SAIL's Best Boats 2017: X-Cat

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
X-Cat: Best Daysailer

X-Cat: Best Daysailer

Best Daysailer

This is an exceptionally versatile and fun little boat from Austria that took our judges entirely by surprise. Weighing just 120lb all-up, this car-toppable beach-cat-cum-rowing-shell can be assembled in less than 10 minutes with no tools required. The largest parts, the thermo-molded hulls, weigh less than 40lb each.

As a sailboat the X-Cat, which boasts a modern square-headed mainsail (with built-in flotation up top in case of a capsize) and a sizable jib set on a full-length bowsprit, offers plenty of excitement. And when the wind dies away you can keep going by deploying the boat’s exquisitely engineered double-jointed folding oars; which when paired with the X-Cat’s sliding rowing seat and foot pads, allow you to row the boat while facing forward at speeds comparable to a purpose-built rowing shell. (The action of the unique Row Motion Pro joint mechanism engenders no energy loss and even allows you to feather the oars during strokes, the same as you would with conventional oars.) Then again, if you are too lazy to row your way home, you can always order the X-Cat with an optional lightweight electric motor. As evidence of just how cleverly this boat is conceived, the lithium-ion battery is hidden away in its center beam, and the submersible motor and prop are on a cleverly designed retractable lever arm that deploys directly in front of the boat’s centerline rudder.

The first thing we thought on finding this boat was it would be perfect for the Race to Alaska (R2AK), so we weren’t surprised when we learned that the U.S. rep, Alex Caslow, plans to run one in the Everglades Challenge from Tampa Bay to Key Largo next March. That said, what this boat will be best for is just goofing around afloat on any body of water you can drive a car to. With a boat as easy to transport and assemble as this one, there’s no reason not go sailing whenever you see fit. x-cat.com, Red Beard Sailing

December 2016

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Check the waypoint  Most errors with GPS and paper chart navigation are caused by the operator punching in the wrong numbers or plotting the lat/long incorrectly. The surest way to double-check a ...read more

Furlex-Electric

Gear: Seldén’s Furlex Electric

Furl Power Seldén’s Furlex Electric offers an easy path into the world of sweat-free headsail furling. The compact unit can be retrofitted to an existing manual Furlex unit or installed as a replacement for whatever you’ve got now. Its DC-DC converter accepts your boat’s 12V or ...read more

11_DSC8423Tom-Zydler

Cruising: Nova Scotia

There’s a unique cruising ground that combines access to urban locations with easy escapes to wilderness and nature. Its native people may be the friendliest on the east coast of North America. Its coastline runs 250 nautical miles in a straight line, but that should be ...read more

01-LEAD-shutterstock_727849660

Boat Monitoring System

Boat Oversight In a world where you can track your friends’ locations in real time and stream yourself live on the internet, it should come as no surprise that you can also keep a close eye on your boat from the comfort of home. In fact, not only is there a plethora of options ...read more

pilot_saloon_42-_en_navigation_11

Boat Review: Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42

Old salts grouse about modern aesthetics. It’s just what they do, and the hard lines and spartan interiors of today’s production boats give them many reasons to complain. French builder Wauquiez, however, seems to consistently be able to marry contemporary elements with ...read more

JuneWaterlines

Sights and Stories Cruising the Caribbean

Though I hate to think of myself as a “disaster tourist,” I can’t deny one of the things I was most curious about as I sailed south last fall to visit St. Martin, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico was how much hurricane damage I would see. I’m sure no one needs reminding that ...read more