An account written by Robert Duncan of the delivery voyage of  High Velocity to her new home in Scotland where the crew experienced  force 9, 65mph wind speeds and 20ft seas

We are based in Tarbert on Loch Fyne, Argyll Scotland and we were looking for a boat more suitable for our activities which are wildlife trips, sea angling, survey work, photography, filming and diving. To do this we wanted a boat which had a large deck space, could easily carry a dingy, had transom steps and a diving ladder as well as comfortable accommodation. A magazine article showed the Wildcat could be the boat we were looking for.  Barry flew over to Cork in December and was very impressed with the ‘Motor Yacht’ version, the vessel was subsequently surveyed and a few minor modifications carried out to comply with the MCA code for 60nm miles offshore. In early January we arrived in Ireland to collect the boat. Frank Kowalski (the designer of the Wildcat) collected us from the airport and took us to East Ferry marina where she was berthed.

The delivery crew was to be Barry Meredith, the owner, (myself) Robert Duncan, navigator and Alan Watkins. Barry’s previous boats include a Breede Class lifeboat and a Jeanneau Prestige 36. The next day saw us provisioning her and Frank, his electrician and engineer showed us the boats systems and we saw how strongly she was built, we didn’t know then but we were to appreciate that over the coming days. On Wednesday our day of departure the forecast was not promising with gale warnings for our route home. We decided to leave Cork Harbour and assess the conditions cautiously, as none of us had experience with Motor Cats. Frank had advised us that the forecast was bad, and that if we were in a mono hull he wouldn’t have recommended leaving, but with the wind behind us, and knowing from his own experience (it was his personal boat) that the Wildcat would be fine This gave us confidence. Outside the wind was West F6 and conditions moderate, so we began our journey at 18kts with an open mind as to our destination for the day. S/W of Waterford conditions worsened to force 8, we now began to experience just how good the Wildcat was. Conditions were now very rough, and in big Atlantic seas the Wildcat ran downwind with the sea behind her effortlessly. Barry commented that in any of his previous craft he wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of continuing. We decided to make for Dunmore East, a small fishing harbour and on entering, contacted the harbour master who was very helpful and advised us to raft up alongside some fishing boats. We were soon joined by another local Catamaran fishing boat, a Gemini, and enjoyed the crack with their crew who gave us advice on the hazards of the Irish Sea as far as Dublin Bay . The people we met made our visit to Dunmore East a real pleasure.

We departed cautiously the next morning with a forecast of  West 6-8, visibility good and with a following wind of force 6 we increased speed to 16kts, conditions improved slightly and we passed Coningberg lighthouse at 18kts By 10.40 we had Tuskar light abeam, staying in the inshore separation lanes, the wind was getting up to force 7 again and we eased back to 16kts. Going North we stayed outside the sandbanks, although this put us several miles offshore giving a good fetch to the increasing wind. North of Wicklow the wind rose to force 9 forcing us to reduce speed to 10kts and then again to 7kts at the height of the storm. The sea was extremely rough and violent with a general wave height of 15 to16ft with the biggest up to 20ft (6 metres) At this time the Wildcat was pitching in a lively manor with an impressive amount of spray going over the top but even when falling off wave crests into the biggest troughs she did not bury her bows or take Green seas over the foredeck. The view astern looked like a maelstrom in our wake. Some quartering waves slewed us around to a degree, but much less than I was expecting. Amazingly the autopilot, whilst admittedly working hard, maintained a good course. I had assumed we would have had to hand steer through the big waves, but it wasn’t the case. After about 3 hours of force 9 (the maximum wind speed on our Annometer was 54 kts / 65mph) the wind eased to force 8. We arrived into Dublin Bay and Howth shortly after dark. The log for the afternoon was very sketchy as it was difficult to write in those conditions. Entering the marina was difficult with the wind still force 8 with little room to manoeuvre in the marina. We eventually contacted the marina staff (they couldn’t believe that we were out in those conditions and had locked up, assuming no one would be arriving during a storm) On Friday we left Howth at 9.30am after refuelling for the 94 mile run to Bangor with a forecast of NW 5-6 decreasing, and maintained 19kts all the way. Saturday began with a forecast for NE 4-5 so we left Bangor for the 77 mile run across to Scotland . We had head seas now and were amazed how fast the Wildcat was able to punch into them, never once slamming although occasionally we had to pull back as we were becoming airborne. Visibility was excellent and we could see the mountains on Arran and the Mull of Kintyre from a great distance off. Eventually we ran up the Kilbrannan Sound past Arran and on to Tarbert, in the smooth water here we ran at 29kts into sunshine and home having travelled 355 miles in four days.


On a final, none of us had any previous experience of power cats. We were all very impressed with the stability and sea keeping of the Wildcat, especially in not burying her bows and her amazing directional stability in big quartering seas. In the severe weather and sea conditions we experienced during three out of four days, we always felt safe on the Wildcat, and it gave us confidence that she would always be able to weather a storm and bring us home safely. The autopilot, steering and rudders worked really well, even in the worse conditions we never had to hand steer, so good is her directional stability. The trip gave us big seas from all directions- this boat has no vices. She has sea keeping qualities at last as good as all the other boats I have ever sailed on, and to put that into perspective I am comparing the Wildcat with ocean going racing yachts in the open oceans in force 10. If you need a boat delivered contact Robert Duncan- Wildcats especially welcome.