View Full Version : Open Cockpit Catboat Plans

07-03-2007, 06:43 PM
What would you choose for a first time builder as far as an open cockpit catboat plan. I'm looking for stability and ease of build. I like the Cape Cod Catboat style, and i'm a big fan of the Marshall's open boats. Is there anything similar to the Sanderling but scaled down to around 13' or 14' out there? I've thought about the Bobcat but the cockpit seems extra small for this boat. What do you think?

07-03-2007, 07:16 PM
You might want to look at the MarshCat by Joel White. It is 15'. Plans are for sale on Wooden Boat store.

07-03-2007, 07:56 PM
Do you want to build in sheet plywood or make it round bilge as in strip planked construction....

07-03-2007, 08:33 PM

Here's a bit more on the MarshCat (above). Maybe a bit tricky for a first-time build. Charles Wittholz has a 14'11" plywood catboat shown in "50 Wooden Boats" that might be easier to build. He shows a very small cuddy cabin, but that could be skipped. The only issue I see with these boats as trailered boats is stepping the mast. You want to think that one through ahead of time.

15' MarshCat

Designer: Joel White

This is a cold molded gaff catboat, suitable for talking the whole family for a daysail. It is easy to trailer behind the car, and the shallow draft allows you to get into lots of interesting place and thin water.
Typical of her catboat proportions, Marsh Cat is a very stable hull, easily single-handed, agile and surprisingly quick in the light air.

07-03-2007, 08:46 PM
Charles Wittholz plans include the 15 foot 2 inch "Sapphire", which is plywood construction, and could be built with or without the cuddy cabin, and the 14 foot 11 inch "Corvus" which is the round bilge version...if you ask and tell me if your signature line is also your e-mail address, I can send the study plans for both to print on an 8 1/2 by 11 paper....the ballast on both is about 300 pounds, Corvus is 2000 pounds trailerable and Sapphire is 100 pounds less....The cockpits are 7 feet on both, and the cuddy can be extended on both to fit 2 berths for cruising or eliminated as a daysailor...

John Freund
07-03-2007, 08:52 PM
My first sailboat was the Marshcat, strip built it and she sailed great. I also put a hinge in the mast so I wouldnt have to step the mastevery time.

07-03-2007, 10:09 PM
Yes, my signature is my email. I would love to see the study plans. Thanks again for all the help. As far as the type of build, I've not really decided yet. This is going to be a project for my father and I to do so we can spend some bonding time together. Keep the suggestions coming.

07-03-2007, 10:25 PM
Don't be so hard on the Bobcat. I looked through the book several times and was frankly unimpressed. Then I saw one in the flesh at a messabout, and my opinion immediately changed. She's a nice little boat, and sails well. And a lot of room for such a little boat. One person described her as "12 feet on the outside, 18 feet on the inside."



07-03-2007, 11:16 PM
Here's a 13 foot stripper from Paul Fisher that tends to get overlooked but I think is a very nice looking catboat:


</B>Very much on the lines of the American Cat Boat, we have been able to retain much of the character of these charming boats by using a round bilge hull shape simply made using strip planks over chipboard moulds. The planks can be of most easily obtainable woods with Cedar or Douglas Fir being favourite. The moulds (sectional shapes given to you on the plans) need no lofting as they have come directly off our CAD system which automatically fairs the lines to 1mm accuracy and the 10mm planking is glued with epoxy without the need for bevelling.
Whilst only 13’ long, she has with her catboat shape, plenty of space for family sailing and beach camping. The centreplate may be of steel adding even more stiffness to the boat and the rig is a simple cat working boat rig with a minimum of strings. LOD 13’; Beam 6’; Draft 9’’/2’8’’; Sail Area 115 sq. ft. Plans include details for an inboard engine/bilge keel alternative and moulds for clinker/ply construction.

The 2 photos above are of Craig Taylor's beautifully built example.

07-04-2007, 07:22 AM
A bigger version of the Bobcat, available on Paysons website.

07-04-2007, 07:23 AM
If you live anywhere near Boston, Mass., you might be interested in this Marshcat (as mentioned above) The sail alone is worth the asking price: http://tinyurl.com/38ya4g

07-04-2007, 08:01 AM
A bigger version of the Bobcat, available on Paysons website.

This the one?



07-04-2007, 12:06 PM
I've narrowed it down to the Woodlark, Wittholz Ply Catboat, and the BobCat. Which of these plans would you all think would be the easiest and cheapest to build of the three? Also which would be easiest to trailer? Thanks for the help. I've not come across most of these plans before on my own. Has anyone built any of these three? If so, what were your costs and time invested?

07-04-2007, 12:56 PM
I have the plans for the Woodlark. With these drawings, Paul Fisher also provides the mould shapes for building the boat glued-lap style, as well as drawings for an inboard motor with bilge keels.

07-04-2007, 01:37 PM
I've narrowed it down to the Woodlark, Wittholz Ply Catboat, and the BobCat. Which of these plans would you all think would be the easiest and cheapest to build of the three? Also which would be easiest to trailer? Thanks for the help. I've not come across most of these plans before on my own. Has anyone built any of these three? If so, what were your costs and time invested?

They'd all trailer well since they are glued and glassed boats but BobCat (TinyCat) would likely be the quickest and easiest build. Plus there is also a book available on building her, very comprehensive.

07-04-2007, 06:28 PM
Here's a couple...if they don't fit your needs we can go to 32 feet...:D



07-04-2007, 06:28 PM
Hey JimD,
It is easy to build... Even I haven't build it yet.. But the model that I built from the plan, proven the ease of build... I believe it'll be a fun boat to get wet in.... I just can't wait to get mine built...

I have the book and almost built one before deciding on the bigger Glen-L Minuet. Now I no longer have a sailboat. Hmmm:D

07-04-2007, 06:46 PM
I bought this unfinished Wittholz boat, I thought it was the Corvus Cat but it is hard chine so now I'm not so sure, I need to build spars, get a sail and do a bit of interior fitting out. I'm on the Olympic Peninsula in Wash. and your sure welcome to come have a look if your around these parts. Denny (The plans that came with the boat show an open boat option as well)


07-05-2007, 09:01 AM
You can always go back ya know...:D Even with that (mod) on your Minuet.. A cute motor/sailer..;)

I've drawn up quite a few ideas for a wheelhouse motorsailer based on Paul Fisher's Swan series and have emailed with Paul about it. So it could be done although his endorsement of the idea seemed understandably cautious. But I don't see it happening to the Minuet. Too small a boat to carry both a sail plan and a big, tall cabin. When its done I plan to take her into the shallows and pull her over on her side to find out just what the righting capabilities are.

And I think we just hijacked this thread. My apologies to ken_j :o

A plywood Corvus sans cuddy looks just about perfect for you, Ken, if you decided you wanted something considerably bigger than TinyCat.

07-05-2007, 02:14 PM
I sailed my Bobcat yesterday with four people aboard, for the first time. We all fit quite easily. The big foredeck allows sprawling room for those inclined in that direction. My guid wyfe ended up using a small cooler for a seat, moving it from one side to the other as we tacked.

I used to sail a Penguin. The Bobcat seems at least twice the size of the Penguin, although she's only a foot longer.

07-05-2007, 05:33 PM
For you all who've built the Bobcat, how many hours are we talking to complete her? I would really love to build Corvus but I think it will take considerably longer than the Bobcat and free time is at a premium right now. If there is anyone out there who has built Corvus, how long did it take you? Thanks again for all the great suggestions.

07-05-2007, 09:47 PM
One other question about the Bobcat; how's the stability?

07-06-2007, 12:56 AM
One other question about the Bobcat; how's the stability?

According to Payson its very impressive for such a small boat.

07-06-2007, 08:32 AM
One other question about the Bobcat; how's the stability?

It's a real catboat; beam is about half the length, so it's about as stable as you're going to get short of a barge. Went for a short sail in one at a messabout last year. I was very surprised by how well she behaved. Handled high wind and lumpy water without any problem, didn't seem to pound in a chop very much either.


07-06-2007, 12:02 PM
Once you're aboard, a Bobcat is very stable. Climbing on from the beach in shallow water, the boat tips at first from the broad bottom to the side panel and then becomes stable. Sailing, she's very stable.

07-06-2007, 05:44 PM
Well I made up my mind and ordered the Bobcat plans and patterns. I'll keep you updated about the build once we get started. Thanks for all your input in helping me decide what to do. I do think i'll try some of the other plans in the future with a little more experience under my belt.