Customer since: 2000
Location: Wareham, MA
Specialty: Sole Builders of the Beetle Cat
The Beetle Cat boat is a 12 foot, gaff-rigged wooden sailboat first built in 1921 by the Beetle family of New Bedford, Massachusetts. John Beetle patterned the boat’s design on the 20 to 30 ft catboats used for shallow water fishing around Cape Cod. His boat quickly gained a reputation for excellent performance in the coastal waters of New England.
After World War II, the Concordia Company of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts purchased the rights to the Beetle Cat. In 1993, the Beetle Cat division was sold to Charlie York, and Beetle Inc was born. Ten years later, civil engineer and Beetle Cat owner Bill Womack purchased Beetle Inc. Charlie York stayed on as master builder, and operations relocated to Wareham, Massachusetts.
Beetle Cats are built as planks of Atlantic white cedar over white oak frames. Cotton-caulked seams, varnished fir spars, oak coaming and rails, canvas-covered decks, and bronze hardware come together to form a classic.
It’s traditional appearance, shallow draft, and wide beam have made the Beetle Cat an enduring design that continues to find new fans. The Beetle Cat has become an icon over the years, featured in coffee table books about wooden boats. Celebrity owners have included Jacqueline Onassis (for her children to learn sailing in), Steven Spielberg, and Calvin Klein.
While many are raced under the competitive and strictly regulated one-design class rule, these boats are also fine beach cruisers and family sailers.
Today, Beetle Inc is the sole builder of Beetle Cat boats. Under Bill Womack, they have continued to build these little wooden boats with the highest quality craftsmanship and materials. With over 4,000 built in total since 1921, Beetle Inc is also busy providing parts, repair, restoration, and brokerage services.
In addition, they also offer custom wooden boat building and restoration for boats up to 50 ft.