Home Dispatches VIDEO: Ready for takeoff

VIDEO: Ready for takeoff

It looks more like a helicopter than a boat and can zip across the water at 50 mph.

The two-seater HeliCat can do 20 to 30 mph in a chop while getting 5 mpg, according to information on the HeliCat website.

“The boat rides like it’s on a rail. It can turn sharp at very high speeds — very fun,” HeliCat LLC owner Sandy Williamson says.

The Tacoma, Wash., company has been sea-trialing a prototype of the 22-foot catamaran, built in Argentina, with twin 60-hp Mercury 4-strokes, reaching speeds near 40 mph in the choppy water under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Click play for a look at the HeliCat.

The first of the U.S.-built HeliCats, to be manufactured by Sunbacker Fiberglass of Monroe, Wash., will weigh about 400 pounds lighter (less than 2,500 pounds) and be available this summer, Williamson says. With watertight compartments and foam flotation in each hull, the HeliCat is designed to be virtually unsinkable, according to the company.

It has a 10-foot beam and draws about 8 inches. It can be used for commuting, as an eye-catching promotion for a business or just as a water toy, Williamson says. A tow rope can be attached to the “tail” for towing a person an a wakeboard, skis or a tube.

Available in red, white, blue and yellow, the HeliCat will be sold with 60- or 70-hp engines and an optional custom aluminum trailer. A four-seater version is planned for release this fall.

The HeliCat has LED navigation lights and is outfitted with an ICOM VHF radio, CD stereo system and (optional) Garmin GPS.

The prototype is being shown this weekend at the Newport Boat Show in California. The price is $69,900.

For information, contact Sandy or Debbie Williamson at (253) 376-8273 or (888) 387-1963.

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