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Damon Linkous


75 year old Hans Geissler sailing Hirams Haul

Added by DamonLinkous on Oct 12, 2015 - 02:31 PM
75 year old Hans Geissler sailing Hirams Haul for his heartfelt mission

October 31, 2015- November 1, 2015

Hans GeisslerThe 14th running of Hiram's Haul is set for October 31 - November 1. The catamaran race is a total 60 mile race running from Melborne, Florida to Sebastian, Florida on Saturday and back to Melbourne on Sunday.

Hans Geissler (75) a winning catamaran designer, builder and racer for over 35 years will compete with his partner Ronald Hiell to help draw attention to the need to engage and help the Race 2 End Hunger as he already did, for example, at the Florida 300 in May and has done most of the latest 20 years.

Hans Geissler left his boat building business in 1994 to create Morning Star Fishermen; a Dade City based charity that promotes fish farming and Aquaponics as a solution to help end world hunger. His quest to help end global hunger through research, development and training individuals from around the world however has not removed his passion for catamaran racing. Money raised through sponsors and donations to Morning Star Fishermen will go toward making a local and global impact on ending hunger. Mr. Geissler also hopes that the trip will help draw attention to the ongoing problem of global malnutrition and hunger. Please see the links below to see how you too can be more involved and join the Race 2 End Hunger now.

For more information on the Hirams Haul event, please check out

Morning Star Fishermen

Morning Star Fishermen is an international Aquaponics research, development and training facility located in Dade City, FL. The Morning Star Fishermen staff and scientists have been pioneering more efficient and productive ways to live sustainably through Aquaponics since 1993. “Our goal always stays the same; we educate students in a way that encourages and prepares them to teach others." says Phil Reasons, Executive Director.

For more information view; www.morningstarfishermen.org or contact: Phil Reasons at 523 352-2722. 

Hiram's Haul Date Set for Halloween Weekend

Added by cyberspeed on Jul 21, 2015 - 11:50 PM
The 14th running of Hiram's Haul is set for October 31 - November 1. The catamaran race is a total 60 mile race running from Melborne, Florida to Sebastian, Florida on Saturday and back to Melbourne on Sunday.  Hiram’s Haul started in 1997 has been hosted by Performance Sail and Sport until last year when Sail Series Promotions USA took over as the Organizing Authority (AO).  It is one of four races of the Endurance Sail Series and each day counts for points separately.

Register early, reserve your room early, SAVE MONEY!
Early registration is encouraged and maybe accomplished by registering before September 30th, 2015. You may register online or by mailing in the entry form which can be found online at www.SailSeries.com/hiramshaul.  Entry fees may be paid on the day of racing, but if not registered early, the fee will increase to $90.

Key Sailing Wins Second Florida 300

Added by DamonLinkous on May 18, 2015 - 02:02 PM

2015 Florida 300 Presented by Waves Surf Shop, Race Recap by Damon Linkous from TheBeachcats.com

The second running of the Florida 300 is concluded and the teams and support staff are either back home or on to their next adventure. For most of the 300+ miles of coastal racing, with surf starts and landings, the teams experienced excellent conditions for their powerful beachcats. No long distance beachcat race is without it's challenges and problems and this Florida 300 was no exception. There were gear failures such as teams Cat In The Hat and SSS Racing who both broke shrouds while racing, and boats capsizing in the rough surf including Team Lupe Tortilla capsizing and de-masting their new Flying Phantom foiling cat arriving at Vero Beach. See more below.

First, the winning team on corrected time for both the overall and open class win was team Key Sailing with Kirk Newkirk and Tom Whitehurst sailing a Nacra 20 Carbon. Kirk and Tom were defending their win from last year and promised to return. Team Royal Yellow with Steve Lohmeyer and Jay Sonnenklar won the I20 fleet and came in second overall. The Foiling Fleet was won by Team Rocket with John Casey, and Colin Page sailing the awesome Nacra 20 FCS

Complete Final Results for the 2015 Florida 300 Here

Key Sailing Wins the 2015 Florida 300

There are many stories from the beach over a four day endurance race like this but the big intrigues from this race was how the new foiling designes would handle launching and retrieving through the surf, and how fast would they really be over long distance compared to the non-foiling beachcats.

The second question had an interesting direct comparison available for reference since the Nacra 20 FCS sailed by Team Rocket and the Nacra 20 Carbon sailed by Key Sailing are virtually the same boat with the exception of the foils. Both boats share the same hulls and rig on a 20ft. x 10.5ft platform, so the speed increase provided by the ability to foil could be observed. The foiling FCS was first to finish every leg beating the non-foiling Nacra 20 Carbon by an average of around 30 minutes despite the foilers starting 5 to 10 minutes later. The shear speed was observed on the water with more than one team commenting on the amazing site of the foiling boats blazing past despite some rough conditions in the open Atlantic.

Some questions still remain about the viability of racing these beasts "off the beach" because after the first two legs of low surf conditions, Vero Beach produced large steep difficult surf. The problem for the foiling boats was the need to turn into the surf and get beach wheels under them before being pulled onto the beach. When the surf was low this was still diffucult as anyone who has stood in even knee-high surf knows how hard it is to maintain your position against the incoming waves. Holding onto a large beachcat and getting the beach wheels underneath while in the surf takes a lot of effort and coordination. It also means that the crew of the arriving foiler must perform a 180 degree turn as close the beach as possible so that the ground crew is in shallow enough water to maintain control.

At Vero Beach we got to see what can happen when the turn is completed a little to far from the beach. When Team Lupe Tortilla turned they ended up with the boat just out of reach of the waiting ground crew, this caused them to miss the opportunity to pull the boat back before the next large wave hit the Flying Phantom while boards and rudders were already pulled up. When the wave hit the boat was turned and immediately flipped first on it's side and then completely inverted, breaking the mast in several pieces in the process.

See Pictures of The Surf Capsize Here

Other teams had hardships along the way and overcame them, Team Cat In The Hat was demasted during the 3rd leg when a shroud broke but with the help of Team Key Sailing was able to re-rig the boat and complete the final leg. There were bruises, cuts, scrapes, sunburns and "saddle sores" from long hours in the trapeze but thankfully no serious injuries and no boats lost, even the Flying Phantom will be back foiling soon since the main damage was the broken mast and they do have a replacement available.

That's it for the 2015 edition of the Florida 300 for now.

Discuss the race or ask questions at.

See all the pictures from the race at

Florida 300 Website

Visit the Florida 300 on Facebook at

Footnote: Are you ready for an adventure like the Florida 300? Let's here you comments and questions in the forums.

2015 Florida 300 Final Leg

Added by DamonLinkous on May 16, 2015 - 08:47 AM

2015 Florida 300 Presented by Waves Surf Shop, Report by TheBeachcats.com

Team Lupe Tortilla Flying Phantom Gets Rolled in the Surf photo copyright TheBeachcats.com

It's been quite a journey working my way up the South Florida coast from Islamorada to now waking up at Vero Beach, Florida. The first two days were picture postcard "chamber of commerce" days and day 3 was much the same except for the small detail of much more wind and a storm cell that crossed the race path. The winds were mostly steady 17 to 20 but some isolated thunderstorms caused much higher winds and challenging conditions along the leg.

The Flying Phantom is out of the race after having an unsuccessful beach landing at the Vero Beach finish. John Tomko, skipper of Lupe Tortilla and many times winner of the Great Texas 300 and other endurance races, successfully rounded up into the heavy surf and was just moments away from landing safely as all the ground crews rushed to grab the boat. Unfortunately they were in just a bit too deep water for the help to get hold of the boat so they had to stay in the surf backing in "one wave too many" and that wave flipped the boat over in the surf snapping the mast. All the ground help wrestled the turtled Flying Phantom onto the beach, it's high tech foils and t-rudders sticking up in the air.

It took some hard work in the surf to get enough of the mast, sails, and rigging cut away from the boat so it could be dragged/carried out of the water. I've got a bunch of pictures in the Florida 300 photo albums showing the sequence. It's a shame photos can't show the height and steepness of the surf very well. We had been standing on the beach all day watching it build. Every third or fourth set of waves piled up into a steep 6-8 foot wall/roller and that's the kind that got them.

Pictures from the crash and the aftermath and all the other landings and events of the day are in the "Day 3" album in TheBeachcats.com photo albums.

2015 Florida 300 Photo Albums

The other drama of the day that was happening at the same time was that team Cat In The Hat with Larry Ferber and Jackson Smith de masted about 7 miles short of the finish when they broke a shroud. Luckily for them they weren't injured in the resulting mess and were able to make it to shore. Jackson was able to text the ground crew that they were alright and drifting towards shore, and the Kattack locator gave their position. Ground crew and volunteer helpers were able to locate them and retrieve the boat and the Key Sailing team provided parts and assistance repairing the boat. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cat In The Hat back on the line this morning.

Other than the problems found by Cat In The Hat and Lupe Tortilla all the other teams arrived safe and unbroken performing excellent surf landings. The most impressive sailing feet I witnessed was the incredible surf landing of team Rocket on their 20 foot foiling beachcat Nacra 20 FCS. With the large foils under the boat that cannot be pulled completely out like the non-foilers the boat needed to make a 180 degree turn into the surf right at the shoreline. Turning two far out by even a short distance would leave them exposed to the tall breaking waves and waiting too long would put them onto the beach. The skipper John Casey was able to execute a perfect turn as close to the shore as it was possible to float the boat, putting them in reach of the multiple ground crew that got the beach wheels under and pulled the boat up to safety with no damage.

Key Sailing leads the race after three legs with a 37 minute corrected time margin over the open class but only a 5 minute margin for overall victory lending some extra drama to the final leg from Vero Beach to Cocoa Beach. Be sure to watch live and track the race, links are at the end of this report.

There were many stories of pitch-poles and and very difficult conditions all along the course. Tom Whitehurst, crew for the leading team Key Sailing had a trap wire break and almost got separated from the boat but was able to hold on and get back on board with help from Kirk Newkirk. Before their bad luck at the finish team Lupe Tortilla told me that had pitchpoled the Flying Phantom at speed while on foils sending it flipping forward so hard that the mast hit the water ahead of the boat. It's a testament to the toughness of both the crew and the boat that they were able to continue to the finish after that.

Today the Florida 300 teams are joined by additional competitors racing the one-leg from Vero Beach to Cocoa Beach for the Dogfight. There are a mix of Hobie 16's and G-Cats with the notable entry of Hans Geissler, creator/builder of the G-Cats sailing the leg on his personal G-Cat 5.0 with squaretop.

Report by Damon Linkous of TheBeachcats.com

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Live video/audio feed from the starts and finishes.

Discuss the race at

2015 Florida 300 Presented by Waves Surf Shop - Day One

Added by DamonLinkous on May 14, 2015 - 09:07 AM

2015 Florida 300 Presented by Waves Surf Shop - Day One - Islamorada to Key Biscayne, Florida - May 13, 2015

The big question from Day One involved the two foiling beachcats, the 20 foot Nacra 20 FCS of team Rocket and the 18 foot Flying Phantom of team Lupe Tortilla, would they be so much faster than the Florida 300 competitors that they would run away from the fleet?

Day one opened with a beautiful clear morning on the beach at the Islander Resort in Islamorada, Florida. The competitors were doing final prep and gearing up looking very focused and "in the zone", not a lot of talking as the experienced teams slid their high performance catamarans into the sea.

The start at Islamorada is unique in the four leg race, since the shoreline doesn't lend itself to a beach start the race committee setup a traditional upwind starting line offshore. The leg started in steady winds from the South South-West at 15 mph, clocking more Easterly during the day allowing for the shortest possible route to Key Biscayne. After the start most of the teams opted to hug the shore while three preceeded out a while before tacking. It wasn't long before the boats were pretty much lined up along the Upper Keys and it was a march to the finish with Rocket in the lead followed by Lupe Tortilla then team Key Sailing closely behind.

About 20 minutes after the start team Key Sailing had a tiller tendon come apart so they had to slow down and create a repair using what they had onboard. Sticky gauze tape from the first-aid kit was used for the repair and it held up all the way to the finish. The repair time slowed them down considerably and the defending champions found themselvs at the back of the fleet, not a position where they have spent a lot of time!

In the meantime, after the start all the team crews left Islamorada and started their own race to arrive at the finish line on the beach in Key Biscayn at the Silver Sands Beach Resort before their teams. Being able to live track the fleet using the Kattack tracking software that each boat carries helped take some of the stress away.

It wasn't long at all after the race committee arrived and setup the finish line before the first boat was in site. It was Rocket, and according to the Kattack tracker Lupe Tortilla was next along with Key Sailing a little behind.

In a little while team Rocket with John Casey and Colin Page finished in just 4 hours and 27 seconds followed by Lupe Tortilla in 4 hours, 33 minutes, and 35 seconds. With the tremendous amount of seaweed in the water it was a really fast time for Islamorada to Key Biscayne. Since the two foiling boats are sailing in their own class and not eligible for the overall Florida 300 win, the issue of who would win the first leg of the Florida 300 still remained.

Team Key Sailing had come into view earlier just trailing Lupe Tortilla but was able to pass them before the finish. After overcoming their early mechanical difficulties they finished leg one in first place in 4 hours, 29 minutes, 36 seconds.

So the answer to the big question of how fast will the foiling boats be in a race like this is probably still to be answered. While wind conditions were ideal for most of the race the heavy seaweed caused all the teams to constantly have to slow down and clean up their foils. This was particularly an issue with the inverted T shaped rudders on the foilers.


See full day one results

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Live video/audio feed from the starts and finishes.

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