The Catboat Era in Newport, Rhode Island

The Catboat Era in Newport, Rhode Island

by John M. Leavens, Judith Navas Lund


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Interspersed among the gold-plated yachts of the Gilded Age were many humble catboats serving as fishing boats, livery craft, and pleasure boats. Here their story is told in well-researched detail with a fine collection of period photographs.

When we think of Newport at the end of the nineteenth century, we think of life lived large—big houses, big yachts, big money. But like the diversity of people found in any waterfront town, there was a diversity of watercraft in Newport waters. In among the yachts are found the workboats and other small craft. John Leavens took a look back at the humble catboat and found a wealth of information about its origin, its builders, and its owners. These small sailboats with their masts well forward served as fishing boats, livery craft, and pleasure boats and were seen everywhere, it turns out, in Newport waters. Combining years of research, conversations with waterfront habitues, and a fine collection of period photographs, John brought together the full story of Newport cats but passed away before it could be published.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780884482727
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Publication date: 06/28/2005
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 10.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lawyer and management expert John Leavens (1907-1987) loved catboats—his own Herbert Crosby-built 21' 11" Pinkletink, first of all,
and then every other catboat, catboat builder, and catboat sailor. With
Paul and Molly Birdsall and the able assistance of his first mate,
Pinkie, he founded The Catboat Association in 1962. He wrote extensively for the Catboat Bulletin, and in 1973 pulled together his accumulated knowledge and contacts to write The Catboat Book.

A former curator at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Judy Lund writes on a variety of maritime and local history subjects. Currently historian of The Catboat Association and a member of its Steering
Committee, she has taken on the task of bringing John Leavens' manuscript to the boating community.

What People are Saying About This

Captain A.J. Kenealy

Captain A. J. Kenealy in Boat Sailing in Fair Weather and Foul, 1905
The Newport cat-boat is famous the world over for her handiness, speed, and ability....I never saw one of them come to grief, and in fact they have always impressed me as being the handiest all-round boat afloat.

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