Made it all the way home. We drove about 3000 miles in total, and each major leg (Illinois->Florida and back) was about 1450 miles. This was in a 2000 Buick Century we bought for my youngest son for $200 a little over a year ago. It got about 30 mpg on the way down, and ranged from 15-18 MPG on the way back with the boat. The 18 MPG was on the flat, warm roads in the south and the 15 MPG was on the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky. Though I am tempted to dive into the project now, I actually need to finish building my airplane. Here is a picture of the beachcat in its new home. We had to really clean, and organize the hangar to make space.
This beachcat was owned by a former Sikorsky co-worker of mine, Rene St. Julien. He passed away in an airplane crash a few years ago. This SC17 used to live on the beach and Rene sailed it a lot. He sold it to a young Sikorsky engineer, who then sold it to another Sikorsky engineer. After some years it was given back to Rene and he entered into a partnership with my other former coworker Rod Condon. Rod was a neighbor and friend of Bill Roberts, who designed the Supercats. He had lost his motivation for the project after Rene passed. When I called him looking for advice on buying a catamaran, he offered to give it to me. I just had to come and get it. We stayed at Rod's house when we were down there to get the boat.
The boat needs some work. The bridle fittings show some rust and one of them is cracked. Rene had used small cable and what appears to be AN aircraft fittings like we use for control cables on aircraft. He was serious about weight control and racing. Rod had bought replacement wire rope of a heavier gauge, and has all the thimbles and eyes. I'll be buying a swage tool and making all new standing rigging. The bow sprit (or whatever it actually is called) has a fitting that rivets onto the forward crossbeam. There is corrosion underneath it and the two bottom rivets have failed. The mainsail needs some repairs of the batten pockets and some new plastic batten protectors. Probably some other things too. I intend to repair the mainsail for the first season. The blocks that hold the beams to the hulls are corroded on the outside. I am not sure if I want to pull them off and address all that or let it go for now. There are some dings on the hulls from the lawnmower and some previous repairs. I am not going to worry about cosmetics, I am more interested in sailing. The trampoline is pretty new and has been stored inside. I haven't actually seen it yet but Rod says it is very nice. Rod gave me a lot of spare parts including a rudder.
The one thing I am going to tackle before I finish the airplane is getting the boat and trailer registered. From what I read on the Illinois website I may be in for a challenge due to the fact the boat never needed to be registered in Florida.
The only catamaran sailing I've done was back in 2000, before kids. I was in Florida and the place to go was the Stuart Causeway. I actually saw this boat sail back then, as Rod and Rene came out for one of our group outings. We were sailing a Prindle 16 that Rod used to own but had been sold to another couple of Sikorsky guys when he bought a Supercat 22. There was also a Hobie 16 and one other boat that I don't remember.
So, it was an epic trip, and so far I've got about $550 into my free boat, of which $300 is gas. Another $150 was for new wheels & tires on the trailer, plus bearings. The remaining was costs for rebuilding the trunk and bumper of the Buick, plus putting a hitch and plug on the back.
Bryan in Poplar Grove, IL
Supercat 17 owner