I am new to the forums after having been a guest for quite a while. Last summer, I got really into cat sailing, sailing a Prindle 16 in San Diego for several weeks. I really want to get into cat sailing with my own boat now that I’ve learned that AZ actually has some decent places to sail. I’ve found a G-Cat 5.0 that I could buy that needs a little work. It’s pretty cheap, but I can’t really find any information on the performance of the boat. On the other hand, I found a prindle 16. It’s more expensive, but doesn’t need as much work, and it’s something I’ve experienced firsthand.
Being that it is heavier and has bigger hulls, is the G-Cat very nimble and/or fast? I love flying hulls, trapezing, and just going straight out fast. I don’t want to get the G-Cat instead of the prindle and be let down because it is a more sluggish boat. I’d rather pay more for something a bit more agile and exciting. I don’t want to come across as ignorant, I just want to learn a little more about the characteristics of the G-Cat (And if they match up with what I enjoy doing).
both boats are great and have relatively similar sailing characteristics.
G cats are fun family boats (no boom, front tramp)
P16 is similar but lacks the family features (has boom, no front tramp)
I love g-cats but they are no longer building boats and parts are getting more and more scarce.
sail condition and skipper handling is just as big a factor as brand in the 16' legacy cat world.
Edited by MN3 on Feb 12, 2020 - 05:52 PM.
That being said, the G-Cat I’m looking at right now has a boom. Say I took it out and pushed it pretty hard - do you think it’s performance would be comparable to that of the prindle 16 or the hobie 16? I appreciate the help so far, I really know nothing about the G-Cat boats.
Edited by sailingaz on Feb 12, 2020 - 07:06 PM.
they all are similar shaped hulls, all about the same size and all have similar sailing performance
G-cat 5.0 has a DPN rating of =76.10
hobie 16 =76.00
Prindle 16 =77.50
The lower the number the "faster" the boat
these are used for handicapping mixed fleet racing
the take away is these boats are very similar in speed around a race course
ah yes they can be rigged with and without booms -
the boom on your 5.0 will probably improve it's handling a bit
so i would again say it comes down to boat and sail (and gear) condition
but also a big factor is replacement parts ...
Lots of prinde parts available
g-cat parts are getting scarce
I've owned 6 G-Cats, 3 5.0s and 3 5.7s. over the last 40 years. 4 were more recent and I completely restored them and sold 3 of them. No profit but broke even and had fun doing it. Also owned a Nacra 500 new for 10 years and sailed it the same time I had a G-Cat 5.0 so I think I can make accurate comparisons. First off, don't try sailing a 5.0 without a boom! The foot of the main is too long and the mainsheet will pull the clew forward and put way too much camber in the main. Look at other boomless rigs such as the G-Cat 5.7 and see that the mainsheet pulls slightly aft. Glaser sails out of CA. can make a boomless main for this boat. It has a short foot and is a square top. You will also have to add a positive mast rotation control. This will be an expensive road for an old boat. I wouldn't pay too much attention to performance ratings. User friendliness is more important in your case. They all go fast. The question is how easy is it to make them go fast? The basic design difference is the shape of the hulls. The Hobie and the Prindle have asymmetrical hulls (flat on the outside and curved on the inside). The G-Cat has deep V symmetrical hulls with a lot more flotation. The Hobie and the Prindle like to be sailed with one hull just out of the water because the hulls being asymmetrical pull against each other if sailed flat. The G-Cat has enough flotation to carry a front tramp which has all kinds of pros and cons, too numerous to go into now. The Hobie has so little flotation that they are very prone to pitch poling and they don't tack as fast. Parts could be a problem with a G-Cat. Here in SW FLA there is almost a cult following for G-Cats so go on line and Google G-Cat and you'll find an owners association via Facebook. If the parts thing puts you off but you want a 16 ft cat with boardless hulls you can't go wrong with a Nacra 500 or 5.0. I could go on and on about comparing those with G-Cats but will save it for future discussions. Good luck!
I agree that I think all 3 would be neck and neck with same crew and skill level. I own a Gcat 5.7 and love it but don’t dismiss the spare parts issue. I’ve bought entire boats just so I could have an extra set of sails and rudders on hand. Compare that to going on eBay and getting those things for a few hundred dollars at most for a Hobie or Prindle. Also a member on this site that can get you most things Prindle for a reasonable price. The fact that the Prindle is in better shape should sway you that direction, it’s nice to have a boat that can hit the water right away. Let us know either way
Thank you all for the help on this. I was out of town for a few days and wasn’t actively checking the forums, but I’m heading over to pick up the G-Cat today. For me, the difference in price was the deal breaker (G-Cat was 300 with a galvanized trailer, Prindle was almost 1000). The G-Cat is in OK shape and has all the equipment needed to sail, it just needs some work long term.
I decided that the spare parts issue is a problem, but I had a bit of an idea. Before I am able to break any major parts of the rudder system or anything else, I think I’m going to take detailed measurements and photos. I’m an engineering design student, and I have access to all the equipment I’d need to produce parts (CNC equipment, laser cutting, plasma cutting, welding, casting, the works. I can even take a 3 dimensional scan of smaller parts instead of trying to reproduce them myself in CAD. Anyways, I appreciate all the help on here, and I’ll update you with how it goes.