National Website for Arrow and Arafura Catamarans

Getting Involved


Arrows and Arafura Cadets are not available off the shelf, so you have the choice of buying a second-hand boat or building one yourself.

Buying a second-hand boat

You can pick up a boat for as little as $1,000, or splurge out on a near-new proven racer for $3,500. Apart from the quality of finish, the following features dictate the value of a boat:

Hull weight – the hulls should be at or close to minimum weight
Sails – near-new sails from a sailmaker with a proven good track record in the class
Rudders – these must be well shaped, operate smoothly in the rudder boxes and lock down positively.

For less expensive boats, the things to look for are:

Paint finish – check for areas where the surface is lifted. This indicates that water has got into the plywood.
Hull leaks – cracks along the seams can allow a surprisingly large quantity of water to enter the hulls.
Trampoline tracks – some boats have a problem with the tracks along the inside of the hull coming loose because the screws pull out of the timber.
Trampoline – the stitching deteriorates and breaks down slowly due to UV light. Centreplate beam cracking – the sideways pressure applied by the centreplate can crack the aluminium beams, particularly if they have lightening holes.
Rudders – check that the blades fit snugly in their boxes, that they swing down to a position close to the transom and that the hold-down system keeps them there. Rudder blades that angle backwards cause serious weather helm.

Building a boat

This is a time-consuming but very satisfying project. You can do it all yourself, or get a flying start by purchasing a set of hulls. Construction plans are available for both the Arrow and Arafura Cadet. They detail every step of the process and have plenty of helpful tips to ensure that the job goes smoothly and without mistakes. Most state associations have a jig which makes assembling the hulls much easier.

Purchasing a set of hulls is more expensive but saves a lot of time. For both classes, timber or fibreglass hulls are allowed, but only Arrow hulls have been built in fibreglass so far. The term “fibreglass” is misleading because the hulls are actually built using foam/resin sandwich construction so that minimum weight is achieved.

Your State Association will know of professional and amateur hull builders in your area.

A set of plans and building instructions comes complete with a sail number and costs $50. They are available from the South Australian Association (refer to contact details above).