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Alcort Catfish

Beekeeper

Member
Looking at the Catfish catamaran made in mid 60's think it might be an interesting restoration. I can't get much info from the owner as he inherited with the purchase of a lake cottage and wants it gone. I think I'm the only one that has showed interest in it so far. Anyone with any comments pro or con are welcome. I've only seen pictures of it so far as it's over an hour away, but the owner say it weighs about 300lbs which can't be right unless it's full of water and muck. Specs say it weighs 170 with 300llb capacity, maybe he got the info mixed up. I saw Signal Charlie got a hold of one, maybe he'll chime in, he has a detailed blog of the work they've done to it. Just thought it'd be a cool project and fun toy. First one I've come across. Thanks for any thoughts.
 

LVW

Active Member
As catamarans go, it's not going to be speedy. (Given its small dimensions). But it's a start! :)

How are you going to move it?

'Sounds like it'll go cheap. I'd start at $200--add $75 if there's a trailer.
 

Mama H Chicago

Mother of sailboats
Looking at the Catfish catamaran made in mid 60's think it might be an interesting restoration. I can't get much info from the owner as he inherited with the purchase of a lake cottage and wants it gone. I think I'm the only one that has showed interest in it so far. Anyone with any comments pro or con are welcome. I've only seen pictures of it so far as it's over an hour away, but the owner say it weighs about 300lbs which can't be right unless it's full of water and muck. Specs say it weighs 170 with 300llb capacity, maybe he got the info mixed up. I saw Signal Charlie got a hold of one, maybe he'll chime in, he has a detailed blog of the work they've done to it. Just thought it'd be a cool project and fun toy. First one I've come across. Thanks for any thoughts.
Sounds like fun!! My not so secret fantasy is to restore at least one of all the Alcort boats :)
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I can tell you several cons, but the big PRO is that the Catfish a rapidly diminishing model and it needs a keeper....maybe a beekeeper.
Cons- "Heavy" for a 13 foot catamaran, we think 170 pounds was an advertising lie. Easily 190+ pounds. It has no jib, which means she can get into irons easily like the Hobie 14, more than a jibbed cat. Needs a special trailer if you plan on trailering, and the hulls are thin for a trailer boat, they need to be babied. A utility trailer might be the best trailer. It has a tall mast to step. It would do well being left on the beach or a boat lift to avoid trailering and mast stepping.
Pros - Fun to sail at a leisurely pace, we haven't had ours out in heavy wind. Carries 2 people, at least 350 pounds, so it is a good boat for and adult and a kid, or a second adult, with plenty of room to move around. It will sit lower in the water and not take flight with that much weight, but that's the same for a lot of small sailboats. It would make a good floating sun deck when not sailing. Nice big deck to sit on and carry a cooler. Very stable. Accelerates quickly. Good performance in light wind with that tall mast and high aspect ratio sail. The rudder system is awesome, George Patterson of catamaran fame designed them and Alcort AMF changed over to the same system in 1971. The tillers telescope and look good with Wilson tennis balls on the end. There is a flotation foam pocket on the top of the sail. The twin centerboards are very convenient and easier to deal with than a daggerboard. A small outboard could be adapted. Superb conversation piece.

I would make sure that they have ALL the parts, especially the rudders, tillers and centerboards.

IMG_5611.jpg

 

Beekeeper

Member
Thanks for the replies, especially you Charlie, I've looked at your referb of Smedley, I'm going to see how this plays out, I don't want to lose this opportunity at a rare find but also don't want to get too deep. I have a utility trailer that I think will work, it only has one of the original centerboards, owner said two replacements are available, not sure about that. Stay tuned
 

Beekeeper

Member
Here's a link to the ad, I think the price is high, he said he would take $600, said he's put it away for a spring sale but will show it to me if I'm serious.
Any thoughts?

 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
It looks to be all there. I imagine that gelcoat started off as the medium-kight blue that Alcort favored around 1965. The Serial No tag is cool. The damage on the port stern will take a little fiberglass and thickened epoxy to make sure the deck/hull seam is sealed. And the sail is pretty worn, although that's a good thing until you get used to the boat. In the picture it appears that both centerboard are there, at least the tops. She's a cruiser.
 
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LVW

Active Member
Here's a link to the ad, I think the price is high, he said he would take $600, said he's put it away for a spring sale but will show it to me if I'm serious.
Any thoughts?]
Last spring, I considered buying a Catfish mentioned on this forum, but decided I had enough boats.

It was located in western Massachusetts. :oops:

If you scroll to the very top of this page, you'll find a magnifying glass icon thar will take you to "Search". There are 8 pages of Catfish to peruse!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
If you WANT a Catfish pay $600, or run down to the local Catfish store and see if they have a better deal.

If you NEED a Catfish offer $300 based on the damage, centerboard, no trailer, sail condition...be willing to walk, there are more Catfish in the Sea.

Full Disclosure: We are Alcort historians and collectors, owners of a wooden Standard Sailfish, wooden Super Sailfish, 1953 wooden Sunfish, 1965 Alcort Sunfish and the Alcort Catfish. Our missing piece is the fiberglass Super Sailfish MKII, but we stay calm by telling ourselves it is on loan to someone out there. We bought the Catfish as a novelty, an expensive novelty, and to preserve a bit of the Alcort history.

Full Full Disclosure: We have 15 small boats, ranging in size from 8 feet to 19. Building a Pram. 3 more boats are on the build list, names are already picked out. And we have names in mind for boats we haven't even thought of yet. Friends describe us as "Boat Struck."

Name - Type Boat - Year Acquired
ONKAHYE 1980 Drascombe Lugger 1982
WAVE 1965 Alcort Sunfish 1994
PHOENIX 1982 AMF Sunfish 1994
MADISON 1982 AMF Sunfish 2000
CYANE 1971 O'Day Daysailer 2000
SCOUT Grumman 17 2011
SACAGAWEA 2011 Pelican 10 2011
CLARK 2013 Pelican 10 2013
ZIP 1953 Alcort Sunfish 2013
TRACKER 1954 Alcort Super Sailfish 2013
WILLOW 1959 Sorg 15 2014
WINNIE 1955 Alcort Sailfish 2016
ST JACQUES 2017 Penobscot 14 2017
SMEDLEY 1969 Alcort Catfish 2017
SCUPPERS MCC-101 2020

41 other boats have come and gone since 1984, and we've been messing about since 1969.
 

Beekeeper

Member
Thanks for the replies and the idea of looking for a better deal at the Catfish store, I'm gonna talk to the owner today and see if we can work something out. Seeing we only have 10 boats, 10-24 ft we do have room for expansion, although, my wife who usually is onboard with most any of my adventures is not really keen on this one. She knows I won't keep it forever and thinks we'll have a hard time selling it when the time comes.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Oh boy, he accepted my offer of $300, now I gotta figure out how to get her home, after I give it a look see. Have to revisit the blog on Smedley and pay attention to details. Let's see how this goes.
You got a great deal at $300! And with 10 other boats I’m sure you’ve got a trailer that will get it home. Easy patch, and if you have buyer’s remorse you can sell it for a profit in the spring.
 

Beekeeper

Member
Well, today my wife and I plus two youngest granddaughters made the trip to the western Ma hill towns and brought Ole Blue home! Most everything is there except one of the centerboards, they had two replacements that were about 4ft tall, I left them there. The one I have is a bit chewed up, but with Clark's blog and this one as a pattern I'm good. Have to clean him up and do a bit of fiberglass repair but not too bad. I gotta figure out how to post pics. The current owners, U Mass professors, only tried to sail him once, didn't work out, so they stored him on his side against a boat shed till I showed up, they inherited him from the original owners with their new lake house. Here we go!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
It's an amazing piece of Alcort technology. You'll be flying a hull in no time, and then test out the capsize recovery straps on the bottom of the hull. Kind of cool that they thought of that.

1964 Catfish ad.jpeg
 

Beekeeper

Member
Another Catfish, surprising how many of these old boats are hanging around. Today is cleanup day on my find, maybe patch a hole in the stern and a couple other chips. I have some photos hope they load. In one you can see the gelcoat is so thin you can see fiberglass, there are several areas like that, mostly alon one side of the boat.
 

Attachments

Beekeeper

Member
Well, got the Catfish as clean as possible, patched holes etc. Took it out last week in real light wind and it moved around good, unfortunately the current on the Conn. River was stronger than the wind and we had to paddle back. The original sail on the boat is shot of course, so blown out that the boom sits about a foot off the deck, looking at a kit on sailrites site for a winter project, made one of their sails for my Mfg Copperhead and it came out pretty good. I've got new lines coming today and spoke to a rigger in Conn. about replacing the standing rigging as there's broken strands in one side stay and the front bridle. Hoping to get it out at least one more time with a little more wind, maybe next Monday. When we took it out, we did end up with quite a bit of water in both hulls for only about 30mins on the water, no holes and plugs in, guessing centerboard trunks need attention. Still need new centerboards but no source for marine plywood around here but I'm going to Boston one day in December, will get some then.
 

LVW

Active Member
I have some photos hope they load. In one you can see the gelcoat is so thin you can see fiberglass, there are several areas like that, mostly along one side of the boat.
In your last picture above, there's cracked gelcoat near a fitting and a hole. Is that the location of the shroud? Is that the same side as as the unraveling shroud? (and just curious for the purpose of the hole).

That may need some "observing" next time out (for flexing and possible replacement--since we've established that Catfish have thin skin--which real Catfish really do!)
 

Beekeeper

Member
That is a gelcoat crack, starboard side in front of the centerboard and the bad shroud is on the port side. I'm hoping to get it out tomorrow or Tuesday as it'll be in the low 60's with winds 5-10. I'm pretty sure the water is coming in through the center board trunks, looking down in there you can see some suspect areas near the bottom where the seam is. Drained quite a bit of water out of the hulls for the short time we were on the water, let's see how this trip goes.
 

Beekeeper

Member
Got the boat out in better winds yesterday and it was a blast. Went out solo while my wife paddle boarded around and then picked her up and let her take the helm, good move because she really enjoyed it. Got a quote from West Marine for $330 to replace the standing rigging, that was almost $250 less than the closest price from the New England riggers I contacted. Seeing my wife liked it she may be more inclined to put together a new Sailrite sail over the winter.
 

Beekeeper

Member
Have had the Catfish upside down on the trailer for a couple weeks now, found some damage in a couple spots that I repaired and have faired the hull with System Three quick fair and sanded smooth. With today's crazy warm for Mass. weather, I think I'll get a coat of Total Boat primer on the hull. Standing rigging is done, waiting for it to be sent back from West Marine. Pretty soon she'll under cover waiting for spring and hopefully a new Sailrite sail.
 

Beekeeper

Member
Waiting for standing rigging to arrive today, West Marine cost for new rigging, two side stays, forestay and bridle with fittings was $216. A rigger from Conn., after looking at the boat specs online quoted me $550. Their price was lower than the original estimate because they went with the original 3/32 wire instead of the 1/8 quoted.
 
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