Southampton Boat Show 2007

Marinus Marine Photography Gallery


Multihull Maven: cats and tris...completely!

Southampton Boat Show, UK, September 2004

"The Uni-Cat, a 4.25 m (13 ft 11 in) RIB catamaran was launched at this year's Southampton Boat Show by GYM Group (designer: Guy Mercer ). One of the boat's main features is its compact size: it is completely collapsible for storage or carriage. The hulls, inflatable tubes sitting in a GRP foam sandwich shell, can be demounted and will fit together with all other boat parts inside. This way they can even be transported on a car roof rack, making the Uni-Cat an interesting option for caravan holidays. The boat also comes with a trailer, which is designed for towing and launching.

The Uni-Cat is intended to be versatile and can be set up just with an outboard for motoring, or rigged for sailing - the 3-piece mast is carbon and the sail is also a new design based on an aerofoil shape (with an inflatable bag in front of the mast, which also prevents the boat from inverting in a capsize situation), giving it maximum thrust and minimum drag. The hulls provide 1.5 tonnes of buoyancy."


Review by Georgie Corlett in November 2004 issue in Dingy Sailing Magazine

"A rather unusual cat made its debut at this year's exhibition in the shape of the Unicat.  This catamaran quite literally cuts an unusual shape with its twin hulls combining inflatable tubes within foam filled hulls and flared bows designed to prevent pitchpoling.  The sail also has an unusual profile, with its aerofoil shape giving maximum thrust and minimum drag. Below the water, four shallow daggerboards swivel in their casing to work at maximum efficiency when sailing upwind.

Admittedly this design seems a little unconventional, but that is because the designer Guy Mercer of the GYM Group was clearly thinking outside the box when he conceived the idea.  Almost every design feature of the Unicat breaks the mould, from the singlehanded capsize recovery equipment to the trailer that lifts the boat itself as well as hoisting the mast for you.

As its name suggests, the versatile Unicat lets you get afloat in many different ways - sailing, rowing or motoring - and is guaranteed to perform in each of these ways.  With a 40HP outboard fitted and the rig left onshore, the Unicat gives a fast and thrilling ride, similar to a Zapcat.

The inflatable hulls make the Unicat exceptionally comfortable, but this design feature goes beyond comfort: by allowing the gaps between the tubes and the hulls to fill with water for increased stability, ideal for teaching beginners or for a relaxing day sail.

The video footage screened on the stand gave an idea of the capabilities of this innovative design to visitors, but it seems unlikely that even the most vivid imagination could do justice to the Unicat without seeing it in action for real.  Perhaps we will be lucky enough to see the Unicat make an appearance at the Try-a-Boat feature at next years Show."


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