Bravo II: A British Built Bay Cruiser

Hak Kauffman, and bis wife Adele, bad been sailing for eight years when, in 1977, the middle-aged couple found their perfect combination of speed versus accomodation in their 27-foot Calalac cruising catamaran. They were anchored in Spa Creek this week during their annual summer cruise, and the Cherry Hill, New Jersey sailors took time to chat about their spacious little multihull, and their sailing.

S/V Bravo II stays on the Middle River. east of Baltimore. The Kauffmans bought the English boat in Amityville, L.I. and he sailed it south on the maiden voyage. They have cruised to all parts of Chesepeake Bay, just all over, including the York River, up and down the Potomac with stops at St. Mary’s City, and down to the Rapahannock.

Before the Catalac, they had a good sized Bristol — and still maintain their affiliation with the Chesapeake/ Bristol Club, which will he celebrate its tenth anniversary soon – but swear they will never again tolerate the lack of “comforts”. Comforts they have found in a cruising catamaran of comparable length.

A large chart and dining table sits amidships on the host’s stable 14 foot beam, and a step down “into” the port hull leads to a remarkably roomy head, while the starboard path leads past a well laid out galley. -“Look at all the stowage,” Adele says, demonstrating a very feminine appreciation of the practicalities of running a floating kitchen. Forward through the starboard hull is the about queen sized main bunk.

Asked about repairs or modifications necessary during their ownership, Hak responds, “What repairs?” says they’ve done minor work on the boat, on the head and such.

Hak admits that in the middle of winter sailors like the Kauffmans get a little itchy for their boat and that during a recent snowy season he bought an Autohelm, which now goes largely unused.

The friendly couple happily sum up their boat and their sailing this way “This is our sailing apartment, it’ll go about as fast as any 27-foot monohull, and it’s perfect for us. We’re weekend sailors, and spend more time tied up somewhere than sailing.” So they put a premium on accomodations. That’s another thing that’s nice about sailing. Name your preferences, your necessities, your most pleasurable aspects of the sport and you’re bound to find a boat and a sailing style to fit your tastes All the world should be ao perfect and good.

catalac 8M

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.

catalac 27

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.


By Rick

Owner of a Catalac 8M and Catamaransite webmaster.

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