by Hak Kauffman
(note: Hak Kauffman bought his Catalac 27 in 1977 and sailed it for 20 years. In those early catamaran days, he was one of the brave pioneers who took a chance on these new styled boats. Hak sold the boat when his age caught up to him, but has vivid recollections of his, which he was kind enough to share with us – Rick) Catalac 27
In my search for a new bigger boat, I decided to include multihulls. After a trip to Symons Sailing in Amityville, Long Island, NY, I thought the 8 meter Catalac would be the answer. About a month later, Bill told me he now had a new one at his place. So, my wife and three sons drove up to inspect and decide. We all liked what we saw, but I requested a short “get acquainted” sail, after we had lunch. We found a drive-in eatery, ate fast and returned to the boat. As soon as we all boarded the cat, still tied up to the dock, my middle son, Elliot, threw up in the cockpit. “Damn it, Elliot,” I said, “now I will have to buy this boat whether I want to or not!” This became our family inside joke. We enjoyed the sail and I bought the boat. Bravo II became one of the best decisions I ever made.
I soon discovered that my sailing friends had a disease called “monohullitis.” This made them angry at me because my boat had only a 2 foot draft, which enabled me to go where they could not. Lots of places had only 3 feet of water, but that was enough for me. Best example was in the Abacos in the Bahamas where they had to go up and out into the Atlantic, then back down again in order to get to Marsh Harbor. Not me. I took the “inside route over the sand bar” which was known to have 3 feet of water. I made it to and from quite easily.
Sailing down the ICW on our way to Florida, my wife was on the helm most of the time. There are only 2 jobs on a sailboat. One is steering. The other is everything else. My job as navigator required me to constantly yell out “stay in the middle.” We made the trip without incident.Bravo II came with bright blue sails. Two of our 3 sons went to summer camp along the Chesapeake shore. On visiting day, all the parents came by car. My sons informed their fellow campers to keep a good look out for a big fat boat with blue sails. “That would be my parents,” they told them.
One day my sailing club on the Chesapeake had a Caribbean raft-up. Everyone came aboard BRAVO II. We all formed a circle from the cockpit around to the bow and back around to the cockpit. I played the appropriate music on my tape player. Two men held my whisker pole waist high. Then we all did the limbo. Great fun. Provided by my Catalac.
Sure, I went aground lots of times. Each time I appreciated the catamaran design feature that made the keels lower than the outboard motor. Whenever I did touch bottom, the boat itself took the ground. The outboard never suffered any damage, because it never touched the ground. If necessary, I could just jump overboard in 2 feet of water and push the boat off.
On my way back up the ICW I spotted a sailboat aground in front of me. Unfortunately, I went around the wrong side of it and went aground myself. Working the boat to higher water, the steering cable broke. Not to worry. I quickly attached the emergency rudder and powered back to a full service marina.
Making repairs to my Catalac was easy. I could get to everything. I bought a new cable and replaced the broken one. But in my haste, I found out after taking off again that I attached the cable wrong. Steering left, I went right. Steering right, I went left. So, back to the marina where I crossed the cables and then went sailing happily ever after.