Catamarans at the RYA Dinghy Show

James Boyd Photography /
Getting the A-Cat off the ground in the UK
Still hidden away in a far corner, the square footage of stand space at the RYA Dinghy Show nonetheless continues to grow for catamaran exhibitors. We were particularly pleased to see the British A-Class Catamaran Association taking a stand for the first time in living memory. On display was a brand new Italian-built Bimare V1R – which very much looks the part with its long wave piercing bows, its main cross beam some way aft of the centrepoint fore and aft and of course the ORMA 60-style curved daggerboards, fitted around a quarter of the way forward from the transom. The Association’s Struan Wallace (owner of the fine vessel) and Chairman Colin Bannister told us that at present the class is growing almost from scratch in the UK. Even they are both relatively new to the class coming from the Hurricane and F18 classes. “I came back to the A-Cat because they are singlehanded,” Bannister told us. “I didn’t want to be messing around with a kite and they are light. You don’t have to think about a crew. It takes about 15 minutes to rig.” They are now up to 15-16 members with the largest gathering of boats being the seven at Rutland. “We are doing a lot that we can to build the fleet in the UK. There is a lot of interest from prospective America’s Cup sailors who are moving to A-Cats,” Bannister continues. We heard elsewhere that a few Skandia Team GBR Olympic sailors have been planning to all get A-Cats and had a pact limiting how much money they were going to spend...until Finn ace Giles Scott recently blew this out of the water when he purchased a Bimare. New A-Cats are not cheap. The new Bimare model displayed at the RYA Dinghy Show costs around