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Thread: Cat boat plans

  1. #1
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    Default Cat boat plans

    I am wondering if anyone has information that would lead to plans for cat boats that would closely resemble the boat in Winslow Homers painting “Breezing Up”.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    You will note that the boat in Breezing Up is sprit rigged and seems to have no centerboard, but I would look at the catboat plans offered by Mystic Seaport, https://store.mysticseaport.org/ship...essel_type=177, Sanshee and Trio, on the second page.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Thank you for the ideas. I will check into both of them.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Beetle cat? (12' x 6').
    I just read the Wikipedia article on the painting.
    Apparently he changed several things about the painting over time.
    There used to be 4 boys, one was replaced by the anchor, and the adult used to hold the tiller and the sheet, etc.
    Perhaps the omission of the centerboard case was simply "artistic liberties"?
    I can say from experience that a cat boat without a center board (down fully) will not hold that point of sail.
    I'd strongly encourage you to incorporate a centerboard in any cat boat you intend to sail.
    Last edited by JBRADYM; 01-19-2022 at 01:18 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Interesting. I've never seen a catboat with a loose footed sail, or with a spritsail. Most catboats needed as large and powerful a sail as possible. Crews put the longest possible boom on them, so they could spread as much canvas as the boat could hold, and still steer. Loose footed spritsails were used on lighter craft, such as sailing dories, and flat bottom skiffs.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    I think a Beetle Cat might prove to be too small to carry a man and 3 boys as Homer pictured them. You might look at Joel White's Marsh Cat.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans



    There is a fair amount of artistic license being taken in this otherwise lovely painting. Homer got the weather helm right, but what is keeping the kid on the tiller attached the boat? Same with the fellow sprawled just aft of the mast. That much bow in the sprit can't be good and the set of the sail just looks wrong...as does the schooner in the background.

    But it is a lovely evocative piece, just don't look for too much historical accuracy, eh?
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    This painting was made in 1873. Others are surely more knowledgeable than I am, but the various catboat types evolved quite a lot over the last quarter of the 19th century. The Beetle Cat was nearly 50 years in the future at the time this was painted.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    An Abaco (Bahamas) dinghy is cat-rigged and they sail well with a deep drag to the keel, similar to the one in Homer's painting. They are typically smallish, 12-14', and have neither a gaff or sprit rig but the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding has built an enlarged version. You might contact them (Leland Gibson) for comments:

    https://www.nwswb.edu/

    https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/abaco-dinghy/

    AbacoSailPlanBweb-574x700.jpg
    "So we beat on, paddleboats against the wake of a neighbor’s jet ski, born back ceaselessly into the past." The Great Lakes Gatsby

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    There are catboats and cat-rigged boats. Homer's painting is a cat rigged sprit sail boat. It is a Gloucester boat; no reason up there to have a centerboard.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    There are catboats and cat-rigged boats. Homer's painting is a cat rigged sprit sail boat. It is a Gloucester boat; no reason up there to have a centerboard.
    I've never heard of a Gloucester Boat. Its not in Chapelle. Got a link, or a pic?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    So just out of curiosity I googled 'sprit rigged catboat' and this centerboard design, apparently from Woods Hole, came up:









    Woods Hole Spritsail Boat - Small Boats Magazine (smallboatsmonthly.com)
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Paintings are done for a variety of reasons with the scene meant to be a metaphor for something that, perhaps, only the artist is aware of. They are seldom made as an accurate depiction of reality. So my answer to the OP... Any ol' catboat will do.

    Jeff

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    So just out of curiosity I googled 'sprit rigged catboat' and this centerboard design, apparently from Woods Hole, came up:



    Woods Hole Spritsail Boat - Small Boats Magazine (smallboatsmonthly.com)
    Nice find, Jim!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by photocurio View Post
    Nice find, Jim!
    Yeah, I thought so, too! Pure luck. I had no idea. It just popped up in google.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by photocurio View Post
    I've never heard of a Gloucester Boat. Its not in Chapelle. Got a link, or a pic?
    Not every work boat type was recorded by Chapelle et al, all of whom were working after WWII. Homer AFIK is pretty good on boats. For example, there were cat rigged small boats fishing out of Monhegan, noted in 1880's fisheries reports, but we have almost no data. The little Woods Hole boat isn't a bad example, but she was developed for a particular need where shoal draft and an easy dropped stick to get under a bridge were necessities. Homer AFIK was pretty good on boats: this painting would have been done in studio from sketches and memory. Sort out the number of people on it and you'll get to 20 foot or so easily.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans



    I rather like Edward Hopper's rendition of The Catboat.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    E5792879-83DF-4FFB-9244-609803880D7E.jpg
    I know EXACTLY which catboat is in this drawing.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    OK, there are details about that Hopper catboat that bother me, too. The cabin trunk is too tall, the transom is too shallow and wine-glass-y, and the boom looks as heavy as a telephone pole!
    But... I still love the drawing!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cat boat plans

    Great information folks. I have had a print of this painting for decades. If the boat is a true representation of a boat being used at that time, I thought it may be interesting to actually build a replica. If it is true to form and not artistic liberty, I wonder what is under the waterline. All of your comments are interesting and greatly appreciated.
    Bill

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