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Old 03-11-2015, 10:29   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Birmingham, AL
Boat: Skimmer 25
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Cat Boat with no centerboard?

I guess I have to admit to a deep affinity for beamy somewhat rounded vessels, as I've owned a Legnos Mystic 30, am now finishing up the restoration of a Herreshoff Eagle, and am currently looking at a Cape Cod 17 ft. Cat boat built by Cape Cod Shipbuilding. Ideally my plan is to buy another Eagle in need of some serious love, and do a complete restoration. I would also buy the above Cat boat to sail while redoing the Eagle, which given where I am in life will probably take 3 to 4 years.

I'm looking for some guidance on whether or not a 17' Cat Boat might sail with only a 21" fixed keel as opposed to a centerboard? I've never sailed a Cat, but understand they can have serious weather helm and why that is. I also know that one of the ways to reduce that can be from raising the centerboard some. That makes sense too. My question is how would you combat weather helm with a Cat Boat that doesn't have a centerboard? Or possibly would the problem be just the opposite in that you don't have weather helm because the boat won't go to windward at all? They made these fixed keel models an option for a long time, so if they totally sailed like a wash tub I wouldn't think that would have been the case?

I joined and posted at a Cat Boat forum tis same question, and this far the only responses have been from people explaining in great detail why Cats have weather helm and more about how you can combat it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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Old 03-11-2015, 15:48   #2
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Re: Cat Boat with no centerboard?

Once had a Bayliner with a 2' draft. Made too much leeway. Went to windward, but I always had to do a few more tacks than my buddies. Sold it and bought a boat with a 7' draft.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:22   #3
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Re: Cat Boat with no centerboard?

The thing to do would be to see if you can figure out where you think the center of effort is in the sail. Maybe 1/3 of the way from the tack to the clew? If that aligns with the center of the keel, you are likely to have success. I would think 21" is enough on a 17' boat.
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