James Stock, first owner and co-designer, was influenced in his design of Flycatcher having sailed his cousin's Beetle Cat, Breezy, in Nantucket Island, USA. This design first appeared in 1921 and today Beetle Cats are ubiquitous in New England, along with many other designs of catboat.
She is designed to suit the waters of Chichester Harbour, hopefully improving on the original Cape Cod classics with some modern materials, optimum hull shape, fitting of a kicker and better performing foils; but maintaining the traditional look - exemplified by Sitka and Douglas spars, ample varnished teak trim and a beautifully cut cream sail. Excellent form stability, large cockpit and simple rig, makes this dayboat ideal for singlehanded sailing or for taking the family to the beach.
James researched his design by visits to museums in New England, observations of designs past and present, studying the many books on the type and listening to catboat sailors. She will be raced in Chichester Harbour and sailed in classic regattas in the UK on the Continent.
The first catboat to come to England was the Una in 1852 and her owner, Earl Mountcharles raced her very successfully on London's Serpentine in front of Prince Albert and his entourage. In 1854 she was shipped down to the Solent where British writer Dixon Kemp recorded that the sailors at Cowes,"Almost regarded the Una as a little too marvellous to be real...and no wonder in less than a year there was a whole fleet of Unas at Cowes, and about the Solent...The Earl's sailing master, John Hollis, was very perfect in the management of the Una, and waltzed her about as cleverly as a Rhode Island fisherman in many sailing matches".
The great American yachting historian William P Stephens recalled that when the 15 foot Una arrived at Cowes "She represented the extreme of simplicity and manoeuverability as compared with local craft of her size and larger...her speed and her handiness in smooth water and moderate breezes made her popular and (in Britain) gave the name to the type...'una boat'."
Acknowledgement: 'Cape Cod Catboats' by Stan Grayson