Building a Boat

More than half of all new Paper Tiger Catamarans are home-built by amateur builders. Basic woodworking skills and tools, enthusiasm and the willingness to ask questions are pretty much all you need to be able to build a boat.

One of the many great aspects of the Paper Tiger Catamaran class is the willingness to share information, so you don't have to feel like you are on your own when building a boat, even if you are thousands of miles from the nearest Paper Tiger!

We have an extensive network of people who are only an e-mail or a phone call away! Many of our members have built Paper Tigers, some have built several. Plus we have numerous articles available about how to build a boat, as well as hundreds of photos of the process from start to finish. We can also provide detailed infomation on how to fit out your boat to ensure that it is competitive with other boats. And we have many articles on how to sail the boat as fast as possible. And if you still have questions, we can put you in touch with any number of Paper Tiger sailors to find you answers!

To get an idea of the ways the PTCIA can help you, have a look at Help & Assistance.

A number of Paper Tiger Catamaran Guides have been produced to assist people to build a Paper Tiger. Click on the article to download a PDF copy of the Guide.

  • Marine Plywood
    • An overview of what you need to know about marine plywood (by Ralph Skea - from "APT" - August 2011).
  • Plywood Selection
    • A guide to selecting the right plywood to build a Paper Tiger (by Neil Waterman). 
  • Joining the Plywood
    • Scarfing - A guide to joining sheets of plywood before using them on the jig (by Phill Brander).
    • Splicing - A new approach to joining plywood (by Ralph Skea & Jim Helps - from "APT" - May 2012).
  • Centreboards
    • An article on centreboard development (by Ian Marcovitch, 2010 International Champion - from "APT" - November 2011).
  • Chainplates
    • An article on making DIY chainplates (by Ralph Skea - from "APT" - May 2012)

Beams

Please note that the beams should NOT be made from standard aluminium sections. Off-the-shelf aluminium is too soft and will cause major problems, such as extensive flexing (best case) and breakage. A broken beam can destroy your hulls in seconds, as it will rip the decks off as it collapses. Make sure you specify the correct material when purchasing beams, as is the case when purchasing through our on-line shop. Specifications are:

  • 1st Choice - Material: 6061, Hardness: T6.
  • 2nd Choice - Material: 6106, Hardness: T6

Under all circumstances, avoid a hardness of T4, a commonly available material. Anodising is a safe practice for beams and will make the surface more resistant to corrosion and scratching.

More guides on building Paper Tigers will be published here soon!