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  #1  
Old 02-12-2014
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Converting a Catboat to a sloop

While the History of the Cat Rigged boat is a short but tumultuous one, one thing that stands out is that some Cats had jibs, technically making them a sloop. I have also seen pics of modern Herrshoffs and Sanderlings with small sprits and jibs.. so I am wondering, what does it take to do that to a cat?

I imagine you need to beef up the bows to handle the sprit and it's support, but what about stays? most cats only have a forstay, do they need side stays to support the stress of the jib as well?

While I have no real urge to sloop/cat, it is an interesting thought as it would allow one to hove to in a cat and let you sail closer to the wind
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Old 02-13-2014
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

Cats are designed to be cats from the ground up and retro-fitting makes no sense at all. One of the best features of a cat is the flexibility of the mast. Not sure how such a massive would like the loads of shrouds. I imagine you would get something of a spaghetti effect. Your point seems like saying that a sailboat would be better if it had a much bigger engine since it would be more like a power boat then. Some things are just as they are, and messing around with them makes no sense.
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Old 02-13-2014
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

An example of a catboat sloop is Halsey Herreshoff's 1970s-era Eagle, which I own. It is based on the Herreshoff America catboat hull. The mast is moved aft to just in front of the daggerboard trunk. A bowsprit is added to support a self-tacking jib. A topsail completes the rig. The Eagle is just one of six different boats Herreshoff designed out of the same catboat hull. The variations are easy to make at the time of production but I imagine quite difficult and probably impractical to retrofit after the fact.
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Old 02-13-2014
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

Robert, seems to me that once you move the mast the result is a sloop, not a cat.

Mad, is this what you mean? I'm not sure what the tiny jib adds. (You did notice the jib, right? )



Photo above is of the Pocket Cruiser from the Stevenson Project.
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Old 02-13-2014
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

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Originally Posted by Jiminri View Post
Robert, seems to me that once you move the mast the result is a sloop, not a cat.

Mad, is this what you mean? I'm not sure what the tiny jib adds. (You did notice the jib, right? )



Photo above is of the Pocket Cruiser from the Stevenson Project.
That is exactly what I meant.. (and I like the picture). I am not looking for a "driving" sale, but something to help balance when going to windward..

Do not get me wrong, I will 99% most likely never do it... but it is a fun to pick people's brains on things
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

If the catboat is properly designed it should NOT need help with balance. I once left the helm of my Nonsuch untouched for more than hour on a close-reach (catboats typically don't try to pinch too high, better to lay off a bit and go for speed) without the lock on. My sense is if you want a sloop buy a sloop. This discussion seems similar to me to someone saying they want to make their sloop into a catboat by just not using the job. You can do it, but why would you want to.
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
If the catboat is properly designed it should need help with balance. I once left the helm of my Nonsuch untouched for more than hour on a close-reach (catboats typically don't try to pinch too high, better to lay off a bit and go for speed) without the lock on. My sense is if you want a sloop buy a sloop. This discussion seems similar to me to someone saying they want to make their sloop into a catboat by just not using the job. You can do it, but why would you want to.
You probably want to edit that first sentence (should vs. shouldn't).
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
If the catboat is properly designed it should need help with balance. I once left the helm of my Nonsuch untouched for more than hour on a close-reach (catboats typically don't try to pinch too high, better to lay off a bit and go for speed) without the lock on. My sense is if you want a sloop buy a sloop. This discussion seems similar to me to someone saying they want to make their sloop into a catboat by just not using the job. You can do it, but why would you want to.
nonsuches are hardly traditional catboats.. but I get your point. Like I said, this was all thoughts. Coming from NJ where they used to race some outrageous catboats 100 years ago, it is easy to get carried away
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Old 02-14-2014
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

I'd agree with those who say a boat is probably at it's best as it was originally designed, but the addition of a sprit and a jib on a catboat to make it point a little better is intriguing. Might be best to enlist the advice of a naval architect before proceeding. I used to have a Catboat; now I have a sloop and occasionally harbor thoughts of making it a cutter. Maybe we're always in search of one more headsail......

For what it's worth, to me, the Hereshoff Eagle looks more like a Friendship Sloop than a Catboat, but whatever you call it it sure is pretty.
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Old 02-14-2014
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Re: Converting a Catboat to a sloop

The only way I could balance my Herreshoff America catboat (traditional single, gaff-rigged sail) was to reef it deeply. By that I mean adding one more reef than appropriate. Only then would the boat stay on course without a hand on the tiller. (I owned that boat for about 16 years and raced in Catboat Association Race-Rendezvous for at least a dozen years, where I learned a lot about sailing traditional catboat rigs.)

Otherwise, a traditional catboat--not a Nonesuch--with a "barn door" rudder and centerboard would normally have noticeable weather helm as a consequence of the design. You could reduce weather helm by raising the pivoting centerboard, but that involved other compromises if you were sailing close to the wind. Another way to reduce weather helm is to shorten the foot on the sail, but that involves a sailmaker.

Halsey Herreshoff did exactly that to the Herreshoff America. I had hull #18, which was manufactured before Halsey actually went on a builder's trial with that design (according to the late sailmaker, Ed Thurston). I bought a new sail, based on "cut #2" and it made a noticeably difference in reducing--but not eliminating--weather helm. That cut involved shorting the foot by a foot and lengthening the luff by a foot to maintain approximately the same sail area. When all was said and done, the gaff was almost vertical, with the appearance of a near Marconi rig!

The bottom line here is that a traditional catboat will always have some weather helm. You can tweak centerboard and sail shape to mitigate it, but it will always be there.
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