| By Kenneth Purdy - Freeport,
Texas - USA
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.
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.