De­liv­er­ing Im­pres­sive Speed, Com­fort and Range with Plenty of Room to Fish

Sport Fishing - - NEW PRODUCTS -

IIn my youth, sleep did not come eas­ily on the night be­fore a fish­ing trip. Now, decades later, on the eve of my Fish Trial of the In­vin­ci­ble 40 Cata­ma­ran, I felt the same ner­vous ex­cite­ment.

The crew from In­vin­ci­ble Boats —Bill Cordes, Tim Gal­lagher, Jonathan Lip­worth and Zack Pow­ell — had hatched an am­bi­tious plan to de­part from Key West at sun­rise bound for the Dry Tor­tu­gas some 60 miles due west, fish the deep ledges just south of this re­mote out­post, then re­turn in the af­ter­noon.

Such a trip of­ten re­quires an overnight stay to pro­vide suf­fi­cient fish­ing time, given the rel­a­tively long transit. But Team In­vin­ci­ble was bent on prov­ing that one-day ad­ven­tures to dis­tant wa­ters are im­mi­nently pos­si­ble, pro­vided you have the right boat. For this rea­son, an in­creas­ing num­ber of an­glers are con­sid­er­ing big, pow­er­ful cata­ma­ran hulls, and In­vin­ci­ble is on the lead­ing edge of the cat craze.


As Sport Fish­ing Group Pub­lisher Scott Sa­ly­ers and I stepped aboard the 40 Cat in the gray light

of dawn on that warm, clear morn­ing in early June, I was im­me­di­ately struck by the im­mense aft cock­pit af­forded by the 12-foot beam. In­te­rior width mea­sured more than 11 feet wide by 5 feet 4 inches long. Our crew of seven would have plenty of room to ma­neu­ver here with­out bump­ing into each other in the event that we ex­pe­ri­enced mul­ti­ple hookups. (Spoiler alert: We did.)

Loaded with ice and pro­vi­sions, we headed out from the ma­rina at the Ocean’s Edge Re­sort on Stock Is­land. As we left the no-wake zone, Gal­lagher ac­cel­er­ated through the nar­row, me­an­der­ing chan­nel. The 40 Cat banked grace­fully in­ward while turn­ing at speed.

Pete Mor­relli of Mor­relli & Melvin, the New­port Beach, Cal­i­for­nia-based marine ar­chi­tec­tural firm that de­signed this run­ning sur­face, cred­its the semi­asym­met­ri­cal cross-sec­tional de­sign of each spon­son for the com­fort­able han­dling. “This asym­met­ric shape al­lows the boat to lean in­ward while cor­ner­ing, ver­sus cat hulls with sym­met­ric cross­sec­tions that tend to turn flat or lean out­ward in turns,” Mor­relli ex­plains.

On the At­lantic side of Key West, Capt. Veach pointed to­ward his pin­fish traps on a shal­low flat. We idled into 2 feet of water to pick up the traps. The Cat eas­ily floated and mo­tored about in the shal­lows with­out touch­ing bot­tom. With 26-inch-tall gun­wales in the aft quar­ters, it was fairly easy to reach the traps us­ing a short gaff. We trans­ferred the bait into the twin pres­sur­ized 55-gal­lon tran­som livewells. We also used the 72-gal­lon livewell un­der the aft cock­pit sole for sev­eral blue run­ners caught the day prior.


Gal­lagher mo­tored out to deeper wa­ters, turned the 40 Cat west­ward, and punched the throt­tles of the quad Mercury 350 Ver­ado out­boards. The dou­ble-stepped hull lifted onto plane quickly, and within 10 sec­onds reached a cruis­ing speed of 55 mph at 5,000 rpm, where the quad 350s burned 60 gph for 0.91 mpg.

Us­ing com­pu­ta­tional fluid-dy­namic com­puter soft­ware, the de­sign team at Mor­relli & Melvin, which spe­cial­izes in cata­ma­rans, tested lots of run­ning sur­faces be­fore ac­tu­ally build­ing this In­vin­ci­ble, Mor­relli says. “This al­lowed us to re­fine the de­sign of the twin steps to max­i­mize speed and efficiency,” he ex­plains. Mor­relli & Melvin is one of the few firms that uti­lizes such soft­ware, which was orig­i­nally de­vel­oped by NASA, for recre­ational hull de­signs.

Calm winds and a slight west swell did not pose much of a challenge for this boat on test day. Yet as we crested the wakes of pass­ing shrimp boats, I gained of sense of its sea­keep­ing abil­ity, which is dif­fer­ent than that of a V-hull.

“No­tice that there is very lit­tle bow-to-stern rock­ing mo­tion and vir­tu­ally no de­cel­er­a­tion when meet­ing the waves, as you might ex­pe­ri­ence with a V-hull,” Gal­lagher points out. A pod be­tween the spon­sons helps split the water that rushes be­tween the hulls to fur­ther soften the ride. All of this re­sults in a high level of crew com­fort, whether seated at the helm, in the aft fold­out jump seats or in the for­ward con­sole seat.

Twin flush-mounted Garmin GPSMap 8617 (17-inch) mul­ti­func­tion dis­plays help guide the way off­shore. The 40 Cat’s cen­ter con­sole melds with the hard­top thanks to in­te­gral, pow­der-coated alu­minum up­rights, which frame the thick acrylic wind­shield and side win­dows that pro­tect the helm.

My test boat came with a lean­ing-post-style helm seat with tackle stowage un­der­neath and room for three peo­ple, but you can op­tion this boat with three-across bucket helm seats with fold-down arm­rests and flip-up bol­sters. Abaft the helm seats is seat­ing for three in an aft-fac­ing bench.


We reached our first fish­ing spot — a hard-bot­tom ledge in 165 feet of water 60 miles from Key West — in a scant 80 min­utes. With the his­toric Fort Jef­fer­son barely vis­i­ble to the north, Veach took over the helm to zero in on the hot spot. Pow­ell walked for­ward to the mas­sive an­chor locker in the fore­peak. The 40 Cat char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally car­ries its wide beam all the way to the bow, and this af­fords plenty of foot room aside the con­sole and the ex­tra-large cof­fin box on the fore­deck.

The op­tional 960-quart cof­fin box is su­per wide with di­viders in­side to sep­a­rate cold-stor­age items. Each side of the box is lined with seven ver­ti­cal rod hold­ers, and the top dou­bles as a padded lounger.

Just min­utes af­ter the boat set­tled back on the an­chor, I was hooked up. As I bat­tled the fish, I ap­pre­ci­ated the coam­ing pads that com­pletely en­cir­cled the in­te­rior to cush­ion my legs. A 15-pound mut­ton snap­per soon rose from the depths and was de­posited on ice. The 40 Cat has plenty of room to keep fish: two fish boxes be­low the aft cock­pit — 268 gal­lons to star­board and 414 gal­lons to port — and two 158-gal­lon boxes for­ward. I also found two 8-foot-long dry lock­ers for­ward.

The ac­tion ac­cel­er­ated through­out the morn­ing; non­stop catch­ing high­lighted by a num­ber of mul­ti­ple hookups. From am­ber­jack, black grouper and black­fin tuna to king­fish, mahi and mut­ton snap­per, this deep ledge pro­duced a cor­nu­copia of game species.

Af­ter three hours, we ex­pe­ri­enced a slight lull in the ac­tion, and Veach de­cided to try a new spot in 170 feet of water about 2 miles from the first. While en route, we cleaned up the deck us­ing the fresh­wa­ter wash­down (there’s also a raw-water wash­down) fed by an 82-gal­lon fresh­wa­ter ca­pac­ity. Veach quickly found the sec­ond spot us­ing the Garmin GSD26 chirp fish finder, and ac­tion turned full speed again for an­other three hours.


By 3 p.m., ev­ery­one’s arms were too sore to pull on any more fish, and so we headed back. By 4:15 p.m., we were off Key West, where we paused to collect per­for­mance data on the cat with the real-world load of seven crewmem­bers, 400 gal­lons of fuel, 45 gal­lons of fresh water, 500 pounds of fish, 300 pounds of ice, and 180 pounds of livewell water. Even with this load, the four Ver­ado 350s pro­pelled the 40 Cat to 30 mph in 8.7 sec­onds and rock­eted to a top speed of 71 mph at 6,400 rpm, while burn­ing 138 gph for 0.51 mpg.

Best fuel efficiency oc­curred at 3,500 rpm and 33 mph, where the quad out­boards burned 32 gph for slightly over 1 mpg, re­sult­ing in a cruis­ing range of more than 600 miles.

How­ever, as in­di­cated ear­lier, the beauty of this boat lies in its abil­ity to reach dis­tant fish­ing spots quickly and re­turn home the same day. So you’ll prob­a­bly want to run well above the 33 mph, up to­ward 55 or 60 mph.

If the prospect of such trips keeps you up at night with ner­vous ex­cite­ment, per­haps you need to think se­ri­ously about adopt­ing this big, fast cat.

The dou­ble-stepped hull of the In­vin­ci­ble 40 Cata­ma­ran of­fers a re­mark­able turn of speed when pow­ered by four 350 Ver­ado out­boards.

The spa­cious deck of the 40 Cat of­fers plenty of room for an­glers to fish and ma­neu­ver, which is es­pe­cially crit­i­cal dur­ing dou­ble and triple hookups. The 26-inch-high gun­wales in the aft cock­pit com­bine safety with easy ac­cess when gaffing fish.

Above: The hard­top melds grace­fully with the cen­ter con­sole. Be­low: In­vin­ci­ble’s Bill Cordes (left) com­pares his hefty mut­ton snap­per with Capt. Chip Veach’s big black­fin tuna, both caught aboard the 40 Cat near the Dry Tor­tu­gas, 60 miles from Key West.

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