Friday, January 13, 2012

Oppikat - A Boat for Little People

Years ago Neels Lund of Nebe Boats commissioned a catamaran intended for children to sail. He was going to make moulds then build it as a GRP production boat. I designed the Oppikat  for Neels but his company closed its doors before he even started building the moulds.

Over the years since then we have sold a few sets of plans for it but I have never received any photos of completed boats until recently. Frank Nagel in Berlin, Germany, has completed one for his children and has started to send me sailing photos.

Frank's newly completed Oppikat

Frank has two sons. Johnny is 7 and sails with Frank aboard for safety. Vincent is 11 and weighs 33kg. He sails their Oppikat by himself in breezes up to Force 3. Frank says that he also sails it himself with both sons aboard in up to Force 7. The 120kg total weight is a bit much for the little 9ft cat but it is good to know that she can take it.

11-Year old Vincent sailing the Oppikat

Although I first detailed this little boat to be built in fibreglass, I more recently did detailing for a combination of plywood and strip cedar, to make it more suitable for amateur builders. Frank built his boat using that method.

This is a great boat for children to learn how to sail a catamaran, in a size that they can handle either single-handed or with a friend. The fact that it manages rather well with a full-size adult means that Dad can have his fun with it also.

The Oppikat is a nice boat for a winter project, for Dad or Grandpa to build and possibly have some quality time with the little ones. You can be building in a warm basement or garage in the winter then be ready for time on the water in summer. The hulls are small, so it can be built inside almost any room in a standard house or apartment, then taken out through a standard door. It can be car-topped on small cars, so no trailer is needed to get her to the water and back home again.

I hope that we will see a lot more of these fun boats on the water before too long.

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