Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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It sounds like you bought a Herreshoff America. These catboats were designed by Halsey Herreshoff from Bristol, Rhode Island in the early 1970's and were an interpretation of the Cape Cod cats, which came into being in the late 19th century. Just for the record there were not Herreshoffs designing boats or Cape Cod cats in the 1700's.
Cape Cod Catboats were a uniquely American invention. Tradition has it that the original Catboat was built at Crosby's yard shortly after the Civil War and there is an oral tradition that Capt. Crosby died and came back in dreams to tell his widow about how to design the original catboat. According to the legend, Capt. Crosby's ghost directed his widow at every step of the way, and the yard foreman reluctantly followed her direction producing the first Cape Cod catboat. The boat was a huge success .
In any event, catboats have their own unique sailing traits requiring thier own unique set of sailing skills. They are very easy to sail in moderate conditions but can be a real handful in a breeze. They do not go upwind as well as more modern designs, but they typically go upwind a lot better than you would guess by looking at the basic design. The key is not to try to pinch. Also, you need to be careful in big gusts because, while they do have a huge amount of initial stability, they have a comparative small limit of vanishing stability angle, not all that disimilar to your Stilletto in that regard,
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay