Guruca: A Very Cool Cat


We’ve been out cruising for 2 years now, and we have seen many interesting boats, but we haven’t seen many that are cooler than the Brazilian cat Guruca. Guruca is Portuguese for “little crab”, and she was hand-built out of wood in a little over 2 years by Fausto and Guta, a couple that has sailed her from Brazil. Fausto also designed her. She’s 54 feet long, weighs 12 tons, and has some design features that I could see on our next cat if we ever decide to upgrade Sophie.

As you can see from the photo above, she has a roof that extends from the dinghy davits forward to the mast, creating a living space that is over 25 feet long.


Since the boat is made from wood, it results in a warm interior that Fausto and Guta have left relatively uncluttered. Here is a shot of Jenna and Guta in the galley. We have always liked the idea of aft-facing galleys on cats, because it can create a connection between the inside and outside living areas. The island behind Jenna contains a deep fridge and freezer.


There is a table and benches in the forward part of the salon, including a duplicate set of instruments for when you are doing watches inside. There is a lot of room under the benches for food storage. And yes, Leo got a haircut.


The main part of the salon is open, creating a space that is large enough to host 20 people for an indoor dance party. All that is missing here is a disco ball. For Fausto, that is not a problem, because in his view when you build in wood, you can change anything whenever you want to. And yes, my outfit matches my Brazilian coffee cup.

A big challenge for the designers of large cats is the decision about where to put the wheel. Lagoon chose the approach of building a flybridge and putting the wheel up top. This creates a great and social sailing area but separates the helm from the salon and the aft cockpit. Chris White and the Gunboat designers put it in a small cockpit directly behind the mast. Catana puts a wheel out on each transom, which I assume gives you a great view but can also get you wet. Other designers put a bench on the front of the salon where the hemsman sits and drives.


Fausto solves this problem by putting the wheel on a platform in the center of the aft cockpit, with a sliding hatch that gives the helmsman access to all of the sail controls. When I first saw this, I didn’t think it would work. But the more I think about it, the more I like it, especially for distance cruising.


You have an excellent view of the sails.


And easy access to the sail controls. 


Once you’ve made your sail adjustment, you just close the hatch and continue with your day. The roof must be close to 600 square feet, and Fasuto built rain gutters around its edge to fill his 2,200 liters of water storage. He doesn’t need a watermker or a genset. The helm platform also contains the clothes washing machine, which is a setup that would be perfect for me.


Here is a photo of me and Fausto enjoying his aft cockpit. They spend most of their time here.


Fausto and Guta invited the crews of Sophie and Per Ardua over for coffee and cake yesterday afternoon, and the kids spent all of their time playing in the aft cockpit as well.


It was clear that they were both very proud of their beautiful boat. Fausto spent an hour showing us his rigging, hulls, mast, engine rooms, and various pieces of joinery. At one point he even broke out his line drawings of the boat and walked us through his equations for various stress loads and righting angles. It was a wonderful experience.

One final observation. We have written a bit about the potential crime issues in the Solomons and PNG, and we are feeling very safe in Kavieng right now. But Guruca has just about the best crime deterrent we’ve seen on any cruising boat: a Size 1, 2 kilo alpha male Miniature Pinscher named Faisca. No one is going to mess with this guy.


I guess we are not the only lucky ones out here right now. Fausto and Guta plan to sell Guruca when they return to Brazil next year so they can build a new boat. She would make an excellent day charter boat for an exotic location somewhere, like, say, Montenegro.


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