We’ve raced a lot of cats but the Taipan made it all so much easier! Its lightweight is a real bonus. You capsize it’s easy to get up. You need to pull it up the beach at the end of the day – that’s easy too!
Our reason for bringing it to Southeast Asia was very simple. One of our sailors came to us with the usual request – “I need something faster but not as heavy!”
Asia’s first Taipan arrived and, the good Doctor was happy. Seemingly others also appreciated the big boat performance in a tiny package and, soon we had a fleet. It must be said that the good Doctor is our ‘youngest’ sailor, Michael’s boundless enthusiasm belies the 76 years of his youth. He’s also vowed to keep cat sailing till he’s 80!
Designed from years of extensive experience in A Class with the aim of producing a small catamaran, which was practical to sail, yet offered the sheer performance of the pure bred A cat. Most importantly it had to have the flexibility to sail either cat rigged one-up, or sloop rigged with a crew. The Taipan 4.9 has exceeded all expectations and it’s hard to believe that the design is now celebrating its 20th year!
It’s unquantifiable but, Taipan sailors always refer to the “feeling” – unquantifiable because until you experience ‘weightlessness’ you will also never know. The Taipan 4.9 has exceeded all expectations ever placed on a 16′ cat! It will still eat most big production cats for breakfast and it takes a special sort of cat to be able to better its performance.
Acceleration and response are the two outstanding sensations on the Taipan. The catch phrase “steer by millimeters” is really true! Every input can be felt but this doesn”t mean she’s unwieldy, far from it! Set the Taipan up on a point of sail, adjust the sails properly and let the tiller go – she’ll sail straight and true. No matter how fast you’re moving there’s never any reason to hold the tiller extension with more than 2 fingers!
With more than 20 years of tuning under her belt the Taipan is a quick boat to set up. It sails best with the forestay in the No. 4 hole from the top of the adjuster, about 35-38mm of pre-bend in the mast and a 75kg hanging in the back corner to set the rig tension… the rest is up to the skipper.
If you try the Taipan after years on a production platform you will simply be blown away by how responsive it is. The lightest touch on the helm or a sheet and she’s away.
It’s incredible what a lack of weight can do!