Choosing a V-hull or a cat

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Finding the most suitable hull shape for your boating activities is always going to be a tough choice, but arming yourself with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision is paramount. Opinions will always differ as to which hull is the best and the most comfortable. Questions will pop up as to how the different hull shapes handle and how they react in different sea conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the different aspects related to the two different hull shapes, as they certainly both have their merits.


Many different scientific tests have been undertaken and these tests have established that cat hulls fare better than their V-hull counterparts in heavier seas. The V-hull tends to land with greater force in heavier seas. The cat hull also fared better in the trough than the V-hull.


Cat hulls are able to corner more tightly than V-hulls and this difference in cornering is caused by how these different hull types bank in the corner. Cat hulls tend to lean outwards when turning which can be disconcerting for passengers until they get used to it, whereas the V-hull banks inwards during a turn which is a more natural feeling for passengers.


Cat hulls, due to their design, run on less water surface than V-hulls. The cat hull does this by trapping air between the sponsons, creating a very efficiently performing hull. The cat hull also offers more deck space as the V-hull loses its beam as it comes to a point at the bow. Twin-engined cats are much more manoeuverable at close quarters than their V-hull counterparts. Cat hulls also have an improved ride in choppy seas when the speed is increased, whereas V-hulls often need to slow down in rougher seas.


There are two main types of V-hulls, those which are stepped V-hulls that have longitudinal breaks or elevation changes in the hull surface, creating different planing surfaces and non-stepped hulls. Stepped V-hulls basically reduce the hull’s contact with the water and this has a positive bearing on fuel consumption. Stepped V-hulls are often faster than their non-stepped V-hull counterparts. When it comes to purchasing a V-hull, you will find that they make up more than 80% of the market, and this makes the V-hull more readily available than the cat hull counterpart and often cheaper to buy.


When it comes to fishing, the cat hull gets the nod as it handles rough seas far better than a V-hull boat. The swells hitting the hull are also lessened in the cat hull as it has a cushion of air in between it and the sea and accelerometer tests show that there can be up to a 50% reduction in impact with a cat hull. This reduced severity of impact makes for a more comfortable ride and better fishing in a cat hull.


Monohulls or V-hulls tend to have slow roll whereas cat hulls tend to roll even less. Sometimes cat hulls encounter what is called snap roll due to their fast-righting abilities caused by the dual sponsons.


Cat hulled boats are often more expensive to purchase due to the extra material that goes into the build of the craft and you will also need two motors to power the boat which needs to be factored into your purchase equation.


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