Join Date: Sep 2013
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Re: Smartkat Inflatable Catamaran
For what it's worth I have one. I bought it on Ebay for $2700 and have not been disappointed.
I have not done a lot of sailing on Cats so it's not easy for me to compare. I grew up sailing Lasers and a Flying Dutchman, then moved on to windsurfing. This summer I also joined a sailing club which primarily owns lake scows.
My only other experience with a cat was a Hobie 16 I sailed about 10 years ago on a day with fairly light wind. That's about all I remember about it other than it being more difficult to tack than the monohulls I was used to.
The SmartKat sails reasonably well and will hold together in a pretty good blow. It only takes a 10 to 15 mph wind to fly a hull with a single person on board. Performance drops significantly as you add weight, - such as an additional sailor.
Obviously its main benefit is portability and storage. I don't have a ton of free time but still ended up taking it to 6 different lakes this summer since I got it in June.
The 20 minute set up time they advertise isn't very realistic. After some practice and if you move at a steady pace, a single person can go from car to on the water in about 40 minutes, - if you have an electric pump.
The portability has its impact on design. The main sheet is behind the tiller which is an arrangement that takes getting used to. I don't particularly like the way the tiller attaches to the rudder either but it works. I've never had any problem steering when the hulls come out of the water. It is however hard for me to tack in rough weather.
Also the 4 adult capacity is kind of a joke. You can get 4 people on there but it's cramped and makes for difficult sailing.
If you have a place to keep a boat, clearly there are better options and I don't know that I'd pay 6 grand for one, but for less than 3,000 I'm pretty happy. It also makes for a nice swim platform for the kids.
The whole reason I have it is that it's big enough that I can take somebody else sailing if I want, yet portable enough for me to take it someplace on my own without needing a trailer.
Last edited by unimacs; 09-06-2013 at 06:19 PM.