View Full Version : Cat Boats?
11-01-2004, 08:21 AM
Since my arms are gettin' a little weaker with age, I thought I might check out the Cat boat scene. They're some real nice looking boats, but I'm getting conflicting "advice" on how well they sail to windward, with some folks saying it's only a small penelty, and others stating flat-out that they would not even consider one.
Com-Pac makes a neat looking plastic Horizon-Cat that I saw at a sailboat show (20 LOA, 17'8" LWL, seats four in the cabin and (Kinda') sleeps two), with the diesel, it's about 44K :eek:
Menges (sp?) makes a 23 footer, with all the toys, it comes to 65K :eek: :eek:
Maybe wood IS the answer ;)
11-01-2004, 02:57 PM
IMO, you have to ask yourself why you sail and what you get out of it before considering what a suitable rig is.
If you prefer to be pushed along on a mild day without having to pay much attention to performance, a catboat may be just right for you. From what I have heard, they do not go to weather all that well and tend to have mild to wild weather helm while so doing - a consequence of the typical "barn door" rudder that a cat has to comepensate for no headsail.
If you like tending sails at all and you like working your boat at all, IMO, a sloop is a thing of joy. You have the interest of balancing the jib against the main and rudder, although it need not be a consuming, all focused passion, except when you want it to be. On a beat, you can use the jib to balance the rudder and eliminate, or at least vastly reduce, any weather helm. IMO, boats with headsails perform better on most points of sail and, again IMO, just all around look better!
If your locale puts you in the position of having to sail back and forth across the face of the wind, a ketch or yawl makes a lot of sense. It's that sort of condition that they where developed to take advantage of. More strings to fiddle with, but you also get increased versatility - yawls can back up under sail for instance!
11-01-2004, 04:33 PM
When I am close hauled and there are strong gusts, I will uncleat the main so that I can dump air. I must resort to this tactic when I am in tight quarters and can't pinch up to the gust so I don't get overpowered or broach.
It takes quite a bit of arm power to hang on to the main sheet and steer the big rudder which may be having to work against a weather helm at the same time.
There is a rule with catboats and that is, if it occurs to you that a reef may be in order, you are already too late.
I get caught late a lot and have to use a lot of arm work.
I was in a light air race the other day and passed a lot of boats to the windward mark but that was unusual.
I was on her for a month long cruise Downeast and up into the larger rivers south of Penobscot Bay and I didn't see any boats in her size range that I would trade her for.
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