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KING KAT is a classy little catamaran that's easy to build and easy on the pocketbook. What's more, it sports a rig which makes it perform like a dream.
The triangular sail, stretched between a sloping yard and a boom, has been slung from a short mast for almost as long as men have sailed. Apart from being
beautiful in silhouette, it's an efficient airfoil. A disadvantage has been that conventional (if stubby) mast. Of necessity, the yard and boom are slung to one
side. This is fine when we're racing along with the sail on the lee side of the mast, but what happens when we want to come about? Then the otherwise perfect
sail wraps itself around the mast like a wind-swept skirt on a damsel's leg \u2014 only the result isn't so sat-
isfying. Gone is the advantage, and unless we can find some way to hustle that sail around to the other side of the mast, what's gained on the starboard tack is
lost on the port, or vice versa.
What's needed is a sky hook to hold that yard up \u2014 and what we have in King Kat is practically that. But we have a pair of sturdy plywood legs holding that
"hook" up and a stub mast to tie down the boom. Practical? Yes indeed, for on a catamaran we have a base broad enough to spread that bipod far enough to
leave the sail clear at all times. Better yet, there are no stays to worry about. The top of the mast can be parted by loosening one nut, the bottom unhooked by
tipping the legs outboard, the boom released by removing a pin and the whole wrapped up under the arm. The sailing cat can then be used as an outboard.
Want to build it? Here's how: Begin construction with the hulls. Do not let the fact that there are two of these frighten you. Thanks to the fact that these hulls
are identical, and that the lines are laid down so that every frame has the identical bevel from the vertical, we can set up a production line and build both hulls
faster than we could a simple V-bottom hull of equivalent displacement.
Cut the side, bottom and deck strips of all frames to length, using only one setting of the miter gauge on your saw. Take note that the sides are extended
beyond what will be the deck line. This is to permit assembly on the building frame. Excess will be cut off later. Begin assembly of frames by building a simple
jig as in the first cap-tioned photograph. Two boards are nailed to the bench at the proper angle to take both sets of frames numbered 2 through 6. A strip of
plywood is glued and nailed across the top and bottom of each frame. One of these strips is shown being added in the photo. The nails are that new boon
to plywood boat builders, Johns-Manville Asbestos Siding Nails, made of brass, cadmium plated, thin headed and coming in sizes from 1 inch up. Plywood
may be shop scrap, so long as it is waterproof. In building frames 1 and 7 for both hulls, simply move one side of the jig in to get the narrower width. Frames
are notched for sheer and chine clamps with a dado head and set aside.
The stem and stern liner rabbeted stock are identical as to cross section and may be cut from one timber. As with the frames, this stock must be cut longer
than final size to permit it to extend to the building frame.
The building frame consists of two 2x4s, spread to 18 inches with heavy stock at ends, and diagonally braced with scrap plywood or lumber. A 1x4 is nailed
across this frame at right angles at all stations taking a boat frame. Be sure and check for square.
The hull frame is aligned to a stretched chalk line at the required height above building frame. This line is to be plumb, regardless of shop floor. A simple
method of single-handed leveling of frames to centers is illustrated. Note the level, clamped to frame, and the centerline heavily scribed on each frame. Frames
are squared off and braced with scrap plywood or lumber. Blocks holding the taut string will come out to make way for the stem and stern liners, which are cut
to the proper bevel, toenailed to the building frame and cross-braced with scrap.
The 3/4x7/8-in. chine and sheer clamps are now installed. Except you're using real hard wood, the hardest bend (the chine at the bow end) may be accom-
plished by soaking overnight. Very hard woods such as oak might need some steaming. These members are fitted to the frames with only some additional
beveling required in notches at numbers 1 and 7. This may be done with a wood rasp. Slight beveling required on the side rails of the above frames is done
with a small plane
after installing the clamps. Clamps are fastened at all joints with Weld wood Glue and l^-in. brass siding nails. A C-clamp may be needed as additional bracing
at the joint of chine and stem liner until the glue sets.
The best way to fit side planking is shown in one of the illustrations. Here a strip 15% in. wide has been ripped from a 12-ft. panel of the Vi-in. plywood.
This strip is tacked or C-clamped about the midsection so that you can push the bow and stern around flat as you trace along chine, sheer and each end. A hand
power saw is then used to cut both sides of the hull. Best stay a fraction outside the line when using this method of cutting the moderate curve. And if you use
A-C grade plywood (only one good face) make sure that you match sides before cutting so that the best face will be on the outside. A-C grade, incidentally, is
perfectly satisfactory for building these sealed hulls. After sides are secured with glue and 1-in. brass nails spaced at about 3-in. intervals along each clamp and
frame, dress both the bottom edges of the side panels and chine clamps with a long plane. Frequently check with a straightedge or level to make sure edges are
flat and even. Hull
bottoms are scribed, cut and fastened the same way as the sides. A short plane is best to trim the edges of the bottoms flush. Drive all nails flush with the
plywood, using a blunt punch where necessary. Then remove the hull from the building frame. A belt sander, or even a disk sander, may be used with fine
paper to complete finish. The brass nails will sand right down with the plywood to become invisible after painting. Topside, the extended lumber used
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