The debut of TomCat’s first 32-foot 970 catamaran, about eight years ago at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, was a pleasant surprise. Since then, the builders have continued to refine the boat, a process that has resulted in the new TomCat 970S.
The hull and deck molds are the same as before, and the boat is built fairly conventionally of handlaid fiberglass in vinylester resin with Corecell coring in both the hull and deck. The bridgedeck’s underbody encloses a centerboard on the centerline.
There is a line of three winch-handle sockets at the helm. One is for the centerboard; the others are for raising the twin outboards. Aft, there is a beautiful stainless steel transom arch, which carries the mainsheet and dinghy. The davits are the best I’ve seen, with adjustable arms to fit any dink perfectly, hold it securely and keep it from swinging.
The cockpit on the new 970S is much improved over the original, which carried the helm amidships and had two companionways into the saloon. The new boat’s helm is offset to starboard, which allows space for a large single door amidships. The result is better visibility from the helm and interior, and better traffic flow for the crew. A large comfortable seat resembling a park bench stretches underneath the arch to provide additional seating.
The standard rig is for a sloop; an optional gennaker or screecher can be set on an articulated carbon-fiber sprit, or an asymmetric spinnaker can be flown from a bridle between the bows.
Opening up the cabin with that big door changed the saloon into a bright, cheerful space. The original TomCat 970 already had an open plan, and the new version is even nicer. You can sit at the table or even lie in the main berth and look out in all directions. You can also talk to people in the cockpit from almost anywhere in the boat.
I like the transverse arrangement of the owner’s berth on the bridgedeck. The bulkheads alongside keep sleeping crew securely in place, the headboard produces more locker space in the galley, and the entry from the end of the bunk instead of from the side makes it possible for one person to get up without clambering over the other.
TomCats have always been good sailing boats, and this is true of the 970S. Sailing hull #1 through a 2-3 foot chop in 12-16 knots of wind, we touched 9 knots on reaches and tacked easily through 90 degrees. The new offset helm position makes it possible to sit outside to starboard for a better view of the sails. Or you can move under cover for shade and shelter.
The twin Yamaha outboards direct plenty of water over the rudders and lift up to reduce drag when sailing. They are also easy to hand-start if the electrical system fails, and if one needs maintenance, you can simply take it off the boat and carry it to a shop.
HEADROOM 6ft 3in
BERTHS 6ft 8in x 4ft 8in (fwd); 6ft 6in x 4ft (aft)
LOA 32ft // LWL 31ft 6in // BEAM 16ft
DRAFT 1ft 6in (board up); 5ft (board down)
SAIL AREA 416ft2 (100% FT)
FUEL/WATER/WASTE (GAL) 24/35/20
ENGINE 2 x 9.9hp Yamaha outboard
ELECTRICAL 105AH (house); 105AH (engine)
DESIGNER Ted Strain
BUILDER TomCat Boats, Caledon East, Ontario, 905-584-1236
PRICE $188,590 base
Photo courtesy of TomCat Boats