If you read my blog on My Favorite Boat, the Leisure Life Bass Tender, you might remember that I mentioned a 19 Twin Vee Bay Cat as being in the running. I didn't choose it for the number-one spot because, as I mentioned then, the boat had a pretty rough fit and finish, the T-top cracked welds on a regular basis, and it had those ping-pong ball scuppers that simply don’t work. But, did I still love the boat? With all my heart.
No boat is perfect, and every boat has its trade-offs. And the up-side to the hokey finish, T-top construction, and scuppers was an extremely low cost. Besides, the 19 Twin Vee had a lot of other advantages. It had a zippy 40-mph top-end, and the fully-planing catamaran hull was about as smooth in a chop as any other hull of its size on the face of the planet. It had the range and seaworthiness to make short oceanic runs. And since the powercat design carries the full beam all the way through the bow, it had more deck space than many 22’ or 23’ long V-hulls.
So yeah, there was plenty to love about this boat. But all of these traits aren't what makes me pick it out as a boat deserving of my heart. No, the thing I remember the most — and which never fails to put a smile on my face — was the Bay Cat’s unusual ability to do a “splash-down.”
Since their hulls become very fine at the bow and they depend on lift and air packed into the tunnel for some of their forward buoyancy, many powercats tend to stuff waves rather easily at slow, pre-planing speeds. This was true of the Twin Vee, and I soon realized that slowly putting along into a head sea of waves over two feet was a very, very bad idea. The bow would often chop the top of the waves right off, creating a curtain of heavy spray that washed over us from stem to stern. The deck was 100-percent sealed off, so it shed the water quickly and easily, but along the way, everything and everyone on board got soaked.
Now, some might see this as a problem, but I saw it as an opportunity. On hot, calm summer days when we’d be sweating it out on the Chesapeake, my kids would start chanting for a “splash-down.” We’d look for a convenient boat wake of sufficient size, drop speed into the appropriate range, position the bow just so, and SPLASH! No one was overheated anymore. When I think of all those screams of delight, those smiles, and those laughter filled moments, there is no doubt — we all loved that boat, and with all of our hearts.