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Arey’s Pond 20

2010 July 1

I've always liked true catboats. I call them Cape Cod catboats and this Arey's Pond Boat Yard 20-footer designed by Tony Davis a great example of the breed. Catboats are not the fastest of boats but there are few boats with more character and utility.

Catboats are fat. That is just part of their character and the way they get their stability. The L/B of this design is 2.26 and the D/L is 215. The waterlines show some gentle hollow at the entry for a half-angle of entry of 25 degrees. Compare that to the 14 degrees of the Sundowner. Forward sections are very V-shaped and fair into a midsection with a firm bilge turn and 14 degrees of deadrise amidships. In other words, it's a V-ed midsection. This deadrise is carried aft and the tip of the transom is immersed. Draft with the centerboard down is 5 feet, and 2 feet with the board up. There is a hint of tumblehome in the topsides aft. The rudder is a traditional Cape Cod catboat-style barn door with very low aspect ratio. The centerboard is big and I would guess it's just a flat plate. I once raced a friend around a triangle course in Beetle cats, essentially smaller versions of this Arey's Pond 20. I beat him quite easily and later on the dock I asked him if he had pulled the centerboard up going downwind. He said, "Oh, I never put it down." I'm not sure what that tells you about traditional catboat hulls but it can't be bad. I just love the strong sheerline and proud bow of this design. It's got that "You talking to me?" look.

Obviously, traditional catboats are not the epitome of cutting edge rig design. Carbon fiber spars are available but the rig geometry is still traditional. The mainsail is huge-320 square feet-for an SA/D of 22.64. This is a lot and makes me think that you had better have the slab reefing system well worked out because you will learn to reef frequently in this boat. One reason for reefing this catboat will be to control the weather helm. Catboats come stock with a healthy weather helm. When you combine that fat hull and that extra long boom you have the perfect recipe for weather helm. But consider the helm issue just part of the fun of sailing a catboat. It can be quite alarming at first but in time you will learn to play the mainsheet to reduce helm loads.

Catboats are big boats inside. The long centerboard trunk divides the interior of the 20. There is an enclosed head to starboard, a small galley to port and comfortable settee/berths forward. A table mounts off the forward end of the centerboard trunk. In warm weather you will live in the huge cockpit. In the Pacific Northwest you will be comfortable below. There is a lot of stowage volume aft for cruising gear but I'd like to see a dedicated spot near the galley for an Igloo cooler. I suppose it could go in the lazarette. In fact it might be better off there. For one or two people who want to get in touch with what cruising is all about this is a perfect layout. Note that the catboat rig puts the mast up in the eyes of the bow where it is out of the layout.

Arey's Pond Boat Yard in South Orleans, Massachusetts, builds the 20 in cold-molded wood. The 8-horsepower diesel will give you an honest 5 knots and a sense of security as you putt along. I love the look of this boat. It's pure, traditional Cape Cod catboat styling, but that works well for me. In fact, this boat would work well for me. In a harbor full of plain white plastic sloops in the popular "bloated tennis shoe" style this little hooker would be a real standout.

LOA 20'9"; LWL 19'2"; Beam 9'2"; Draft 5' (board down), 2' (board up); Displacement 3,400 lbs.; Sail area 320 sq. ft.; SA/D 22.64; D/L 215; L/B 2.26; Auxiliary Yanmar 8-hp; Fuel 18 gals.; Water 18 gals.

Arey's Pond Boat Yard, P.O. Box 222, South Orleans, MA 02662, (508) 255-0994, www.areyspondboatyard.com.

OBE: $90,000
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