various forms of the cat rig                                                         page updated 2016-10-23

 


 

 

 

 

 

Classic catboat rig with high peaked gaff
typical: the single mast well forward positioned in the bow of the boat. this is the typical rig for the classic american catboat. But already in the early days rigs had been used without a gaff but with the higher rigged triangular Bermuda sails. Good examples are given by the Charles Mower and Francis Sweisguth designed A-Cats.

      classic cat-rig with gaff sail

 

 

Classic catboat rig with Bermuda sail:

To achieve the same sail area as with the gaff sail the mast need to be extended significantly. Because of that the center of sail pressure will be higher and leads to a higher degree of heeling when tacking or sailing close to the wind. In contrast the Bermuda sail has advantages in handling - there is only one halyard instead of two and no gaff which could be quite heavy to lift up. In addition the sail profile at the top is optimized versus the gaff. On the other hand longer masts are more difficult to handle when setting, particular at smaller boats where often only one person can set the short mast.

There has been a permanent and ongoing dispute about the pros and cons of the two different riggings among experts until today. On classic catboats one can say that the gaff rig is the preferred rig version versus the Bermuda rig, but today the factor that classical gaff rigs do fit better onto a classic boat type seems to dominate the pure technical reasons.

     classic cat-rig with Bermuda sail


 

 

cat-ketch:
Two masted boat with the larger mast being positioned well forward in the bow of the boat and the second one further back but still in front of the helm. Especially on bigger boats the handling of only one then very big sail becomes increasingly difficult. The dividing of the sail area into more but then smaller sails like at the cat-ketches overcomes  this problem.

                    cat-rigged ketch


 

 

cat-yawl:
Two masted boat with the larger mast being positioned well forward in the bow of the boat and the second very much further aft positioned, typically significantly shorter mizzen mast. In difference to the cat-ketch the mizzen mast is positioned behind the helm. The small mizzen sail does not contribute much to the forward drive of the boat but acts to vary on the sail center of effort and as supporting sail.

                       cat-yawl rig


 

 

 

 

cat-schooner:
Two masted boat with a first mast, the schooner mast, being positioned well forward in the bow of the boat and being not larger, often smaller than the second mast, the main mast.

                  cat-schooner rig


 

 

 

 

modern cat-rigged yacht:

Don´t have the common boom any more. They are using a wishbone boom similar than those used for surfboards. These wishbone booms allow a much better sail profile and result in much smaller angles when tacking in comparison to the classic catboats. This type of rigs is rarely seen in Europe but much more frequent in american waters. Typical manufacturers were/are Nonsuch, Freedom Yachts and Wylie Yachts.     

  modern cat-rig with wishbone boom


 

 

 

modern cat rigged schooneryacht:
With two masts of equal length, the  schooner mast in front of the bow and the main mast. Both sails are equipped with wishbone booms.

cat- rigged schooner yacht with wishbone booms