The Herreshoff Designed Sailski built by William Berry in 195x was Unique..."

#5666--BUILDING SAILSKI : A 27' RACING CATAMARANby L. Francis Herreshoff

This 27 ft. long racing catamaran was designed for those who seek high speed on the water under sail.

"Several readers of THE RUDDER have asked for the design of a sailing machine, and most of them have requested that it be cheap to construct. Now it is good fun to design a sailing machine, but to plan one which is simple and cheap to construct is really a most difficult matter. If this were not so there would have been many in the past, but so far none has been produced which was really fast, simple and cheap. In fact, the successful catamaran of the past has cost as much or more than the usual sailboat of the same sail area although they were often of one-quarter or less the weight of the sailboat. Much of the expense of the catamaran heretofore has gone into building a structure that would support a central sail plan between the two hulls. This has always proved complicated and expensive, so that in the design of the Sailski a radically different scheme or arrangement has been adopted.

The principal feature is that the sail plan is supported in all directions by a tripod which has the base of its legs near neutral axes, so when the hulls pitch, the rig and framework will not be strained. Therefore it is believed that the design of the "Sailski" is a very simple solution of a complex problem."--L. Francis Herreshoff

This is a picture of Patricia and William Berry sailing their Sailski in Buzzards Bay sometime in the early 1950's. Swifts Beach is in the background. It looks like in a close reach as the mainsail is pulled in tight.

Sailski off Swifts Beach, Wareham, MA

Built and skippered by William Berry in the early 1950's, she had asymetrical hulls. No dagger board, keel, or centerboard was necessary. These parts enable a sailboat to sail closer to the apparent wind. Like an iceboat, the faster the sailski went, the closer it could sail upwind.

Notice the number one under the Sailski logo on the sail. This means that this catamaran was the first to be built under the Herreshoff design.

At the time it is believed that it was the only Herreshoff designed catamaran sailing on Buzzard's Bay; and perhaps the only catamaran. Please correct me if I am wrong on this point.

Asymetrical hull were adapted to the Hobie 16 Catamaran. However, the Hobie 18 had dagger boards for each hull.

Most large cats have dagger boards that slide in and out of the hulls, but they are not necessary with asymetrical hulls.

Sadly, this Sailski was wrecked in the 1954 hurricane Carol and was never rebuilt. It is not known if there are any that still exist.

One hull, the port hull still exists as well as the main crossmember. The Sailski was 27' long and 16' wide. A heavy canvas was stretched between the hulls and lashed firmly to each hull and the forward and aft crossmembers.

William Berry is a veteran Buzzards Bay sailor.

Bill Berry named his unique craft, the "Scat Cat". He emblazoned this name on the stern of each hull. One hull (port = left) held the "Scat", while the right hull (Starboard hull) was named "Cat".

Do not refer to the hulls of a catamaran as pontoons. They are not pontoons. Pontoon boats are not made to go fast and have poor nautical characteristics. A catamaran hull is designed to sail in conditions that would easily capsize a pontoon boat which is best motored in lakes or rivers, not the ocean.

So, remember, there are no pontoons on a catamaran, just hulls. The same with a three-hulled boat known as a trimaran.

Part of the transom from the port hull of the "Scat Cat", still remains. Notice the asymetry. The transom is the located at the back (stern) of a boat; it is where the name of the boat is traditionally affixed.

Part of the left hull (the transom) of the catamaran

Return from Sailski to Home