Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Simple Catamaran Sailboat Model

One project I never did create a construction article for was a simple model catamaran constructed from foam, craft sticks, wood dowel, a plastic bag and pop can material. I had started building a Dumas catamaran kit that I thought was really difficult to construct; it would be fun to build a simple catamaran model. No doubt it would not be as efficient but it still would be fun to experiment with. The boat has worked well but I have been hesitant to publish a construction article because of the dangers of water and small children.

Simple Model Catamaran Sailboat

To build this boat I started by cutting out the pontoons from foam in a teardrop shape and fastened them together a few inches apart with the big craft sticks that look like tongue depresses. I used hot glue which holds up to water for awhile but after some dunking it did come apart in places.  The sail was just plastic cut from a plastic bag.

Rudders from Pop Can Material

The first test run I attached a fishing line to it but there were no rudders on the boat. Like I had thought it would not sail in a straight line and would move every direction. For the next time out I created rudders from pop can material cut and flattened in a rudder shape. Paperclip wire fastened a rudder to each pontoon.  This was a big help and the boat would sail straight with just a slight breeze. With the fishing pole I could let it out and reel it back .

Sailing Free on Lake Winona

Sailing on Backwater of Mississippi River

On a couple of occasions I took the model catamaran with me in my kayak and let it sail without the line attached. One of these sessions the wind was fairly strong and little sailboat was moving pretty fast. It did tip over once when it caught a strong gust. There was no ballast in the bottom of the pontoons which might help.

Gust Caught It

Bill Kuhl


  1. Very nice! Thanks for the great description and tips. My son is looking for a fun project to do this Thanksgiving and this is it!

  2. I just went and measured my sailboat, the foam pontoons are 10" long and the mast is 12" high, the boom on the bottom of the sail is 8" long. Have fun!