Lot's of recomendations here, and none bad, especially the be safe, first and foremost!! Anyway I spent 5 years in a 26 cat, but twin o/b's and still take it out a few times a summer. My first impression was you were going too slow for proper ride, and not enough lift on the hull. The conditions on Lake st clair are identical to havasu's, usually boat chop, lots of confused boat wake chop, and occasional 5-6 footers. I always found my hull to be a bad ride in anything over 1' till 75 then smoothed out and rode really flat and skipped the tops, and always saw better top end in rougher water. Trim always neutral in chop, and a little positive in glass just for fun. You are on the right track, and having this forum to ask questions is something I wish I had when I learned to drive my cat, but I wasnt so lucky. It's alot smarter than how I did it. Take it out alone, on a rough day, and see how it performs at speed in the rough. I've always found straight line to be safe at speed in rough to a point, but dont attempt any high speed turns in the rough. I think faster in the slop is alot better, and you arent running at blowover speeds, so I wouldnt be too concerned about that, but baby steps, and be carefull, but I think it was all just a issue of not enough speed, but then again, I wouldnt want to scare the passengers either.