The International A-Class Catamaran (A-Cat) is an ISAF international development class. It has a length of 18’, a 7.5’ beam, a minimum weight of 165lbs, and 20 square meters of sail (Peter Johnstone). Power-wise, the A-Cat is among the leaders for its size. Upwind comfortably at well over 10 knots and downwind over 20 (knots), the A-Cat is one of the quickest boats around. All major components are carbon fiber allowing it to weigh in less than almost any other boat of its size or smaller, multi or mono-hulled. Larger than a Laser at nearly the same weight, the A-Cat is easily rigged and launched in less time than it will take to read this article.
The rig is a single square top main on a carbon mast with a single trapeze wire. Sails are usually made out of carbon or Kevlar fiber laminates to maximize stiffness while maintaining its ultra light status. Hulls are typically (on modern boats) with a carbon skin over a nomex honeycomb core. All of the current advancements, carbon fiber parts, square top mains and hull design, stems from the developmental nature of the class. Owners are encouraged to experiment with designs on the boat in an attempt to achieve even more speed. For these reasons, amongst others, the A-Cat is widely regarded as the fastest single-handed dinghy currently in production.
Recently A-Cats have followed the high performance catamaran track and started foiling. The trickle down effect of technology from the America’s Cup has resulted in the ability to consistently produce high quality, reliable foils that make foiling significantly easier than many other foiling boats (such as the moth).
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