Anyone own a CatYak? Upsides? Downsides? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-03-2010 Thread Starter
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Anyone own a CatYak? Upsides? Downsides?

Looking at picking up a CatYak for some fun on a lake and was wondering what people's experiences with them were.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-18-2010
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I have owned a CatYak since the late 70s. Grew up sailing it on a small lake as a teen. Took it out this summer, 30+ years later, still as good as new. Still have the original sail, replaced the trampoline in 1980 shortly after we bought it (used). Took care of the boat and sail. Always stored the dry sail indoors. Upside: fun little boat, stable, easy to sail, good swim platform, durable, ideal for 2 teens or 1 adult and teen or child. Downsides: small and slow. As an adult, I am considering buying a Hobie Getaway, but would not sale the CatYak - it's a perfect beginner sail boat for a teen.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-30-2010
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Katyak

I have owned a Katyak for a few years now, and I love it. The thing I like about it most is its tubular frame construction, which allowed me to customize it. I added oars and even a 2hp outboard engine to mine in case the wind dies out. The simple construction also allows for easy repairs and maintenance. Its shallow draft is perfect for beaching or shallow water sailing. Regretably, I have not tested this Katyak's worthiness as a swimming platform, so I have no say about that.

Unfortunately, the rigging on mine does not handle heavy winds well; the entire mast will bend dangerously leeward in about 20 knots of wind (when the sail is filled and under pressure). This is partially because it does not have any shrouds or spreaders. Also, it is hard to sail upwind (it produces little VMG), and it is nearly impossible to tack in light winds. (This is when I use an oar to help it tack.)

If the winds are too heavy, I usually stow the sail on the side and then row or motor instead. With the sail stowed, the Katyak feels very seaworthy. (I have briefly tested it in 25-knot winds and 3-foot waves.) If the seas are rough enough, often a wave will find its way between the hulls and through the canvas (that I am sitting on) and soak my butt and legs.

The katyak is very fast in rowing and motoring for its size. For rowing, it can reach speeds equivalent of a kayak (hence the term "Katyak"), and for motoring, it can step up onto a plane with only 1/3 throttle (though I don't dare to go anywhere above 1/2 throttle even with only 2hp; I am afraid the rear frame tube or one of its joints will fail.) DISCLAIMER: The Katyak was not originally intended for use with an outboard engine. If you decide to mount an engine on yours, it is at your own risk.

The Katyak can safely hold one adult plus one child or light-weight teenager. I tested mine with two adults, and that is already pushing the limits a little bit. Luckily, I did so in calm weather, but it definitely did not feel as seaworthy with twice the load. I have also tested my Katyak with one adult plus one child, and that was just fine.

I have towed my Katyak behind a yacht at speeds up to 8 knots, and I think it can handle tow speeds up to 10 or 12 knots (with empty weight, of course).

The Katyak mounts easily (up-side-down) to the roof rack of my car. I reccomend using a roof rack that runs lengthswise along the car and using cross bars that can slide along the length of the roof rack; cars with the fixed roof rack cross bars are typically curved, not wide enough, and not high enough off the roof of the car. The Katyak likes to lie flat on a cross bar. I am able to load/unload it myself by balancing it on my head, though I strongly reccomend at least two people unloading it.

Overall, it is a fun little boat. If you want a dinghy sailboat that is a little more practical than the Katyak, I reccomend the Walker Bay 8.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-18-2010
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CatYak? Upsides? Downsides?

I've had one for years. They are good in small lakes and very fast and easy to setup. The pontoons & platform are much more stable than the speedier beachcats,. I have the 2nd slowest sailboat on the lake I sail most commonly. It is so stable that even in significant wind conditions I'd have to act deliberately to tip it.It's easy to get on and off in the water since it doesn't tip over like a monohull or high performance cat so it works as a swim platform
Within it's limitations, the boat is fairly capable. I have used it in the Atlantic off the coast of South Carolina sailing briefly with a pod of dolphins. This August I sailed it from Harbor Springs to Petoskey State Park, Lake Michigan.
the boat's portability is excellent, it only weighs around 100 pounds. 2 people can easily grab each end and drop it into the water. It's possible to cartop but I bought an aluminum trailer kit which has worked very well.
The load limit is 300 pounds, so suited for one or 2 people.
FlyGuy's comments are accurate - stiff wind causes the mast to flex.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-08-2011
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Catyak ??????

Hi all I just recently got a catyak it was on trade for some work I had done I can't seem to find much info on it wondering if any one has one I could use some pics of the rigging I think I might be missing a part or two not sure Im wanting to try it out befor the end of summer if any one has some pics of the set up I would greatly appreciate it ty jason
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Anyone own a CatYak? Upsides? Downsides?

I too, am trying to find info on the catyak. who makes them? when were they made? are they still made?
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Anyone own a CatYak? Upsides? Downsides?

CatYaks in the US were made by Dayton Marine Products located in Detroit, Michigan, from roughly 1969 to sometime in the mid '70s. They made CatYaks and SportYaks (and sleds) among other things. Dayton Marine was sold to another company that did not continue the boat part of the business.

You can still find CatYaks on eBay, Craiglist, etc. As long as the hulls are sound, most of the structure is basic materials, ie tubing, bolts, etc so not too hard to find alternatives. I've adapted parts from miscellaneous hardware (spring clips), bicycles (mast clamp bolt) and small Hobie cats (rudder/tiller parts). Sails and trampolines can be custom made or you can still find unused originals occasionally.

If you use image search on Google you will find many pictures and a few old original brochures posted. Sorry, this board won't let me post links...
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Anyone own a CatYak? Upsides? Downsides?

Zengirl, found you a little more info. CatYak was designed by Frederick S. Ford, Jr. Dayton Marine Products was a division of Woodall Industries, subsidiary of Libbey-Owens-Ford.
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-09-2013
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Re: Anyone own a CatYak? Upsides? Downsides?

Rochan01, Thanks, I certainly appreciate all the info.
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-03-2015
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I owned one with an off color pontoon, turns out the seller was the original designer and this one was the prototype! A friend of the family explained that one side failed in testing with 650 lb load. They vacuum cast a new pontoon and filled the areas under the mounting plate with a sprayfoam like material for rigidity. The original lanteen sail works best hoisted as high as it can go and tied down to the lower cleat. Tension is key here. Now this friend had one refitted with a bermuda sail, newer mast and boom, and stays to the fronts of the pontoons. Now that one could really move! Id be happy to answer questions.
Happy sailing!
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