor is just that – a rumor. And if you own a cat, as long as you don’t go running through an incredibly rough inlet at night while drunk in the middle of a storm, in all likelihood the only thing that’ll be flipping is the fish in your cooler.