A 21' South Bay Catboat
By William & John Atkin
A Twenty-One-Foot South Bay Catboat
We are indebted to a good shipmate, Robert S. Rulon for pencil lines and sailplan of a typical South Bay catboat. Mr. Rulon built a boat from his drawings in 1948, he, at that time, being in the boatbuilding business and, at the launching of the gem-like craft, christened her Cupid. She proved to be fast, comfortable, able, and an altogether excellent all-around day sailer. From his drawings we prepared the completed design shown herewith, including construction plan, sections, inboard elevation, deck plan, and sail plan; prepared inked tracings of the lines, offset table, and added the lettered specifications. And what a shipshape packet she is!

The plans of Cupid show an overall length of 21 feet; waterline length of 18 feet 2 1/2 inches; breadth of 6 feet 10 inches; and a draft of 1 foot 6 inches. This is the draft to the bottom of the keel with centerboard up; with the board all the way down the extreme draft is a little over 5 feet. The freeboard at the bow is 2 feet 3 inches; the least freeboard, 1 foot 4 inches; freeboard at the stern, 1 foot 6 1/2 inches. She has the neat, modest sheer of all well modeled South Bay cats of her particular type. Her sail area is 248 square feet in, of course, a single mainsail, and this of gaff-headed form. She carries 450 pounds of inside ballast.

The deck plan shows a cockpit 9 feet 6 inches long by 4 feet 9 inches breadth; it is fitted with port and starboard side seats, the tops of which are slatted. The slatting is to permit quick drying off; water will not remain on slats. The tiller is hinged at the rudderpost head. It will be of interest to mention that the throat and peak halyards, the topping lift, and the mainsheet can all be handed from one convenient place.

A characteristic of the South Bay catboat is its overhanging counter and long-bladed, shallow rudder. Most Down East cats carried their rudders outside the stern transom and had little, if any, overhang. The latter feature is also true of catboats built for use in the shallow waters of the New Jersey coast. The counter gives a nice little touch of smartness to Cupid, as it did to her sisters. Let no one think these various catboats were not fast craft. Mr. Rulon tells me his cat can get up and go when her tail is tweaked, meaning, I presume, when she meets up with some slick kittenish racing machine of today.

From keel to masthead Cupid is an ideal kind of boat for the amateur builder. At the same time her cost will compare favorably with any other type of boat of her dimensions. With the exception of the rudder fittings, the blocks, one turnbuckle, sail, chocks, and the running and standing rigging everything in and on the cat can be made by the boatbuilder; no outside sources of supply needed. The form of the hull lends itself to easy steam bending of the frames and shaping and fitting the planking. The mast is a solid stick of spruce, a modest 22 feet 3 inches in length; the boom and gaff are smaller sticks of spruce. All old-time cats had masts made of grown sticks of cedar, pine or spruce.



Plans for Cupid are $100




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