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I found an old copy of Howard Chapelle's The National Watercraft Collection on the $2.00 rack at the local used bookstore. In it I saw the following photo of a catboat in Gloucester harbor. Needless to say, the sail caught my attention. This photo is most likely of Aqua Pura, a waterboat that supplied the Gloucester fishing fleet with fresh water. These boats were commonly catboat-rigged and could carry about 150 barrels of water in a wooden tank located under the deck amidships. The water was discharged into fishing schooners' water barrels via a hand-operated pump and a long hose, both of which are visible in the photo. In 1850, one waterboat operator in Gloucester sold $7,700 worth of water to the fleet at ten cents a barrel. Aqua Pura measured 36' in length and 11.4' in beam. She was crewed by a single owner/operator who painted advertisements for local merchants on his sail. Some of the waterboats carried a limited number of 50 - 100 lb cakes of ice covered in sawdust as well. Chapelle gives the hull lines and deck arrangement here: I just finished building Corel's kit of the Shenandoah, and this will be my first scratch build. The reason I want to build this craft is a bit nostalgic. My dad was a watchmaker who had a family-run jewelers in Southern California. I grew up in the shop. My dad and grandpa and brother all repaired watches, while I repaired clocks and did engraving and simple jewelry repairs. If you look at the sail in the photograph, you'll see an advertisement for a jewelers. I lost my dad last January and miss him pretty badly. I'd like to build this boat and put him and his shop up there on the sail. I may make some other changes to the text as well. That's why I'm calling this build a fictitious waterboat. I'd also just plain like to try my hand at scratch building. I've been watching other people's work and it looks like fun. I guess we'll see. I have very little idea of how to go about this, other than that I'll be attempting a plank-on-bulkhead version of the hull. I'm sure I'll be asking lots of questions. Thanks for reading! Steve
Started on a simple kit of a Cape Cod Catboat by BlueJacket. I suggested that I built this model boat for my sister as she had one made in true scale. The specs of her boat is as follows: Cabin Catboat 18'-0" by 17'-7' by 8'-6" by 2'-0" Scale 1/2" = 1 FT F.C.W - April 27 - 1932 Fenwick Cushing Williams Jones Cove, South Bristol, Maine 04568 History of the Catboat. A catboat or a cat-rigged sailboat, is a sailing vessel characterized by a single mast carried well forward (typically near its bow). Generally a catboat has a light and shallow draft hull, wide beam approximately half its length, is gaff rigged, and carries a centerboard. Although any boat with a single sail and a mast carried well forward is 'technically' a catboat, some catboats such as the Barnegat Bay type and more modern designs carry a Bermuda sail. A jib is sometimes added, but this may require a bowsprit, and technically creates a sloop sail-plan. A typical New England style has a very long boom that extends over the transom and may carry foresails stayed from a bowsprit. It is generally accepted that the origin of the catboat type was in New York around 1840 and from there spread east and south as the virtues of the type — simplicity, ease of handling, shallow draft, large capacity — were discovered. Historically, they were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters around Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, New York and New Jersey. Some were fitted with bowsprits for sword fishing and others were used as 'party boats' with canvas-sided, wood-framed summer cabins that could be rolled up. Designer Fenwick Williams summarized the original design philosophy as: “The ample beam made the use of stone ballast feasible the high bow provided good support for the unstayed mast the barn door rudder provided adequate strength high coamings served to keep water out of the large open cockpit side decks provided a handy ledge on which to set a lobster trap." Modern catboat fans appreciate the catboat's traditional design and classic appearance and the features that make it a versatile recreational boat: simplicity, large capacity, shallow draft, stability, and safety in a boat that is easy to sail. The Kit. Cape Cod Catboat scale ¾”-1’ Model will be approximately 19” long, 28” high and 8” beam. The overall kit is good. The plans are accurate and easy to read, the laser cut parts are accurate as well there is plenty of strip wood and the metal Britannia pieces look good. Instructions are so-so and there not enough pictures in the manual. It is suggested this kit is for a beginner but I must disagree. The instructions on what to do is sparse or non-existent. It is pretty much a guessing game. If I have the energy I might re-write the instructions and add more pictures and submit this to Bluejacket. The model is also of a size to be a R/C pond-boat. The kit-bashing department. I will built the kit pretty much the way it should be but will also incorporate the way my sister’s boat looks. Trying to make it look as much as her boat. Furthermore, the blocks, cleats and chocks are from Britannia and are nice but I will not use those. I am making them from wood (more realistic). I will forego the rigging line and use the material from Chuck (Syren). Not making the mast hoops from metal wire but instead using a method by Bob F. Stropping blocks will be with rope and not wire. Pictures of the actual Catboat Original plans used to built the boat and plans from the kit.
I had a great time in Maine this summer partly because a neighbor let us use their friendship catboat. I thought it would be a great gift to build a model of it. Can anyone point me toward a set of plans for a catboat. I can modify it to make it a friendship cat. I figure ill get close to theirs and with the right paint and interior bits, no one will care about the differences Thanks Ira