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Old 05-12-2010
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Before pictures of the catboat experiment

Just bought a Nowak & Williams 1976 replica of a 1776 Herrschoff( I hope that's right) catboat. Don't have much experience with monohulls, but this boat was a great deal and it's as cute as a speckled pup. I will probably need a great deal of advice, because this is only the second boat I've owned without fully battened sails since my sunfish. The gaff rig looks like fun and I love the classic lines of the boat. If any of the "old salts" out there have any tips, I am very receptive. Me and my boys are "Bringing it back" this summer. We will still be sailing the Stiletto 27 most of the time, unless this boat becomes more fun. There are pictures in the members gallery. Catboats in Kansas, awesome!
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Old 05-13-2010
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Sounds interesting, but probably 1876 or more recent as I don't think the Herreschoff design era extends back that far. Nathanael is probably the designer. Nathanael Herreshoff - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-13-2010
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There are at least two other Herreshoff designers, L. Francis being more famous. I think there are catboats designed by the next generation.
I have sailed a gaff rig, but not in a cat. There is a catboat association, probably with a website.
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Old 05-13-2010
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catboat associatin

There is a catboat web site with tons of info. The Catboat Association, Inc.
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Old 05-13-2010
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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,

Good Luck,
Jeff



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Old 05-13-2010
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Well I just hope it's as fun as it looks. Thank you for correcting my historical mistakes. Maybe after this summer, I will be able to carry on a more knowledgable conversation about catboats.
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