POSTED BY ANDREW CHEUNG
The international A-class catamaran is a boat class that boasts one of the fastest single-handed racing boats in the world, and they keep getting faster. Unlike one-design racing classes, the A-class catamarans, or A-cats, are a development class. This means that the boats have only a few design constraints (class rules) and anything else goes, so the sailors can continue to develop their boats to get a leg-up on the competition.
Usually built from carbon fibre, these boats are 18 feet long by 7 feet 6 inches wide, and weigh only 165 lbs. Coupled with a sail area of 150 square feet, these boats reach very high speeds. While explaining these boats, the West River Sailing Club stated:
"Sailors go upwind on the trapeze as fast as 14 knots, they fly a hull in 8-10 knots and by 12 knots they are 'wild-thinging' downwind at speeds up to 22 knots."
The A-cats have been very popular in the international sailing circuit because of their high speeds and lack of developmental restrictions. Though old, check out this article published in Seahorse Magazine, where they spoke with many of the leading A-cat developers. Also take a look at this video, it shows the A-class German Championship in 2009 in Arco, Italy.