About: Rick

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Owner of a Catalac 8M and Catamaransite webmaster.

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Catalac 8M Boat Show Review

That I first took the helm of the new catamaran after dark for a trial sail was novelty enough in itself, but I very soon discovered that connected to the other side of the wheel was an excellent blend of well-tried, sea-proven and moreover much-loved ingredients. The art of blending I believe to be a gift, which can be enhanced only by long carefully considered experience and Tom Lack and John Winterbotham between them seem to have thus concocted yet another first-rate cruising yacht.

Catalac 8M Sales Brochure

Boating is not only about boats, it is also about people. The owners of our Catalacs are special people, and not for the obvious commercial reasons. Over the years, we have built up an exceptionally close relationship with them all, and as there are now 500 Catalacs sailing worldwide, we feel this is rather an achievement in itself. One which we cherish highly. Our motto, built by a Family for a Family, is very appropriate as the majority of our owners are family people, and I in turn, am very ably supported by my wife, Mary and two of our five sons, William and Bruce.

Catalac 8M Diesel Engine Removal, Rebuild & Reinstall

One of my very few peeves about the Catalac 8M has to do with the inboard diesel engine placement. Apparently boat balance dictated the engine position in the boat. In actuality,  the Yanmar 1GM10s were placed so far forward in the engine compartments that the front of the engine is just 3 inches (75cm) from the rear bulkhead. The engines are almost literally mid engine mounted. Unfortunately, the Yanmar water pump, external oil lines, oil filter, thermostat ..etc..are all located on the front of the engine and are not easily accessible for normal maintenance. (Or I’m just too old to bend into a pretzel) For years, I’ve been forced to figure out long, time consuming ways to perform normal maintenance on my diesels. It’s been frustrating to say the least. Finally, an overly warm engine and leaking oil lines in my starboard engine, were the catalyst for me to pull […]

Fuel Additives for Marine Diesel Engines

Before EPA began regulating sulfur in diesel, diesel fuel contained as much as 5,000 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur. This sulfur was utilized by all diesel engine designs as a fuel system and injector lubricant. When the American EPA regulated sulfur out of Diesel fuel in 2006, this created a problem. All diesel engines were designed to use the sulfur in diesel fuel as a lubricant. Now it’s gone. I don’t know about you, but I certainly didn’t get the memo. Why should I? I’m a sailor not a diesel mechanic. Originally, ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) fuel was mandated for use in all on road diesel engines in 2006. Then in 2015 this mandate was extended to include all marine diesel fuel. This fuel burns cleaner and is less polluting … but ULSD contains just 15 ppm of sulfer … which is less than 1% of what the […]

Catalac 8M upgrade Rudders and install Skegs

by Didier Grietencontact Didier Grieten When I bought my 8M, it was equipped with the older style lifting steel blade rudders.The rudder blades however were in very bad condition, with considerable corrosion and rust. Also, the wood support structure had to be replaced as it was rotting away and looking at the rudder blades showed they required some TLC as well. In some areas thickness was reduced to 50% and rust still working to get it even thinner… This meant some serious work on the rudders was required… Here’s what it was supposed to look like: I had three options, the first being replace the wood, remove the heavily corroded areas and weld in new material or just entirely replace the steel blades with new ones, get them galvanized and throw on a few coatings of paint… The second one was to replace the whole rudder setup with the newer […]

Protecting your boat in a Hurricane

When a hurricane is forecast to head your way there are steps that should be taken to protect your boat. Look at the hurricane after photos here to see what happens when you don’t pay attention to anchoring in a storm. Hurricanes are the reason I only sail 11 months of the year here in sunny Florida. I sailed through one once (necessity) and didn’t like it very much. First step is always to reduce the boat’s windage by removing all sails, panels, Bimini. Some folks even remove the halyards. The top preference is to haul the boat out in advance of the storm to a place that has boat ‘tie downs’ bedded in concrete. If the boat yard doesn’t have tie downs, don’t go there. If you can’t haul her out and Mangroves are available, tie the boat into the Mangroves No Mangroves? Run the boat up a creek or canal […]

Struck by Lightning while under way

I should be dead I imagine that if you live in the lightning capital of the world, itS unavoidable. Sooner or later the boat will be hit by lightning. However, usually it occurs when no one is on board. I should be so lucky. In our case, we had a front row seat as we were hit by lightning on what began as a perfect sailing afternoon. Southwinds, a sailing magazine, recently featured an article on lightning strikes and boats in their June 2009 issue, and mentioned my experience in their story.  Click here to read my Lightning hit story in print. (It’s on page 44.) Afternoon storms are as regular as clockwork in summer months in central Florida. For that reason I usually leave the dock just as offshore winds are building in mid morning and try and be back in our slip before the storms hit. One Saturday, household chores […]

Sailing through a hurricane

Caught in a hurricane When I completed the sales transaction and took ownership of my Catalac 8M, I was hundreds of miles from home. I couldn’t wait to bring her home and put out a call to friends and family for crew. I accepted my brother’s gracious offer to give me a hand. He has a solid power boat backround these days and when we were kids we spend every minute we could in boats on Long Island Sound and the north Atlantic, and we both survived it. At the time, I really thought he’d enjoy the trip, as this was Florida. Tropical breezes and all that. What’s not to like? In retrospect, my brother didn’t fully appreciated the max speed under power of 6.5 knots we achieved with Catalpa. I still picture him shoving the throttles to their stops, with a quizzical look on his face when she didn’t go […]

We have Pirate Treasure on our beaches!!

(NEWSER July 15, 2013) – “You may want to pack your snorkeling gear the next time you’re headed to Florida’s eastern coast. The owner of a shipwreck-seeking salvage company has announced that he discovered 48 gold coins worth as much as $250,000 off Wabasso Beach on Saturday. And as CNN reports, he made the find just 100 feet from shore, at a depth of just 6 feet. The coins seem to be in good condition, so much so that their dates can be read—they were made between 1697 and 1714…..” How about a totally Kool Florida Vacation? Regular people are finding shipwreck coins on and just off our local Florida beaches by snorkeling or using an inexpensive metal detector. I’m talking about real pirate treasure from pirate shipwrecks. Right here on a Florida beach about an hour from the Orlando theme parks. Check out the article above….  When I first […]

Women Love Catamarans

Women want to feel safe and secure When the decision is made to begin the search for the perfect boat, every one of us sits down and makes a list of the boat features and benefits that are important to us. When I did it, my check list of desired features lead me directly to cruising catamarans like the catamarans for sale by owner on this website. With their shallow draft, they were matching up to my sailing area better than a monohull and the research showed that Cruising Catamarans have a much brighter interior, (not a cave). They also tend to be the social hub whereever you are, as catamaran cockpits simply hold more people comfortably than a monohull. It’s not hard to see that catamaran galley and salon areas were made for entertaining. From the sailing aspect, catamarans are much better at anchor han a mono (no rolling), and […]

Why buy a Catalac Catamaran?

During what turned out to be many months of reading and research, I was actually considering buying a monohull. Cruising Catamarans kept popping up in my research, and I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t even aware of these boats at the time. The only catamaran experience I’d had was on a Hobie Cat. However, in reading the check list of desired features, cruising catamarans, with their shallow draft, were matching up better than a monohull and were definitely of interest. Cruising Catamarans have a much brighter interior, (not a cave), they are much better at anchor than a mono (no rolling), and they don’t heel while sailing.  It didn’t take very long to learn a couple of things during this information gathering period.  First, what affect 2 hulls had on boat pricing (ouch) and second, the trend in the industry to design cruising catamarans for the charter market. Every year […]

Sailing 6000 Miles on the Catalac 10M S/V Blue Felix

by Sven and Sabine Seren continued from page 2 Atlantic Crossing with a Catalac 10M Part 3 What a difference it makes to sail downwind!! As we drew closer to the island, we had the current with us and made 7 to 10 kn consistantly over ground with the mainsail still in the second reef and the Genoa only half out. Our new destination would be St. Laurent du Maroni. This small city is located on the French side of the border river Maroni between French Guayana and Suriname. In all rivers on this side of the Atlantic strong tidal currents occur and it makes no sense to enter the river with the water flowing out. In addition, the buoyage is not reliable and in most cases unlit. All calculation couldn’t change it, we would arrive at the river entry in the middle of the night and the tidal current […]

Sailing 6000 Miles on the Catalac 10M S/V Blue Felix

by Sven and Sabine Seren continued from page 1 Atlantic Crossing with a Catalac 10M Part 2 Our Atlantic crossing could now begin. Ahead of us were about 1800 nautical miles until French Guiana where we wanted to make for the Îles du Salut which are a group of small islands of volcanic origin about 11 km off the coast of French Guiana in the Atlantic Ocean.  The first day under sail was dominated by local wind effects from the Cape Verde islands. On the second day the conditions were more constant and we had during the day most of the time force 4 to 5 from north to northeast. During the night the wind freshened up but seldom exceeded force 6. Again, we had the main sail in the first reef most of the time which enabled a comfortable and relaxed sailing and relief for the autopilot as the […]

Sailing 6000 Miles on the Catalac 10M S/V Blue Felix

by Sven and Sabine Seren Atlantic Crossing with a Catalac 10M We, Sven and me, Sabine, found our Catalac 10M S/V Blue Felix, sail. number 35, at the German Baltic sea in summer 2012. The purchase and the handing over passed without problems due to the good and ready to sail condition of S/V Blue Felix including a set of new sails. Our Catalac 10M has been named S/V Blue Felix since his launch in 1988. He has two Yanmar engines with 27 hp each with saildrives and folding props. S/V Blue Felix has the boat layout which has the enhanced pantry instead of the small bunk in the starboard hull, which is a huge advantage for two of us .  After the purchase, in July 2012, we completed a two week trip over the Kiel Canal to the North Sea. From Cuxhaven we continued directly to Delfzijl in Holland. […]

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the Catalac 900 – S/V Horizons

continued from page 1 by Jeff & Diane Curran We were making good progress, averaging 90 miles but after 5 days the wind died and we were then faced with the prospect of grossly exceeding our ETA at Barbados. The last thing we wanted to happen was for our girls back in the UK to become worried because were unable to contact them or let them know in any way that we were ok (in fact, this became the greatest concern during the trip). In hindsight we should have invested in a SAT-phone for such an eventuality. Actually, we set off with a five day weather forecast and with only VHF aboard, called up the occasional passing ship for an up to date forecast. We deployed the Cruising Shute, something we thought would never be needed for this passage, particularly as the Trade Winds should have been firmly set for […]

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the Catalac 900 – S/V Horizons

by Jeff & Diane Curran (Jeff and Diane were kind enough to share the story of their Atlantic crossing in 2013 aboard S/V Horizons, their Catalac 900 catamaran. – Rick In 2012 Jeff reached the Canaries aboard Horizons a Catalac 900 having sailed from Madeira single handed. It was not without some difficulties, gale force winds certainly helped him on his way but halfway through the journey the electronic auto helm broke. Hove to, a repair was attempted but it became apparent that the wheel pilot motor had burnt out. There was nothing more to do than get some well earned rest whilst hove-to before continuing the journey by hand steering. Horizons finally reached the anchorage at Playa Blanca in Lanzarote on the evening of 10th November where a decent meal and sleep were the order of priorities before going into Marina Rubicon the next morning in order to have the […]

Atlantic Crossing in a Catalac 9M Continued

Continued from Part 1 By Christopher Langham and Esther Minter During my brief stop in Spain, my paternal Grandfather passed away and in the midst of trying to compose myself in dealing with my grief, I continued moving forward despite my lapse in funds and having to refit the Genoa. I tried to figure out a way to leave the boat and fly home, but I couldn’t. No more credit, no money to pay the marina, and only provisions to do one thing… Continue moving forward and I’m glad I did, because God always provided enough funds to keep moving forward.  (Nothing more:-) While in Muxía, two lovely people from Frankfurt were in the slip next to mine; they fed me, played my granddads favorite game Yahtzee with me, lit candles in memory of him, and were there for me in all capacities. Although my family isn’t German, my Grandfather […]

Trials and Tribulations of an Atlantic Crossing in a 40 year old Catalac 9M

By Christopher Langham and Esther Minter When I started my journey in late June 2015, I envisioned emblematic escapades. Nevertheless, what I encountered was tremendous challenges that I never could have fathomed. These surprise factors after embarking on the journey from Largs, Scotland to St. Thomas USVI were mostly unnecessary, and had I known in advance what fiascos were ahead of me, I never would have left the comfort of my Government Housing Subsidized Apartment, in the Crime ridden projects of St. Thomas.  You see, I live on the island of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; to outsiders it’s a virtual paradise, but to live here, not so much unless you have millions to spend or you’re one of the original settlers here by heritage and with privilege.  Having given you some background, I’d been looking into a Catalac 9 meter Catamaran with its original equipment, including the original Dolphin […]

Original 1987 Catalac Catamarans Product Price List

Catalacs have been out of Production since 1980s 6/87 CATALAC CATAMARANS LIMITED PRICE LIST 8 Metre 27′   PRICE £ STERLING Stage I Carcass £14,750 Stage II Floataway £19,995 Complete Outboard £25,000   Inboard £29,470       9 Metre 30′     Stage I Carcass £17,875 Stage II Floataway £29,000 Complete Inboard £39.000       10 Metre 34′     Stage I Carcass £26,000 Complete Quarter Berth £66,000   Freezer /Shower £69,000       12 Metre 41     Stage I Carcass £29,000 Complete From £98,000       Stage I Carcass: Mouldings complete, Main Bulkhead bonded in, Locker Lids and Hatches supplied loose, Wiring installed in conduit. Deck and Hull mated and bonded. Stage II Floataway: Hull and Deck bonded, Steering fitted, Windows installed, Hatches fitted, all Deck fittings, Mast and Rigging supplied, Water and Fuel Tanks installed, basic instrumentation fitted, Engine/Engines installed.*No interior furniture or linings. Complete […]

Catalac 8M Performance Page

This page is fairly technical … but in 2005 the Catalac 8M was my new boat and calculating performance characteristics satisfied my curiousity.  Essentially this page displays crucial data which is used to calculated max speed and stability for the Catalac 8M / 9M (same hulls). The data can be used in the context of hull design or racing handicaps. There’s no way a Catalac 8M (or most cruising catamarans for that matter) can be mistaken as a racer. The link to my hull design formula page can be found here.Catamaran Hull design page Catalac 8M / 9M Specifications

Catalac Catamaran Owner’s Corner

On this page you’ll find photos of Catalac Catamarans in North America, Britain, Europe and the Caribbean in a FIFO arrangement. If you would like me to add a photo of your boat and bio to this page, please email me and we’ll make it happen. –Rick) Catalac 8M S/V ScubaCat Dagnall Clutterbuck runs the Catamaran Cruising Association in England and has owned his Catalac 8M “Scubacat” for the last 15 years. British catamaran owners may contact Dagnall at catamarancruising@gmail.com Catalac 9M S/V Zorba Lennart Dekker is the owner of S/V Zorba sail number 39 since October 2019. He resides in Groningen, The Netherlands. Lennart sailed during his teenage years on the Dutch lakes. After renting a sailboat this summer he decided to pick up sailing again. He decided that he wanted a bit more comfort on his sailing trips and came to the conclusion that the 9m would suit him […]

Catalac Catamaran Builder Photos

Catalac Build Quality Catamaran construction techniques have evolved over time. Boats are now built with some type of coring in their hulls and decks to reduce weight (weight= material cost) and improve performance. While newer boats do perform better because of the use of coring, they have a whole set of construction issues which develop because of it. When a prospective buyer considers the purchase of a cored hull boat he must understand that any used boat which was designed and constructed with coring material has to be carefully examined before the purchase.  If not properly cared for, cored decks and hulls are subject to water ingress over time which unavoidably leads to glass layers delaminating as they separate from the coring material. Some boat owners are meticulous with regular schedules of hardware bedding on the boat…. and others are not. Boat Broker docks are full of cored hull boats […]

Catalac Catamarans Design Review

Catalac Catamaran Some of the arm chair sailors prowling around on the boating forums have called Catalac Catamarans a ‘dated design’ because of their hardchined hulls. You will note that catamaran hull design migrated to rounded bilge designs in the ’90s (ie… Gemini). The reason I mention this is that if you paid attention to the America’s Cup racing series last year you may have noticed that BMW Oracle uses a hard chine main hull on their boat, and they’re obviously very successful campaigning that boat.  Catamaran designer Richard Woods noted that when run through hull design software, we discover that surprisingly, the added hard chine reduces WSA, which results in less hull drag, leaving us to conclude that a hardchine hull (as used on Catalacs) is better than people think, and in addition to lower WSA, they allow greater loads to be carried. He went on to say that […]

Catalac Catamaran Update

by John Lack Catalac Catamaran Maintenance Issues Your Honorable Secretary has a printable short fail for this month’s letter – so who should walk past, the door when pressure was on but myself ! The timing is totally inappropriate as this is our busiest time, coupled with my ineptitude towards written work, as many of you will have encountered, but I wi11 do as I am told – after all, it may prejudice a babysit one evening! It has always been very difficult for me to write to the association members via the letter without being seen to promote the services I have to offer. However, this time I intend to be blatant with that abuse, especially as the space is non-committed. By ordinary class association standards, the B.C.C.A. is very supportive and strong in voice when compared with others – this, I am sure is, as many of you […]

Letter from John Lack – with News and Recommendations

Catalac Catamaran Maintenance Issues Dear Association Member Well, here we are, yet another year flown past and still without the association spares listing. Whilst I am pleased to report that we have been so busy this last season, it is not particularly helpful to you, nor indeed of any assistance to my turnover. My apologies! As the year aged towards its close, I learnt that a winding up order had been placed against Catalac Cruising Catamarans Ltd. Lest reprisals be taken, I understand that this does not affect John Williams, the contracted boat builder. So again “production” has ceased on the Catalac range. Whilst we obviously promote and exhibit a strong association to the Catalac and will continue to do so, we have branched out at a tangent and formed Quay Rigging Ltd. with the added bonus of being selected Kemp Mast Service Agents, covering Lymington to Weymouth. It is […]

Bobcat and Catalac Assc Update by John Lack

Catalac Catamaran Maintenance Issues The early Spring and Summer saw us slowly wading through the repairs, the first 5 being usable and in varying states of cosmetic completion for the Whitsun Rally, the more serious cases following up during the “summer” months. The absence of the building company put a “further strain” on our already stretched resources, dealing with queries and supply of Catalac parts. However, with a few delays, I hope we managed to accommodate everyone and, indeed, I would like to thank those who did come to us, whether it was just advice required, a hinge or a complete engine installation package. Thank you. To this date, I hate to admit we still have a 9m and a Sailfish 18 to complete, a ful1 12 months later. Perhaps we don’t drink the right lager! Well, with that out of the way, my comments and observations noted this year…. […]

Rotostay Furler Instructions

Jib furling Each ROTOSTAY is made to measure and comprises the following components. Identify and check them before assembly: 1.) Rotostay top swivel (with or without mast toggle). 2.) Forestay complete with eye terminal, upper swage bearing and… 3.) Stud terminal. 4.) Rotostay drum with deck toggle. 5. Anodized aluminum luff spar. 6. Spar links, 7. Flexible wire halliard and shackles. 8. Halliard tail and shackle. 9. Reefing line. N.B. In some installations the deck toggle may be replaced by a bottle screw and toggle – see Fig. D.  Lay out all the components. Pass the forestay, stud terminal first, down through each length of spar starting from the top – Fig. B. insert the spar links over the forestay and into the spar ensuring that the number on the link corresponds to that on the spar. Put in locating screws and tighten up (using Loctite on the threads). Connect […]

Flavel Vanessa marine cooker operating manual

Notes on a Propane Regulator A note to American owners of this Flavel cooker. The time will come when the propane tank regulator will need replacement. The pressure required to operate this unit is specified as 37 mbar for Propane.  A conversion to PSI is required for Americans. 37 mbar converts to .5 PSI. I repeat ….. 1/2 PSI. If replacing the old propane regulator, Ace hardware or any local hardware store will sell propane regulators. Make sure you buy the proper size!!!! Again 1/2 PSI is all that is required. I discovered this the hard way by not paying attention to what the hardware store clerk selected as a new propane regulator. I then spent 30 days plugging every ‘leak’ around the valves in the stove when the 20 PSI regulator he sold me shot flames everywhere. Yes, I removed the stove from the boat before firing her up…but I still singed my […]

Getting the most out of your Catalac Catamaran

Catalac Catamaran Maintenance and Performance Issues Now and then, people write asking me if I have experienced this or that trouble with my Catalac (because they have). Sounds awful, doesn’t it! Mostly they say that their particular Catalac “isn’t so good to windward as others”, or “is very heavy to steer in a breeze”, or “keeps, breaking her steering cables (same thing.) Since most of these letters come from “second-hand” owners, it seems that not all Members have benefited from the personal advice of the Lack family. So, at the risk of boring those who know this sort of thing far better than I do, here are some thoughts on the subject: STEERING CABLES. It goes without saying that the steering cables must be kept very carefully greased, and that the tension should be, to quote Bill O’Brien’s maxim on rigging, “taut to the eye, but slack to the hand”.  […]

Catalac Windward Performance Tips

CBH Century Business Horizons Inc. 19 Rensselaer Drive, Spring Valley, New York 10977 Albert J ShapiroPresident June 4, 1996 Mary LackFlagstaff House  Dear Mary and John, I would like to seek your advice, related to Catalac sailing.. Before I do, let me take a moment and tell you how much we enjoy our 9m. We enjoy the layout, the solidness of the construction and the maneuverability with the twin diesels. As we have finally found the time to do more cruising and even some fun racing we have found a number of situations in which we could use some guidance and advise. We are sailing with the original set of sails. We have the reefing genoa and the mail sail on at present and are finding the following- When sailing to windward we can not point well at all. We are swinging through 140 degrees in coming through the wind. […]