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Thread: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

  1. #1
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    Default Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Hey Forumites....long time no post here - lots has "gone down" over the past year or so....lost my job in Jan 2022; decided to retire early, etc etc....you know....life!

    Anyhooo, fast forward to recently - and I find myself the proud owner of a glued lap Catspaw sailing / rowing dinghy - she was built by Tim O'Flaherty (who was a pro boatbuilder and worked in Maine for a while before he retired etc) - got her for a good deal - with nice trailer - like new spritsail, spars...loads of extra gear and hardware etc - also included were the original sheet plans, oars, anchor, pfd's etc
    Only thing currently she needs to go sailing in the spring - is a new centerboard and case.....or a daggerboard and case etc....Tim said he stored the boat in such a way that some water got in and rotted out the orginal case / board (he built her in 2015 I believe) - he epoxied over the slot in the stem / keel
    Have been thinking about several options - likely not new topics here - since I brought her home last week from Cleveland area, where Tim lives.....
    Are there any major advantages of building a daggerboard / case over the original centerboard / case? I understand the daggerboard / case will be a slightly easier build vs the cb....but has anyone any direct experience relative to sailing / upwind performance of the 2 options?
    Some pics below of the latest addition to the "fleet"!

    20230117_134516.jpg

    20230117_162236.jpg


    20230117_160541.jpg

    20230117_160609.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    My thoughts:

    Daggerboards offer some advantages as far as a simpler case construction, and a higher-aspect foil shape that might (in theory) give an edge to windward performance. They also take up less room in the cockpit, which (depending on the interior layout) might be nice.

    In my experience, they are far less convenient to use than a pivoting centerboard. The board can get caught on the sail or boom if raised up to sail in the shallows. It won't pivot up if you hit something. If you remove it for downwind sailing or rowing, it takes up a lot of room in the boat, and gets everything wet, too.

    All things considered, I'd rather have a pivoting centerboard.

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    I've had both in boats and using a centerboard is definitely easier. However my last two boats have had dagger boards and it's not that much of a hassle, one can get used to either.

    Centerboards can be more liable to jamming if they get stuff in them from beaching. I've had this happen after I had pulled up on a local beach in an FJ. When I left I was trying to go to windward in roughish conditions with a trolling motor that couldn't keep up.(the lady friend I was with preferred the motor...) I was going to sail instead but the board was jammed solid. Had to pull up at somebodies dock and use a piece of 2x4 I found there to lever it out. It took a lot of effort and a fair while.

    It is also easier to forget the centerboard is down/up

    Both are good though. If it had a centerboard already surely you can get plans etc. which will save some head scratching as to sizing and execution.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Growing up I learned to sail in a Sabot and then a Laser, both were sailed off (and on) the beach, I don't remember having much of an issue with the dagger boards on either of those boats. A centerboard trunk will take up a bigger chunk of room in a wee boat like the Catspaw, but I don't know how useful that bit of space really is once you are on the water. Definitely more complicated with the need for a pivot pin and a halyard to pull it up. On the other hand, that's how it was designed and I'm usually loath to tinker with something that seems to have proven itself over time.
    Steve

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    I've had both in boats and using a centerboard is definitely easier. However my last two boats have had dagger boards and it's not that much of a hassle, one can get used to either.

    Centerboards can be more liable to jamming if they get stuff in them from beaching. I've had this happen after I had pulled up on a local beach in an FJ. When I left I was trying to go to windward in roughish conditions with a trolling motor that couldn't keep up.(the lady friend I was with preferred the motor...) I was going to sail instead but the board was jammed solid. Had to pull up at somebodies dock and use a piece of 2x4 I found there to lever it out. It took a lot of effort and a fair while.

    It is also easier to forget the centerboard is down/up

    Both are good though. If it had a centerboard already surely you can get plans etc. which will save some head scratching as to sizing and execution.
    Thanks for the insight - the previous owner / builder gave me the set of WB building plans with the boat - so I am not too concerned about getting the sizing, build right...sheet 6 of the plans shows detail on building the centerboard, etc - I also ordered a copy of the "Building the Catspaw Dimghy" book, which I should have in the next few days as well

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    Growing up I learned to sail in a Sabot and then a Laser, both were sailed off (and on) the beach, I don't remember having much of an issue with the dagger boards on either of those boats. A centerboard trunk will take up a bigger chunk of room in a wee boat like the Catspaw, but I don't know how useful that bit of space really is once you are on the water. Definitely more complicated with the need for a pivot pin and a halyard to pull it up. On the other hand, that's how it was designed and I'm usually loath to tinker with something that seems to have proven itself over time.
    Yeah, I have other boats now which have daggerboards (Mirror dinghy, and Norsk Nutshell) and centerboard (Fireball), so I am pretty familar with the pros / cons of each type....not planning to "cruise" any distance with this boat - just for tinkering around the lake I live on - both under sail and rowing, etc

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    My thoughts:

    Daggerboards offer some advantages as far as a simpler case construction, and a higher-aspect foil shape that might (in theory) give an edge to windward performance. They also take up less room in the cockpit, which (depending on the interior layout) might be nice.

    In my experience, they are far less convenient to use than a pivoting centerboard. The board can get caught on the sail or boom if raised up to sail in the shallows. It won't pivot up if you hit something. If you remove it for downwind sailing or rowing, it takes up a lot of room in the boat, and gets everything wet, too.

    All things considered, I'd rather have a pivoting centerboard.

    Tom
    Thanks, Tom - have sailed many a boat with a daggerboard, never really had any of the issues you mention....and this boat has a boomless sprit sail rig - so no boom to worry about a daggerboard hitting, etc....if I were to switch to a db vs cb, I would likely install some sort of pin or shock cord arrangement to keep the board at various depths without popping all the way up....similar to what is on my Mirror right now....when I sail that - I rarely have to take the board all the way out of the case while underway, nor does it typically interfere with the boom or sailing when partially retracted, etc
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    There is an easier way to keep the board in position and I often post about it here.Precisely nobody has taken it up-ever!It isn't my idea as Jack Holt came up with it in the 1940's and tens of thousands of boats use it.Its simply a short length of rubber hose screwed into the top of the boars so that it becomes oval and presses against the inside faces of the case.

    side view.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    I have used this rubber hose setup on my previous boat and can tell you it works perfectly fine.
    And I would not hesitate to use it again on another.
    It just works.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    For the daggerboard, a piece of bungicord from the top leading forward will hold it in place just fine, and doesn't interfere with adjusting it. Anything more complicated, is just more complicated.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?



    As long as we're talking trunks and boards here...

    The top picture is the trunk on my old Deer Isle Koster (built as a kit from Clint Chase) see the channels on the inside of the case? They taper down to the size of the pivot pin which shows as the small black dot on the centerboard hanging in the second picture. I slathered a healthy dose of epoxy in there and on the hardwood pivot pin, never had any problem with it through selling it after several years of hard usage. No holes below the waterline to worry about and the CB just lifted straight up out of the case for an occasional lick of paint.
    Steve

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Simplest would be a bracket and leeboards. My inclination would be to follow the plans and use the centerboard.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    That is a big enough boat that a CB case will not be in the way like in an 8 footer.
    One wonders how the original died so fast . This boat okoume?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    That is a big enough boat that a CB case will not be in the way like in an 8 footer.
    One wonders how the original died so fast . This boat okoume?
    The owner / builder I bought her from could not recall whether he used okume or sapele ply for the hull / plank construction (it was 2015, and he built 5 other ones over the years in Maine)...the centerboard and case call for glued up strips of oak or mahogany....he said water got inside when he was unaware of it for a time, hence the rot.....it seemed a bit odd to me as well - this guy knows and built many a wooden boat over decades

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    Simplest would be a bracket and leeboards. My inclination would be to follow the plans and use the centerboard.
    Thought about using leeboards as well - but this is a pretty beamy boat for only 12'8" - most likely I will be re-building a centerboard case over the coming months

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Catspaw dinghy - new centerboard or daggerboard or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post


    As long as we're talking trunks and boards here...

    The top picture is the trunk on my old Deer Isle Koster (built as a kit from Clint Chase) see the channels on the inside of the case? They taper down to the size of the pivot pin which shows as the small black dot on the centerboard hanging in the second picture. I slathered a healthy dose of epoxy in there and on the hardwood pivot pin, never had any problem with it through selling it after several years of hard usage. No holes below the waterline to worry about and the CB just lifted straight up out of the case for an occasional lick of paint.
    Thanks for that - bit different board configuration from what the Catspaw plans call for...see below - also no holes below the waterline - pretty simple weighted board, etc

    Attachment 127920

    Attachment 127921

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