Join Date: Aug 2010
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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.