One joyful surprise of a charter sail is the unique experience sitting in the catbird seat on boat of 30 feet or longer. The concept was pioneered by Hunter Sailboats in the early 1980s as twin “stern perch” seats on the aft rail, but the term catbird quickly eclipsed that.
Catalina Sailboats and Beneteau Sailboats quickly f0llowed, and today the aftermarket has retrofitted smaller boats down to 22 feet with DIY catbirds. Hunter at one time had a small catbird on the bow at the pulpit, but it was clearly a hazard for maneuvering around the forestay to get out there. No telling how many people fell off.
This photo of the Stetson Hoffman party shows how easily catbirds fit into the equilibrium of a day’s sail. Stetson is seated in the rear of the cockpit, just below the portside catbird. As we move left you can see her friend Sam at the wheel and his wife Teddy in the starboard catbird, followed by Chris Stetson on the left in the cockpit. That’s three different positions for conversation, viewing and running the boat.
The catbirds are positioned typically under the canvas bimini top, out of the sun. The view from there is spectacular because it’s higher off the cockpit and extends to take in the bow and beyond.
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