The mission of the 3480 is to provide extended cruises, offshore fishing, or diving expeditions. With her hardtop and three sides enclosed, plus a removable aft enclosure, she easily becomes a four-season boat. To complete this functionality an optional 12,000 BTU heating/cooling unit and a 4.2 kW diesel generator rounds out the package.
There are not many catamarans in the market this size so let us compare the 3480 with similar-sized monohull outboard-powered express cruisers on the market. Here's what we find that distinguish the Glacier Bay 3480 other than her twin hulls --• More room in both the cockpit and living spaces.• Each engine and fuel system are completely separate• More comfortable ride in a seaway.• Greater stability• Her hardtop is standard• Two private staterooms• Foam filled double bottom hull with five watertight bulkheads per hull and an automatic bilge pump in each compartment.• Navigation station/work station in guest stateroom• Large swim platform with enough space to hold an inflatable tender
An Easy-Riding Platform
A cat's narrow displacement hulls slice through waves without pounding, so the crew enjoys a comfortable ride in all but the worst conditions. They don’t plane in the same way as mono-hulls, by sticking their bows in the air as they labor over the hump. Instead, this cat rises gracefully on almost an even keel, enabling a wider range of usable cruising speeds. Catamarans are inherently more stable, making better fishing and cruising platforms. All these traits are especially attractive to folks around middle-age, or older, who are tired of being tossed around in monohulls in snotty weather.
The Elephant in the Room
Of course cats have some handling quirks that mono-hull people are quick to point out. For some reason they tend to lean into the prevailing wind. This is easily corrected with differential trim on the outboards. The phrase to remember is high hull – high engine. Whichever hull is higher, that is the engine that gets the up trim to level the boat out.
Then there's turning.
Instead of leaning into a turn like a typical mono-hull boat, cats will tend to either stay flat or lean slightly outboard in the turn. Both of these traits can be a little disconcerting at first but trust the opinion of someone who has tested hundreds of boats through the years. You get used to it very quickly and it becomes a nonissue.
The Glacier Bay 3480 Ocean Runner has an enclosed pilothouse protected by a fiberglass hardtop with a welded windshield and overhead storage lockers and rod racks. Pilothouse seating is an L-shaped lounge with a teak table that seats 6. There’s also a deluxe swivel helm seat. The standard drop curtain aft can be replaced by a solid bulkhead with a locking door; Glacier Bay calls it an "Alaska bulkhead," which might tell you something about its benefit. The bulkhead is also a good investment if you’re loading the helm station with electronics.
Below decks, the 3480 makes good use of both hulls. There are two staterooms, one in each side; the master, to port, has a queen berth with storage under. The second cabin, in the starboard hull, flows from a navigation area to an almost-queen-sized berth. The large head and shower are to port, a complete galley, including a double-wide refrigerator, to starboard. There’s plenty of stowage in both hulls.
Is She the Cat's Meow?
The Glacier Bay 3480 Hardtop Ocean Runner has been built for a few years, but now that Glacier Bay is part of the Power Cat Group there have been some changes to the 2012 model. Most dramatic is the new company's decision to drop the diesel-inboard power option in favor of twin outboards. We agree with this: The boat, like all cats, isn't overly demanding of power, so twin 300-hp OBs are plenty. Outboards are lighter than diesels, simpler than diesels and take up much less space than diesels. Space that cruisers and fishermen both will put to good use.
Like all things that are different, veteran monohull owners have to get used to something that is a bit different. It will be easy to get used to the large cockpit, and the easier docking because the engines are so far aboard. It will also be easy to get used to the ride and the lower fuel consumption inherent in the cat design. What is not so easy for many boaters to get used to is simply the way cats look. But the same thing was true of several "new" marine concepts to wash up on American shores. For example, I remember how long it took Americans to get used to inflatable dinghies. It's hard to believe now, but the U.S. followed Europe by over a decade in the wide-spread adoption of the desirability of an inflatable (which is nearly impossible to turn over) versus a rigid dinghy (which is incredibly easy to swamp or turn over).
For much the same reason it is not surprising that power cats are much more popular in Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific than they are in the U.S. One of the reasons is that in all of these places people do most of their boating in the open ocean. Also, with gasoline prices far higher in most of these places than in the U.S. boaters are more apt to put real economics above imagined aesthetics. We have some experience with offshore power cats, as racers and cruisers, and can vouch for them as being good sea boats. The fact that most bareboat charter operations around the world have power cats in their fleet -- some to the exclusion to monohull power boats -- is a testament to their practicality and comfort.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
(It's quick and FREE!)