The World Cat Rendezvous was a blast in Bimini.
The Bahamas, especially Bimini, is so close off the coast of South Florida that it’s easy to forget you need a passport. Fortunately, forgetting mine didn’t delay the start of World Cat Rendezvous, Cat’n Around Bimini 2018. A flotilla of 52 World Cat offshore power catamarans headed out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale across the straits to Bimini under a blue sky with warm winds and a mild sea.
Hosted by Power Cat of South Florida, Unique Marine, and World Cat, it didn’t take long for the party to begin at Resorts World Bimini. Because of World Cat’s VectorFlo planing hull design and the twin Yamaha 300-hp outboards on one 295DC dual console model, the 50-nm trip across the Gulf Stream took about two hours with an average speed of 27 knots. World Cat has 10 models that range from 23 to 32 feet, dual or center console. Along with three Glacier Bay models, they all offer a smooth, stable ride with high-speed performance.
“It’s kind of amazing to connect with the customers here,” says Andrew Brown, president of World Cat. “Usually it’s a lot of the same people [some on their seventh boat], but I would say in the last three years, it’s a lot of new boaters.” The annual trip to Bimini provides not only a way for World Cat owners to get together and enjoy the camaraderie, but it also allows owners the support and safety necessary to make their first crossing.
Resorts World Bimini Marina can accommodate vessels up to 200 feet, or for these boats, there’s plenty of room along the face dock. Once checked in with Customs, 283 owners and guests took time to explore the resort and enjoy its amenities, including the rooftop infinity pool, the Serenity Spa and Salon, restaurants, beaches, and the casino. That evening, World Cat welcomed them with a reception cocktail and dinner party at the Aqua Grille and Pool, just a short walk across to the ocean side of the property where the wind was calm and the sunset put the finishing touches on the day’s fun ride.
Bimini has a lot of activities to offer from some of the best fishing around to diving and snorkeling the Sapona shipwreck, lunch at Joe’s Conch Shack, renting a golf cart to explore the island, or the beach and a swim in the crystal-clear turquoise waters. Scattered clouds surrounded the island the second day and brought along the typical passing shower, but the sun primarily prevailed overhead and brought out the sea’s vibrant colors. It was a “day off” for guests to do those activities and more…or nothing at all. For those with leftover energy and in the mood to dance, DJ Laz and George Lamond kept the grooves moving up on the rooftop.
Cat’n Around Bimini is about enjoying what the World Cat catamaran does best: getting the family out on the water. Just a quick ride to the south, past the shipwreck, and over the shallows, the Cats headed down to Honeymoon Harbor at Gun Cay on day three for the Cat Corral Raft-Up. The secluded, lagoon-style beach is known for its protected sandbar and friendly stingrays. A bag of pilchard bait between your toes (or fingers) prompt them to glide by and softly pull the tasty morsel into their mouth. It may be a little unnerving to some, but it quickly becomes part of the fun along with floating about, playing games and enjoying life in the water. (Even a mermaid was spotted swimming around!)
There were a few who were tasked to catch fish in preparation for the final evening’s fish fry celebration, and when they pulled up and anchored in full view of the raft-up, the cheers erupted as they showed off their catch. After a day of sun, sand and water toasted the crowd, everyone gathered for a pool party and a fun feast. Even the thickening clouds didn’t hinder the mood or the setting sun as it slipped below the horizon.
Unfortunately, the clouds built overnight and thunderstorms with lightning delayed the departure back to Fort Lauderdale. Thankfully, a narrow weather window opened and because of the speed a World Cat can generate, even in chop, the flotilla made it back safe and sound.
“We were thrilled with the outcome of this year’s Cat’n to Bimini event,” says Alex Flora, associate marketing manager for World Cat. “We look forward to growing this event next year and in the years after that. We could not pull this event off without all of our customers participating and supporting the brand.”
Check out World Cat’s latest, the 296DC and join the 2019 Cat’n Around Bimini June 16-19 back at Resorts World Bimini. See you at the next World Cat Rendezvous.
By Steve Davis, Southern Boating November 2018
Photos courtesy of World Cat and Steve Davis