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Maine Cat Catamarans: Maine Cat 38

A tropics-loving multihull from the northeast

By Charles J. Doane

You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer couple than Dick and Lynn Vermeulen, who have been in the unlikely business of designing and building lightweight open bridgedeck cruising catamarans in midcoast Maine for more than 20 years. Their latest offering, the new Maine Cat 38, combines the simplicity of a true open bridgedeck boat, with no heavy furniture or accommodations between the hulls, with a deft sense of style and practicality. For construction aficionados, it also features a new production thermoformed-core build process, utterly unique to Maine Cat, that both reduces weight and increases structural integrity.

Maine Cat 38 hull no. 1, seen here, is available for charter in the Bahamas—always a great way to try before you buy. Photo courtesy Maine Cat

The layout is simple and comfortable. The space on the bridgedeck can be fully enclosed. Rendering courtesy Maine Cat Like its earlier sisters, the Maine Cats 30 and 41, the new 38 is a proper performance cruiser with narrow hulls, high bridgedeck clearance, lots of open trampoline up forward, and high-aspect NACA-foil daggerboards that keep windward sailing angles nice and tight. The standard aluminum Selden mast supports a generous fractional sail plan that features a fat-roached mainsail, a self-tacking blade jib, and a large optional screecher or A-sail flown from a bowsprit mounted on the forward crossbeam. Speeds under sail may push 20 knots when conditions are right, yet the boat can be singlehanded from the midship steering station on the bridgedeck.

Flared hard chines on the hulls help open up the accommodation spaces, which are tastefully finished in wood and are much warmer and more welcoming than the Spartan plastic interiors found on most boats like this. The standard layout features two generous double berths aft with one cramped double (or a very generous single berth, depending on your proclivities) forward to port. The simple yet practical galley is down in the center of the port hull. A nav area and a large head fill much of the starboard hull. The bridgedeck between the hulls makes a great social space, thanks to opening windows forward, which provide ventilation when needed, and a hard targa roof that offers shelter from sun and rain.

Construction quality, as befits a Maine-built boat, is impeccable. The thermoformed Core-Cell coring, bent seamlessly around curves and corners with no kerfs or inherent imperfections, is set in infused vinylester resin throughout. Equipment-installation and finish quality likewise meet the high Maine Cat standards that have seen the builder field less than $1,000 per year in warranty claims throughout its long  history.  

Charles J. Doane learned to sail on the Maine coast as a boy and has since roamed the North Atlantic on numerous boats. He has written for various sailing magazines and maintains a blog at


Maine Cat 38

LOA  38'

LWL  36'5"

Beam  21'

Draft  29" boards up, 6'6" boards down

Displ.  12,400 lbs.

Sail area   Combinations from 844-1,430 sq.

Power  Twin 15-hp outboards

Fuel 44 gals.

Water  82 gals.



Maine Cat Catamarans

Bremen, ME



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