World Cat 296DC Cobia 240 CC

Saltwater Sportsman - - Contents - By Gary Ca­puti

A ca­pa­ble fam­ily fish­ing boat with walk-through ver­sa­til­ity and sur­pris­ing per­for­mance.

POWER CATA­MA­RANS MAKE UP ONLY A FRAC­TION OF THE OUT­BOARD FISH­ING-BOAT MAR­KET, BUT THE IN­CREAS­ING POP­U­LAR­ITY OF WORLD CAT’S RE­CENT MOD­ELS IS SUC­CESS­FULLY BRING­ING THEM INTO THE MAIN­STREAM.

On the heels of last year’s in­tro­duc­tion of the 280CC-X comes the builder’s lat­est broad­side, the 296DC, a smartly de­signed dual-con­sole model with the fea­tures to serve as both a great fam­ily boat and well-equipped fish­ing plat­form.

The 296DC is based on a cut­ting-edge twin-hull de­sign in­tro­duced in 2015, but with a new look cour­tesy of the molded-in ac­cent lines and racier sheer. The fiber­glass stringer sys­tem is bonded and glassed into the hulls while still in the mold, a process that cre­ates a strong, rigid struc­ture ready for the in­ner liner, which is se­cured us­ing bond­ing agents and me­chan­i­cal fas­ten­ers. The lower, raked hard­top has rounded surf­board edges and is mounted on an over­built, pow­der-coated frame that fur­ther en­hances the boat’s over­all struc­tural in­tegrity. This time-in­ten­sive con­struc­tion process trans­lates into the boat’s quiet, sure­footed per­for­mance even when run­ning at speed and in rough wa­ter.

The bow fea­tures a Lew­mar Pro-fish wind­lass, a Delta plow an­chor, chain and davit. Dual bow hatches open to a com­part­ment that holds more an­chor rode than you’ll ever need. The dock­ing and an­chor­ing cleats are heavy-duty stain­less-steel pop-ups, and the grab rail runs be­low gun­wale level.

Cats carry their beam from stern to bow, which makes the bow seat­ing area al­most as large as the cock­pit. The 296’s fea­tures wrap­around seat­ing with a re­mov­able ta­ble and am­ple drink hold­ers and stowage, but leave the ta­ble and seat cush­ions home and there’s room for two or three peo­ple cast­ing, drift­ing baits, or bot­tom­fish­ing. The in­su­lated

stor­age com­part­ment un­der the star­board seat dou­bles as a fish box, and a rod locker un­der the port­side hatch can also be ac­cessed through a cab­i­net door on the head com­part­ment for­ward bulk­head.

The curved wind­screen and bi-fold door open for wide walk-through ac­cess to the bow be­tween a pair of cus­tom Lle­broc helm chairs with lift-up bol­sters and drop-down arm­rests. For­ward of the port chair, the comfy head com­part­ment in­cludes an elec­tric fresh­wa­ter toi­let, sink with counter, and stor­age.

The fac­tory pack­age comes with a Garmin 7612sxv 12-inch chart plot­ter/ sounder and Yamaha CL-7 en­gine data cen­ter that also dis­plays Gps/chart and depth-fin­der data, but the helm can be con­fig­ured in sev­eral ways to ac­com­mo­date dif­fer­ent elec­tron­ics. Our test boat was also equipped with Op­ti­mus EPS elec­tric power steer­ing with pro­gram­mable feed­back pres­sure and ac­tive helm con­trols and gauge, which make for a pos­i­tive driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at any speed and sea con­di­tions.

A pair of aft-fac­ing seats in the cock­pit back up to the helm chairs. The one to star­board hides stowage un­der­neath; the other has a 25-gal­lon livewell with light-blue fin­ish. Twin fold-up jump seats on the tran­som bulk­head pro­vide ex­tra seat­ing, while a tran­som door al­lows ac­cess to the out­boards and a swim-lad­der sys­tem that drops at an an­gle for easy board­ing.

Fish­ing ameni­ties in­clude four com­bi­na­tion cup/rod hold­ers, two stan­dard gun­wale rod hold­ers in the cock­pit and two more in the bow; four un­der-gun­wale rod racks in the stern, an op­tional fiverod rocket launcher across the rear of the hard­top, plus op­tional Taco 380XL outrig­ger bases with 16-foot car­bon fiber or 18-foot alu­minum poles.

Af­ter leav­ing Bris­tol Ma­rina in Charleston and idling down the Ash­ley River to the last no-wake buoy, we throt­tled up to a brisk 35 mph to get a feel for the boat’s han­dling. Like most cats, this one barely re­sponds to shifts in weight as peo­ple move around the deck, but a 20-knot wind from the south com­bined with a chop to lean the boat slightly to port. On a mono hull, trim tabs would do the lev­el­ing. But World Cats have no tabs, so I slightly trimmed up the en­gine on the high side, in this case the star­board hull, to get back on an even keel.

Run­ning out of the har­bor mouth, into the teeth of a strong wind, the hull showed sur­pris­ing sea­keep­ing abil­ity. Tak­ing waves head on at 25 mph, the World Cat rose on each be­fore drop­ping into the trough softly. Re­gard­less of di­rec­tion, the 296DC cut qui­etly through the chop, and the more throt­tle I gave it, the more it got on top, top­ping out at 52 mph. At­tack­ing the sea quar­ter­ing and abeam, the hulls main­tained track­ing and re­mained level at speed, with min­i­mum spray over the gun­wales.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of the new 296DC, World Cat adds to its lineup a big­ger plat­form ca­pa­ble of tak­ing on many roles. Hop aboard and en­joy the ride.

1 Rear jump seats make for a com­fort­able ride and lock up to ex­pand fish­ing room in the cock­pit. 2 The tran­som door pro­vides easy ac­cess to the en­gines and the swim­mer-friendly board­ing lad­der. 3 The broad beam cre­ates a large seat­ing area for­ward and lots of ex­tra fish­ing room with­out the cush­ions.4 The Lew­mar quick-drop wind­lass is a bot­tom fish­er­man’s dream tool.

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