Catboat även kallad Unabåt


Så här skriver Dixon Kemp i adertonde kapitlet av den svenska översättningen av Handbok för Yacht- och Båtsegling 1881.

Om Unabåtar

Den förträffliga sorts små båtar, som äro kända under namnet Unabåtar, infördes till England från Amerika på följande sätt: aflidne markisen av Conyngham var år 1852 i Amerika, besåg der bland annt Mr Robert Fish's (numera berömd yachtkonstruktör) båtvarf, och fick dervid se den sedermera beryktade båten Una. han sände den medelst ångbåt till London, hvarifrån den pr jernväg transporterades till Southhampton samt vidare togs på släp till Cowes. Una seglade sedermera en sommar på floden Serpentine, men der väckte hon icke samma uppseende som i cowes, hvarest hon i det märmaste betraktades som ett litet underverk. Att se Una ligga och slå bidevind och fördevind, än gående akter om en båt, än tvärs för bogen af en annan, än kilande emellan ett par andra, der utrymmet icke skulle tyckas stort nog för en ål att slingra sig fram, förvånade befolkningen i Cowes, som aldrig sett några händigare båtar under segel än färjkarlarnes båtar med sina tre segel, eller Itchenbåtarne med sina två. med ett ord, Una med sitt enda segel visade sig så snabbgående och lätthanterlig, att inom kortare tid än ett år fanns i Cowes och inärheten af Solent en hel flotta av Unabåtar, så benämnda efter den af lord Conyngham från Amerika öfverförda, och ännu i dag finnes ingen sorts båtar mera omtyckta för segling i smult vatten.

I Amerika är Una eller "cat-rig", som den också kallas, mycket omtyckt, och i Newport, der den är särdeles allmän, stå båtar med denna rigg i högt anseende både för händighet, förmåga att åta sig upp i vind och snabbhet. Om sjön inte är hög och det endast är fråga om att kryssa sig till lofvart, så gifver utan tvifvel ett ensamt segel de bästa egenskaper så väl för att äga sig upp i vind som för händighet.

Una skänktes 1873 till Lord de Ros på Irland och dess vidare öden är okänt. Noteras kan att båten måste ha varit mycket omtyckt eftersom hans enda dotter Mary senare kom att döpa sin dotter till just Una.


Nedan följer ytterligare några beskrivningar av båttypen.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Catboat (noun) :a sailboat having a cat rig and usually a centerboard and being of light draft and broad beam

Cat rig (noun): a rig consisting of a single mast far forward carrying a single large sail extended by a boom

An illustration of a traditional gaff-rigged catboat. This beamy, shallow-draft centerboard design has been used as a fishing craft in New England for more than 150 years.

DIXON KEMP Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture, 1913

Una Boat: This is a centre-board boat with one sail introduced from America, where they are known as "cat boats." The mast is stepped close to the stem (sometimes with a rake aft),and the sail is laced to a boom and gaff. The name Una was given them because the first boat introduced at Cowes, from America, was so named. These boats vary from twice to three times their beam in length, and are very shallow. If handled with care, they are sate enough, very fast, and in smooth water very weatherly and handy. In squalls they should always be luffed up in good time, or they might be driven under.

The term "Una rig is now commonly used in England to denote a one-sail boat. Undoubtedly the word "Una" refers to one sail, and not to the type of boat; hence we hear of all sorts of boats being "Una rigged" and in America the corresponding rig (termed "cat rig") is applied to both deep-bodied and shallow craft. Whether or not any single sail could ho properly classed under the term Una can only be decided arbitrarily. The one sail boat brought over here in 1853 and named "Una" had a gaff sail, and no other sail. Cowes Unas wore famous in their day, but since the advent of small "Raters" none have been built.

CATBOAT HISTORY: Catboats started out as workboats. According to marine historian Howard I. Chapelle, beamy, single-sailed centerboarders with half-decked hulls and barn door rudders began to appear in America around 1840, when, for the first time, there was sufficient demand to make fishing from small boats profitable. Sailed mostly in Lower New York Harbor and on Cape Cod Bay, cats fished, freighted, ferried, and packeted for decades. Their simplicity, stability, and shallow draft made them versatile, and their efficiency and ease of handling made them popular. In the 1880s and 90s, catboat racing flourished, especially around New York. In that Gilded Age, unlimited sandbaggers with huge sail area and live ballast crew who moved from side to side with each tack to keep the boats upright. The Marshall 18, has that same expansive sail area for her short length and large barndoor rudder which helps her from heading up in a fresh breeze.

The most simple definition of a catboat is a vessel having only one sail, usually stepped far forward. The cat-rigged sailboat has a long history, and the term catboat has been in use at least since the 1850s. The Chesapeake Bay catboat was common around the turn of the century for fishing and oystering in shallow coastal waters. The design was especially suited as a workboat because it was easy to sail with a minimum of crew, and the sail and boom could be hauled up and clear of the cockpit, simplifying the handling of lines and nets.
In the United Kingdom the cat rig is known to this day as the Una rig, and was adopted from an American design in approximately 1853. In fact, the term Una boat came about because the first catboat to reach English waters was an American boat named Una.


Nedan följer en artikel av Willian Alden för HARPER'S NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE 1877 vilken citerats från The Cheap Pages.

STRICTLY speaking, a sailboat is a craft propelled by any sort or number of sails. Usually, however, the term sailboat is restricted to an open pleasure boat, carrying a single sail, and rigged after the fashion called, for some inscrutable reason, the cat rig. When a pleasure boat is large enough to have a cabin, or carries a jib and mainsail, she is usually honored with the name of yacht, and is thus promoted above the rank of sailboat.

The catboat is the typical sailboat of American waters, for the cat rig is scarcely known in Europe. In length it ranges all the way from twelve to forty feet, but the great majority of catboats are over fifteen and under twenty-five feet long. The catboat swarms all over our harbors, rivers, and small lakes, and annually drowns a frightful aggregate of men, women, and boys. Fortunately we have neither tigers nor deadly snakes along the banks of the Hudson, the Sound, or the New Jersey and Long Island bays; but the ravages of the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut cat boats make quite a respectable appearance even in comparison with the terrible statistics of snake bites and tiger dinners in India. The best variety of catboat is a shallow, saucer-like boat, drawing not more than a foot or eighteen inches of water when the centerboard is up, and decked over for about a third or a half of the distance from bow to stern. The single mast is stepped close to the stem, and the sail is stretched by means of a long boom and a shorter gaff. It can be easily handled by one person, and its management can be readily learned. In the estimation of persons familiar with boating, who do not desire to die early, the catboat has three serious faults -- a liability to capsize, to be swamped, and to sink when a sufficiently large hole is made in her. The last fault she possesses in common with all other civilized vessels, but to the first two she is peculiarly prone.

When a catboat is sailing with the wind abeam, or forward of the beam, and is managed by a competent and careful man, she is as safe as any other small sailing vessel. Such a man will see the approach of a fresh gust of wind before it reaches him, and will be prepared to meet it. He will have his peak halyards led aft to a cleat within his reach as he stands at the helm, and he will thus be able to instantly slack away the peak if the gust is a violent one. If this is not necessary, he will luff the boat just before the gust strikes the sail, and thus, by causing the sail to present a smaller angle to the direction of the wind, will diminish the effect of the latter upon the boat. In no circumstances will he commit the error of letting go the sheet. This is the favorite maneuver of the man who sails a catboat by the light of nature. He thereby incurs the risk that the end of the boom will be driven under the water, and will act as a lever to force the boat's head off from the wind, and so enable a capsize to be easily and surely achieved. The cardinal principle of catboat sailing is to "luff her up when it breezes" but it is constantly ignored by hundreds of men who regard themselves as fully competent to manage a boat.

It follows that safety from capsizing in a catboat sailing on the wind may be assured by care and intelligence. The difficulty is that not one in a hundred of those who undertake to manage catboats possesses both these qualities. Often the man who knows precisely what he ought to do neglects to do it.

He lets a squall creep down upon him unseen while he is talking with a fair passenger, and jams his helm down when it is too late. He neglects to have his peak halyards within his reach, or coiled down so that the rope will run smoothly through the blocks. Thus, when the moment comes to let go the peak, either he can not reach the halyards without letting go the helm, or the tangled rope refuses to do its duty. Carelessness probably leads to as many capsizes as incompetency, and even the thoroughly accomplished and experienced sailor is often too self-confident to be careful.

When running before the wind, the utmost care will sometimes be unavailing to prevent an open catboat from swamping as she wallows in a heavy sea. The chief danger, however, to which a sailboat with a free wind is exposed is that of unexpected jibing. Either the wind suddenly veers a little, or the helmsman steers wildly, and the wind takes the sail aback. Instantly the boom flies to the other side of the boat, and is brought up by the sheet with a shock that either parts the rope, breaks the boom, or capsizes the boat. Ordinarily jibing can be prevented by careful management, but occasionally a sudden shifting of the wind will lead to an equally sudden jibing, in spite of the most careful helmsman.

There is one source of danger to which a catboat when running dead before a fresh breeze must necessarily be exposed. It is that of rolling the end of the boom under. A sloop, if the necessity occurs, can scud under her jib alone; but the catboat, having but one sail, must keep that set in all circumstances in which a sail is needed. Now when the boom is at right angles to the line of the keel, as it is when the win(I is directly astern, the rolling of the boat is very apt to dip the boom into the water. When it is dipped to a certain depth, a capsize becomes inevitable. No seamanship can do away with this danger. It springs from the inherent viciousness of the cat rig, and no care or foresight can provide against it. Occasionally the boom, instead of rolling under, "kicks up," as the phrase runs, and is wrapped close to the mast by the sail. The boatman, if he is a sailor, can usually extricate himself from a difficulty of this kind by one or another expedient; but if he is merely an awkward amateur, as is usually the case, he abandons himself to despair, and gloomily wonders where his body will be found, and whether it will be swollen to an unrecognizable extent.

In addition to these methods of drowning its passengers, the catboat, like all other vessels provided with low-swinging booms, contrives to annually knock a large quantity of people overboard. Not very long ago the Rev. Mr. S , residing near a bay on the Connecticut coast eligible for sailing purposes, rashly took his own and a few assorted children belonging to his parishioners out sailing in his newly purchased catboat. A pleasant breeze, scarcely strong enough to be called "fresh," was blowing, and the good clergyman, confident that there was no possible danger, went on explaining the probable rig of the Ark, until the boat suddenly jibed. The boom and the sheet were both new, and the wind was not strong enough to carry any thing away or to capsize the boat. The children's heads happened, however, to be in the path of the swinging boom, and it reaped the astonished small boys at a breath, and the girls who sat between, like a blunt but determined sickle. Most of them were successfully picked up; but two small boys were missing when the boat reached the land, and their parents, who seemed to attach a good deal of value to them, never quite overlooked the clergyman's conduct, and at the next donation party expressed their feelings in dried beans in a painfully unmistakable way. Usually persons who are knocked overboard by a boom, and know how to swim, are picked up again in a damp but living condition. When, however, the boom hits a skull hard enough to fracture it' the victim rarely takes sufficient interest in worldly affairs to try to keep himself afloat.

The catboat is, then, always dangerous when in careless or incompetent hands, and sometimes unavoidably dangerous when managed by the best of sailors. It is, however, the best and safest sailboat which civilized boatbuilders have produced, and we can not expect any thing safer from them. If a boatbuilder is asked to construct a boat which shall be not only fast, but absolutely safe in all contingencies, which can neither capsize, swamp, nor sink, no matter if she strikes on the sharpest rocks in Hell Gate, he will frankly confess that he can not do it.