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Oldest videos of racing catamarans - including Worrell 1000 history

by Magnus Smith 7 Apr 04:00 PDT
The Tornado cat was already super quick, then when foils were added to the equation it would help redefine what straight line boat speed really meant © Austin Farrar Collection

Our video archive is fully searchable, and linked to all the clubs and classes in our database. It is updated weekly with the latest videos of sailing, but here we delve into the past, and round-up all the videos which show racing catamarans, though we have not found as much race footage as we'd like.

We start in the UK, and then cover to Europe, Australia and the USA too, as we move chronologically through our archives...

The oldest video we could find is from 1965 and shows the Shearwater National Championships in Poole, UK. Sadly, it is silent, but the on-shore footage is very clear.

Next we have some C class action from 1966 with the Little America's Cup at Thorpe Bay, UK - 'Lady Helmsman' versus 'Gamecock'. Were these the biggest and most advanced wing masts of their time?

Then back in the same location the year after: Little America's Cup 1967 - 'Lady Helmsman' versus 'Quest III'. Finally we have sound!

Lastly in this set we have the Little America's Cup 1969 - a match between 'Ocelot' and 'Opus III'. This time the Danish challenge the Brits.

Here is a look back at the 1967 A & B Class Catamaran Trials held by the IYRU (now World Sailing) at Sheppey, UK. This event saw the birth of the Tornado class. You will see 'Yellow Bird' again here, after featuring at the end of the first video above. In colour, no less!

We are going to save up the other Tornado videos we have found, as there are enough for a dedicated news piece another weekend.

Moving away from the UK, here is the Shearwater class at the European Catamaran Championships 1968 in Germany. It is possible this was during Kiel Week; we don't always get the exact event names from the British Pathé newsroom.

This Australian documentary was made in the late sixties, we guess, on the western shores of Botany Bay, Sydney. Enjoy 'The Catmen'....

Leaping forward to the 1970s now, this Australian soft drink advert featured Hobie cat sailing, and you may enjoy the retro feel! But not the possible sexism...

Some time around 1980 this strange film called Star Ships was made, with Prindle and Hobie cats. We are not sure what story it is trying to tell!

Another TV advert here: Hobie Cat commercial from 1983.

Similarly, from sometime in the 1980s, we have a Prindle Catamaran Sales Video. A great soundtrack which makes you feel right back in that era, maybe like a child about to watch a high-tech exciting TV show like Knight Rider or Airwolf.

In 1985 a group of Australians attempted to capture World Sailing Speed Record with 'Big Bandicoot', and you can watch an entire documentary about them (subject to VHS quality levels).

Skipping to the late 80s now, Cyprus hosts the Condor catamaran World Championships 1988. This is a more amateur production, probably from a handheld VHS camcorder. That means the on-water footage is a little distant, but the shore-side activity is still interesting to watch.

Our only footage from the 90s is the 1990 National Mosquito Catamaran Championships in Tasmania. This was hosted by Leven Yacht Club, Ulverstone, and we are back to professional videography.

Long distance endurance racing

We have found two videos documenting the offshore long-distance beach catamaran race which covers approximately 1000 miles, with overnight stops at multiple locations along the East Coast of the United States. The race is still going strong today - see

First up is Worrell 1000 Race - 1979 and 1980.

Second, we have Worrell 1000 Race history.

Is that all there is?

More vintage multihull action is available from 'LoxPix' - see first set of videos and second set of videos - who sent us two of the videos featured above.

Do you know the location of any cat racing videos from the 1960s, 70s, or 80s? We would love to share these with other sailors. You can submit video links to us for immediate review.

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