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By Dan Beard

ohb124.gif (2128 bytes)
Fig. 124 
The Sub-Nosed American Cat.

There is a little snub-nosed American who, in spite of her short body and broad waist, is deservedly popular among all our amateur sailors.

The appreciation of her charms is felt and acknowledged by all her companions without envy, not because of her saucy looks, but on account of her accommodating Manners.

Possessing a rare ability for quick movement, and a wonderful power to bore her way almost into the very eye of the wind, or with double-reefed sail to dash through the storm or gently slide up alongside of a wharf or dock as easily as a rowboat, the American catboat, with her single mast "chock up in the eyes of her," has made permanent place for herself among our pleasure craft, and is omnipresent in our crowded bays and harbors.

Knowing that there is little danger of the catboat losing its well-earned popularity, and being somewhat familiar with many of her peculiarities, I am free to say that this rig, notwithstanding its numerous good points, has many serious defects as a school-ship, and the beginner had better select some other rig with which to begin his practice sailing.

First, the great sail is very heavy and difficult to hoist and reef. Second, in going before the wind there is constant danger of jibing, with serious results. Third, the catboat has a very bad habit of rolling when sailing before the wind, and each time the boat rolls from side to side she is liable to dip the end of her heavy boom in the water and "trip herself up." When a boat trips up she does not necessarily go down, but she is likely to upset, placing the young sailors in an unenviable, if not a dangerous, position. Fourth, when the craft begins to swagger before the wind she is liable to "goose neck," that is throw her boom up against the mast, which is another accident fraught with the possibilities of serious mischief.

The catboat has no bowsprit, no jib, and no topsail, but that most graceful of all single-stickers,







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.