Felix 6.5: Dennis' first design

Built upside down using12mm CNC machined bulkheads.

Loa: 6.5 m

Beam: 2.4 m

Lwl: 6 m

Draft: 1.3 to 0.4 m

Displacement: 600 kg

Ballast: 200 kg

Sail area: 20 square metres

I designed and built this little modern interpretation of a catboat back in 1995 as a young designer / builder keen to make a statement. At the time she was what I considered the ultimate boat for my own use and indeed we made some memorable voyages all around the archipelago in southern Finland. She's just big enough for a couple to spend a week or two in camping style luxury. The prototype in the pictures is going strong, a friend of mine looks after her for me and enjoys sailing on the lakes in western Finland.

The light weight hull combined with a bulbed keel and a freestanding, rotating wingmast, make her a joy to sail, lively but quite stable. Perfectly balanced and deceptively fast, she literally sails circles around similarly sized production boats. Sailing is delightfully simple with only the mainsheet and mast rotation to worry about, and with the rotating mast, windward ability is brilliant. Not what catboats traditionally are known for.

She's built upside down using the 12mm CNC machined bulkheads as the building jig. The hull is 15mm Western Red Cedar or equivalent with e-glass set in epoxy resin. Decks and house sides are 6mm marine ply. Cabin top is strip planked with the same strips as the hull.

The keel bulb is cast lead with a foil-shaped hole into which the timber/glass keel blade is bonded to with epoxy. The keel box is hiding under the end of the bunk and it goes unnoticed in the interior. There is a metal tripod that folds away under the bunk complete with a small hand operated winch to lift the keel up for trailering.

I made the mast out of 1.5mm thick aircraft ply which I folded to a profile shape and covered with a unidirectional carbon fibre laminate. A one metre long heavy walled stainless steel tube acts as the mast step. The rig was a great success, but I would perhaps add a wishbone boom to allow sailing straight downwind. With the boomless main downwind work is done jibing which is great fun with the hull popping onto an effortless plane in all but the lightest of breezes. I could draw up a more conventional rig if this freestanding business feels a bit too much.

Back in '95 I did not work with cutfiles yet so if you are interested in building one of these little cuties you'll need to be patient with me until I get the cutfiles done.