The Boat

The boat is a custom 36’x24′ folding, bi-plane cat-rigged, catamaran.
-folds to 8.5′ wide for legal trailering anywhere in North America (and beyond) with no permits necessary.

Below is an email I cut and pasted from Rafael Francke, whom I purchased Cat2Fold from in May of 2011.
Followed by many pics of the boat.

Hi Brian Jan 10. 2012

Nice to see Cat2Fold in her environment doing well, and you guys in the wet and warm environment having good times.

To straighten things out:

Cat2fold’s general idea was mine, I hold a US patent for it.

Rafael Francke,
Multihulls West Inc.
84 Cerro Crest Dr.
Camarillo CA.

I came up with the basic design after trial of many different design concepts .

I hired Kurt Hughes professional service as a navel architect to design the hulls and make load calculations for the folding system. I chose Kurt because of his good name in the business and his wide angle view of systems in general, unlike some other designers that pulled their shoulders in a negative way when first introduced to the Cat2Fold idea.

Kurt got a spark in his eyes when I came over to his office in Seattle and a small model of Cat2Fold came out of my travel bag and opened and closed on his desk.

During the design process Kurt offered me a new hull design he had already designed and offered to adopt my folding system to it, which I happily agreed to.

When Kurt finished Cat2Fold’s folding system calculation, he recommended that we use a company that does computer infinite strength calculation for Boeing Aircraft wings, to test Cat2Fold’s folding beam design, to double check his calculation, “just to be sure” since it was such new approach to catamaran folding beams.

$$$$$$ later we got the results of this test. Kurt did some minor changes in his calculations and the folding beams were ready for production.

Note. The folding beams where over designed twice, let me explain.

First, the beams where designed and calculated to be very strong, then I asked Kurt to change the calculations in order to be able to use the system without the normal “Dolphin striker” you see on all the Catamarans.
My reason was I wanted the option to moor the catamaran in two adjacent slips, with one floating dock in between the two hulls (below the hard deck, providing there is no pillar at the end of the dock ). This change made a strong beam even stronger.
More so now when the Bi- plane rig is being used, there is no single mast with all the pressure involved in it, the strength of the beam is way over what really is needed. But it is very safe.

Second, when Kurt calculated the laminates of the beams it was for HAND LAYED laminates :
X -layers of carbon = Y- wall thick

Since the builder was using the latest technology of infusion, the results on a test were different:

X- layers of carbon = 0.75 Y wall thick

Now to be on the safe side and to reach the desire wall thickness he did:

X +.25- layers of carbon = Y wall thick.

Again the beams where over built, but very safe again.

During the production, the size of the original single mast sunk into my mind and I did not sleep well for some time, sweating at night from the hard labor of hoisting some 56′ tall single mast, or trailer that long mast in my dreams.

That brought the design change to a bi-plane rig, after first testing it on a smaller 20′ “Boston Whaler” catamaran, which confirmed my new approach to use two masts, one on each hull, the test boat was called “tester for Cat2Fold” ( pic. available as well as the boat is still in my back yard)

The placement of the Bi-plane masts was by Rafael Francke, the actual build and laminates were calculated by the builder.

The masts were designed and built by Van Dusen. Perimeters and basic design by Rafael Francke.

Wishbone booms were designed and build by Rafael Francke.

Sails were made by Skip Eliot, perimeters and basic design by Rafael Francke.

The mast raising system was designed and built by Rafael Francke, whom holds a US patent for the system. The system allowes raising and lowering of the mast with ease.

The dagger boards and rudders and their placements are Kurt Hughes design.
Rafael Francke has shortened the Dagger boards after some sea trail, as well as changing the pivot point of the rudder for better tiller feel.

On this letter I have to include Greg Martell’s name, he was the builder of this unique and high quality folding catamaran, and he did a marvelous job, as well as solved many probles during construction. Sorry to say that with a tough economy, he had to close his doors and and is no longer in the boat building business, which is a major loss for us sailors.

Brian, I hope that clears a lot of gray areas as for who deserves credit and for what.

I would suggest to present it as:

Rafael Francke Designer & Investor ( brainchild, if you prefer to use )

Master controller and hull design. Kurt Hughes navel architect.

And if you need to go further:

Building Hulls and folding system by Greg Martell.
I would like to add that the long time collaboration between Kurt Hughes Multihull Design,
and Rafael Francke of Multihulls west allows the option for interested sailors who would like to have a folding Catamaran like Cat2Fold to buy plans and get the proper direction to build one.
Best to contact Kurt Hughes Multihull Design.

Brian, This letter has more information that you have asked for but as a sailor with such special vessel and such exposure you should have it all.

Will the wind blow gentle in your sails.

Rafael Francke.

_IGP5399 _IGP5404

C2F flying around!

C2F flying around!

Cat2Fold in hot pursuit of Ariel IV

Cat2Fold in hot pursuit of Ariel IV

C2F sailing nicely in light wind.

C2F sailing nicely in light wind.


5 thoughts on “The Boat

  1. Aloha!
    Would you ever consider selling cat2fold? Gotta get my boys sailing and your boat is such a great way to minimize the high cost of boat ownership in our current city of Seattle! Great photos on the site by the way! Look forward to chatting more, either way.

  2. Just came across your blog in WordPress. I’m also cruising, though down the East coast to the Bahamas. I must ask, where did you take that gorgeous profile photo that’s on the header of your page. It’s stunning!

    Happy sailing!
    Tasha (Turf to Surf)

    • Hey Stan,
      The original owner, Rafi, has a ton of money invested into the design. I don’t know what it would cost to build another, but there is a lot of carbon fiber involved, and I’m sure you’d be looking at a pretty hefty sum… KURT HUGHES would be the one to ask about approximate cost to build another. You can buy plans from his website for Cat2Fold. Or, if your interested in the possibility of buying this one, you should talk to me. Although I absolutely LOVE my Cat2Fold, I am entertaining the idea of moving up to a larger, liveaboard, ocean crossing cat. My email is
      I’m currently in the Midwest for Thanksgiving, but will be back to C2F in Mexico for the rest of the winter. We could also work something out to get you aboard C2F sailing in and around Banderas Bay if your serious about checking her out.

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