The original North American Catamaran Racing Association

On the original question;  After some checking on the www, which has limited info on the subject, it looks like the 36 ended up as a marketing tool for the nacra class.  Originally, if they were going to have a pro race series they dont say that on the nacra site.  http://www.nacra-na.com/about-us.html

The 5.2 came out the same year as the 36.  https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/nacra-52

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/nacra-36   Note the co-designer

The Alpha cat was the first cat listed from Tom Roland and Glastron 1970   https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/alpha-cat-18

There is also a 15' singlehander Alpha cat according to the about-us article

The article by the current nacra company has the facts mixed up .  Possibly because they had to write the original 5.2 out of the story because 5.2 is 17', the famous olympic Nacra 17 cant be mixed up with the old 5.2.  Weird because the 5.2 was popular.  Also they bought the company performance catamarans which was an amalgamation of prindle and nacra.

The 18 square nacra story is glazed over as well.  There was an 18 square made with 5.2 hulls first, then the 5.5 hulls came out to be faster against the other 18 squares the way i remember it.  Also the Prindles were still made by Sufrglass then, even though the about-us story kind mixes those 2 histories into one.
I don't have anything against Nacra Sailing but yes, they are not very knowledgeable about the early days of the company.   
And yes, they jealously guard the brand at this point.  Which, of course, is to be expected.  

There is the small problem of Nacra Australasia though.   Back in the Performance Catamaran era the Nacra brand and designed were licensed to a company in Australia.   Who went on to build some of the famous classic Nacra's particularly the 5.8 which is still a huge class down under, and has been updated with square top main and a spin setup, and is still manufactured.  They also built some of their own boats, and apparently they ended up with the original Nacra 36 molds, and are making those now too, again updated. 

Full Disclosure:  I wrote the original Wikipedia NACRA article, which was *not* "Nacra Sailing" but rather about the boats, including building the table. I modeled it after the Hobie Cat article.   It was a labor of love,  and I suffered through about 3 rounds of rejections of the article as not good enough.  (Which is why it now has something like 25 citations, including several from the New York Times, which is the gold standard of "reliable sources" and helped me get over the final hump of having it accepted for publication.)

Since then the company has clearly taken over, and somehow managed to morph the article from "Nacra" to "Nacra Sailing" and put in  a nice little info box about their company in the Netherlands. 

(I'm not sure how Nacra Australasia feels about that, they were sort of edited out of the article a bit in the transition, but as I understand it:  they do have an independent claim to the name, and while they resell some of the Netherlands boats they do still have their own branch of the brand going on. 

I added a bunch of links at the bottom, it will be interesting to see if they remain, or are edited out.     While it might seem a bit counter-intuitive, companies are not supposed to edit their own web pages, it's considered bad form, against Wikipedia rules, and a conflict of interest.   Because the encyclopedia (which falls short of it's own ideals too often) isn't supposed to be a PR machine. 

 
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mikegt4

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ohio
I remember the Rocket 88, I took a bunch of pictures of it when it was sitting in a marina parking lot back in the mid 1970's. IIRC it was featured in one of those free newsprint publications that you picked up at the marine store or marina. It was a long article, basically an interview with the designer/builder. I may even still have it packed away in storage.

http://www.norcalsailing.com/entries/2014/01/06/rocket88/rocket88-1.html

 
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randii

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Sacramento area
Huge thanks for the link, Mike! I miss this part of the Web, where labors of love were documented. These days they just pop up in a Facebook post or tweet and then scroll off the bottom of the feed towards an anonymous death. :(

 
I watched a Nacra 36 racing a few years ago at Whitsundays Sailing Club, when they finished racing they just put it on the trailer and drove it into the boat yard in no time at all. If you checkout Brisbane Catamaran Cantre you will see the Nacra 36 molds sitting on top of a container. I have a Nacra 5.8 and the 18 square that Bob Forbes had the wing sail on back in the day, now it has 32ft carbon mast with square top sail, really is an easy boat to sail, Brisbane Catamaran Centre has the original wing sail hanging in the rafters. I’m not sure what is happening between Nacra Australia and the Dutch Nacra, ( happy to be corrected ), I think the Dutch appointed another distributor in Aus for their boats so the new  Nacra 15, 17, F18 don’t go through Brisbane Cat Centre but it sounds like the new distributor isn’t stocking many parts or something like that as my mate is having a long wait to get a replacement Infusion mast, hopefully that’ll get sorted soon. For boats made by Brisbane Catamaran centre they have all the bits on hand and use the same beams and sections on their smaller boats like the Nacra 3.5, 4.3, 4.5, 5, newly updated 14 square, 16 square, 5.8, they will still make a 36 and I may have forgotten a boat

 

Sam Monet

New member
I'm hoping a few people have some memories or even better links to the original story of NACRA, the racing series that spawned the now-well-known brand of beach cat.  

As I remember it:  Tom Roland attempted to start a professional racing series using 40-foot beach cats right around 1975.   He was clearly a man ahead of his time, as it would be quite a few years before anyone else would try to make something like that work.    He built a couple boats, had some demo races, but (I assume) didn't attract enough advertisers to make the scheme work.    But, he liked the name and used it for his production boat business, smaller trailer-sized beach cats to compete with Hobie and Sol Cat.  Thus was launched the NACRA 5.2 in 1975. 

So, back to the Association racing boats?    Back in the early 1990s when I was living in Santa Cruz county there was a very large beach-cat style boat that was in the harbor.  I remember it both in dry-dock and in the slips, all the way near the end where it's huge girth and minimal draft allowed it float where nobody else could.    At the time it had a garish red paint scheme, with the boat's name starkly painted on the hulls:  Rocket 88.    My buddy and I were fascinated by this boat, it didn't seem like it was every quite fully rigged, but neither was it just floating debris, small changes were being made constantly on it. 

That's as much as I know about the original North American Catamaran Racing Association and what I've termed here "the Association boats" that were built to serve it.   I still don't know if Rocket 88 was one of the original NACRA Association boats, or not. 

I think I did read (probably here) a decade ago that one of the Association boats had been sold, possibly for shipment to Australia? 

I'd love to get this information added to the Nacra Sailing WIkipedia article, but I'd need some links. 

Cheers! 

PS: This came up because my buddy from those days and I are both keenly following the Worrel 1000, and there is a boat in the race named Rocket 88.   Coincidence? 

 
In 1975 I was racing a Nacra 11v sq meter Nacra una rig with Herbie Andresen at Kailua Beach Hawaii, take a look at this pic from about that time

sm sail nacra 2 copy 2.jpg

 

jhc

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I met the Roland Bros., and sailed aboard the Nacra 36 in 1974 off of Ledbetter Beach in Santa Barbara. Was a lot of talk then of the PRO racing that was being planned. The guys who were building, racing the Santa Cruz 27s had raced down from Santa Cruz. Bill Lee, George Olson, Alan Wirtinen, and others, were all hanging out with the Rolands, that sailmaker, or two, from Santa Barbara, and local beach regulars. Was quite a creative group. Some beer was drunk, not by me. I was 15 years old at that time.

The Nacra 36 was way ahead of it's time. As were the ULDB offshore racers. A lot of influence came from surfing, though there was also the coastal, and hawaii races. Mono, and multihull transpacific races. The PolyCon boats, etc. 

Much later met Alex Kozloff, who brought a much more scientific focus to west coast multihull racing. Alex, with Invictus, along with Serge Pond, with Rocket 88, and Alan O'Driscoll with Beowolf, actually raced a few "Money" events in the late 1980s. 

I find it quite interesting the French idolized the west coast mono, and multihull development of the 1960-70s, took the ball and ran with it. Was a revelation in France, just another day at the beach here in California. 

 
In 1975 I was racing a Nacra 11v sq meter Nacra una rig with Herbie Andresen at Kailua Beach Hawaii, take a look at this pic from about that time

View attachment 511135
What a picture!  What a boat!  What an awesome artifact of some amazing memories that you must have. 
This is real history here!   How many other boats in existence in the year this shot was taken could go this fast?   
Not many. 

 

eric1207

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Much later met Alex Kozloff, who brought a much more scientific focus to west coast multihull racing. Alex, with Invictus,
There was a ~40' trimaran up here in Seattle, designed, built and sailed by  Larry Christiansen in the mid 1960s.  She was also called Invictus.   For many years she was the fastest boat around.  I've heard crazy stories from her crew about racing with Larry.  Moored shore side at Shilshole up until 2013 or so when Larry had to sell it, I spent many lunch hours walking the marina and always stopped to admire her lines.  She passed hands a couple times; broke moorings in a storm and run aground, restored a bit, then sold and stripped, sold on and I guess is said to be in process of a resurrection.  I'd love to see her racing around the Sound again.

 
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Doug Halsey

Member
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Here is Alex Kozoloff who was part of the C-Class and D-Class catamaran scene and won the first Little Americas Cup and inspired a lot of modern performance sailing.



View attachment 509600
This is a little misleading.

The Little America's Cup was the exact opposite of the Other America's Cup for a while, because the American boat never won it. The first several winners were British and Australian. Alex was the first American to break that trend. 

 

Rasputin22

Rasputin22
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This is a little misleading.

The Little America's Cup was the exact opposite of the Other America's Cup for a while, because the American boat never won it. The first several winners were British and Australian. Alex was the first American to break that trend. 
I wasn't sure when the name Little America's Cup was used for that competition, sorry about my misinterpretation.


Race results of the original series[SIZE=small][edit][/SIZE]


Races dwindled. They were held 12 times between 1961-1973, eight times between 1974-1989 and only twice in the old C Class format since 1989.





Year


Winner, Crew
and Nation


Opponent, Crew
and Nation


Match
score


Match
Location




1961


Hellcat II, John Fisk, Rod McAlpine-Downey UK


Wildcat, John Beery & John Hickok, USA


4:1


Long Island Sound, MA (USA)




1962


Hellcat, Ian Norris & Nocky Pope, UK


Beverly, Billy Saltonstall & Van Alan Clark, USA


4:1


Seacliff YC, USA




1963


Hellcat III S, Reg White & Rod Mac Alpine Downie, UK


Quest, John Munns (Skipper) & Graeme Anderson, Manager Max Press,Reserve Crew John Taylor and Peter Scarfe Representing The Australian Catamaran Assoc, Albert Smith-Observer and sponsored by the Sandringham YC, Victoria,Australia


4:0


 Thorpe Bay YC
Essex UK





1964


Emma Hamilton, A. R. Holloway & Reg White, Chapman Sands SC, UK


Sea Lion,Bob Smith & Jerry Hubbard, Eastern Multihull Association, USA


4:1


Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, UK




1965


Emma Hamilton, Reg White,[2] UK


Quest II, Australia, Lindsay Cunningham and John Buzaglo, Representing Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron, Victoria, Australia


4:3


Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, UK;




1966


Lady Helmsman, UK


Gamecock, Bob Shiels & Jim Bonney, USA


4:2


 Thorpe Bay UK




1967


Lady Helmsman, UK


Quest III, Australia Peter Bolton, Skipper


4:1


 Thorpe Bay UK




1968


Lady Helmsman, UK


Yankee Flyer, USA


 


 Thorpe Bay UK




1969


Opus III, Denmark


Ocelot, UK


4:3


 




1970


Quest III, Australia


Sleipner, Denmark—Australian Crew- Bruce Proctor and Graham Candy 


 


 




1971


 


 


 


 




1972


Quest III, Bruce Proctor, Graham Ainslie, Australia


Weathercock, Chuck Millican, Jack Evans, USA


4:0


Sorrento Sailing Club, Australia




1974


Miss Nylex, Australia
Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron Crew Bruce Proctor and Graham Ainslie



Miss Stars New Zealand - West Coast Canterbury Syndicate From Canterbury Catamaran Squadron. Designer and Crew Bill Hende. Skipper Bret de Thier. Manager/Reserve Crew Wayne Nolan. - - NZ.


4:0


 Sorrento Sailing Club,Victoria,
Australia





1976


Aquarius V, Alex Kosloff and crew Robbie Harvey Cabrillo Beach YC, CA, USA


Miss Nylex, Sorrento Yacht Club in Australia, Bruce Proctor, Skipper and Graeme Ainslie


4:3


Sorrento Sailing Club,Victoria,
Australia





 

stinky

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The current owner of Rocket 88 (the Santa Cruz D Class) just raced in the Worrell. Did pretty well too.

 

Ventucky Red

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Here is one of the NACRA 36s in action at one of our local races a few years back.  This boat was named 2 of 10.  I am thinking that is for the second of 10 boats built. I forget the owner's name, but he was a pretty cool bloke.  

Tom Roland, Roy Seaman, and Larry Harteck are locals to Ventucky, was always nice to listen to them talk about boats and of course milk out a few pointers. 

One year Roy Showed up with a Franken boat..  NACRA 6.0 extended to 22' with a wider beam and the bridal tangs at the forward tip of the bows to accommodate a Manhattan apartment size jib...  even with tipping the boat, they still horizon'd the fleet after chuckling at all the other boats that had a spinnaker set up.

2 of 10.JPG

 

eric1207

Anarchist
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Seattle
Invictus was such a cool boat. I wonder if any good photos are to be found. People loved Larry too.
Russ,  I've seen one or two but don't recall where.  His kids are around I think and a couple of her crew too.  Some might show up at our NWMA party next to the Pt Hudson Chinese restaurant.  Happens on the eve of R2AK.  Come by and say hi and maybe get some leads there. 

 
The current owner of Rocket 88 (the Santa Cruz D Class) just raced in the Worrell. Did pretty well too.
Thanks for that info!   Yes, that's what I was wondering if there was a connection between the Rocket 88 I used to admire in the Santa Cruz harbor 20 years ago and the team Rocket 88 that was competing in the Worrell.     

It's nice to have the question answered! 

 

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