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dustysail

Advice needed for a hopeful outback sailor

16 posts in this topic

Dear Catsailor World,

I need some sailing advice and I live so far from the Ocean there is no body with any sailing experience in a 1000 km radius (or thereabouts but whose counting?)  Please help.

 

We have discovered a lake of about 3000 hectares that we want to learn to sail on, when I say we, my partner and I total 160kg and are both reasonably fit and strong.

 

The lake is reasonably calm most of the time. We don't want to pay too much as the lake will go dry in time, but we do have plans to move to the coast in a couple of years and would like to see if sailing suits our style. 

 

 

We're thinking a cat is the way to go given the fact that the lake will get shallow as it dries up.

 

What size cat do we need? is a 14ft going to handle our weight or do we need to go bigger? Is there a particular one that would be easy to learn on and robust enough to handle being towed over rough dirt roads?

 

We've found a Maricat 14, a Hydra 16 and a wind rush 14 on ebay etc. Are any of these suitable?

 

 

Can you recommend any internet sites or books for us to learn the basics?

Thanks in anticipation- Dustysail  :) 

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I used to sail Maricats so either it or the Windrush are excellent first cats to learn on.  I am not sure about parts supply for Hydra these days.  Either of the 14 footers are terrific cats to learn how to sail, very forgiving and tough. if you drive on very rough roads put pads under the hulls and rollers to spread the load and prevent hull damage. check ebay or your local library for sailing books.  if you have access to a lake that size ask around there will be a local who sails there already. Your best way of learning is to pick a day with light to mid range winds and just go. Wear lifejackets and take a paddle if the wind is very light .  There are cat sailing books on ebay and amazon and there is massive amounts of sailing info online if you do a google search. There is also a Maricat website for tuning info if you decide to buy it   Just check the cats for soft spots in the fibreglass, obvious cracks in gelcoat and beams and splits in the trampoline,  if you think the boat is in dodgy condition walk away and learn what to look for before you buy one. things like ensuring all the rigging is in good nick and especially the dolphin striker cable as it it breaks you can easily break a front beam  and they are expensive to replace.    

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All of the boats mentioned are suitable, but with your combined weight, on fresh water, the Hydra would have the best carrying capacity and performance. They are a solid boat,          ( heavy by todays standards ) You should not pay more than $1000 for any of those boats unless they are in very good condition. If you are going to have a look at any particular cat, give me a call on 02 43591729, and I will tell you what to look for (They all have different problems/weaknesses)

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And perhaps one of these for when the lake is dry ;)

 

Untitled-2-9.jpg

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My friend and I (combined weight 150 Kg) sailed his 14 ft maricat from Bribie island to Tangalooma. I nearly killed it but we got there. It has a lot more boyancy than my hobie 14. Having said that the hobie's rudders will kick up if they hit something and then it's just a matter of clicking then down again - that might be handy if your lake was shallow in areas :)

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You can do that in a Mari too.  Either get the standard Mari (new) device or there is a clamcleat that you can get that does this, you cleat the rudder downhaul in then if you hit something it snaps open.

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That sounds cool ... do you know who could supply those ?

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The rubber bands used in clothes dryers are really great as rudder tiedowns

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Clamcleat CL257 is the one.  Cost me $35 ish for the pair from a UK boat store (inc posting).  I did it after grounding at Mannering Park - it was near the power station where I'd not been before and the ground got shallow much earlier than I thought - once you ground the rudders they're a nightmare to release as you need to jump off (no probs because the rudders have just grounded and the ground is only about 1m) but holding the boat into the wind then going to the back to try to release the downhaul from the fixed clamcleat - very hard.  The rudders were easy to fix with a bit of epoxy filler.  I think the new ones from Maricat are about $1m each.

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Cool .. i have snapped the rope to the rudders a couple of times ... will look into the cleats ... thanks

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Windrush rudder system is far superior to the Maricat Highfield lever system in shallow or weed infested waterways.

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The "Maricat Highfield lever system" isn't used anymore either by the newer factory boats or by most older boat owners.  It's usually the first thing that goes after purchase of a backyard Mari.

 

You chuck all that stuff away and replace it with a single jam cleat (either fixed or auto release).  The uphaul is done by a a double bungy which is tied tight at the rudder end and goes through the tiller tube.  It comes through a bit of dowel or 1" ag pipe as I used and is knotted.   The downhaul goes over the top of the casting and via a 2:1 cable ends up at the cleat.

 

The factory boats do the same as above but the auto release cleat is made up of a fixed cleat fixed to a piece of fibreglass tube.  One end of the tube rivetts onto the tiller and becuase it's been cut away can hinge up and over to release the line from the cleat.  Quite a nice idea but wickedly expensive.

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Yeah but the boats he has been looking at are on ebay and would not have a racing rudder system.

Of the 3 models he mentioned on ebay we would have to assume for the $$$ they would be older models.

The Windrush/Surfcats have 2  Rudder systems to look out for.The older  Surfcats are usually seen with teardrop shaped Beach  rudders,the newer Windrush boats have rudder Blades that pop up when they strike something.

Lets remember that Race Cats are a pretty rare find on the normal Ebay/Gumtree  sites so any info I give is for the average "BARGAIN" that you see listed on the net.

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thanks for all the help, love the idea of dry lake sailing- may well try it out.

 

there's a 14' paper tiger on ebay that looks pretty smick, would it be too much to learn on?

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G'day Dusty sail every boat will have good points, the Paper Tiger is light, daggerboard so you can pull them up when shallow and still point and with one person on it you will have a great time, the problem you will have is if you put two people on it and get a bit of breeze it will be a wet ride as the chop will go over the tramp, that's not necessarily a bad thing as long as you expect it. When we do the Lake Eyre regattas there are all sorts of cats and they all have a good time. If you want two people and some camping gear esky etc you probably want a bit more buoyancy like the other boats you have mentioned. The trade off is they are heavier but don't have to worry about centre boards and you can cut shallow draft rudders out of marine ply to go exploring creeks. A 14ft cat worth exploring is the Arrow I took two of them to Lake Killamperpunna and did a lot of exploring with about 160kg crew weight on them, they have flat bottoms and one swinging centreboard in the middle that works even when just dragging under the surface. Heres a link to some Lake Eyre Yacht Club photos if your interested, it shows a myriad of different cats

http://beachcatsaustralia.ning.com/photo/albums/lake-eyre-yacht-club-2010?xgi=&test-locale=&exposeKeys=&xg_pw=&xgsi=&id=5221712%3AAlbum%3A4201&groupId=&groupUrl=&xg_disable_customizations=&commentPage=&page=1

http://beachcatsaustralia.ning.com/photo/albums/lake-eyre-yacht-club-regatta-1?xgi=&test-locale=&exposeKeys=&xg_pw=&xgsi=&id=5221712%3AAlbum%3A33552&groupId=&groupUrl=&xg_disable_customizations=&commentPage=&page=2

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