A Victorian Catamaran in San Francisco

17 September 2014     Editor    1 Comments.

This photo of a top hatted Victorian era gentleman sailing a catamaran named “Duster” by the San Francisco waterfront has recently come to the attention of the internet. After some initial uncertainty as to its vintage, the craft is now known to date from 1894, as in that year it participated in sailing regattas run at Sausalito, California by the San Francisco Yacht Club.

Unfortunately, beyond its name, not much more is known. Although the “Duster” is very similar to the catamarans designed by NG Herreshoff, the design is probably not his. There are certain points of difference with Herreshoff’s craft, such as the smaller hull size (perhaps 16-18 ft vs 25 ft), there being a single centerboard instead of two hull-mounted daggerboards.  In the third photo, if you zoom in on the center-pod, you may be able to pick out its curved underside, there in order to provide a housing for the centerboard, and perhaps for the foot of the mast as well. 

What impresses me about the photos is the light spidery quality that is inherent in the design. Given the design ethos of the era, to see such a radical sailboat in operation must’ve been quite something!

Thanks to Paul Dunlop for the submission.

 history / catamarans 


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26 Sep - 04:51


looks like a smal prototype of gougeons strings.