FatCat  
By Kenneth Purdy - Freeport, Texas - USA

Dear Chuck:

I saw your article in Small Craft Advisor. I really enjoyed it. In fact I keep rereading it.

I am about to finish Fatcat. I have been working on the mast and tabernacle. I have to rework the hatch. It sticks way too much. I think I am going to put it on hinges. I did everything pretty much as Mr. Michalak designed it except for replacing the leeboard with very shallow bilge keels—-three laminations of 3/4 x 1 5/8 clear pine on each side, eleven feet long. They were bedded and coated with epoxy thickened with milled glass fibers. I think this makes a very tough coating. I tried to place the bilge keels so that the center of resistance would be about where Jim placed the leeboard. I think they give the boat about 4 square feet of lateral area underwater. If you add 1 1/2 for the rudder, this 5 1/2 square feet should work. Jim offered two options, one I estimate with about 4 1/2 square feet and one with about 6 square feet. I am still thinking about adding the board on as well. Once I get the boat in the water, I will see how the sail area balances with the underwater resistance, and I might make adjustments if the helm is too far out of balance.

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I am planning to get the boat in the water before summer is over. There’s not much left to do: the tabernacle, the hatch, a check to make sure all stitching holes are filled with epoxy. I have a tarp sail and a trolling motor that I believe will move her, and I want to get a small outboard later to replace the trolling motor.

I have included some photos. You have my permission to use them and my letter on your website if you wish. I hope to have some sailing photos soon.

sincerely,
Kenneth Purdy