Why might the Twin Vee 260 SE OceanCat be of particular interest to this particular angler? A bit of background: I’m a cat fan because I have a bad back, and powercat hulls minimize impacts with the waves. For someone like me they’re simply less painful to ride in. So I certainly took notice when Twin Vee was resurrected after the economic downturn. I had a Twin Vee 26 for a project boat for one full season a little over a decade ago, and ran it on the Bay in the spring and fall and in the open Atlantic during the summer. Shortly after that, I bought a Twin Vee 19 Bay Cat of my own. So when I laid eyes on the 260 SE, naturally, my interest level shot through the roof. Let's take a quick peek at this fishing boat on video, shall we?
Like any boats, the old Twin Vees had their assets and their deficits. The uber-smooth ride was accented by excellent performance – top-end on the 26 broke 41 mph with a pair of 115s on the transom – thanks to a full-planing design and hulls that create a compression tunnel. They compress air as the boat moves forward, to both provide lift and also create a shock-absorbing cushion. Twin Vee also kept the cost down, a laudable goal that was unfortunately accomplished in part by using things like nylon cleats instead of stainless-steel, and a rotomolded plastic swing-back cooler seat instead of fiberglass.
Fast-forward to the post-recession era, new ownership, new management, and all new Twin Vees. I got my first look at their latest incarnations at the Miami Boat Show, got another peek at the Bay Bridge Boat Show, then had another chance over the summer with Buras Marine.
One look at the new generation Ocean Cat 260 SE exposes a serious change in attitude from the Twin Vees of the old days. All the cleats are now stainless-steel, the leaning post with integrated livewell is a big step up from anything Twin Vee built in the pre-recession era, and the overall fit and finish on the boat has advanced by light-years. Of particular note is the integration of some comfort-boosting features which were completely absent on those old models. There are jump seats in the corners of the stern, and a forward bow seat with bolstered backrests. The helm seats sitting atop the leaning post are Llebrocs, which are among the best built and most comfortable seats around. And the swim ladder is a three-step Armstrong. These are top-notch pieces and parts.
What you’re probably more interested in, of course, is the fishing features. The leaning post livewell holds a whopping 50 gallons, and has a clear lid so you can always keep an eyeball on your bait’s conditions. Flush-mount gunwale holders are stainless-steel, the T-top sports four rocket launchers (hey, you guys could have fit a couple more), there are under-gunwale rodracks, and the forward console seat cooler is a 123-quart Engel.
Most importantly, the Twin Vee Ocean Cat 260 SE still provides one fishing feature which I remember loving about the Twin Vees of yore: oodles of sheer wide-open cockpit space. You can see it to some degree in the photo, but it doesn’t quite tell the entire story. Most center consoles are designed with the helm station significantly farther aft than it is on the 260. This is out of necessity, since you’d get beaten to a pulp if you had to stand farther forward in the boat all day long. The farther forward you are on most boats, the rougher the ride is. But on a powercat this dynamic changes, allowing the steering station to be positioned forward of amidships – thereby opening up the cockpit to become a gigantic fish-fighting arena.
You get the smoother cat ride. You get a cockpit that’s significantly larger than those on monohull competitors of the same LOA. And today, you get it built with top-notch components in a far more refined package. If I were looking for a new boat today, there’s no doubt in my mind I’d take a Twin Vee for a sea trial. And if you’re looking for a 26-footer right now, that’s exactly what you should do – especially if you have a bad back.
LOA – 25’6”
Beam – 8’6””
Displacement – 3,260 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 1’2”
Transom Deadrise – NA – it’s a cat
Fuel Capacity – 138