Wompus Cat is a very tidy and cruisable conventional “Cape Cod type” catboat, with single large mast forward and a single mainsail. She only needs the tiller put down and maybe a hand for adjusting the mainsheet for each tack. This is probably the simplest of boats to enjoy the afternoon sailing either alone or with a few friends along. The hallmark of an traditional catboat is that they are easy to sail, have a huge cockpit for good company to go along with you, and at the end of the day a large and comfortable cabin to rest up for the next days adventure.
“Wompus Cat” is trailerable so that you can bring her home at the end of the season and go through your annual maintenance at your leisure in a covered work area. She is trailerable enough to allow some exploring of local waters that might be more accessible from the trailer than by water alone. Her draft allows the additional exploration of shallow waters and with the optional inboard diesel engine she can travel longer distances on those days that don’t have much wind. Entering the cabin you will immediately notice that there is no centerboard trunk in the way of the living space in the cabin.
With an inboard small diesel engine of 10 hp. the draft of the boat is barely deeper than a centerboard boat and the small fin keep is hydrodynamically superior to the typical centerboard and large wetted surface of a more conventional catboat. With the fin keel the boat tacks well and points to windward like a racer and the Wompus Cat has all her 800 lbs. of ballast deep in the keel for stability and ability to hold up to windward work. Without having a centerboard trunk in the middle of the cabin the settees feel larger and certainly the leg room is more comfortable. A porta-potti or watercloset is set at the head of the settee and really is quite usable (a real trick in a boat of this size) and the two berths are commodious and comfortable for overnight cruising or just a quick nap on a quiet day, there is a filler cushion to convert the twin settee’s to one large double berth for those of you that have a cruising companion worth sleeping with. To the starboard side just forward of the rear bulkhead is a raised galley flat with room for a sink and stowage below for cooking utensils and galley stores. On the portside we put one of the excellent “Sardine” wood/stoves that Marine Stoves is building from cast iron. With a few small pieces of wood thrown in on top of a handful of fragrant cedar shavings, a match applied to the bottom of the stack and in a few minutes the cabin is warm, your coffee or tea is brewing and life feels good.
Sailing a boat like the Wompus Cat is simplicity itself, untying the sail-gaskets and pulling on the two halyards being the only effort required to raising the sail. Once the sail is properly set and the mooring is cast off the days sail begins with just the single mainsheet to tend and a long tiller to manage the semi-balanced rudder. This is really where a catboat shines and these boats can be fast sailors, particularly off the wind. You can be joined by quite a group in the cockpit without getting in each other’s way and with her large beam she sails flat and fast. The first boat of the fleet is near completion now and I look forward to showing her stern to the locals.