The Fold, Truck and Sail Plan
November 16, 2011
– West Coast of Mexico
Owner Brian Charette (standing) shows his Ha-Ha spirit as Cat 2 Fold glides south in light air at the start of Leg Two.
Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2013 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC
As we often point out, you don't need a million-dollar yacht to access the much-envied lifestyle of international cruising. As witnessed during the recent Baja Ha-Ha rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, just about any boat built and equipped for offshore sailing can take you to the same idyllic anchorages.
This year's fleet contained a typical variety of boat types, from vintage production-built sloops launched as early as 1959 to gleaming late-model beauties that looked as thought they'd just left the showroom floor. Without question, though, the most unique boat in the fleet was the folding catamaran called Cat 2 Fold, which is the one-off brainchild of multihull designer Kurt Hughes. Other small multihulls fold for trailering, as this one does, but we'd never before seen a cruising cat propelled by twin unstayed cat rigs — complete with wishbone outhaul tensioners reminiscent of windsurfter sails.
Add to all this the fact that owner Brian Charette trailered the curious cat all the way from his home base in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, just to do the Ha-Ha. But then Brian isn't your typical Wyomingite. For one thing, he's got dreadlocks down past his shoulders, he builds eco-friendly homes out of straw bales for a living, and, well, we just can't picture him wearing a Stetson hat and hand-tooled boots.
With her ability to set her "bi-plane" sailplan in a variety of positions, including wing-on-wing, Cat 2 Fold can easily sail deeper angles downwind than most cats — including dead downwind — and she also seems to point higher than typical production-built cats.
Brian learned to sail eight years ago, but apparently really caught the cruising bug when he took a passage-making course from Charlestown, SC, to Fort Lauderdale, FL. Other than that trip, he'd never before spent a night at sea or navigated offshore. But apparently he's a quick learner. At the awards ceremony Brian and his crew, Trent Sellens and Charlie Magee, earned the much-coveted status of Soul Sailors because they sailed the entire course of the rally, despite having to ghost through extremely light air at times. As a result, they tied for first in the rally's Margarita Division (multihulls), sharing the spotlight with Gary Kahler's San Diego-based Corsair 31 Drei and Herschel and Susan Pence's Vallejo-based CSK 40 Sailpotion. For a complete recap of this year's Ha-Ha rally, see the December 1 edition of Latitude 38 (downloadable for free from our website later that day).
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