Catamarans International 3800 Flybridge

By: Norman Holtzhausen

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The most recent example of Catamarans International’s 3800 Flybridge power cat is quietly understated, combining an excellent build quality with elegant trappings and smooth performance

Catamarans International 3800 Flybridge
Catamarans International 3800 Flybridge
  • The IPS system makes manoeuvring easy
  • The cockpit is perfectly set up for fishing
  • Build quality is excellent
  • The design is versatile and efficient
  • The 11.6m, high-speed asymmetrical twin hull design allows a lot of features to be included

Basic construction comprises a solid glass bottom shell with Kevlar reinforcing. Hulls and wing deck are created in a single female mould with vinylester on the outer skins for osmosis protection.

The topsides, deck and flybridge are moulded in foam-cored GRP for lightness and strength.

Although this vessel doesn’t have them, foils are an option. Tests on other, foil-equipped vessels have shown an increase in top speed and improvements to the fuel economy at cruising speed.

Propulsion is courtesy of Volvo Penta’s IPS-400, the pods powered by twin D6-310 diesels. A semi-displacement version with conventional diesels and shaft drives is also available. This would typically provide a cruise speed of around 16 to 18 knots (with 150hp diesels). Outboard options are also available.


Three separate cabins provide five berths, with a full shower and head fitted on the starboard side. The master cabin’s double bed is configured transversally, reducing side-to-side rocking. The main cabin’s beautifully finished with oak-veneered cabinetry.

A fridge, sink (with hot water) and an Eno Le Chef gas stove/oven occupy the galley, which is located along the forward edge of the cabin.

The rest of the cabin’s taken up by the dining table and couch. All interior upholstery, vinyl panels and hull linings are of exceptional standard. A nice touch is the smooth raised edge to the table to prevent objects sliding offs.

Hidden under the cabin’s couch seat is a massive storage locker, which also gives easy access to the batteries, wiring and gas lines. A Tasman gas califont supplies hot water, and a 2kW Victron inverter the mains power.


Access from the cabin into the fishing cockpit is through a wide, aluminium-framed door. There is an additional opening hatch to the side, creating a flow-through effect.

Surfaced with a non-slip, deck tread finish, the floor feels flat but is gently curved and sloped to ensure efficient draining of water.

Gunwales are at thigh-height, and riddled with rod-holders. Toe-space under the gunwale is provided at the rear of the cockpit, allowing anglers to lean right into the gunwale. A wide transom door opens onto a generous boarding platform.

LEDs in the corners of the cockpit ensure the action can continue when the sun goes down.

This model did not include a live bait tank: the owner instead opting for a hand basin (with hot water) in the transom.

Access to the engines and IPS drives is through large watertight hatches set into the deck.

One disadvantage of the IPS system is that the pods project down below the hull where they cannot be tilted. This means IPS-equipped cats have fewer options for running up on a beach. Still, the overall draft is only 950mm, so this shouldn’t be too much off a limiting factor.

A fully automatic Maxwell 1500 handles anchoring, and a drop-in, moulded cover keeps the moving parts well shielded.


Access to the flybridge is via wide, moulded steps. Up there, large flat windows have wipers fitted to all three forward-facing sections, and side windows are tinted. A clip-on clear section closes off the rear of the flybridge when the weather requires it.

At the main helm position there is a fully-upholstered seat on gas struts with a second seat fitted to a moulded storage locker. Another upholstered couch provides comfortable seating for up to five people.

The helm’s fitted with a Raymarine E-120 unit providing chart plotter, fish finder and radar functionality. A Uniden VHF and Fusion stereo system complete the electronics package.


A joystick controls the IPS units, and close-quarter manoeuvring is a breeze.

Despite its 11-tonne gross mass, the twin Volvos quickly accelerate the cat to its top speed of 29 knots. A more economical cruising speed is around 22 knots, and the boat is superbly smooth.

Integrated electronic steering and throttles ensure that even the most ham-fisted skipper cannot push the boat beyond its limits. Putting the steering hard over while at full throttle produces a smooth turn as the IPS controller allows the boat to turn within its limits. Try the same amount of helm movement at a lower speed and the boat turns on a dime.

There is no spray or mist while underway, thanks to the IPS pods tucked under the boat and excellent airflow around the cabin.

The CI3800 comes standard with 1200-litre fuel tanks, and 600-litre water tanks.

To read in-depth boat reviews, see the latest issue of Trade-A-Boat magazine, on sale now.

(Priced from $750,000)

LOA 11.6m
Beam 4.3m
Draught 0.95m
Propulsion 2 x Volvo Penta D6-310 (IPS-400)
Fuel 1200 litres
Water 600 litres

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