Few boats smaller than 20 feet are considered capable of undertaking a 469 mile trip across some of the most hostile waters the Great lakes have to offer. But such a journey is exactly what a tough little 11-foot power catamaran recently accomplished.

An 11-foot, four-inch CraigCat®, piloted by Adam Gursoy and Trevor Baykowski, recently launched from Grand Haven Michigan, on that state's west coast on Lake Michigan. It traveled north to Mackinac Island, Cheboygan and the inland waterway, ending up in Conway eight days later.

Along the way, Gursoy and Baykowski encountered seas up to 12 feet, torrential rains, thick fog. dangerous rocks and hundreds of questions from bystanders at every port of call.

"People were just plain amazed at the feisty little CraigCat®," said Gursoy, who operates a CraigCat® dealership in Grand Haven.

The high-performance boat features sleek, sporty looks and nimble handling in virtually any conditions. With a 25 hp outboard, it reaches speeds up to 30 mph and uses just a gallon of fuel an hour. Its twin pontoons, made of foam-injected polyethylene, connected to an elevated fiberglass deck. The pontoons bank independently, like the legs of snow skier, so they can move up and down waves easily and maintain a stable, relaxing ride.

Rugged first-class and a patented design help ensure the boat would withstand the rigors of this journey. And the crew appreciated the cushioned, side-by-side seating and ample legroom.

At one point, the two crossed 30 miles of open lake Michigan water to reach Beaver Island, halfway between the state's upper and lower peninsulas. Heavy rain and fog severely reduced visibility and the waves were treacherous.

"We were climbing what seemed like mountains and rolling down the other side," said Gursoy. The crew used a small hand-held compass to navigate.

Between Leeland and Northport, Michigan, the rescued a family whose boat had run out of gas a mile offshore. They gave the stranded group their reserve tank so they could make it back to shore.

After the trip, Gursoy said, "This CraigCat® is an amazing watercraft. It handles the water like no other craft I have ever been on, and I have been caught in some very nasty storms on both the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Michigan. Never once did I have second thoughts about the ability of the CraigCat® to get us to our ports of call."

The CraigCat® is lightweight, tows easily and offers many convenient optional features, such as an electric trolling motor, fishing rod holders, dive tank holders, and storage racks. With a suggested retail price that is less than other small boats.

Courtesy of: Rhode Island Boating News Paper

Posted: Sun 07 Feb 2010