101 (make that 7) uses for a cruising cat

Focus on multihulls

Geoff and Cherylle Stone discover that there are still plenty of fun things to do with their Grainger catamaran, Subzero, in the off-season.

1. Ferry
Among our Port Stephens friends there are some female partners who point-blank refuse to get on a “leaner” but clamour to sail on Subzero. Most Wednesdays and Saturdays up to half a dozen “non-sailors” saunter along with wine and nibblies to have a lovely day out in the round-the-cans races. Cherylle usually manages the genoa sheet and a couple of willing wenches work the mainsheet and traveller winches while Geoff does the steering and calls the shots. He still puzzles how conversation about a whole range of non-sailing.

2. Entertainer
On the one occasion when we hoisted the MPS during a short race inside the port, the prodder broke and a huge amount of green material transformed into a prawning net as it dragged between the two hulls. There were a couple of excited people on board who realised that pride did come before a fall. Trying to manage spinnakers short-handed on short courses is just plain stupid.

3. Economic stimulus
Cats boost the numbers at the local yacht club. Most of the other boats have between two and four crew. After a race Subzero's netball-sized crew swells the bar sales and causes the club secretary to smile broadly.

4. Work horse
It's a great committee boat for off the beach dinghy and cat national or state championships. The race officer, recorders, time-keepers, flag hoister/retriever and one or two others can do their tasks in great comfort. Even in quite jiggly conditions there is no chance of the workers, some of whom are not sailors, succumbing to mal de mer. The people operating the safety runabouts have a very comfy spot to retreat to for lunch while the sheer size of the vessel intimidates competitors into keeping well clear as they start and finish.

5. Oil painting
In exchange for the shiny, hardly-ever-used barbecue hanging off the rail, a painter friend created a nice representation of the boat.

6. Model
Another cat in Port Stephens has been the focus of a tourist promotion ð because it's sexier than your average monohull.

Diversionary therapist
With two of everything, a cat provides its crew with weeks of occupational therapy as they work through a seemingly endless list of maintenance tasks to get it ready for the next cruising season.


Cherylle and Geoff spend winters cruising their 13m Grainger catamaran somewhere warm and summers at their home in Port Stephens. Wherever they are, their boat and sailing are intrinsic elements of their preferred lifestyle.

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JPK August 2023
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