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It made quite a contrast to the chicken wire boats that were so common there. Thinner shell, but stronger — and lighter!

Catboats: From the Boards of the Benford Design Group by Jay Benford, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

What we started as a little cruising boat for us to sail and enjoy was sold well before we finished it. However, I did get to cruise her a couple times, bringing her down from Sidney, BC, to Seattle for the next year's show and returning her back there — in January! The trip down to Seattle Included some strong winds that eventually led us to reefing down, after watching the unstayed wooden mast gracefully bending as the stronger gusts hit us. And since this was mid-winter, we were very grateful for the wood burning stove that provided much needed warmth and hot meals.

The folks who bought her wanted to have an inboard diesel, so we added an angled shaft and off centerline prop, since she'd been built without a stern tube or aperture for a prop. Seeing this as a desirable addition, we created the Liberty version, which has a deeper keel and wineglass sections. These changes gave more room for the inboard engine, provided some additional displacement to carry the added weight and more cruising accommodations. Thus, the Liberty version came to be, with her wineglass section, deeper keel hull which gave good room for the engine.

She has the cabin lengthened and the cockpit shortened to give more Interior room. As we went about creating the design, we gave some thought to what we might name the boat. When I'd probably had one Pepsi r too many, I suggested it should be called the Sphinx — a stone cat.


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The buyers ultimately decided to name her Puffin and we've continued using Puffin as her design name, but the Sphinx logo see above illustration is visible on her sail and a template for it is part of her plans Too many people who got enthused about ferro-cement bit off more than they could chew, both in the way of man-hours and dollars to see the vessel through to completion.

Many of their abandoned projects can still be seen around any coastal city. This small cruising cat is a much better investment of time and money, and will get you cruising much sooner — whatever your material choice is for building her. Since the original cat was designed, we've done a gaff sloop version, a yawl rigged version and gaff and Marconi cutter versions. And a powerboat version, using the same hull with a shallower keel. The construction plans have been modified for construction in wood, either carvel planked or strip planked with cold-molded veneers over, and for building in foam cored fiberglass.

For quickest construction, wood is the way to go. And, it has the most aesthetically pleasing results This footer is a longer version of our very popular and successful 17' Catboat design, both the Puffin and Liberty versions. Like them there is both a deep and an alternate shallow keel version available, along with a sloop rig, lug sloop rig or yawl rig options. There's some truth to the saying that smaller boats are harder to design well than larger ones.

ISBN 13: 9781888671254

There is always the temptation to try drawing in more accommodations than the hull can reasonably be expected to hold. Yet, if some modicum of comfort is missing, prospective buyers will be reluctant to plunk down their hard-earned cash. Full-length berths and provisions for a head and galley space are usually deemed minimum requirements. Those committed to pocket cruisers sometimes feel neglected because of the relatively small number of boats to choose from, especially under 20 feet. Jay Benford is one designer who seems to enjoy working for the small guy as well as for the client whose tastes and pocketbook demand the "ultimate maxi.

They both agreed her sections looked much like Seraffyn's. She has a long keel and outboard rudder, so she should have the feel of a larger boat. This will be especially true considering her designed displacement of 4, pounds. Benford cautions readers of his plans that "cruising displacement" means he has Included the weight of fuel and water, crew and gear. With roller-furling gear on the bowsprit, both rigs can be handled from the cockpit.

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This will be an important feature in rough weather as no one will have to go forward on the small deck. The coamings are 13 to 17 inches high and are sloped outboard to prevent sore backs. The footwell width is calculated to be just right for bracing a foot from the other side. A hatch in the cockpit floor provides ready access to the small inboard diesel engine.

Forward of it is space for a wood or oil range with oven. This latter feature is in keeping with the comfort requirements of the blustery Pacific Northwest, where Benford lives. But farther south such an oven would generate too much heat for general use. An alcohol, kerosene or gas range could easily be substituted, but it is nice to know Benford has arranged the space necessary to bake bread.

Aft of the seat is a email counter with a sink and locker underneath. Benford says, "The cook has almost everything needed within easy reach, and has the best seat in the house. A small head could be fitted in the insert space between the berths, but Benford believes a cedar bucket stowed in a cockpit seat locker is a more reasonable choice.


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  • Since the original versions were done, we've also done a shallower draft version, a junk rigged version and a canoe yawl version. These variations are noted in the table of particulars:. The common definition of a "gunkhole" is a very shallow body of water, usually with a soft and sticky bottom. Thus the name for these shallow draft cruisers - gunkholers are boats that can cruise in shallow water. The concept for this design was done as a preliminary study in , for friend Dick Wagner when he was getting his Old Boathouse operation underway.

    Six years later, we had a client who asked us to finish off the plans and these are what you will see on the following pages. The first 19' Gunkholer was built by Paul Miller while he had his shop at the north end of Vancouver Island.

    Catboats: From the Boards of the Benford Design Group

    He called her Catspaw and we adopted this as the name for the design. Paul later built another one for a client and it was named Sylveeter. Many thanks to Paul for supplying the photos of their building and sailing that are in this book. The sturdy little flat bottom foot centerboard catboat, with her shallow draft is ideal for gunkholing where shoals are a concern in one's cruising grounds. Her accommodations are generous for her 19 feet of length. She has two berths that make into a double, two lounging seats one over the head with good sitting headroom, sink, stove and hanging locker.

    Her catboat rig and plywood construction spell simplicity and practicality. Paul Miller's Catspaw was the first of this series and has proven to be very practical and salty little cruiser. With the very shallow draft, there's hardly any need for a dinghy, for the boat can be beached.

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    Some designs seem to spring to life, inspired by just the right spark, either in the form of a suggestion from a client or an inspiration from another source. This 20' catboat is one of them. In the spring of , a very interesting letter arrived from Al Lewis. In it he said, "I wonder if you would design a catboat for me. He finished going to school at the age of 14 and started a job at a foundry where he worked as a water carrier until he was After that he started a job at the East Boston Shipyard. After two years he went home and began the building of sharpies and rowing boats.

    By the end of world war 1 Anderson built boats of many kind such as sloops, motorsailors and even ferry boats up to a length of 80m. His numerous catboats with an average length of about 30 feet were unusually big catboats. A steep stem and a yacht style transom with underhung rudder were typical characteristics of his boats.

    His boats Beatrice and Sea Cat became well known. Fotos: Grayson. The Atkin design office had for a long time been the adress for simple sailing and easy-to-build wooden boats. Many designers who later become famous had either spend their years as an apprentice at Atkins office or had worked there for some time. In the catalogue of the Atkins more than designs for boats of all kinds can be found. Among them are also a few catboats. The business is until today going and plans can be purchased from John Atkins widow Mrs.

    Pat Atkins atkinboatplans. For the owners of a Seezunge the shown Atkins design of the catboat "trim" may be of interest. Atkins avoided for the sail plan that the boom reaches longer than the boat dimensions in order to ease handling for reefing. This had also been the case at the Seezunge.

    Further similarities are the somewhat backwards positioned mast and the short spreader at the forestay. In difference to the Seezunge the mast of the Trim is a bit higher and the boat has a beam of 2. This would cause a lower stability and had to be compensated by an additional ballast of kg lead.