ESPcat Size and Shape

One of the nice things about boats is that they come in all sizes and shapes.  Rather than decide on a size or shape, I have tried to let ESPcat design herself.  To begin with, she has to have a relatively large cabin top to mount solar panels.    If she is going to have a cabin, it has to have full headroom which for me is 1.85m (6ft-1in).

2015-11-03 10.41.16

In the photo above, you will see floor sections being fabricated in my garage.  The floor is made from WPC (wood plastic composite) which is light, strong and impervious to moisture.  My plan is to remove the trampoline and fill in the entire fore-deck with WPC panels.  The cabin will then extend all the way forward to cover that deck.   The support beams are WPC also.

I want to say a word about fore-decks.  Boats traditionally have a fore-deck in order to facilitate handling the fore-sails which is great but why is it that power boats have a fore-deck?  Boat designers tend to do things the way they have always been done because it’s safe.  Well, I sure as hell don’t want to play it safe so I’m not having any fore-deck.  The cabin is going to sweep all the way forward so I can have as much roof space as possible for solar panels.  The cabin width of 3.7 meters is the space between the hulls.  The area for the panels turns out to be about 6.4 m x 3.7m (21 ft x 12 ft).  That’s just over 23 square meters.   I will use semi-flexible solar panels that can bend in one dimension and follow the curved profile of the cabin top.   Semi-flexible panels are also light weight.

no decksemi-flexible

I am going to be careful not to put much of anything heavy in the forward area so as not to overload the forward portion of the hulls as they have very little buoyancy, being so slim and pointy.  I plan to have a pair of light weight air beds in the forward area and not much else other than the steering position.

I am a bit worried about windage on the cabin particularly from the side.  Hopefully windage from the front will not be too bad tanks to its curved profile.  I am also worried about ugliness.   Will the resulting boat be really, really ugly?  Hopefully it will be just a bit quirky.


6 thoughts on “ESPcat Size and Shape

  1. I am so pleased, Paul, that you brought up the subject of drinking wine on the foredeck. Your response is exactly the kind of misinformation this blog is intended to dispel. Even walking in the foredeck can, in my experiance, be quite dangerous. Drinking wine on the foredeck is positively life threatening!


  2. Pulling up anchors generally happens on foredecks I guess. And sunbathing with a fore-deck full of females.

    If your cabin spans the full width of the cat, which looks a good 5-6m, then maybe you don’t need the cabin to extend to the bow? Some storage in hulls too?

    I’m guessing the solar panels will be strengthened to allow walking on, etc?

    Cabin roof would be great if it was translucent, or retractable somehow, so you can lie under the stars or bask in the sun. I guess they’ve made some good progress with translucent PV cells, but not sure if on market or affordable yet.

    Awesome idea BTW, wait on baited breath for the next update!


  3. An electric winch will pull up the anchor. When the winch fails, there will be a step-through forward to get at the anchor manually. Part of the reason for extending the cabin to the bow is to give a smooth curve to the cabin top, keeping the aerodynamic drag coefficient low. Don’t know about walking on the solar panels. Females can sunbathe on the pods either side of the cabin. There is a single berth in each hull plus a bit of storage.


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