Best Recreational Beach Cat?

Bored Stiff

Member
277
203
Copenhagen
Having spent a pleasant week in France with access to a Twincat 15, it got me dreaming about if I lived somewhere warm and sunny which cat to have. There seems an abundance of choice from Hobie, Nacra, Topper, RS, Dart, Topcat, SL and so many others. Not looking for an out and out racer so daggerboards not wanted, low maintenance construction, singlehanded and two/three up, good to sail, high quality fittings. Probably about 5m (16ft).

What are the best choices? The Topcat looks good?
 

maxstaylock

Anarchist
725
429
The RS Cat 16 seems to be the best and most up to date of the plastic options. The Hobie 16 is good if you like to swim at unexpected moments. The Nacra 500 probably the best glass option. I would have the Dart 18 over any of them, I find them quite graceful, for skeg boats.
 

MultiThom

Super Anarchist
1,795
429
Benicia, CA
Hobie Getaway. Plastic so you won't be doing a lot of hull repairs. Light enough at 400 pounds. Substantial front crossbeam and front trampoline. No boom. Wings so no trapeze (although you could if you wanted to). Cheap fun. However, Hobie is having trouble making new ones and old ones are difficult to find. That front crossbeam makes it possible to fly spins without a sprit (as long as you are just out for fun and keep them sensible). This video shows me sailing with buddy and flying a symspin.

 
Last edited:

martin 'hoff

Super Anarchist
2,204
1,067
Miami
Lots of good options mentioned already. I'd get something based on your venue weather (wind etc) and crew weight. As you have many options, I'd personally pick one where you have the option to rig/add a Spinnaker on a spi pole with a chute.

There's a great website - thebeachcats.com where these boats are discussed passionately. And there's a forum tracking good deals if you're hoping to snag something 2nd hand.
 

Bored Stiff

Member
277
203
Copenhagen
Thanks for the thoughts. The Getaway looks interesting with the front trampoline. I just love the colour schemes on old H16s, but the reputation for falling over would put me off. I race an OK dinghy regularly, but they are easy to recover and there is always rescue cover. I am a little familiar with Dart 18 as I lived in England for a while. Very thin hulls compared to some, but super simple to set up.
 

TBW

Member
474
270
Hobie Getaway would be high on my list. If you are in France I would look at a Hobie 15. More performance than a Wave, more buoyancy than an H16. Fibreglass hull but with nylon or polythylene sacrificial keels for beaching. I don't think they are available in North America.
 

Car_guy

New member
1
0
I’d look for a Hobie 18, I’ve had many over the years and IMO are best for recreation, fast, durable, cheap and a good number have wings. Hulls are very strong, have dragged over rocks several times with just cosmetic damage.

Only thing to look out for is deck delamination on the older models. Beachcats.com is excellent resource.
 

J_Grove

Member
115
52
Biscayne Bay
Another vote for the Hobie Getaway. The seating is more comfortable than most beachcats which is nice for those guests that are never in a million years going to attempt a trapeze/harness. Still fast enough to put a grin on your face. In the summer we rent one occasionally and I let the kids do the driving and sail handling. Nice change of pace to our F27.
 

illan_voyager

New member
46
11
WHy no boards? that rules out the best of em. Since you insist- another vote for the centerboard options like Prindle 18/19, also add Mystere to that list.. A good singlehanded boat isn't going to be fun 3 up in most cases - so pick your most common crew weight and go from there
 

MultiThom

Super Anarchist
1,795
429
Benicia, CA
Another vote for the Hobie Getaway.
Apparently the spigot for making them has turned open so you can get a new one if you want it. The previous production issues related to the moulds not making good parts reliably. Currently there are still production issues due to supply chain issues related to a needed chemical, but several (9) new ones are on the water this year. So you can get one.
 

david r

Anarchist
595
55
pond
Trac 16. Superior to Super 17, but AMF got sold shortly after the boat came out. It was a design that was done looking at, and improving on the Gcats and the Super 17.
 

hobiedd97

Member
51
20
Virginia
Trac 16. Superior to Super 17, but AMF got sold shortly after the boat came out. It was a design that was done looking at, and improving on the Gcats and the Super 17.
I've had one or more of about every small catamaran you can buy used on a budget in the eastern US. It really depends on your budget, and what's available in your area. Hobie 16's are available at every price range, pretty much anywhere. I prefer a Prindle 16 in that size range. You can buy a decent Hobie or Prindle 16 with trailer for $2500 or less in many areas. If you're looking for a project, you can frequently get them for free. The Prindle 18 is also something to consider. It's very similar to the P 16, just bigger.

I've also had a Trac 16 and a Supercat 17. The Trac was more durable of the two. I think roller furling was also standard. However, the boat was very heavy. This is the first time I've heard anyone say a good thing about them. In my opinion, the Supercat 17 is a much better sailing boat. For a boardless boat, the SC17 points well, as long as you keep the weight forward. It's a wetter ride, and the transoms can be a little fragile. Parts for the Supercat are available from Aquarius Sail, and may be a little pricey. Parts for the Trac 16 are difficult to impossible to find. You can probably still order a new Supercat 17. You probably won't see many (or any) Trac 16's for sale, so it's pointless to consider them. A good Supercat 17 will be more expensive that the Hobie or Prindle, but it's a better sailing boat. You won't see many of them, but you can find them.

The Getaway is really the only choice if you want to haul 4 or more. It doesn't perform as well as the Hobie, Prindle, or Supercat at lighter weights, but put 600 pounds of meat on them, and the Getaway will outperform them all. With the wings and forward trampoline, it's also the most comfortable. They're usually at least $5K for a decent one with a trailer, frequently more. They're also usually newer than the others. Another positive is that they tolerate abuse better, and parts are all available, more or less.

If you include boats with boards, the Hobie 18, and Prindle 18-2 and 19 are worth considering. I would only own a Hobie 18 with wings. The Prindle 18-2 and 19 sail better, but they're not as durable as the Hobie 18, and you don't see as many of them. Any of these can be a handful for a casual sailor, especially the Prindle 19. You can generally find these boats in reasonable condition for $3K or less.

In my area, you don't see many of the recreational Nacra's, and I haven't had one, so I can't really comment on them.

If your budget is over $5K, then there are a lot of more modern options. I don't usually spend that much on a beach cat, so I'll leave any comments on those to others.

The prices I've mentioned will generally get you a boat ready to sail. New sails will drive the price up considerably. Any work that a boat needs drive the price down considerably, hence the frequency of the "free" boat.

As always, YMMV.
 

basketcase

Fuck you second amendment
4,182
1,121
a long way from home
I've had one or more of about every small catamaran you can buy used on a budget in the eastern US. It really depends on your budget, and what's available in your area. Hobie 16's are available at every price range, pretty much anywhere. I prefer a Prindle 16 in that size range. You can buy a decent Hobie or Prindle 16 with trailer for $2500 or less in many areas. If you're looking for a project, you can frequently get them for free. The Prindle 18 is also something to consider. It's very similar to the P 16, just bigger.

I've also had a Trac 16 and a Supercat 17. The Trac was more durable of the two. I think roller furling was also standard. However, the boat was very heavy. This is the first time I've heard anyone say a good thing about them. In my opinion, the Supercat 17 is a much better sailing boat. For a boardless boat, the SC17 points well, as long as you keep the weight forward. It's a wetter ride, and the transoms can be a little fragile. Parts for the Supercat are available from Aquarius Sail, and may be a little pricey. Parts for the Trac 16 are difficult to impossible to find. You can probably still order a new Supercat 17. You probably won't see many (or any) Trac 16's for sale, so it's pointless to consider them. A good Supercat 17 will be more expensive that the Hobie or Prindle, but it's a better sailing boat. You won't see many of them, but you can find them.

The Getaway is really the only choice if you want to haul 4 or more. It doesn't perform as well as the Hobie, Prindle, or Supercat at lighter weights, but put 600 pounds of meat on them, and the Getaway will outperform them all. With the wings and forward trampoline, it's also the most comfortable. They're usually at least $5K for a decent one with a trailer, frequently more. They're also usually newer than the others. Another positive is that they tolerate abuse better, and parts are all available, more or less.

If you include boats with boards, the Hobie 18, and Prindle 18-2 and 19 are worth considering. I would only own a Hobie 18 with wings. The Prindle 18-2 and 19 sail better, but they're not as durable as the Hobie 18, and you don't see as many of them. Any of these can be a handful for a casual sailor, especially the Prindle 19. You can generally find these boats in reasonable condition for $3K or less.

In my area, you don't see many of the recreational Nacra's, and I haven't had one, so I can't really comment on them.

If your budget is over $5K, then there are a lot of more modern options. I don't usually spend that much on a beach cat, so I'll leave any comments on those to others.

The prices I've mentioned will generally get you a boat ready to sail. New sails will drive the price up considerably. Any work that a boat needs drive the price down considerably, hence the frequency of the "free" boat.

As always, YMMV.
I picked up my super17 a few years back. the advert on thebeachcats.com listed what was a great boat with a heap of stuff.... ready to sail, two sticks, three suits of sails, cat trax with a spare, trap harnesses, three sets of rigging and a trailer.... all for 1800usd. I was all over it like a fat kid on a Mars Bar. Well... the fucking guy sold the spare rig and would not knock down the price. it was still a good deal.
I absolutely love the boat. fastest i have ever been.
That said, one of the mains went straight in the bin. I picked up all new lines and blocks, I wanted to go from the 6:1 main to an 8:1. All three of the cat trax tires were shit, so I got two new ones, and a handle. The tramp probably had another year in it, so I got a new one. Out of the two remaining mains, one was in pretty good shape and the other was....meh, so I ordered a new main.
The boat was out of New Hampshire, I was living in Rhode Island at the time. When the job ended, I hooked the boat up to my 06 Toyota Matrix and haulled ass for New Mexico.
I have way too much into this boat, but it is worth everything for those moments when I hear my daughter laughing while she is trapped out.

square.jpg
 

Latest posts




Top