TomCat 255 – A Tough, Versatile (Twin Hull) Cruising Yacht

The TomCat 255, a remarkable boat by Triton Marine, is a fiberglass catamaran with many of the advantages of a mono-hull yacht and the stability of a twin-hull. It’s design has attracted many compact yacht enthusiasts as well as fishing enthusiasts (sometimes one in the same) and C-Dory/TomCat has chosen quality in every aspect of its build. The company has been building quality fishing and cruising boats for more than 30 years, and in 2010 became part of Triton Marine Industries, which owns C-Dory, Skagit Orca, Osprey and bills TomCat as a separate brand but markets it with their C-Dory line up.
The 25’ 5” TomCat is impressive from the moment you board. There’s a feeling of “overbuild” everywhere you look on the boat, and the Diamond Sea Glaze windows and doors remind me of bigger, established yachts I’ve been aboard. The large cockpit is excellent for fishing and also makes a nice viewing and dining platform. The 1 ¼-inch stainless railings around the outer perimeter are plentiful, and the decks are coated with non-skid to provide safe movement forward and aft on the spacious exterior decks.
The TomCat provides a stable ride in most seas, and tracks straight at all speeds. There is a pronounced absence of the motion (roll) one expects on a boat this size, cornering is smooth and without resistance and the vessel “runs flat and dry”. There is excellent visibility from the helm (forward and aft) with large Diamond Sea Glaze windows in all the right locations. 

There is one entrance into this boat, and you reach this aft (Diamond Sea Glaze) door through the spacious (45 sq. ft.) cockpit. Lined with 1 ¼ “ rail, the self-bailing TomCat cockpit features two, large (4’) compartments. Fitted with a macerator, these compartments are ideal for fisherman, and provide a great deal of extra storage space for cruisers. An uncrowded, ‘crouch-less’ trip through the DSG door, and you’re in the pilothouse of the TomCat 255. To port there is a dinette that converts to a large single berth. There is cozy seating for four here and the views are excellent. The forward seat converts to the navigator’s (forward facing) seat when the dinette is not needed. To starboard, the full galley is comprised of a two-burner stove, a (optional) fridge and a stainless sink with hot & cold running water.

Just aft of the galley, on the same side as the helm (a good choice as placement on the port side impedes the helmsman’s view aft), is the enclosed head, which features a marine toilet and a hot/cold shower.

Forward, the sleeping quarters boasts more space than one usually finds in a 25’ boat. A queen “plus” bed (84” X 64”) will keep the owners comfortable. Hanging locker space is good, and a Bowmar hatch provides sleepers with a view of the night sky, ventilation and an emergency exit should one become necessary. The sleeping space is quite comfortable, despite the fact that the vessel’s design doesn’t provide for as much “stand-up” room as you might expect (this is not a ‘deep-v’ boat, after all). Headroom throughout the rest of boat is good at 6’5”.

You’d expect a catamaran to have beam of 9’-10’ (harder to tow and fit in a slip), but the TomCat designers decided on a very trailerable (without a permit) 8’6” for this boat. There are many more advantages to sticking to this beam specification than not, and you’ll appreciate the foremost of these the first time you put her on the trailer. It takes only a couple times to get good at retrieving a 255, and launching her is easier still.

TomCat 255 Specifications:

• Hull Length:  25’ 5”
• Beam:  8’ 6”
• Height:  6’ 5”
• Weight:  6,000 lbs (less motors but including brackets)
• Headroom:  6’ 5”
• Standard HP:  300
• Max HP:  350
• Fuel Capacity:  150 gallons
• Water capacity:  30 gallons

TomCat recommends twin 150 horsepower four-stroke Honda engines (although they’ll mount your engine request), and because I employ that very power configuration on my Rosborough RF-246, I couldn’t agree more heartily. The wide stance (physical separation) of the engines on this boat gives the skipper serious control of the vessel in close-quarters, slow-speed maneuvering. The boat can literally turn 360-degrees in its own space, similar to how it would behave with a seasoned helmsman operating bow and stern thrusters. With the unusually large fuel tank capacity of 150 gallons (75 per tank; located port and starboard in the pontoons) you also have an operating range significantly longer than some boats, and with a top-speed of around 47 mph (remember, there’s much less contact space between the boat’s pontoons and the water), you can get to a weather-sheltered anchorage, or a hospital … or to cocktail hour at your favorite watering hole … (much) faster.

TomCat 255 Standard features:

• 30 Amp shorepower with battery charger
• Pressurized water system with 6 gallon hot water tank
• Galley stove
• Enclosed hot and cold stand up shower
• Marine head with holding tank
• Hydraulic steering
• Four foot fish boxes with macerator pumps
• Opening front center window
• Dual electric wiper motors
• Bomar bow hatch
• Outboard brackets

When underway, the careful design of the TomCat 255 is evident. Without appreciable change in attitude (angle; therefore restricted view, etc.) the boat gets on plane, and assumes its comfortable, dry ride. There isn’t a tendency to “lean” away from the direction of your turn (as with some cats), and the flat, well-coordinated turning tendency of the TomCat is something I came to admire. The reduced bow-wake is remarkable (and something TomCat actively promotes) and there also is a reduction of the amount of pressurized water ejected aft through the hull tunnel when plowing through a heavy sea. The stability of the boat is exceptional (seemed like we were aboard a much larger, stabilized yacht) and cruisers who are concerned about “the motion of the ocean” (on other boats) may want to consider the TomCat 255 for this reason.

Options available on the 255 are well thought out. They include a windlass, refrigerator, a Wallace diesel stove/heater, a wash down pump, a swim-step with ladder and an aft steering and control station in the cockpit. I can see good reasons for having all of these items, but I especially recommend the first three, as they are among the most used, and therefore most valued items on my boat. I also wouldn’t be without a swim-step and ladder in California (warm water swimming!)… or anywhere someone might fall overboard or the props might become fouled by nets or line (a chilly dunk beats a tow every time).

I couldn’t get over the feeling that I was aboard a boat that could go anywhere. That sense of the 255 being “overbuilt” was reinforced by well-placed handholds, sturdy stainless hardware and solid, gel-coated fiberglass. It’s a feeling you need to experience to understand, and I recommend you include this tough, versatile vessel in your line-up of “can’t miss” boats to see before you pick your next one.

A nice used TomCat 255 currently (7/11) listed for sale at www.yachtworld.com

Photos courtesy of mftr. website: www.c-dory.com

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