Nacra 4.5 or 450

Any experience with these? I'd like a beach cat that I can handle by myself or with a friend. I'm thinking this might be a good candidate. Boardless is great (shallow water, likely surf launching).

I have lots of experience with H16, H18, plus rides and races on others, including 5.2, 5.8, Tornado (old rig).

The downside is, not many in the US, so kind of an orphan - no class racing, parts hard to get, hard to sell.

Was considering a Weta, but $$$ vs. this.

Any thoughts?
 
I have never owned one but enjoyed sailing on one, my mate Rosco that owns Brisbane Catamaran Centre designed and builds them. They have high flotation, Rosco designed the 4.5 narrow enough to fit in a normal driveway or carport with beams and parts the same as the other Nacra’s he builds. The Nacra 4.5 is the fastest growing Nacra fleet in Aus and they easily handle a couple of blokes or one up. The Weta is a nice enough boat but the Australian Yardsticks now have them rated pretty slow, there was a race in Queensland about a week ago where the new VYC dinghy handicap for Wetas of 99 was used, which is about the slowest multihull on the water. I think they rate better than that but I assume that’s based on reported results.
 

Pewit

Member
<snip>The Weta is a nice enough boat but the Australian Yardsticks now have them rated pretty slow, there was a race in Queensland about a week ago where the new VYC dinghy handicap for Wetas of 99 was used, which is about the slowest multihull on the water. I think they rate better than that but I assume that’s based on reported results.
Currently the Weta is still on the Catamaran list but we hope that will change when the lists are updated.

Dinghy Yardstick List
After lobbying Australian Sailing for some years, in 2021 we were given a trial yardstick on the (monohull) Dinghy Yardstick list which we hope will become the standard. It is more accurate for mixed fleet racing as the Weta performance is closer to a monohull skiff (e.g. B14 or 29er) in performance- with high drag at low speeds until it starts planing - rather than the more linear performance of the cats which have little drag except when turning.

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The Dinghy Yardstick list is based on local data and results from other International handicap yardstick lists (e.g. RYA/US Sailing)

Catamaran Yardstick List
Initially the Weta was given a rating on the Catamaran Yardstick List which is based on the SCHRS formula. However that can't be applied to a trimaran as it has 3 hulls - so they invented a yardstick which wasn't really based on any evidence and we found the results were always better for the cats than the Weta.

1656950065645.png
 

Tomfl

Member
Random comments.

As a rule performance beach cats tend to be over canvassed so they usually beat everything in light air but also tend to flip sooner than other boats. On the other hand the Weta (at least to me) is somewhat under canvassed so it is a dog in light airs but once it starts blowing 15Kn+ really comes into it's own; while lots of beach cats can be a real handfull in those conditions.

A big consideration often overlooked is the old real estate saying 'location, location, location'. Since I live in Florida's Big Bend I am often sailing in light airs between barrier islands and the mainland so an over canvassed beach cat is a good choice. On the other hand some posters here are in places like San Francisco and subject to higher winds and at times nasty sea states for which a different choice might be better.

While it is easy to say 'I can handle by myself or with a friend' not all friends are equal. I also visit thebeachcatdotcom and have mentioned I have a Prindle 18-2 and was looking for hints on the best way to get it from the trailer into the water (specifically about raising the mast). There is one guy there who has an 18-2 is an off shore oil rig worker who is 6'6" and 280 who can raise his mast single handed with ease in a 20 knot wind and has a youtube vid to prove it. But as a 70+ weak old guy I need at least one and if I can get it two friends to help. Another issue I have had (something common to lots of beach cats) is when raising the main there is a ring on the main halyard that needs to be put around a hook at the top of the mast and this is much easier with one person on the main halyard and another rotating the mast. Again there are folks who can do this on their own but I am not one of them.

If I am understanding your OP you think you have found a good deal on a NACRA and want more advice about it. My advice would be to ask at thebeachcatsdot com since those guys are more oriented to beach cats and also have a better feel for what is a good price point.
 
^^^ Yes, and that's probably a good idea, though there are many knowledgeable cat sailors here too.

Most of my friends are pretty athletic, even those in their 60s, still fitter and more agile than most twentysomethings. Some are, or have been sailors. So being able to help with the boat is not an issue.

By myself, I may have to figure out stepping the mast, getting the boat on/off the trailer, etc.

Beach wheels (Cat Trax) are great for getting to/from the water. I don't know about getting your boat on/off the trailer.

Back to the Nacra 4.5 - it's pretty windy here (15kt) in the afternoons when I'd be sailing. Something tamer than a H16 and with more buoyancy would be better with a novice crew. I agree about beach cats being overcanvassed, and the Weta pretty tame - likely part of its appeal, which suits me now too.
 

Ventucky Red

Super Anarchist
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Is it a 450 or a 460? I believe they tried selling the 460 for a while in the US, but there weren't many takers - but don't hold my hand to the fire on this.

I can't speak to the 450 v. 4.5 discussion, but from what I understand the NACRA 500 and 570 are the new renditions of the 5.0 and 5.7 with all the new easy to get parts.

Looked at a 500 a while back, and it looked like a pretty slick "single hander" that was capable of carring a crew too.
 
If you are looking at a fairly new 4.5 I think you will be looking at an Aus built one, as for raising the mast the boat is designed to be easily handled including the mast raising, the mast is relatively short and light for a beach cat and is easy to raise solo, the conversation about the mast on an 18 foot cat has no relevance. It’s not a high performance boat so its not overcanvassed, it has high buoyancy which means if your sitting on the correct side, it is really hard to flip in 15 knots and under. It is very easy to right, I deliberately tipped the one I sailed over and righted it, it doesn’t turtle like a Weta so you can just pop it back up and go. I have sailed many many days on the Weta for years every weekend the club was open and two weeks a year for sailing training taking disabled people sailing at our club, solo handling the 4.5 on the beach is much easier, read enormously easier than the Weta as you assemble the hulls, join the two piece mast together, attach the stays and sheets, take it off the trailer, get your Weta in the water on the trolley, then solo get it off it’s trolley, then leave the Weta and take the trolley back to the beach. With the 4.5 which weighs less than just the main hull of the Weta, you take it off the trailer to the waters edge on beach wheels, lift the mast up which has stays attached already, drag it off the beach without beach wheels and go sailing.
 

JohnoAU

New member
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The 4.5/450 is a single handed boat, not a whole lot of room, if you're going solo, awesome choice. If you're regularly taking a passenger/crew, you'd probably want something a little bigger, e.g. 5.0, but the bigger boat, is also a bit harder to setup on your own..
 

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