Boat Review of the Week

Pacific Seacraft 61: Catari

People who build boats—particularly those who create custom boats for special clients—are in the business of making dreams come true. It’s not always easy, but put together a collaborative client who knows what he wants, a famous designer who has the skill and imagination to bring the vision to life, and a builder with the skills and integrity to turn the drawings and specs into reality, and you have something very special.

That’s just what has been happening over the past two years, as yacht designer Bob Perry has worked with a special client in Annapolis, MD. The client was already working with Steve Brodie, owner and president of Pacific Seacraft Yachts in Washington, NC, and their mutual goal was to come up with a suitable cruising boat for a family to roam the planet’s oceans. The result, as shown here, is a truly handsome 61-foot ketch that is long and lean and appears to be itching for blue water. Catari has a traditional flair with a springy sheer, ketch rig, counter stern and raked transom. On deck, the design has been given two cockpits—one for handling the ship and one for relaxing and light sheet handling. The aft cockpit has a rigid dodger that will protect the crew in sour weather.

Under the water, Catari has a fairly high-aspect spade rudder and modern cruising fin keel with the ballast positioned quite low to enhance stability. Although it is hard to see from the drawings, the hull appears to have a sweet shape that will reduce—if not eliminate—pounding when sailing to windward.

Below decks, the custom cabin layout is very much the client’s choice. In the instance of Catari, there are two entrances below decks—one into the aft cabin from the aft cockpit and one into the saloon from the center cockpit. The master cabin aft is spacious with a big double berth, a sea berth, and a huge head and shower.

Perry is a good cook and has drawn many excellent galleys for his discerning customers over the years. His client for Catari is also a foodie, so the galley looks like a masterpiece. In fact, Mario Batali will probably want to start sailing if he happens to catch a glimpse of Catari’s kitchen.

Pacific Seacraft is building the hull mold this summer and will start work on Catari in the fall. The idea is to make the 61’s hull and deck the key elements of future semi-custom yachts for owners who want to create an interior and sailing rig that fits their own sailing dreams.

Making magic. Fulfilling dreams. Not a bad way to spend a day—or two years. For more on Bob Perry, visitwww.perryboat.com. For the scoop on Pacific Seacraft, visit www.pacificseacraft.com.

DESIGNER’S COMMENTS: ROBERT H. PERRY
This design project started life as a 49-foot “simple” cruising boat for an Annapolis couple. But there was no hurry, so the client and I took our time and indulged ourselves by exploring a myriad of approaches. In time, our simple 49-footer became a fairly complex 61-foot ketch with design solutions to satisfy all of the client’s potential cruising needs. It’s been a long process, but one I have enjoyed every step of the way. The client is happy and I am happy.

But I can’t take all the credit. Over time, the client and I assembled a team to work on the project. There is, of course, Pacific Seacraft owner Steve Brodie, and Steve’s foreman, Thumper Brooks. A buddy of mine, world-class sailor Tim O’Connell, came on board to help with the deck layout and sailing systems. All of the conceptual 3D rendering work was done by my pal Rick Beddoe. Engineering is being done by Ivan Erdevicki, a long-time associate of mine who works in Montenegro. Final 3D renderings are being done by Jody Culbert, who has the daunting job of translating my 2D scratches into extremely accurate and very beautiful 3D models in preparation for CNC tooling.

The most unique feature of this big, fast ketch is the dual cockpit configuration. We tossed around ideas about where the cockpit should be, but couldn’t decide whether to have an aft or center cockpit. Each has distinct advantages, so we went with both. The handling of the boat will be from the aft cockpit, while the center cockpit will be for lounging and al fresco dining. Some halyards and controls are led to the center cockpit to minimize the pile of lines aft. PSC has done extensive, beautiful, full-size mock ups of both cockpits to verify that the details and contours all work.

The interior revolves around the big galley, as my client is a great cook. The workshop adjacent to the engine room has been designed to double as a nursery should a small child be aboard. I have given a lot of attention to every available cubic inch of interior volume in keeping with the client’s demanding requirements.

Because we have a traditionally raked transom and counter stern, a swim step aft was out of the question. Instead, I have gone with a transom door that hinges down to provide a boarding platform.

The ketch rig was the owner’s preference. Why? Because he likes ketches. The ketch rig offers unique advantages for a large cruising boat and suits the classic hull proportions of this design. I have configured the rig so that the mizzen will be a true driving sail and not just an ornament or a place to mount the radar.

I like to think I am my own worst critic. It often takes me a while to warm up to my newest design. But at this stage, I know Catari very well and I really like it.

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