At the end
of January ‘JO DAN IV’ was sailed from Cork to her home port of Portsmouth. Undertaking the voyage were
her owner Phil Hunt, fellow charter
boat owners Dave Faithful and Steve……. All experienced skippers. During the
voyage the Wildcat’s sea keeping was truly tested in some severe weather. What
follows is a brief account of the voyage and a testimonial as to the
capabilities of the Wildcat catamaran.
Below is the e mail received from Dave Faithful after the voyage.
Firstly I would like to
thank you for your hospitality, it is always a pleasure coming over to Ireland -
good food, good drink (Guinness) and lots of boats - what more could we want?
As you know, I have
always been very cynical about reports made by Boat Manufacturers as to how good
their boats are so what could be better than to steam back from Ireland in Phil
Hunt's new Wildcat. The night crossing on the Irish Sea was pretty
uneventful; we had a following sea approximately 6ft swell - it was like
she was on train tracks because she steered as straight as an arrow on the auto
pilot which was accidentally switched off in the dark but we carried on the same
course for at least another 20 minutes before we realised. We stopped in Falmouth to top up with fuel and decided to press on to Weymouth due to the bad weather
forecast for the next few days. We left Weymouth the following morning
having had a good nights sleep onboard. The forecast was SW 6-7 coming up
Gale 8. As we got out about 3 miles we estimated the wind to be about
Force 6. 10 miles down the line the weather deteriorated even more, it had
to be blowing a good 7. We were going along at a steady 16-17 kts beam on
which in itself was totally amazing. It was incredible how the boat was
taking the waves with ease with no violent motion. Half way back we
altered course for The Needles putting the weather on our stern quarter.
At this stage of the game I would have been crapping myself by now had we been
in a monohull boat, but the Wildcat handled it superbly with no lurching
sideways. Normally I would have been fighting with the wheel trying to
keep the boat straight but the Cat didn't falter and carried on in a straight
line without a care in the world. The last 5 mile leg to The Needles put
the weather on our stern. At this stage the sea conditions were atrocious
with a 12-15ft sea running. I think it would be fair to say that the 3 of
us were getting somewhat concerned for our own safety as none of us had ever
experienced such rough sea conditions. On approaching The Needles, still
stern into the weather, one wave lifted us up and as we went down the other side
there must have been a 20ft drop (yes 20ft). I honestly thought "That
was It" the Cat would have to fall sideways or bury its head straight into
the next wave, but incredibly she touched down seemingly on a bed of air and
rose up over the next wave (fucking hell what a rush). I would love to
have got a photograph of our faces, it would have been a classic.
Incidentally whilst all this was going on we were still doing 17kts.
To summarise this Cat is awesome. She won't fall off a wave, she
won't slew round in a stern or quarter sea, she won't slam, she's pretty damn
quick and I want one! She's the safest boat I have ever been on.
Frank you should be proud of yourself, you've turned one old cynic into a
As I am not purchasing one of your boats, I class myself as an
independent skipper with unbiased views and would gladly share my views with any
potential purchaser of a Cat who would care to contact me, if this is of any
help to you Frank
you at the Boat Show.
Hunt sent me this letter about his opinion on his Wildcat.
IVMADEN VOYAGE 28th Jan
Myself and two best mates, also charter skippers arrived at Cork
airport and taxied down to the boat, where we find Frank finishing some small
jobs after checking over the boat. Frank took us for a meal where we all had
half a cow and a pint of the black stuff. From there we went to Franks yard to
get the latest weather reports. As normal, four reports all total different, 6-7
SW, 4-5 SW,3-4 SW with a 7-8 SW coming in Friday.
We all went back to the boat and discussed what to do
we said lets go for it. We left Frank on the pontoon and slowly made our way out
harbour. Setting the auto pilot and throttles to 15knt we were on are way. Our
biggest worry was the Irish Sea
but on a clear night and with a large swell on a following swell we crossed
without any problems. We sited Lands End about
with a great sigh of relief. With a bit of daylight we came up to 17knts and
made our way down to Falmouth
where we arrived at approx 11am. As we fuelled up with 600L, the weather reports
were getting worse so we decided to push on to Weymouth.
As we proceeded on our way the sea started to chop up and when we arrived at the
rips off Weymouth
at dusk it was very snotty, but still the boat stayed on course with out any
problem. We moored up at
we were downing our first pint, discussing how well she had performed in the
rips and on the whole voyage.
We slept on the boat that night and froze our balls off. While
fuelling up with 300L the next morning the weather reports were 6-7 SW going 7-8
SW later that day? We left Weymouth
and made our way out into the channel where you could see the white tops. After
the course left us with a beam sea on our starboard, and as we proceeded there
were some huge waves slamming into our side at 14knts but once again the boat
performed really well. We all agreed we would hate to be in a mono hull at this
point, but on the Wildcat the auto pilot held the course smack on. Once we
reached our last headland we made a slight change in course to go down to the
Needles leaving us with a huge following sea right up our stern, there was white
water everywhere, huge waves on our bows and up our stern and the weather was
getting worse. Many a time she was surfing down 20ft waves at over 20knts during
which we were expecting to bury the bows, but it just did not happen, she just
flew up the huge wave in front and surfed down the next. After 4hours of this
our confidence with the boat was mind blowing, we all agreed that none of us had
ever been in such sea conditions and felt so secure. As we surfed into the
solent and calm waters, we were all buzzing with how well the boat had performed
we all admitted that at one time or another whilst at the helm we had nearly
shit our pants thinking she’s not going to make this wave, but every time she
come out with flying colours. We tied up on my berth at .
Where all the families arrived to welcome us home.
Frank what can you say the boat is GREAT. The boat
looks good, it can handle any sea. To me its like an express train on rails, it
goes where you tell it to in any sea condition. You have well impressed me and
also Dave and Paul.