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Thread: Could a cat-a-raft be rigged with a sail (ala hobie-cat)?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Eagle River, AK

    Question Could a cat-a-raft be rigged with a sail (ala hobie-cat)?

    Must be the hot weather, that has me wondering about just having fun on a windy lake.

    But, then again, maybe I'm not the first? So . . . . . anyone ever sail an inflatable cat?

    Stay cool, Dave.
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  2. #2


    I think the problem would be that you don't have anything in the water to keep you from sliding sideways as most other boats you equip with a sail do (keel or at least a rigid, longitudinal hull to push against the water sideways). That is what changes the forces from the wind hitting sideways to the boat moving forward. It might still be fun to play with though.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Anchorage, Alaska


    It's been done. I don't have photos, but I remember a guy bought a boat from Wild Alaska Rivers Company many years ago and rigged it up with a sail system. He used a centerboard of some kind.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    I did it once, but I hadn't intended on it. I floated the Kenai to Skilak Lake with an outboard that failed after a half mile of strong wind and very rough water. I put up an oar, lashed a tarp to it and used the oars to steer. Got me to the takeout just about as fast as my little outboard would have. It was a downwind only affair.

    Seriously though, I would put down swing-up sideboards for twin keels, mount a oar stand on the stern and use an oar for the rudder. One problem will be that the cataraft will ride high on the water and catch a lot of wind and reduce performance when doing anything besides sailing down wind. Still, with enough sideboard in the water it should work.

    I did this exact thing with a Sevelor inflatable kayak once and is sailed pretty well. I used plywood sideboards and a plastic sewer pipe for the mast. (Yes, I was a poor redneck. So?) I could actually tack into the wind about 15-20 degrees. I also had a Grumman 17' canoe with their sail & sideboard kit, but that thing seriously needed outriggers.


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