Alcort Catfish SMEDLEY

15 Nov 17:

ALCORT, pioneers in design of sport sailcraft and builders of the famous Sailfish and Sunfish, began building the Catfish catamaran in 1964. Designed by George Patterson, it was marketed as being fast, comfortable and offered exceptional performance on all points of sailing. Through its production approximately 1500 boats were built.

(Images: ALCORT Catfish brochures 1965)


All Fiberglass molded hull with foam flotation
-Under hull righting straps
-Roomy self bailing cockpit
-Aluminum rubrails

105 square feet, four batten Dacron sail with polyurethane masthead flotation built into peak of sail
-free feathering aluminum mast for optimum airfoil

Cockpit-controlled patented high-speed aluminum flip-up rudders and pivoting Fiberglass centerboards for easy beaching.

Nylon hiking straps, cockpit jam cleat and spacious wing deck storage compartment for maximum performance and convenience

-Speed and performance as you've never experienced
-Clean lines, comfortable recessed cockpit, excellent visibility

-Light in weight, easily rigged and launched from trailer or beach

-Perfectly adapted to the ALC-12 trailer and most small boat trailers

-On her side, on the trailer or suspended overhead
-Requires an minimum of storage space

-Length 13' 2"
-Beam 72"
-Mast height 22'
-Sail area 105 sq. feet
-Hull Weight - 170 pounds
-Crew capacity 300 pounds
-Shrouds and stays 3/32" stainless cable
-Hull: Fiberglass, foam flotation. White with choice of red, blue or white deck.
-Sail: Striped red and white, blue and white or all white Dacron. Sailmaker Ratsey and Lapthorn.
-Rudders: Aluminum alloy
-Centerboards: Fiberglass
-Mast: One piece, foil shaped aluminum alloy
-Fittings: Stainless, nylon
-Price: $896 USD 1965, crating charge of $35 USD when applicable
F.O.B Waterbury, Connecticut
Box 1345, Waterbury, Connecticut

More information to follow on our exciting discovery....stay tuned....

(Image: Hal, 2017).

24 Nov 17:

We found a Catfish in Schenectady, NY on craigslist and bought it. The seller was very helpful in sending us lots of photos and emails so we could learn more about the boat and its condition. We arranged to have it shipped down through, and the shipper got it down to us in just a few days.

Skipper named the boat SMEDLEY, after one of our Marine Corps icons Smedley Butler, because only a Marine could have come up with the creative way to safely get the boat off of the truck rack and down to the ground. The aft end of the boat was secured to a large tree and the shipper was able to inch the truck out from underneath, controlled its descent back to earth with a strap. Nice job James! SMEDLEY is at the casa now, joining our armada of small boats.

25 Nov 17:

Skipper likes SMEDLEY. So we decided to play with rigging to see if all the parts were there.

The Highfield lever for the forestay.

Polyurethane floatation panel at top of sail.

Alcort's sailmaker.

16 Feb 18:

Put SMEDLEY on the trailer but before we did that we put him on his side to assess bottom damage. Several of the areas look like gelcoat cracks but a few are deeper into the fiberglass. Most of the damage appears to be from improper trailer supports.

We are having a trailer made so we'll work with Eddie English to make sure the boat is properly supported. Eddie has been building boat trailers for a long time so we know he'll come up with a great design.

13 Mar 18:

Went by Eddie English Boat Trailer today and got a sneak peek at SMEDLEY's new trailer, it looks great! Waiting for inboard guide supports, there will be vertical rollers between the hulls to help keep the boat aligned over the horizontal rollers while we are loading it. Still to go is the mast support and a winch.

03 Apr 18:

Picked up SMEDLEY on her new trailer fro,m Eddie English Boat Trailer. They built nice custom roller supports on one of their stock small boat frames and crafted inner vertical rollers to help with loading. Hot dip galvanized frame, 12 inch tires with fenders, bow stop and winch, mast support, LED lights.

The man himself, Eddie.

Now we have to figure out why these transom holes are so big.

05 Apr 18:

At one point someone stored SMEDLEY on the ground and there was mud in the bottom of both bilges. We decided to see how much today, so we used a garden hose to give the bilges a fresh water rinse. We're not sure why the transom drain holes are so big but they came in handy today. We rinsed out the aft section first, then lowered the tongue of the trailer to get water up front. Raised the tongue and a little more mud came out from ahead of the flotation styrofoam that is just behind the centerboard trunks.

Caution: Viewer Discretion is advised, disturbing images follow :)

This little fiberglass hanger fell off of a backer block/plate somewhere, we'll try to figure that out and make sure the backer plate/block is still intact. That strip is used to hold the plate in place inside the hull while fasteners are being driven.

Here's a shot of the flotation foam, just behind the centerboard trunk. It has a nice linber hole carved into the bottom so water can drain aft.

13 Apr 18:

Family came to visit so of course they wanted to help flip SMEDLEY. Our plan is to start and hull repairs and get more of the rigging sorted out. We also need small repairs on one rudder and the mast, and gather a few blocks.

The hull has fiberglass damage from trailer rollers and a few other rash spots.

24 Apr 18:

SMEDLEY has a few broken bits that need to be cleaned up before sea trials. The gooseneck on the boom has a broken tang where the tack of the sail attaches.

The pivoting centerboards are missing the little spherical bushings that hold them in place and allow them to pivot.

One rudder cheek is missing the tiller support tab.

25 Apr 18:

SMEDLEY's hull had a lot of mildew and rust staining, we got a lot of the dirt and mildew off with TILEX. For the rust stains we used Iron Out, just spray it on and let it sit a few minutes. The rust was pretty dark but the second goat got most of it gone. Iron Out works great, but read the instructions and be careful not to be where the wind might blow it back into your eyes. There also may be some residue left over that gets kicked up during sanding, so wear an appropriate mask and eye protection.

01 May 18:

We moved the Catfish SMEDLEY up front, so we can work on all 3, repairing the hulls, sanding and cleaning up gelcoat.

03 May 18:

Took SMEDLEY on our road trip to see our buddy Capn Scott, he was able to fabricate a new tiller rest for the port side rudder. He cut out the aluminum piece on his CNC machine and used a TIG welder to attach it.

Check the lights for a dawn launch.

Scott checking the fit of the tiller rest.

TIG welding.

Shaping the tiller rest.

The new piece holds up the tiller so it doesn't drag the deck.

Rudders and tillers are ready.

The tillers have telescoping extensions, had no idea until Capn Scott pointed them out.

Capn Scott's CNC machine.

SMEDLEY hanging out with the big rigs. The trailer towed great and gave SMEDLEY a nice smooth ride.

05 May 18:

Circled SMEDLEY for a while and decided to work on the fiberglass damage. There are a couple of punctures below the water line that got sanded and taped, a few holes on deck got filled and the giant holes in the transom were plugged.


Filled this small hole with TotalBoat THIXO.

Gathered materials for the hull repair, 4 oz fiberglass cloth and TotalBoat THIXO Low Viscosity to wet out the cloth, scissors and some string.

Here's the plan for the bigger deck hole, make a backer patch to hold thickened epoxy.

We cut a piece of cardboard to act as a backer patch for the fiberglass repair. We wet it out with TotalBoat THIXO and it is held in place with string until it bonds inside the hull.

Then we prepped the transom holes for a similar repair.

Inserted backer patch and filled void with TotalBoat THIXO (Thickened Epoxy).

Covered the THIXO with painters plastic to help flatten the THIXO and keep outer cardboard from sticking.

Placed a piece of cardboard over the plastic and THIXO to flatten out the repair, secured string.

Taped the cardboard down to hold it flat and flatten out the THIXO, that should make it smoother to fair.

We will also inject some THIXO into these areas.

While we were poking around we found the vent hole for the hull, it allows air pressure to equalize so seams don't pop on a warm day.

SMEDLEY needs a new gooseneck, this one has a broken tang. It will work for a short time, but we'll find a replacement eventually.

10 May 18:

Launched SMEDLEY for a Float Test, she slid right off her new trailer from Eddie English Boat Trailer and waited patiently while we climbed aboard. We took a couple of paddles and spent about 25 minutes out to sea. No bubbles, no leaks. She was very stable and held both of us, should be fun to sail.

Skipper keeping an eye on SMEDLEY.

She floats!

Probably the first time SMEDLEY has been on the water in a long time.

Successful outing, back on the trailer and no big puddle afterwards :)

16 May 18:

The 3/4 inch polyester resin bearings on either side of the pivoting centerboards were broken off. They ride in channels on either side of the centerboard trunk and arre used to position the centerboard and provide a pivot point.

We decided to make new bearings out of a 3/4 inch oak dowel. We cut the dowel just a little long and rounded the ends with a 3/4 inch roundover bit on a compact trim router. We held the work piece with vise grips to keep our fingers clear of the router bit.

The old bearings were held in with rusty nails, Skipper used an awl to chip away bits of the damaged fiberglass and start a new hole for the dowel.

Rounded out the dowel hole to just over 3/4 inch with a rat tail file and a rounded diamond grit tile file.

We made the hole just over 3/4 so we could bed the new oak bearing in TotalBoat THIXO thickened epoxy, that epoxy coating helped seal up the raw fiberglass.

Added a small strip of 4 oz fiberglass along the front edge of the board by the bearing, wet out with TotalBoat Low Viscosity THIXO. This will help protect the centerboard should it swing forward of vertical and strike the forward edge of the trunk.

We also used THIXO to build back a damaged area on the tip of the starboard centerboard.

20 May 18:

Rigged the centerboard uphaul with 3/16th inch StaSet.

We had some new side stays made and based on the tang pin size the rigger suggested bumping them up from 3/16th inch diameter to 1/4. We'll get it set up and see how we like it, it just looks different now with thicker stays, but we imagine after a few days we won't notice. Certainly won't hurt to have the extra strength.

21 May 18:

We stepped the mast on SMEDLEY, adjusted the side stays, rigged the sail, downhaul, mainsheet and rudder.

Launched SMEDLEY and Skipper for Sea Trials and they both did great. SMEDLEY moved smartly in light winds, the sail set great and SMEDLEY tacked and gybed with ease. The deck was comfortable and there was lots of room to move around, the twin rudders were super cool. Our thanks to everyone, especially Capn Scott, for helping find her and get her back on the water.

Now we prep for her debut at Juana's Good Time Regatta in September.

12 Jun 18:

Alcort made the Catfish catamaran from 1965 to the late 60s, AMF discontinued it once they took over in 1969. Found another Catfish brochure, pictures of the red boat in this one, better color pictures than the earlier blue/gray scale brochure. Could it be our Catfish SMEDLEY? And the weight of the boat went up from 170 to 190 pounds, so we are guessing this a later brochure where maybe the weight of the rig was included.

13 Jun 18:

Since SMEDLEY's old soft sail did not shred when we took her out we headed over to Schurr Sails to get some battens ordered. We were treated to a tour of the loft and Hunter cut the battens while we were there. He shared a story of how he sailed a Catfish when he was a kid, his Dad considered buying one but they settled on a Hobie 14 instead. He has been sailing since then.

Our friends at Schurr take great care of us, they have made us several sails for our restoration boats and a beautiful spinnaker for our Daysailer. Here is SMEDLEY's sail hanging out with Hunter and a few other sails in the loft.

02 Sep 18:

Skipper back from her successful "peaker" cruise on our Alcort Catfish SMEDLEY. As part of My Peak Challenge she pledged to sail a catamaran, something she had not done before 2018. She also had to build her sailing muscles as part of being able to handle SMEDLEY's 130 sguare foot sail. SMEDLEY had a good time and we want to thank all the folks who helped get her back out to sea, esp Scott, Susan, Jack, Hunter and Eddie's crew.

My Peak Challenge is a fundraiser as well as a comprehensive monthly workout and nutrition program. This year, My Peak Challenge supports the great organizations Bloodwise and Marie Curie. We are happy to be part of the community and are looking forward to the next pledge.

Clark and Skipper

My Peak Challenge

03 Sep 19:

More prep for the move, lowered the mast on SMEDLEY. I wanted to see if I could lower it myself, so we tied a line side to side and also around the wing strut to keep the base of the mast from flying off. There is an eyestrap on the forward base of the mast, not sure why it is there, maybe for stepping and unstepping the mast?

Tied the mainsheet to the forestay, then led that line over the mast crutch on the forward part of the trailer. That made a little better angle to lower the mast. Once the shrouds got loose the mast moved off to one side, but not too far. The base popped loose once the mast was bout 3/4 of the way down but it did not go too far.

Hauled SMEDLEY up to our trailer guy Eddie so he can cut a foot off of the tongue to make the trailer 15 feet long total. We had him make it way too long, and now the trailer can fit inside the Pod. The mast will ride inside a 26 foot UHaul.

10-11 Sep 19:

Picked up SMEDLEY, Eddie and his team made the trailer 15' 6" so it will fit in a Pods moving and storage container. They cut off about a foot on the tongue, and the trailer looks better and still tows great. We had asked for a longer tongue when we had the trailer built, thinking we could back the boat all the way into the water, but it turned out it was easy to get the boat on and off the trailer with the rollers.

The Pod arrived and SMEDLEY fits! With room to spare on the side.

Once SMEDLEY was in we built a rack over the top. It holds the Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA and Sunfish MADISON. Suspended above is our wooden Sunfish ZIP, and below are the Standard Sailfish WINNIE and wooden Sunfish CHIP. The rack also held all of the spars and sails, there was also room for 4 Dynamic Dollies which break down easily. We also put the compact planer in the Pod and all of our boat patterns.

12 Sep 19:

The Pod Full of Fish departed to Virginia, full of our Standard Sailfish WINNIE, Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA, wooden Sunfish ZIP and CHIP, Catfish SMEDLEY and fiberglass Sunfish MADISON.

12 Sep 19:

The Pod Full of Fish departed to Virginia, full of our Standard Sailfish WINNIE, Super Sailfish ZSA ZSA, wooden Sunfish ZIP and CHIP, Catfish SMEDLEY and fiberglass Sunfish MADISON.

Next stop Chesapeake!

27 Feb 20:

A postcard from the late 1960s, 2 Alcort Catfish chasing a Sunfish. Marketing wise, maybe it would have been better if the Catfish were leading the race?

10 Apr 20:

Pandemic Update. Move postponed. Pod recalled to Florida, the boats are back. SMEDLEY is confused.

25 Apr 20:

Raised the mast on our Alcort Catfish, Skipper walked it up from behind the boat as high as she could, then I used the trailer winch, hooked to the forestay to crank it up the rest of the way. Skipper moved around to the upwind side and steadied the mast with the side stay.

Adjustable side stays, SMEDLEY uses pin hole 5.

Rigging and hull details video:

Previous owner added paddle brackets on the stern.

Capsize straps and hull snaps. Tools and materials ordered to build replacement straps.

Hiking strap will be replaced also.

Deck drain.

Chocolate chip cookie cubbies.

Centerboard control line jam cleat.

Feathering mast.

Forestay bridle tangs.

Closer to launch.

The boom.

Forestay Highfield lever.

Highfield lever video:

24 Jun 20:

A friend needed rudder pin measurements for an Alcort Catfish rudder so we pulled them off of SMEDLEY.

Our friend Scott suggests adding some type of keeper ring on the bottom of the pin or lanyard to the pin to make sure it does not go to Davey Jones Locker after a capsize.

26 Jul 20:

We have some folks looking for centerboards for their Alcort Catfish, so we went out to get a pattern of of SMEDLEY's centerboard. Not sure how many other catamarans had centerboards back then, but they make it nice to slide right up on the beach.

First a little note about the centerboard, when it is on the trailer it won't drop straight in because the leading edge is longer than the top of the trunk, the tip needs to angled in first.

We traced the centerboard onto thin birch plywood and cut out the pattern with a DeWALT 20V Brushless jigsaw.

The thickest part of the centerboard measured out at 9/16th inches, but we believe it could be thinned down to 1/2 inch as long as a good grade of marine plywood was used. Otherwise break out the planers.

Notes on centerboard measurements:

28 Jul 20:

Our 2020 Outback Limited XT Super Gumby is due for a 600 mile checkup of the trailer hitch installation, so before we took her over to the dealership we thought we'd check the trailer light wiring on SMEDLEY's trailer. SMEDLEY got excited, we told her to settle down, we'll get her out to play soon. 

 23 Jan 21:

5 is the number, the number shall be 5. Historical record of where SMEDLEY's side stays are set in the adjustable tangs. We removed the stays so we could store the mast until it gets transported to Virginia, probably in a UHaul 26 footer. SMEDLEY is going in a 16 foot PODS, the mast is 22 feet.

21 Mar 22:

SMEDLEY made the move to Virginia in a PODS container and got some roller damage to the hull. He'll be the first to test out the hoist on the new Wheel Deck/Pergola. be continued


ALCORT Catfish sales pamphlet, 1965, 1969.
Sunfish_Sailor Yahoo Group Files


  1. Thanks so much for this post! I have a blue catfish that I've been working on. It's mostly complete minus one wooden sail batten and a rudder pin.
    I've restored several sunfish and a mini. I'm going to look at a sailfish tomorrow.
    Thanks for your generous sharing of techniques and restoration products! Wish I had a great trailer guy. That catfish is pretty hard to move around!

    1. Howdy, that's awesome. We had our sail guy make fiberglass battens. There might be some aluminum or copper rod at Lowes you could fashion into a pin, or long carriage bolt. I think a wood dowel would work too. If you do facebook, send us some photos at fb Small Boat Restoration! Have fun! Clark and Skipper

    2. Clark; I'm restoring a Cat Fish and do not have any Center Boards. If you have any used or could possibly make I would be willing to buy. PS. I,m from Schenectady like SMEDLEY
      cell # 518 522 6811 Kim Roberts

    3. Hi Kim, send us an gmail at lewis dot kent We could make them or send a pattern.