First Choose a Design
This was our first powercat design and was originally designed to be our "water taxi" or island commuter so that we didn't need to use the increasingly expense ferries when living on the small island of Saturna in British Columbia. The photo above shows a magnificent home built example when cruising in NE USA. The owner reported "We had some fun in the boat this summer. We took a 66mi shakedown cruise down Buzzards Bay to Newport R.I."
It uses a central 25-30hp outboard and features a small central cabin (with double berth and galley) so can also be used as a basic cruising boat. The photo below shows four adult visitors in the cabin during a week long trip we took through the islands in British Columbia
With a 25hp Yamaha and one person on board it will do 15 knots, or 14 knots with three on board. The Skoota hull is a semi-displacement hull, so unsuitable for higher speeds. I actually designed it to run at 12 knots, so 15 was a very pleasant surprise.
The overall beam of Skoota is 14ft, but it folds, like my similar length sailing catamaran Wizard, to 8ft on the trailer. Which is one reason for using a central engine as two would make the steering and throttles harder to organise. Note, the Skoota design actually has transom steps even though the prototype has decked over transoms.
The photo below shows the trailer to water principle.
As the trailer backs into the water the buoyancy of the hulls opens it out automatically. On retrieval gravity folds it up. Two bolts hold it all together when afloat, plenty strong enough, see below. So no lifting or winching needed - nature does the work in seconds. Note this photo and the video below shows the boat on our ancient flat-bed trailer - a real lash up and the first time the Skoota was folded. So only the swinging brackets are "real" the rest is temporary.
You can download a zip file of photos of a professionally built trailer HERE. The photo below shows the hulls in their "natural" position, slightly angled out because of their centre of gravity. They are lashed in for trailering, The slight angle ensures they open out properly when launching
I am a sailor, not a motor boat man. So I have been using a very experienced outboard motor/small craft expert as a consultant, although after the first few minutes he tends to lose me during our discussions. But then, why use a consultant if you know as much as they do?
His advice seems to work though, for after seeing the videos he wrote: "Your latest videos show proper trim , no wake between the hulls, no rooster tail. Very impressive actually. I think you are getting her dialled in now. 15 knots on 20 foot hulls ! That is unbelievable. And there is no visible bow wave! I think it's in there somewhere, right under your cg. You can't possibly be displacement at that speed. Bravo! I am very impressed."
And then later, after I emailed him my final outboard nacelle drawings he wrote: "That looks very good. You are adding about 15 degrees of driveshaft angle and 5 inches of depth simultaneously. So when the going is tough you can tuck your bows in and slog it out, and when the conditions allow you can let her run her bows higher. Users can experiment with trim pin positions to fine tune the system. The result is a completely tune-able boat. A 'completely tune-able, semi planing, single engined power catamaran' Brilliant."
And my consultant is not alone in his praise. These two recent emails about Skoota are typical: "I just finished watching the Skoota 20 launch videos. As I watched the video, I kept on saying to myself over and over again was "THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!!".
and "I have watched the video footage....and I've only got two words to say... VERY IMPRESSIVE Those lovely slender hulls look very efficient. My ultimate goal is to travel in that elusive 12-16 knot range regardless of chop. Skoota looks to be just what the doctor ordered. "
Some might be concerned that the Skoota could fold up when under way. The photo above was taken as we were moving the Skoota to its winter storage behind our house. You can see how stiff the boat is, one hull is only supported at the transom, the beams hold the rest of the hull up in the air. There is at least a 4in (100mm) gap between chock and keel. (The other hull has supports at bow and stern of course). I think you'll agree this is a pretty extreme test compared to what a boat endures when at sea.
An open deck version with windscreen replacing the cuddy is now available.