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Thread: William Garden's TomCat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Bay of Quinte, across from Belleville, Ontario.

    Default William Garden's TomCat

    I have just launched Catnip, my version of William Garden's 12-foot gaff-rigged cat, TomCat. It took two years to build her but I was out of commission for six months last winter and that slowed things down.

    I have sailed her several times now in light airs-- five to eight mph maximum -- and she goes much faster than I had expected, is stable and very obedient. A very pretty boat and by far the most successful project I have ever done.

    Garden designed her in 2005, I think, when he was 84 and he designed her for his own personal use. I think he wanted a more comfortable and geriatric version of a beetle cat. I am younger than he -- 71 -- but from the look of him not nearly as fit and healthy. I have several ailments which are debilitating and was glad to have not only enough time to complete Catnip but to sail her as well!

    She's a fine boat and pretty as a picture. I would not advise anyone to select her as a "first" boat project. She's carvel-planked and we had to steam most of her planking and she's a high intermediate build, in my opinion. I have built seven small boats, a couple of lap-strake rowboats, a lap-strake Arch Davis Penobscot 17 and a cluster of other small craft and I was pretty well stretched. The plans are little more than blueprints and no hand-holding at all.

    Arch Davis, on the other hand, walks one through his boats with the best manuals and videos I have ever seen. His Penobscot boats (14 and 17 footers) would make a good first time project for anyone with elementary wood-working skills.

    Catnip is an absolute joy to sail and better suited to single-handing for a geriatric boater.

    -- John Aitken
    Sailing on the Bay of Quinte

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005


    Any pictures??? (Please!)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Left Coast


    IRRC, Bill Garden was not the most detailed designer I have had contact with.

    He was/is used to working with 'professionals' not dedicated amateurs.

    I have the TomCat book and for me a retired old curmudgeon I would not have much trouble building TomCat but, for some one with less boatbuilding under their belt perhaps things would be a bit more difficult.
    "Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    from WB plan section- "Skill level is advanced."

    But how often do you get a book to help you along too?

    Plans from Mystic or the Smithsonian often only have lines and or offsets and nothing more.

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