A catboat (alternate spelling: cat boat), or a "cat-rigged"
sailboat, is a sailingvessel characterized by a single mast carried well forward ("i.e.", near the front of the boat).
Although any boat with a single sail and a mast carried well forward is 'technically' a catboat, the traditional catboat has a wide beam approximately half the length of the boat, a
centerboard, and a single gaff-rigged sail. Some catboats such as the Barnegat Baytype and more modern catboat designs carry a Bermuda sail. A jibis sometimes added, but this may require a bowsprit, and technically creates a sloop sail-plan.
It is generally accepted that the origin of the catboat type was in
New Yorkaround 1840 and from there spread eastand southas the virtues of the type - simplicity, ease of handling, shallow draft, large capacity - were discovered.
Historically, catboats were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters around
Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, New Yorkand New Jersey. Some were fitted with bowsprits for swordfishing and others were used as 'party boats' with canvas-sided, wood-framed summer cabins that could be rolled up.
Around the turn of the 19th century, catboats were adapted for racing, and long booms and
gaffs, bowsprits and large jibs were fitted to capture as much wind as possible. The decline of racing and advent of small, efficient gasoline engines eliminated the need for large sailplans, and catboats today are used as pleasure craft for day sailing and cruising, and have the virtues of roominess, stability and simple handling, though many catboats have poorer upwind performance than well-designed sloop-rigged craft.
One of the most well-known catboats is the convert|12|ft|m|sing=on
Beetle Catdaysailer. Fleets of these one-designboats are found in harbors all across New England, often competing in races. In the 1960's, Breck Marshallbased his convert|18|ft|m|sing=on fiberglass "Sanderling" upon an existing, wooden design. The "Sanderling" has since become a very popular boat, with more than 700 built, and it has helped to rekindle interest in the catboat. To honor Marshall and his contribution to the type, the Catboat Association funded the construction of the " Breck Marshall", a convert|20|ft|m|sing=on catboat built and berthed at Mystic Seaport.
The terms "catboat" and "cat-rigged" are often confused with
catamaran. "Catamaran" describes the hull structure of a boat (specifically, it refers to two hulls side-by-side) whereas "cat-rigged" and "catboat" describe the sail planand vessel type, respectively. To add to the confusion, some small sporting catamarans are cat-rigged and both terms are abbreviated "cat" when no ambiguity is foreseen.
Beetle Cat- small "daysailer" catboat
* Nonsuch - a series of convert|18|ft|m|abbr=on to convert|36|ft|m|abbr=on modern catboats
* Inland Cat - 14.5 footer designed and built in Northern Indiana.
* [http://www.capecodshipbuilding.com/site/capecodcat.htm Cape Cod Shipbuilding] builders of fine sailboats for over 100 years.
* [http://www.catboats.org The Catboat Association] a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history, and promoting the use, of catboats.
* [http://www.wagnerboatworks.com Wagner Boat Works] a manufacturer of traditionally-styled fiberglass catboats from 15 to convert|23|ft|m long.
* [http://www.marshallcat.com Marshall Marine Corporation] a manufacturer of traditionally-styled fiberglass catboats from 15 to convert|22|ft|m long.
* [http://www.thompsonboatworks.com/ Thompson Boatworks] a manufacturer of 15- and convert|19|ft|m|sing=on long traditionally-styled fiberglass catboats. Now owned and supported by Wagner Boat Works.
* [http://www.areyspondboatyard.com/ Arey's Pond Boat Yard] a manufacturer of traditionally-styled fiberglass catboats from 12 to convert|20|ft|m long.
* [http://www.mengercat.com/ MengerCat.com] a resource for information about Menger Catboats built between 1976 and 2005. Now owned and supported by Wagner Boat Works.
* [http://www.sailselina.com/ Selina II] the largest surviving vintage catboat.
* [http://www.beetlecat.com/ Beetle, Inc.] manufacturer of the Beetle catboat.
* [http://www.beetlecat.org/ New England Beetle Cat Boat Association] a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the maintenance, restoration, preservation and just plain sailing the Beetle Cat Boat.
* [http://www.howard-boats.com/index.htm Howard Boats] manufacturer of the Barnstable catboat, a fiberglass version of the traditional wooden Beetle catboat.
* [http://www.soundingspub.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=AA11F3E4053147B68C8B77CBE43F6C9A&tier=4&id=62A9921CEDEE4587996FF49065B08C50 "Catboat moments"] an article about catboats in the August 2005 issue of Soundings Magazine.
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