Jet Cat

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Jet Cat

Fiber-Resin Corp.

125 W. Verdugo

Burbank, California

Also found listed at 1914 W. Burbank Blvd. The Fiber-Resin Corporation was a company specializing in fiberglass cloth, matt, polyester and epoxy laminating resin. In 1959, Allan Greenwood was general manager of the company.

The JET CAT story

The Jet Cat concept originated with a young Swiss designer, Till Schmid, whose studios brought him to the realization that conventionally designed hulls were inherently wrong in at least two major respects.

1. The fore and aft pitching was the direct result of the fact that the bow was the least buoyant port of the hull. In any pitching movement, the narrow bow of necessity has to dip very deeply into the water before it displaces enough water to spring up again. The sharper the bow the less buoyant it becomes and the more buffeting it takes from wind and waves. Moreover, with the advent of wonderful fiberglass, designers unfortunately were making bows more narrow and with top heavy forward decks thus aggravating the situation.

2. Side to side rolling in a conventional design is due to the fact that the greatest buoyancy is lust above the keel line and not directly under the sides where it belongs. The conventional boat is less buoyant as it heels over and any change of its longitudinal axis results in decreased buoyancy and increased instability. Here again we find that many designers are flaring out the gunwales causing even greater instability.

Thus it can be seen that any motion of the wind, the water, or the movement of passengers starts off a chain reaction of pitching and rolling. This condition exists even with ocean liners and battleships but on those there is enough space to install very expensive gyroscopes which quickly return the ship to its upright position before it has been allowed to move very much.

The question was how to solve these problems in a practical, effective and inexpensive manner for small craft.

Fortunately two basic design concepts existed—one as old as the Polynesian Race, the other as new as the Twentieth Century. What ore these two design concepts, what do they offer and what could be done with them?

We can thank the South Pacific Polynesians for the CATAMARAN they originally designed as o sailing vessel which could safely move whole families from island to Island on its broad deck supported on each outboard side by a hull. The inherent sidewise stability of the catamaran even in rough weather is obvious. Additionally, the tunnel acts as an airfoil providing lift) the faster she goes the higher out of the water she comes thus reducing drag—and in a medium 800 times denser than air, the effects of reduced drag are remarkable. The natural evolution of the catamaran saw early displacement hulls superseded by the hydroplaning typo which presents o minimum of drag. However, the catamaran never be¬come popular because of its outsize width which made it difficult to berth and because at the tangency of the deck and hulls there was inherent structural weakness which remained a serious problem until the recent introduction of fiberglass which allowed the flexural and tensile loads to be induced into and dissipated over adjacent structure by simply fairing the hull to the deck thus creating a monolithic structure of exceptional strength.

The Twentieth Century design contribution came from a New England Marine Architect named Albert Hickman who, annoyed by the distressing eccentricities of boats and ships in the rough North Atlantic, spent a life time experimenting to overcome the effect of the conventional bow which he recognized was constantly buffeted by the seas because of its narrowness and nonbuoyoncy.

To solve this condition, Hickman finally cut a conventional boat down the center lengthwise, crossed the two halves over to opposite sides, and finished her off in a seaworthy manner. The result was his 1906 patent on the Sea Sled whose inverted V bottom was most pronounced at the bow, gradually becoming less aft until the V dies out forward of the transom. This crisscrossed design had amazing results—it raised the keel so that it had shallowest draft, spread the flotation nicely fore and aft, put the greatest buoyancy under the sides and directed the entire bow wave into the V where it be¬came a foamy, buoyant cushion that effectively dampened all pitching movement. Hickman hailed it as the fastest, safest and dryest powerboat in the world—and it was! But for 50 years the patent restrictions (which recently expired) dlscouraged other engineers from improving and promoting the basic design. Also the boat was not handsome and, in the days before fiberglass, was very difficult to build due to the unusual angles.

It was apparent that a combination of the Hydroplane, Catamaran and the Sea Sled could result in the greatest advance in pleasure craft design since the Polynesian unwittingly made the first big step forward.

Fiberglass construction was required to gain the necessary unusual configuration and at the same time eliminate the sharp stress concentrations that were predicated if wooden hulls were built. To obtain the necessary materials, and more important, the know-how Schmid come to the Fiber-Resin Corporation and with their help a lull prototype was built in 1957 and exhaustively tested for several months. The results were beyond expectations—speeds approaching 40 knots were obtained and in rough weather the Jet Cat proved to be quiet, smooth, soft and dry as the Coronado Island Ferry on a lazy August day.

In November 1957 Fiber-Resin Corporation decided to undertake mockup and production of the Jet Cat under the direction of Till Schmid and his associate, Shelly Jacknowitz, a commercial artist who has lent his considerable talents to the forward looking design. It was agreed that all the knowledge gained from nine months testing would be incorporated in the new Jet Cat since Fiber-Resin desired to offer the most outstanding craft of this era—a beautiful boat capable of tremendous speed yet safe and sound for every family. Beginning November 1957, more scale models were made and further tested, engineering was completed, mockups built, molds constructed and the final product is as you see it—truly a beauty to behold! The beginning of a new era in boating!

What makes the Jet Cat so distinctive apart from its obvious beauty?

All the best design features of the catamaran, the sea sled and the hydroplane have been incorporated in the Jet Cot and beautifully blended technically and aesthetically.

As in the sea sled, the bow waves are turned inward and the white water becomes a hydraulic-pneumatic cushion which acts as a shock absorber thus greatly improving passenger comfort. As in the catamaran, the tunnel extends the length of the boat so that airfoil lift is obtained causing the hydroplane hulls to come into action at relatively slow speeds. More¬over, the tunnel shallows at the rear so that a jet assist effect is realized. Exceptional speed is obtained with increased stability at all times.

Dryness, comfort, soft ride and safety are noteworthy. As the seas roughen, the "cushion" in the tunnel becomes more effective and more apparent becomes the difference between the Jet Cat and other hulls. In heavy weather when other hulls must slow to o crawl to keep from pounding out the bottom, the Jet Cat can race for home port comfortably and safely or continue on its way ignoring the weather.

The Jet Cat will not nose-dive, will not yaw and will not slip in a beam wind. Compared to conventional hulls, there is no pitch and almost no roll. The engineering principles behind these facts are quickly evident when one considers that there are two planing hulls instead of one, four chines instead of two, a tunnel that provides lift and employs turbulence to advantage—and one more very important fact: The bottom of the boot is widest at the bow due to the greater arc subtended by the tunnel up forward. The great advantage of this situation is readily demonstrated by first towing on isosceled triangle through water by its apex thus roughly duplicating a conventional hull—the triangle will dart and skitter like a hooked steelhead. But when the triangle is towed by the middle of its base, it follows as though it were on a track.

Many more pages can be written on the Jet Cat Story but the foregoing facts are the most important. Whether you desire a seacraft for fishing, for skiing, for sportdiving, or for just plain cruising, the Jet Cat is the only one for you. Every inch and every aspect of the Jet Cot have been scientifically designed and proven out to be practical, functional, comfortable and safe! Its elegant beauty and exquisite lines set it apart for those who want the best.

Written by J. A. Thompson, President, Fiber-Resin Corporation General Manager, Kish Western “Pioneer Formulators of Epoxy Resins”

Besides the Jet Cat, in 1958 the company also offered a fiberglass copy of the 8' Naples Sabot sailing dinghy. Apparently, the Jet Cat was not the only foray into fiberglass boats by the company. The story goes that only four Jet Cats were made; two for inboard power, two for outboard power. Only one outboard model is known to survive today.

Only Known Info

Jet Cat Boats in Use

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