World Cat 280CC-X

Changing perceptions.

by Alan Wendt
Who in their right mind would deliberately intersect a string of big yachts churning up a 3-foot-plus wake?


  • LOA: 27'6"
  • Beam: 9'2"
  • Draft:
  • Weight:
  • Fuel Capacity: 220 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 17 gals.
  • Power: 2 x 200-hp
  • Price: Contact dealer

Who in their right mind would deliberately intersect a string of big yachts churning up a 3-foot-plus wake? That would be me, simply following the direction of a World Cat dealer determined to demonstrate the solid performance and soft landing of this unusual-looking power catamaran hull. 

Normally, such a move would ensure pounding, slapping, a bit of risk for passengers and a rather exhausting ride if you were in a traditional monohull boat. Some boaters, quite frankly, can’t handle that type of abuse. Case in point, a customer who was on-board World Cat’s new 280CC-X during our test ride. His wife has three fused vertebrae and had all but given up enjoyable days on the water; that is until they switched to the World Cat brand. He was looking to trade up, and this twin-powered Yamaha outboard version was living up to the hype.

Instead of a bang, we met each wake with a quiet glide, like that of a speed skater on ice methodically rising with the wake and settling back down with a gentle touch. All of this, mind you, was done without throttling the twin 200s back, letting us stay on course and speed.

Smooth and sleek
The secret to taking on the big waves is a combination of World Cat’s refined planning hull and new radiused tunnel. Pads were added to the aft portion of the running surfaces to soften the reentry.

Engineers adopting next generation design language and technology sculpted a sheerline that starts high and slopes along the length of the boat. About midship, the sheerline levels at a gunwale height of 25 inches. “This allows the boat to get to those key fishing spots fast and provide a capable, stable platform, whether for fishing, diving, cruising or entertaining,” notes Andrew Brown, president of World Cat.

With a fuel capacity of 220 gallons and a typical cruise speed of 26 mph yielding 2.4 mpg, the boat has a 500-mile range; that’s easily enough to dash back and forth across Lake Michigan.

I liken the looks of a power cat to your first taste of a craft beer or 12-year-old scotch. Both take some time to grow on you. World Cat offers a lot of rides, knowing that’s the key to converting boaters, even those whose previous experience with early twin hull power cats were turned off by sluggish performance and a nagging, non-intuitive response to course changes. The 280CC-X changes those perceptions. 

World Cat admits that luxury and style were key considerations in the design of the 280CC-X. The sheerline stands taller than previous World Cats but softens moving toward the swept-back Garmin glass-dash console, topped by a surfboard-edge hardtop and built-in glass windshield. Rich, textured two-tone upholstery with raised stitching and fold-down armrests highlight the curvaceous, adjustable dual bolster seats. The look is extremely modern, with an elegance rarely seen on a boat this size. 

Fish on 

Twin Garmin GPSMAP 7612xsv 12-inch multi-touch widescreen displays; a Fusion Marine entertainment system console; and a row of symmetrically-placed system push buttons create a smartly configured helm. I found everything within arm’s reach without having to crawl over my passenger or take my eyes off the water ahead. Two Yeti-size cupholders and a glovebox round out the console. There are four JL Audio speakers on-board ready to blast out your favorite playlist on the run out, or a triumphant fight song when cruising back with the tournament-winning catch.

Behind the helm seat is a robust tackle and bait prep area. Concealed tackle storage drawers, a 30-gallon livewell with a clear lid and tool storage lead the way to a wide-open cockpit. Clearly designed for fishing, there are eight recess-mounted rod holders between the transom and topsides; an optional rocket launcher on the aft hardtop has space for five additional rods.

Twin 355-quart in-deck fishboxes flank to port and starboard. Both fishboxes have diaphragm pumps, room to handle a 5-gallon bucket and are configured with fold- out racks inside, doubling as rod lockers capable of accommodating four outfits each.

Cruise in comfort

Elsewhere you’ll find twin insulated 180-quart storage compartments and an insulated 36-quart cooler compartment in the bow. Thanks to the catamaran-style hull, the bow is much wider than your typical bowrider. The U-shaped lounge offers seating for seven and includes lots of legroom. Four cupholders and weather-resistant plug-in stations for mobile devices are tucked underneath the coaming bolsters.

An extra-wide, cushioned forward-facing seat is integrated into head door. This neatly hides the entrance to the wide-side hinged console door that opens to the spacious head with fiberglass interior, bright LED lighting, mirror and Corian counter with toiletries storage. One of the challenges older boaters face are the contortions required to bend down, back in, and gracefully mount most floating throne rooms that are often dark, unventilated and eerily resemble an upright MRI scanner. For a 28-foot boat, World Cat’s configuration is pleasantly accessible.

Another hidden feature is the concealed windlass system with a 300-foot line, 15-foot chain and 22-pound through-hull anchor. A remote control with a simple up/down button and raw water washdown is in one of two forward bow compartments.

Integrated LED docking lights are standard, and Sea-Vision surface-mount LED underwater lights are optional. Optimus 360 System with electronic steering, SeaStation and joystick are worth the extra cost to make docking worry-free.

Skinny water near you? How does a 14-inch draft sound? This is an easy boat to master. The onboard GPS clocked us close to 50 mph at WOT. From a trailering or lift aspect, the 280CC-X tips the scales at 7,300 pounds. This is definitely a boat that mandates a test ride to erase any preconceived notions you may have about power cats.