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Goodbye Sunfish, hello Beetle Cat

stollie

Active Member
With room for only one boat, there's a not-so-new Cat in town. My intention is to move on to a slightly larger gaff-rigged keelboat, so the BC will help me along.

Kent, following my heart, I decided to go this route, rather than the Drascombe Lugger.

I wonder if you guys would mind me posting BC pictures on the SF forum, or if I'm now banished! :(
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Congratulations! I'd love to see them, maybe you can do some compare and contrast observations and let us know which Sunfish skills transfer over. Maybe the gaff rig would work on a Sunfish...or Standard Sailfish...

WINNIE Sailfish Gaff.jpeg

We are intrigued by the Beetle Cat as well, nice article in WoodenBoat recently, Issue #276 September/October 2020. The only One Design boat over 100 years old that is still in production. Sunfishers can watch and learn.
 

stollie

Active Member
Uh, time to re-up my WoodenBoat subscription. Thanks for pointing that out.

On a mild day, I'll wheel her out and take a bunch of pics.

There's some water in the bilge. Hopefully not rot.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
If you have any issues, you still have access to the BC company resources. Just like we all do with Laser Performance. I like how BC stil has some of the old jigs, maybe even the original, and also how they have a lot of the old patterns to make centerboards, keels, stems, planks etc...

I have been looking at the Beetle Cat rig, it might be a nice size for a starter rig on the 16 foot diamond bottom catboat we are building. Catboat rigs got bigger and bigger as folks chased increased performance, and as an offset to the weight gained when they started putting motors in everything. I like that the BC is still a very basic sailboat, like our Sunfish.

Diamond Bottom Cross Planked Catboat.jpg
 

stollie

Active Member
I'd seen at the site that one can buy parts from them. So a person can literally buy an entire Beetle and put it together like a jigsaw puzzle, which is amazing.

Last night I went tap-tapping through the hull with the back of a screwdriver and got solid replies every time, no dull thuds. That's a good sign, right, but I'm no expert.

I'm gonna pick up a wet-dry vacuum over the weekend and get her cleaned out. Then we'll get at the pictures.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
You might consider a cordless wet/dry vac, if you have a cordless tool system. They work well sucking out bilges, and you can turn them around and use them for air leak tests....not that the BC will need them... :)

 

stollie

Active Member
Kent, please let me know if you can recommend a particular compact wet/dry vac with good charging ability. I was about to pick up a plug in one, but those are no good when you're down at the water and far from the juice.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
We like our Porter Cable, usually one small battery is enough. We've had good reports on most models, DeWALT, Makits, Rigid, so pick your favorite tool line or maybe try the new line WalMart is carrying called HART. They are advertising a kit with battery/charger for $139. Made by the same company that makes ryobi and milwaukee.
 

Fremont

Member
Kent, please let me know if you can recommend a particular compact wet/dry vac with good charging ability. I was about to pick up a plug in one, but those are no good when you're down at the water and far from the juice.
Personally, l like the Milwaukee M18 Fuel tools, and their shop vac is great. They all use the M18 batteries, available in different capacities.
 

stollie

Active Member
Sweet indeed! Dave, I noticed you have numbers and an annual tag. Is that required in CT for such a small boat?

I've been looking up how to rig the BC and found out that the Barnstable Cat is a BC made of fiberglass.

Finally picking up my vacuum today, so I'm hoping to get her cleaned up a bit in the next couple days.
 

dave_p

Member
Sweet indeed! Dave, I noticed you have numbers and an annual tag. Is that required in CT for such a small boat?

I've been looking up how to rig the BC and found out that the Barnstable Cat is a BC made of fiberglass.

Finally picking up my vacuum today, so I'm hoping to get her cleaned up a bit in the next couple days.

I have a 4hp motor so I need registration and a safe boater cert in CT. If I were to sail her with no motor attached I would only need the trailer registered. And we want to see your Beetle!
 

stollie

Active Member
The Beetle cat has a lot of info for sure, Kent.

I ordered a book called "The Competitive Cat" - can't wait to read it.
 

stollie

Active Member
Thanks. After letting go fo the SF for 2900, I just added 400 to pick up the BC. Hopefully there's nothing rotten in the bilge that would cause me to have to spend much. I figure if I repaint and clean up the brightwork, and get some sailing out of her, I'd have made out OK.

Your boat looks pretty nice itself, Dave.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Oh Dear Lord, not WBF. Stand by for the assault. I'd get that bilge cleaned out ASAP and drying. I see some scarfed frames, so if you have punky bits up front there might need to be repairs there. And a few fasteners that are bleeding rust, those need to be addressed.

There is a good group on facebook Beetle Cat Sailor, lots of great photos. They might let you know if you can expect to need to soak her a few days before sailing or if she'll be mostly watertight.
 

stollie

Active Member
I've actually gotten some good suggestions from WBF, but that was funny!

Thanks about letting me know about that group. I've been avoiding FB but.....
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Facebook has some great Groups focused on specialty areas. We avoid the other drama areas, you know, friends and family... :)

Insert random boat photo here...Skipper and Capn Jack on the Chesapeake...

Jack and Audrey.JPG

Be sure to keep us in the loop on your BC!
 

stollie

Active Member
BEST NEW YEAR GREETINGS TO ALL.


Beetle Cat pictures. Good news is that the planks are in pretty good shape, considering.

However, in addition to the broken/missing/rotted ribs/frames, the wood that the centerboard trunk is attached to has rot. The hull appears to be fiberglassed, which may be holding a lot of things together.

My plan was/is to spend less than $500 on whatever internal repairs were needed, clean the hull and replace the antifoul paint, clean up the brightwork, and fix whatever's needed for the spars. Then sail the boat for a season or two and move up, perhaps to a Somes Sound 12 1/2.

Now it's looking like I'd need to flip the boat, remove the 'glass, remove the centerboard trunk, rebuild whatever's need for that, attach a bunch of new ribs, pull out old caulk, and do new recaulking. I'm not sure if I can avoid all of this.

Kent, please let me know what you think. Thanks!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
What do we think? Well, when we take this...

Barbashela Beauvoir Pickup trailer outside.jpg

...and turn it into this...

Audrey 1880 rowboat Barbashela.JPG

...then we think you should breathe life back into that Beetle Cat. Disclaimer: We are serial restorers who love the challenge of a basket case, with no regard to the economic case. If you plan to resell her and make a few pesos, that will be a challenge. But that is a great learning boat, to learn the care and feeding of a wooden boat and to learn the basics of the gaff rig. You can't go too wrong with her.

What year is she? There was obviously a lot of care taken with her in the past. And where is she homeported.

1) I'd remove the glass, I think it's problematic with a carvel planked boat, lots of movement in that hull.
2) Fix the trunk
3) Scarf or replace ribs
4) Recaulk only as necessary

She's a very basic boat made from standardized components, old or new parts should be able to source. You also have factory support. I wouldn't try to make her fine furniture, I'd get her back ship shape and go have some fun.

If you restore her, we could get you set up to do a paid Boat Profile article for Small Boats Magazine, it would pay around $750. It would be timely as 2021 is the Centennial of the Beetle Cat.

Carry on!
 

stollie

Active Member
You, Sir, are obviously are very skilled and my hat's off to you!

I, on the other hand, am basically comfortable saying that the boat is right side up. Everything else is questionable.

I'm willing to have a go at it, and encouraged that I have your support.

So far, I haven't been able to locate her number.
 

stollie

Active Member
Beetle's FAQ page says where to look for the number, but I didn't find it, which I mentioned in my communication to them.

I had reached out and they told me to let them know what work I think is needed and they'll steer me in the right direction.

I told them "the timber to which the centerboard trunk is attached has rot. That, and damaged ribs, seem to be the lion’s share of work needed."

So I'm waiting to hear back.
 

dave_p

Member
Something to ponder. If the goal is to get a couple of seasons out of the boat, maybe see if you can avoid removing the fiberglass. If the planks are ok and the fiberglass is water tight, maybe try to replace the ribs and then address the centerboard issue from the inside. Its too bad you couldn't splash her to see exactly whether or not she takes water. I guess you need to decide if you just want to sail a watertight boat for a couple of seasons with minimal restoration, or are bent on a full blown restoration effort. Of course resale is a factor too.
 
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