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Maine Cat 38

2016 September 1

This sleek cruising cat is perfect for tradewind sailing


My son took my 4-year-old granddaughter sailing in our new dinghy for the first time last weekend. I asked her, “Did you like sailing, Violet?” She said, “Yes, but I didn’t like tipping.” Kids are honest. 

I think in that simple statement is the key to why a lot of sailors are attracted to the cruising cats. You can set your Dr. Pepper down anywhere and it will stay there. For some of us, not tipping means your knees will have an easier time. Care should be taken to divide the multihulls into two classes, at least, i.e. high performance and full cruising. Of course with the Gunboat-type cats that line is blurred but clearly most of the cruising multihulls put comfort ahead of performance. You could say the very same thing about some cruising monohulls.

The U.S.-built Maine Cat 38 has a distinctive feature; there is no separation of the cockpit area from saloon area. Essentially the two areas are melded into one. This will work very well in warm weather. In the Pacific Northwest I’m not so sure this configuration would work as well. But the designer, Dick Vermeulen, has identified the market and has not compromised the boat and is focused on that target. 

I like the look of this cat. Some of you might notice the look of the high pilothouse, but if you were to see this cat in person the beam of the cat would reduce the visual height of the overall boat. The hull shows a deep fore foot (fore feet?) and a distinct tuck up in the run aft. The D/L is 113.8 and the overall L/B is 1.8. The L/B of the individual hull is 6.1. There is a pronounced chine with minimal rocker. I can’t tell how far above the chine is from the DWL because DWL is not shown on the drawings. 

The good news is the boat has a deep and high aspect ratio and fully retractable daggerboards. This will make beaching this cat very easy. Given the auxiliary power is twin 15-horsepower outboard motors, they can retract to help with beaching draft. Draft with boards up is 19 inches and boards down 6 feet, 6 inches.  I suspect this cat will go to weather very nicely.


The 38 is laid out with two double berth staterooms and a single berth forward. The head is forward in the starboard hull. The galley is down in the port hull. It’s a nice, big galley. The cockpit and saloon area are on the same level and include a console for the sail-handling gear. The wheel is on centerline aft. This will restrict vision forward somewhat as you will always be looking through the pilothouse. I don’t see anything indicating a dinette or dining table. From reading the specs I get the idea that you “furnish” the saloon with furniture you choose. While built-in interior components are more space efficient,  I can see the advantage of being able to fold up your entire dining set and stow it away leaving a wide open cockpit. Or, for racing, you can take your furniture ashore and reduce weight.

The rig uses an aluminum Selden mast and a high-roach mainsail. The mainsheet traveler is on the aft crossbeam just aft of the helm station. The jib is self-tacking and the sheet is led to the console forward in the saloon/cockpit area. Sheeting the jib from inside the pilothouse might be a challenge visually. The SA/D is 25.5.

Construction details of the Maine Cat include thermo-formed CoreCell foam with vinylester resin. Thermo-forming the core material means that the core is heated to a point where it is malleable and easier to form fit to the inside of a female mold. Without thermo-forming, the core material would have to be scored or cut with grooves to allow it to conform to the hull contours.

This is a good looking cat.

LOA 38’; LWL 36’5”; Beam 21’; Draft 2’ 5” to 6’6”; Displ. 12,400 lbs.; Sail area 844 sq. ft.; SA/D 25.5; D/L 113.8; L/B 1.8; Twin auxiliary 15-hp.; Fuel capacity 44 gal.; Water capacity 82 gal.

Maine Cat Catamarans

P.O. Box 205

Bremen, ME 04551



Our best estimate of the sailaway price: $369,000