Jump to content

Is this a Hawke surfcat?


Recommended Posts

  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Yes, that's a Hawke Surfcat - one of the many 'copy-cat' designs - taken from the Windrush 12.
There were about 20 'rip-off' designs (like the Hawke Cat) all trying to hitch a ride on the bandwagon that the Windrush 12 and 14, and the Hobie Cat 14 had started rolling.
I still believe that Hobie Alter, and in Australia - Richard and Jay McFarlane are the 'inventors' of the plasti-cat scene.
I was taken for a ride on a Hawke Cat - by Rob Mundle - the sailing sports commentator - when he was in the retail sailing scene down at Middle Harbour, Sydney - but luckily the Windrush 14 was recommended to us instead - by a Tornado catamaran sailor - (Greg Mutton) - and we never looked back...
At the time however - as I had never been on a catamaran before - I must have been around 16 years old - I remember the exhilarating feeling of speed when Rob took us for a spin and cranked it up a little - I can still feel it - even now after more than 40 years on the water...
I guess you never forget the first time...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

My first cat was a Hawke, which I bought from Hawke in Perth when I had a 1 year stint there in 1975. It was cat rigged.  The sail was very flat cut and I found that it was an impediment to winning races, so I bought another one with a much better cut sail.

It's selling points over Mari's and perhaps Windies at the time were:-

  • Fuller in the bows to help prevent cartwheels
  • Fixed rudders which could withstand beach approaches (Same as early Windies)
  • Good in surf
  • Car toppable!  Yes! Owners fitted over-length roof racks, sat the de-rigged hulls next to the car, simply rolled the yacht onto one hull to hook the tramp side beam onto the racks, lift the lower hull to horizontal and simply slide it across the racks. The mast simply sat on the upturned tramp and was tethered to the front and rear of the car.  A bloke at a S/W WA servo asked me what it was on the roof of my car.  I told him that it was a set of pontoons in case I flipped the car over into a lake!!
  • Very simple to rig with snap hooks and tensioning ropes on the forestays (like earlier Windies)

The Sales person was Colin Metcher and he formed a mobile surf-cat club.  Our home beach was Whitfords, north of Perth where at the right tide and wind, we could surf over an outer reef.  However we had some great sails at Bunbury, Albany, Esperance and Yanchep, as well as on the Swan.  If we wanted to sail under a low bridge on the Swan, we simply turned them on their sides and floated under with the current, which was the case when we entered the Avon Descent. During my ownership of the Hawke I snapped 3 masts in surf when I broached and the next wave hit the tramp whilst the mast dug into the sand!  There was an annual Whitfords to Yanchep race in which I hooked onto a crayfish pot rope and marker buoy.  It was impossible to unhook the rope from in front of the fixed leeward rudder whilst driving on a beat and I ended up bottled.

Indeed they were a Mari rip-off but cheaper and fun sailing, quite fast with the right guy on the tiller.

I've found my sloop rigged Mk 1 Windie much more technical to sail and more parts to go wrong, however a better yacht. to sail.  The Hawke was well designed at the cross beam supports and cave-ins were unknown.

So maybe the Hawke was developed pre-Windie?

There are still a lot around.  They're easy to identify apart from the logo on the sail; (mine had a stylised H), They have a 4 sided tramp frame with lacing all around.  This is another feature which allows even tension around the tramp to keep it taut.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's just an 'OK' very ordinary design - nothing special or unique about it... but if you want a cat to 'destroy' in the surf occasionally - well by all means - the Hawke and others like it are purr-fekt..
The reason that the Windrush 14, Maricat 4.3 and Paper Tiger are still popular today is that the designs were a step-ahead of all the others...
As a 'starter' boat, something cheap and cheerful like a Hawke - that you wouldn't mind breaking occasionally - is a good idea...

To compare its sailing characteristics to a properly set-up Windy/Maricat/Paper Tiger/Nacra 430 - well - maybe in your dreams...

BTW, the difference between a contemporary (foam sandwich, race-tuned Windrush 14) and the 70's 'originals' is like night 'n' day.
A well-sailed W14 Super Sloop can pace it with a well sailed/set-up Hobie 16 - in fact can occasionally outpace them given the right conditions.
That's not me - I'm talking about the guys who really know how to make a W14 fly...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, RodC said:

Now that we've got our sailing snobbery out of the way, back to topic: I spoke to Peter Hawke regarding some repairs I was doing to the hull and he said that Hawke Brothers only made a 13' hull.... mine measures 14' so I guess that it isn't a Hawke.

Any ideas what it could be?

It's sad when stating facts gets in the way of emotions... so I guess I'm a 'snob' for doing so...
But hey, thanks for the name-calling...
Selling points 'over' Maris and Windys? Please. Innovative, clever design lasts. Cheap, copy-cat designs with no original ideas usually don't.
That's why the Hawke Cat and others like it are 'dead'... and it never had any selling points over the Maricat or Windrush 14. Or Hobie 14 for that matter...

If it did, it may still be in production...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

The Hawke Surfcat was designed by Len And Peter Hawke with Ron Hansen. It was released in 1971. Ten years before that the brothers had joined two of their Malibu boards side by side, place a sail on it.

The Hawke Surfcat was also made under licence in Europe, and exported to over 53 countries in the world, with over 15 000 made in Australia. It also was the recipient of the Australian design Award. The Surfcat was even flopped( copied) on a few occasions in Victoria and NSW.

The Surfcat was design for family fun and is one of the only ones that is capable of surfing. The rigging and sails where kept inexpensive as to keep a level playing field on race day. Just a few facts.

Oh yeah, at the height of Surfcat/Catamaran racing in the 80's the Hawke cat had a handicap of 1 min from the Windrush 14 which was released in 74. Not bad for a Surfcat that was only designed for family fun and Surfing.    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...