Crosby is one of the most important names among the historic catboat designers and builders.
The Crosby family had been building boats for a long time, since ca. In the first so named "catboat" had been built, it was the " Little Eva " built by Horace S. Because of the solid built, which nade the boat quite seaworthy, at the same the easy and safe handling of the cat-rig, its wide beam allowed the boat for numerous uses, this type of boat became quickly a success. Temporarily there had been several companies which carried the name Crosby and they had even been competing each other.
Crosby Cats had been used at the end of the Today they make highly appreciated Oldtimers.
Among the famous catboat builders are Horace S. Crosby - and his younger brother Charles Worthington Crosby The last Crosby catboat Had been built by Wilton B. Crosby so of Manley gebaut. The company Crosby Yachts is by the way still existing until today. Conway "Catboat Summers" the author tells the storys, which he enjoyed with his year old Crosby - catboat the "Buckrammer". He designed four types of the sizes 22, 26, 30 and 33 feet. In the beginning people were suspicious but at the end about units of this yacht had been sold. The Nonsuch yachts are modern cruising yachts with a cat-rig.
But Mark Ellis had kept some of the design characterstics of the classic catboats: such as the steep cabin with portholes and round front which at the stem seemlessly forms to the combing of the cockpit. A further characteristic is the straight stem at the bow, which provides this modern yacht a classic look. In difference to classic catboats the Nonsuch yachts had been rigged with a wishbone rig.
This is a tribute to the increased expectations of the customers on a good tacking behaviour of the yachts. The catboat that he designed was a further evolution of an original James W. Hart designed catboat: The "Family Cat 23" appears to have been suited to the deep waters of the north american west coast and its fjords. It differs from the typical catboat "Family Cat 23" with its oldtime extended counter stern with an underhung rudder instead the barndoor rudder.
Also the centre board had been placed slightly off centre to the portside. On one hand by doing so the keel section is not weakened and also when grounding rocks or stones are not being jammed in the slot with the full weight of the boat as the keel will take most of the impact. The boom is quite long. To compensate for a negative on the weather helm also the centre board had been positioned way aft. Another difference is the relatively deep forefoot of the boat which allows to stabilize the mast without the necessity of shrouds.
He also designed the smaller "Tom Cat" which he nicely describes in his book "The making of the Tom Cat". Plans for both types are available through Woodenboats.
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And in this respect he belongs to one of the great masters in boatbuilding. In all his designs he had a special focus on high stability with at the same time least possible weight. In the foto below both can bee seen at a regatta fighting each other. Among them are the winning yachts from Mr. Nathaniel Herreshoff Vigilant ; Defender ; Columbia and ; Reliance und Resolute ; His son Francis Herreshoff was similar successful in the field of production yachts.
Sidney deWolf Herreshoff as well as Halsey Herreshoff are proceeding the series of successful yachtdesigns until today. The development on the racing formula on yacht-design for the famous J-class yachts had been a measure for the development of all production yachts. He designed in that young age all drawings and calculations for a.
By the way: Today the Sprite is the oldest preserved catboat and can be seen in the Herreshoff museum. Halsey Herreshoff designed in the catboat Herreshoff Americat , it can easyly be identified by the stars-and -stripes- design in the sail. Halsey Herreshoff had also designed several yachts and larger cat ketches for Freedom Yachts. In the american Garry Hoyt brought a refreshing new -but at the same time also old- input to the yacht designer and yacht building scene of seagiong yachts. Instead of further building yachts according to racing formulas and measure rules, which resulted only in faster but at same time also less comfortable yachts, Garry Hoyt reflected on some of the designs of old trading vessels of the past centuries.
He combined their spacey designs with his demands towards an easier handling. As a result he founded in Freedom Yachts and as a first design he launched the Freedom 40, a cat -rigged large seagoing yacht. After that a whole series of further yachts in various had been designed. All of them were like the Freedom 40 built with an unstayed mast and a cat-rig. It were the types: Freddom 21, 25, 28, 32, 33, 35, 39, 40, In he also designed the Alerion Express Cat 19 and 28 with a "jib-boom" that was installed at the deck. He holds a patent on this design and on his later developed "Balanced-Hoyt-Jib-boom", which is a boom for a foresail that is mounted on an axle to allow an easy swing.
The times of the classic catboats appeared to have ceased for goog. He built a couple of boats from this still relatively new material. After the suspicion of customers could slowly be overcome and difficult start-up years the boom started first slowly but then ever increasing after Its success released a true boom for the catboats in particular but for the boatbuilding industry as a whole.
It was the beginning of the second catboat era. And Breck Marshall was one of the significant reasons for this. Breck Marshall was one of the initial founding members of the catboat organization. The catboat organization had honoured Breck Marshall by the building of a catboat in the museums workshop at Mystic Seaport Museum; which was named "Breck Marshall".
His son Geoff Marshall is running the company today. The types Sanderling, Sandpiper and Marshall 22 are still being built. In his book "Penelope" W.
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Besides various sloops and other yachts also the legendary A-Cats had been designed by him. A-Cats were the open catboats rigged with Marconi rig, who became popular from about They had been designed especially for the purpose of racing. Until today people are racing with them in the classic waters. He relied rather on the half models which he carved then on drawings, plans and calculations and became known as The Old Sculpin.
His catboats had a good reputation and were known for their good seaworthyness. Preserved boats are today well tacared of and valuable oldtimers. Gil Smith designed boats , which became famous as the "Great South Bay Cats" and they inspire until today friends of his boats and many yacht designers. It is no known how many boats he had built but some indication is the number of half-models that are existing from him: about are known and had been used by the boatbuilders.
None of his boats was equal to another they all very individually different builts. He used up to 10 different woods, according to its use on the boats. His slogan became famous: this years model will outlast the last years model. A quite sustainable demand that he had put on himself. Francis Sweisguth ; USA. Francis Sweisguth began his carreer as naval architect together with William Gardner around He became mainly famous from his design for the "Star-Boot", for many years known as an Olympic class.
They were open racing cats with Marconi rigs. Characteristical for the A-Cats was their huge length with at the same low freeboard, which gave them a slim and elegant appearance. His own boat the "Secret" had been used some 50 years later as a prototype for the GRP design Americat. Born in Maine he already in school was focussed on boats.
Instead of doing his homeworks he drew boat plans in his school books. And he did so although he was suffering an extreme short sightedness.
Catboats: From the Boards of the Benford Design Group
During the years of the great depression he worked since in the office of John Aldens Yachtdesign. Although they were not searching for a designer they were quite impressed by the drawings which Fenwick presented. They were obviously so convincing that they employed him even in these times of economic difficulty. In this design had been published in "Yachting"magazine. They were mainly different in scale but the main characteristics and lines remained unchanged and became the typical marks for Fenwick Williams catboats. That was because of his great success with his catboat designs.
All of his designs were well balanced and easy on the helm. At the same time they offered a very appealing boat design. Part of his philosophy was that the bow of a catboat does not need to be sharp as a razor blade to have a good close to the wind behaviour. His catboats had a full bow, elegant lines, a significant shear and a moderate sailing plan. Beside his work as a designer he also had put down his ideas and images on how a catboat should look like in writing. For the Catboat Bulletins of the american Catboat Association he has written his famous "Design Elements of a Catboat", which is a must to read for catboat builders.
An extract of this is also printed in "The Catboat Book". Fenwick C. Williams belongs to the initial members who have founded the Catboat Association.
Catboats: From the Boards of the Benford Design Group
Charles W. Wittholz ; USA. His career began in the first 7 years t the design offices of Philip Rhodes and John Alden. His own catboat, which he bought quite early in his life was from a less known boat designer. It had several weaknesses, from which he took several thorough lectures.