General Description for Pod Power Cats

After my last cruise north, I decided I needed something smaller and easier to handle.

In 2009 I had converted my 8mt Power tri into a 12mt powered pod cat. O.F.D. or ‘un bel di’ (if you speaka da language) is a raging success and I was a bloody idiot for selling it. O.F.D. is on its third owners and they speak very highly of it, as do most other very experienced people that have travelled aboard.


The principals behind this concept are simple.

  1. A big footprint for a required level of accommodation in a length boat that is comfortable, safely cruises offshore without the complexity, exorbitant  running costs and huge initial costs of the traditional diesel cruisers. 

  2. Another consideration is a small, lowerable headsail only rig to further reduce fuel costs. This means outboards can be a very logical and economical option.

  3. Simplicity, It just has to be very simple to operate ie, no complex mechanical, electrical or refrigeration systems. 

  4. Much easier to handle with 2 crew or single handed.


The above means no engine room (just think about that), a roof full of solar panels (so cheap now, such that there is now no need for a genset), a lithium battery, (ours is now 5 yrs old and I religiously look at the cell modules every 6 months, if I remember! ☺), a Latronics (excellent so far and made in Australia, so they get a free plug) inverter for the 240vt household fridge, fans, music, laptops, small washing machine, watermaker etc. AC stuff is so much cheaper than most DC stuff. It’s ‘plug and play’ and usually more reliable. If there is any failure you simply replace it, (I understand Harvey Normals :) will deliver).


Light weight, just pays off in so many ways. Not least, just in normal boat handling, not only with the boat but all it’s fixtures and fittings. Having the ability to just get off and push the boat around in 300mm of water comes as a bit of a revelation.


Water ballast is a wonderful thing for dampening the motion in short seas or sloppy anchorages and I have used it on my last 3 boats. It takes no great skill or expense getting water into a boat and simple $100 dollar bilge pumps gets it out very quickly.


The boat can be built in 3 separate pieces in an affordable shed or under a tent at a normal house (be nice and considerate to the neighbours). One of our sailing catamaran owners has expressed an interest in building one. (He’ll probably build it in a week and a half he’s so quick).


To me it seems like the logical progression for bigger boat owners who still want the big footprint for comfort at sea, when exploring all the remote places but with none of the huge complexity, expense, grief etc that heavier boats have. 


Further to the advantages of kit boats and the Pod cat philosophy.

All of my boats from 29’ to 82’ have been built using composite materials since 1995 when we started the 50’ Duflex sailing cat.


We built our first kit boat in 2001 (in the U.K.) and have been using this method, with refinements, ever since.


The pod cat design philosophy and building method is, by far, the simplest method for amateur builders to finish a structurally strong, stiff, yet light weight boat that will perform economically to expectations and last for decades.


Building pod cats breaks the components down into 3 manageable (and weatherproof) items. Meaning, there is no need for a huge shed. The components can be built in a temporary shelter (or an extension to an existing carport etc) as time and money allows. Then taken to a hardstand for a week to assemble and for fitting the motors.


Years of experience has shown that building the hulls is actually the fastest and easiest part of the total build. We are talking weeks, not months or years, as in other more conventional designs, especially if there is no or little accommodation inside the hulls, no need for time consuming and tiring fairing or painting inside the hulls.


I believe the pod cat design philosophy and the build method takes so much of the initial anxiety and trepidation out of the decision to build your own boat as well. A side benefit is that, if for any reason the project can’t continue with the initial owner/builder then, as long as the components have been built to plan it is a considerably easier and acceptable option for someone else to take over the build as the individual components can be easily checked that they are built to the original design. They are also much easier to move if required. This gives unheard of flexibility in boat building.



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Queensland, Australia.