Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Newer SunCat vs older Hereschoff America
Charlie Wittholz designed a number of really nice small catboats. Probably his best known production catboat was the 18 foot Cape Cod Cat, built by Cape Cod Shipbuilding. These were pretty heavy boats since they were pretty fully ballasted for a Cape Cod style Catboat and fiberglass was heavier than the wooden versions. But Charlie also designed a number of similar sized catboats, that were lighter than the Cape Cod. When I was working for Charlie I drew up a simple tabernacle for the Wittholz 17 which was a plywood version of his Cape Cod catboat design. That boat had a wooden mast which made it a little simpler.
I mention this because if you find a cheaper alternative to the Suncat, but was concerned about erecting the mast, you might be able to have a sparmaker install a tabernacle to make raising and lowering the mast easier. One issue with catboat masts in tabernacles is that there are very steep angles to the shrouds and forestay and no backstay putting high loads on the tabernacle so it needs to be well engineered but it can be done.
Given their very high wetted surface, gaff sail plans, and large L/D's, in order to get decent light to moderate air sailing ability with a catboat, an SA/D in the range of 20 or above is required. Most traditional Cape Cod Catboats had SA/D's well above 20.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay