(Scroll down to see the very latest news!)
There are now over 100 YouTube videos scattered around this site. If you want to save time you can see a list of them all if you search YouTube for www.sailingcatamarans.com or visit my Woods Designs Sailing Catamarans youtube channel
If you plan to buy, or indeed, have bought, download plans then you should also check the Plan Updates page in case there are any for your boat.
As always the winter is a time for design work so I have been busy finishing off the Vardo plans - three now building - and the Skoota 28 and Strike 15 - twelve now building.
We have been going over to Sequim every week to admire Josh's workmanship on our own Skoota 28. I must say I really like to watch craftsmen at work. A pity I cannot afford to employ them full time. Note, this photo does not show the removable forward anchor locker unit. Its made but not fitted. The bridgedeck front isn't really that vertical!
As always the pace is slower than we had hoped, but that's normal, so no real surprise. By the end of January the structural work had been done, "just" sanding/painting and fitting deck gear left to do
One Friday in late January we left Port Townsend and drove south to San Francisco. On the way south I thought "I wonder if there is any multihull sailing this weekend?" I checked online and found that indeed there was, in fact the years biggest race in the Bay area was to be held the following day. The 2-handed Three Bridge Fiasco already had over 350 entries, including 35 multihulls.
While in the UK I got this photo from Josh and learnt that the whole boat has now been primed and the hull bottoms have four layers of Coppercoat. So launching is imminent! (The anchor locker is being made and painted separately)
I also received the following email from Rajen Shah of India who had his Romany professionally built a couple of years ago
"Golden Cat (Romany) and I were on front page of Times of India, Amdavad edition for state of Gujarat - a major English newspaper. We were also in news in local papers all on front pages. This was a first sailing voyage to lakshadweep from Gujarat. There may be a couple from Mumbai, but all were on larger imported production yachts with professional crew on board. On our Golden Cat I was the only one RYA qualified, rest were all trained by me.
This was big and unheardof news in this part of the world. The Romany superb design and my builder quality work has helped me to complete my dream. We sailed at least for two days in 23 kts wind with 2 reefs. Romany sailed smoothly in a rough sea of 1.5 to 2 meter waves. We also had about 18 kts wind while crossing my longest offshore passage of 150 nm two ways.
Both time the sea was fully built with tall waves, most inter island Lakshadweep ships cancelled their trips but we sailed without problem - in fact the wind helped us to cross faster. We didn't see a single sailing yacht during our 40 days voyage. Regards, Rajen P. Shah
I sold a set of Vardo plans to the Philippines on January 9th. On Feb 23rd I got this photo. Fast work!
Also from the Philippines
"My SKOOTA 24 was launched last Saturday Feb 16, 2013. It is powered with a Yamaha 50 hp 2 stroke using a 11-3/4" x 10" pitch propeller which gave it 5000 rpm at WOT and a top speed of 28 kilometers per hour. It will probably go faster as the boat was heavily loaded with the sea trial crew of 8 adults"
I apologise for the lack of news over the last couple of months. It's not that nothing was happening - more that we were very busy finishing and then launching our Skoota 28 power catamaran
We are very pleased with it so far. Comfortable, fast and economic. Even at 16 knots we use less than 3 gal an hour with our twin 20hp outboards. I was amused recently to see an advert for a similar powercat that said "Worlds most efficient! 4.9gph at 16 knots"
Recently we motored from Port Townsend, Wa where the boat was launched to Sidney, BC via a "drive past" of Friday Harbor. A distance of 49.3 miles. We left 8.30 am, arrived 1.45pm, and used 7 gallons of fuel. No photos as it poured with rain all day. The Skoota was very heavy as not only did we have all the tools and spare epoxy/glass etc aboard, but also I had the outriggers and complete rig for my new Strike 15. Plus lots of gear/clothes for 5 months in Canada.
Meantime other builders have also been active. I was recently sent this photo of a Saturn building in Florida. Getting close!
Also in Florida, Jeff is making good progress on his Vardo, despite the cramped working conditions. He has now reached the assembly stage, you can see more on his detailed blog
you can also see why photographing his boat is difficult!
So we now have a boat to motor, and the sailing season is on us, so our Strike 18 will be going back in the water shortly.
However my next major project is to finish off my Strike 15. I now have the complete rig and foils, the outrigger panels are cut out, so as soon as the rain stops we will be back at work and hope to launch in May/June
Summer arrived in British Columbia on May 1st. No rain, no clouds, temperature in the high
Lots of people, including a very experienced cruising couple who were interested in building their own Skoota. They have visited us several times but after trialing our Skoota and spending time on board they decided to build a Skoota 36 as a liveaboard cruiser in the PNW. They will start work July 1st
Between rain showers work has been progressing well on the Strike 15. One outrigger is ready to deck and one set of beams made. A mock up photo of the assembly is below
It's been a busy few weeks, currently we are both working 12 hour days, yet not much seems to have been finished. We are still working on the Strike 15 and finishing off the last few jobs on the Skoota 28. But then, boats are never finished.
The bad weather and boatbuilding, not to mention drawing, has meant that so far we have only sailed our Strike 18 a couple of times this year
I recently heard from John that he had launched his Sango. He wrote " In the two weeks we put our Sango in the water, motored a lot, put the mast up, took delivery on new sails, figured out how to attach them, added much in the way of hardware, and had one very low wind trial. Yesterday, with the local sailing guru aboard, we did 12.5 knots in 12 to 15 knots of wind. The rig was way too loose, the sails weren't all the way up, no outhaul... terribly shaped sails: and this boat was flying! And so far it handles like a dream. The local guru was amazed! Thanks Richard for a great design."
The Port Townsend Festival is huge with over 300 boats on display and lots of talks and demonstrations. Apart from having the Skoota on display I also gave two hour long presentations.
One was a variation of the "Multihull Sailors Have More fun" talk that I gave at the HPCC last year and which you can read HERE. The HPCC talk was naturally aimed at small trailable boats, while the WBF talk featured bigger boats. Even so there seems little point in uploading both versions.
However you can now see my other talk HERE (although regular visitors to this site will have seen some of it already). Titled "The Ideal Pacific North West Cruiser" it explains why we now have a Skoota 28 for cruising.
The Festival culminates with a "sail by" of most of the boats. We took the builders family out to see the show. With 10 people on board (over 1/2T in weight) our top speed was only 12 knots, however "a good time was had by all"
Although we are now living on our Skoota and will do so until early October we aren't cruising the PNW as much as we want to. That's because the weather has basically been horrible since the WBF. Either foggy, very wet or thundery all coupled with no wind. A complete contrast to last year when we suffered from 49 continuous days without rain. So we are tucked into a marina and working away on computers (me) and sewing machine (Jetti)
Our winter plans have now changed slightly. We are still going to Greece in October to charter a catamaran with my extended family. Then in November I do "business stuff" in the UK. Then we fly to the Bahamas again to sail on the Transit "Crystal". The same boat we sailed south a couple of years ago. However it has now been sold, so we are only going for a couple of weeks to show the new owner how to sail it
Then about Dec 15th we return to Florida for a few days so if any builder would like me to visit please let me know.
Four Vardos have been sold, with two now well under way, one in the US, one in the Philippines. Both are right side up and being decked.
A slightly modified Skoota 36 is being built in ply in Vancouver, Canada. It will be a live aboard boat for a very experienced cruising couple, see photo, showing it is a MUCH bigger boat than the Skoota 28
It has been a long time since I last updated this Latest News page. That's not because nothing has happened, more that we have been very busy
It sat high on its lines. I will need to add a touch of weight to the stern just to make it right but I will wait until we have all our stuff on before I do that. It motored very well the 12 nautical miles back to its mooring from the lift-in point. Using an old 9.9 Yamaha into a 3/4m chop and 15-20 kn wind and against tide Gypsy cruised 5.7-6.2 Once it flattened out we were 6.8 – 7.2 measured on GPS."
has just been relaunched in Berlin. Nice to see them both floating high on their marks. So many multihulls are overweight.
In June 2006 she left England with her husband and wife crew and sailed to the Mediterranean via the coasts of France, northern Spain and Portugal. Her owners lived aboard for two years in Spain, the Balearic Islands and Morocco before crossing the Atlantic Ocean via Tenerife in the Canary Islands to Tobago at the beginning of 2009.
while a Sagitta is currently mid Atlantic on a singlehanded crossing to the Caribbean
Rajan sent me a long article about cruising the length of the west coast of India in his Romany to the Lakshadweep islands off SW India (see his brief posting above). Unfortunately it is far too long to publish here, but was a very interesting read. It really showed how difficult it is to have a cruising boat in developing countries that don't even understand the concept of recreational sailing, never mind the lack of facilities like marinas, or even the "freedom of the seas"
I read recently the press release of a production 28' powercat that proudly claimed it does 3.5mpg and then I saw this headline in a magazine "If a 28 foot power boat, capable of cruising at 12knots while getting 2.6 miles per gallon is of interest, read on". The designers won three innovation awards for this "gas guzzler". For they say "This level of fuel economy is unmatched in the world! ... best ever" .
Not so sure about that! The Skoota 28 is half the weight and cruises at 12 knots at least 5mpg. Indeed we are still using the 3gal tanks that came with the outboards sometime this winter I will fit our "big" - 16gal - tanks.
Skoota is also wider, so has less wave interference, and you can get under the bridgedeck in a dinghy, whereas most powercats have very low bridgedecks which are often carried well forward. The resulting slamming when underway must be frightful. Skoota's cockpit is bigger, as is the shower compartment. Mind you we don't have a coffin, sorry, single berth for a guest.
Especially when it has an almost identical interior layout (except it's galley up not down) and has the same sized engines and tank capacity. I doubt if it will ever reach flat water speeds in the mid teens as the Transit does easily. But nevertheless I know it will be a commercial success
The interior was very uncomfortable and with a galley up there was a lot of wasted space in the hulls - cheap to build though. And of course we only had one bag each and tried to eat ashore whenever possible. So we didn't need the dedicated storage space that cruisers need.
The newest cruising design is Vardo, a 34ft cruiser, something between a Romany and Flica. Many people (like myself) don't need the space of a Flica and want better performance. Which is why I like the Romany design. But many less fanatical sailors want an "inside toilet" and basically more comfort.
So this design is a cross between the two boats. The hulls are essentially enlarged Saturn hulls, but with a bit more freeboard. The bridgedeck cabin is Romany styled and a minimum size to get a saloon and space to access the hulls. (a quick note re the name. A Vardo is the Romanii gypsy name for the horse drawn caravan they live in). The first three set of plans have now been sold.
You can see a builders blog here http://sailingcatamarans.blogspot.com/
Please contact me for more details.
For new readers
When I am not in the UK office Mary Theobald is the person to contact. She has a great background in multihulls as she has been helping to run the brokerage side of the Multihull Centre (www.multihullcentre.co.uk) for many years and currently owns a 33ft catamaran.
Finally: Normally we use Paypal as our payment gateway, but we do still take sterling cheques. If you wish to send one, please make the cheque payable to Woods Designs, not Richard Woods, thank you. If you want to pay me using other means just email and I'll sort something out
Many of you ask me for contact details of other builders. I'm sure you can understand why I am reluctant to give out customer's email addresses to strangers. So can you please use one of the forums and ask there for other builders to contact you direct. After all, that's one of the reasons for setting up the forums in the first place!
We really like the photos you send us of your boats either in build or sailing. Please keep them coming in, but when you email them please send them as JPEG's and send them at 72dpi resolution with a maximum width of 450 pixels. That size will fit neatly on the screen and saves both you and us email download times!! Thank you.