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Behind the Design - What is a Cat Boat?

If you are from New England, or a mariner who loves to sail the waters of the islands off the Massachusetts coast, you will easily recognize the iconic sailboat affectionately called "The Cat Boat."  Distinguished by its single gaff-rigged sail set forward in the bow, the cat has a wide beam making it stable and roomy.  They generally range in size from 14' to 26' in length.  Orignially used as workboats for passenger ferries or fishing, legend says that the name "Catboat" comes from the fishermen having to "shoo" the cats away from the dead fish on the boat.  These vessels were particularly useful because of their shallow draft and easily retractable center keel.  But, after the turn of the centry, they became more "vacation" or pleasure boats than working vessels.  They then became the popular racing boat for amateur sailor racers all over New England.

The "Rainbow" is a well-recognized small cat boat that was designed in 1920 by John Beetle as a fun, safe sailboat for children and was brought to Nantucket in 1926 as the standard craft for a race with each sail being made of a different color so that parents could recognize their child's boat!

Of course Claire had to design a series of rugs and accessories celebrating this time-honored tradition, and so was born the Cat Boat and Rainbow Fleet collections.  But you need not have to live on Nantucket to appreciate the inspiration and art of these handsome rugs.  Available in many sizes and versions, they have become some of Claire Murray's most recognizable rugs.