Something to read and think about!

Open Letter to all A-Cat Enthusiasts – 11th September 2015

Before we kill off the A-Cat as some doomsayers are trying to say let’s take a look a why we sail A-Cats.

  1. The total enjoyment of a great boat
  2. The innovation and creativity sailing the A-Cat provides us
  3. The great worldwide family and friends
  4. The friendly nature of great competition
  5. Simple parameters in which to build and create

Many A-Catters (like me) have been sailing the A-Cat for more than 20 years, some as many as 50.

YES that’s right 50 years. How many classes have been around that long and still at the top of the World rankings and the boat most catamaran people aspire to own and sail.

So happy birthday to the A-Cat as the parameters were put down 50 years ago by the IYRU.

Indeed that is when the concept of the A,B,C,D  Division cats evolved. Only one Division has survived with numbers over that time and essentially still runs the same basic rules of length, breadth and total sail area.

Sure we have added two more rules and one of these is probably the single most important rule to the longevity of the class. I am talking about rule 9 a minimum weight of 75 kgs. Many thought that would stifle the class. Instead the class stabilised and went from strength to strength.

What other catamaran class can boast a worldwide membership near 1000 with many more sailing at club levels.

Maybe in time we will come to see rule 8 as another stabilising rule. Sure it was brought in with the idea of restricting foiling. That didn’t work because we have a class of innovators who  have found ways to develop foils and improve the handling of the boats. Sure it has cost a lot but then so has every other development we have had over time. All ways  to make the boat go faster by innovation within the rules.

Think back and remember the different masts and hull shapes. We have had Aluminium, titanium, carbon, wood, foam sandwich, Kevlar, cotton, Dacron, and a multitude of plastic fantastic products.

Masts have progressed from pear to wing, tapered to walking stick to straight to tapered. We have even seen complete wing masts ala C class.

Hull shapes and foils have evolved. Sail plans have taken many different routes from pin top to flat head (200, 400, 600, 800, 1m and more) . We have had low and high boom heights and deck sweepers.

All this because we can keep the boat competitive and still the class everyone follows and wants to sail. Even those who have never sailed an A-Cat hope to one day.

5 simple rules and the camaraderie of the sailors make this class the greatest class in the World. Let’s not forget that. And let’s go play within the rules.

If you wonder why we sail this great class go back to the first 5 points. Did I mention innovation and creativity within a few simple parameters!


Ian Johnson

President – Australian A-Division Catamaran Association

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