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Excerpt from Practical Boat Owner, June 1985

Power & Sail

Portable Pixie

Pixie is a fourteen-foot surf cat from the drawing board of Richard Woods. She has rounded Vee hulls which bite into the water doing away with the need for centerboards, so she is very easy to sail in shallow waters and off the beach. Pixie started life as stitch-and-glue plywood and epoxy design for amateur building but is also given the sophistication of GRP hulls and aluminium tube cross beams.

There is little doubt that the Pixie is a lively craft with an exciting performance. She is a not, however, as extreme as cats such as the famous Hobie, and as a result, is an ideal introductory craft for newcomers to small catamarans. Her hull sections are relatively full forward to avoid the possibility of digging the lee bow in and pitchpoling should you want to sail her to the limits.

Pixie has a trampoline between hulls so you would expect to get a little wet when sailing her in anything of a sea. Pixie’s gunwales, formed by a turned down flange hull-to-deck joint, not only acts as spray rails but also add substantially to the stiffness of the hulls, make very secure hand holds when carrying the craft ashore and provides excellent anchor points for shroud plates without drilling through into the interior of the hulls.

The aluminium cross beams slot into snug housings in the hulls and the lacing down the centre of the trampoline bridge deck holds the whole thing together. Erecting the mast involves lacing the two shrouds onto the shroud plates, swinging the mast up on its step located on the front beam and tensioning the forestay onto the bridle between the bows. Running rigging is also kept to a minimum with a multipart main sheet onto the rear beam, a multipart kicking strap and a continuous loop jib sheet

Pixie is intended for single-handed sailing or for a crew of two. But I suspect that if you’re in the party mood and the weather is warm, she will happily accommodate more. I sailed her with Richard Woods, her designer, and although she stretched parts of me that had lain dormant for many a year mainly because of her rather low boom - she carried our combined weight of around twenty-three stone with no problems whatsoever. I found her responsive, easy to sail and thrilling. But at no time did she give me the feeling of sailing on a knife edge. For me, -the most exciting part of sailing the Pixie was feeling her reaction to the slightest change in wind pressure. At every gust she would accelerate, translating all the winds energy into forward motion or at least that’s how it felt…being so close to the water aboard Pixie, you quickly become at one with machine and elements. DG.

A complete copy of this article can be obtained from Practical Boat Owner