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How to Make a Catamaran Sailboat from PVC Pipe

Click HERE to order the DVD

          Are You Ready for FAST and FUN Sailing?

With your own RebelCat catamaran, you can leave the crowds (and slow sailboats!) behind. Sail off to discover beautiful beaches and camping spots you didn't even know existed.

Take a friend, spend a weekend, or an entire week! Explore your favorite lake, camp by the water, fish early in the morning, catch the sunrise, take photos of exotic places you've never seen.

So why make a RebelCat catamaran?

  • That's easy. Cats are FAST and FUN! 
  • Easy to make from local materials with hand tools. 
  • No special boatbuilding skills required. 
  • No itchy fiberglass or smelly resin. 
  • Tie the cat on your roofrack - no boat trailer. 
  • Easy to maintain and customize for the way you sail. 
  • Easy to dive from and climb aboard. It won't tip over. 
  • Did I mention, cats are FAST! 

Catamarans are not for everybody - they sail quite fast and require some physical fitness. Elderly and less athletic people might do better with a slower sailboat.

If you can handle the action, then consider making a RebelCat.

Eight years of development have gone into the DVD on how to make a catamaran sailboat from PVC pipe, and it's now available. It is the only one in the world, because I am the only one who has designed a complete sailing catamaran around PVC pipe pontoons.

RebelCat 5 is a tested and proven design, and you will be pleased with your own cat made from these step-by-step instructions. The cat sails well and fast, and it is easy to customize for your own particular sailing style.

Controls include a 55-inch-wide track and traveler for the main sheet, to adjust the angle of the boom/mainsail to the cat and to shape the sail, downhaul to tighten the luff, outhaul to tighten the foot, adjustable fairlead positions for the jib for the same kind of precise sail-angle control, five-position kickup centerboard, which folds up under the padded deck.

RebelCat 5 can be made in two variations or versions - a standard length of about 15 feet and a modular version which can be either 15 feet or 21 feet. The longer pontoons length is acheived with 6-foot extensions on each pontoon, held to the main pontoon by a coupler - an experiment which proved surprisingly successful. Feel free to make your cat any length, but check the Flotation Chart first.

Heat-shaped pontoons make RebelCat 5 very fast, due to the wave-piercing, low-drag, wedge-shaped bows, which you see on modern cats. The DVD shows you how to heat-shape your bows, if you want. I invented this method, and you will see it only on this DVD.

See RebelCat 5 here. This YouTube video explains a lot in video and audio which text cannot convey. Click the arrow in the center to start. If you see another video, scroll to find the right one.

RebelCat 5 DVD Contents

Here is a list of the chapters on the DVD and what you can expect to see and hear in each one.

About the video:
Run time: 96 minutes (1 hour 36 minutes)
Fullscreen, English narration
No region encoding - plays in all countries.

1. Introduction - See RebelCat 5 sailing. Meet me, the originator of the RebelCat design. I tell you why I'm doing this.

2. Origin of the RebelCat design - A guided tour through all of the RebelCats, from the prototype made in Brazil to the current state-of-the-art homemade cat, number 5.

3. Flotation and Why You Need It - Flotation charts with all the information you need to calculate your flotation requirements, pipe diameter and length, with examples.

4. RebelCat 5 vs RebelCat 1 - A comparison of the features of both, so you can see what 8 years of development have done.

5. Tools and Materials You Will Need - A list of tools and materials is also included on the disc in the Resources folder. This chapter is brief and suggests that you take notes while watching, to record what tools you may not have and materials you need, if you decide to make it differently than the DVD shows.

6. Safe and Efficient Workspace - I show you my workspace and make suggestions on the space you will need to build your cat.

7. Workflow Overview - A quick slide show of drawings showing the stages of construction, so you know what you will be doing.

8. Construction Step-by-Step - 14 chapters covering the construction of all of the parts of your cat (see details below).

9. Assembly - Several examples of how to assemble your cat on the shore, prior to sailing. The entire process - from untying parts from your roofrack to launch is about 90 minutes for one person, half that for two. It's only 30 minutes to take it apart and tie it back on, less if you have a helper.

10. Sailing Tips - how to adjust and tune your cat for different sailing conditions. Covers the traveler and adjustable jib fairleads.

11. Sailing Safety - Some suggestions for staying safe.

12. Conclusion - Unfinished business, me telling you things that were not yet covered, wishing you success, etc.

Construction Chapters Detailed

1. Buying PVC Pipe - That's right, I even show you how to buy and cut your pipe, right there in the company's yard! If you mess up here, it could cost you, so I cover this in detail. See FAQ 15 for more on this.

2. Support Spacers - Two or three supports that hold your pontoons in the right place for building the rest of the boat.

3. Heat-shaping Pontoons - You may or may not want to do this - your choice -  but if you want those wedge-shaped, low-drag and super -fast hulls that modern cats have, this chapter details the entire process. I invented this method, so you won't see this anywhere else.

4. Foam Disc Bulkheads - These things are what turn your PVC pipe into rigid and safe pontoons, by creating many bulkheads inside. In case your pontoon gets punctured, the bulkheads prevent the water from filling the pontoon.

5. Pontoon Cones - You can use cones front and rear or just rear - your choice. Or you can heat-shape both ends. This chapter shows you how I made the cones for the rear of the pontoons, and they perform like magic, leaving no wake at all behind the cat.

6. Deck - The main structure of the cat, where you will sit and reach all controls. Storage under deck covers, cushions, the works.

7. Fore And Aft Spreaders - The 'bridges' that make the cat more rigid yet flexible. The fore spreader holds the bowsprit, the rear holds the rudder and traveler.

8. Bowsprit/Centerboard Trunk - This clever unit, which you will only see on my cats, combines the long bowsprit, which holds the forestay and jib, and the centerboard trunk, where your rotating centerboard operates. It also has the mast step. Borrowed from RebelCat 1, this unique construction has matured into a very practical and functional multipurpose structure.

9. Mast - Mine is made from aluminum pipe, but you can use wood or fiberglass.

10. Boom - Made from oak, simple and strong.

11. Sails - Sewn from polyester fabric bought from Wal Mart's discount table for $1 per yard. You can also use polytarp (free designs and instructions on the Web) or Tyvek. Or you can buy a used sail on craigslist or eBay. I show you how I made mine.

12. Centerboard - The rotating centerboard folds up neatly under the deck for launching and beaching. It kicks up in case it hits the bottom or a rock, and can be fixed in any of five positions.

13. Rudder - Like the centerboard, made from exterior plywood and sealed. Kicks up also. Chapter covers the rudder, rudderstock, tiller and extension.

14. Hardware - Those metal things that all sailboats seem to have. This covers the ones that allow the deck and spreaders to be strapped tightly to the pontoons.