Sailing for Fun. Racing to Win.
Owners are Saying:
Spring did not arrive here until last week, so I did not get out on my Isotope until this weekend. I am pleased to report that I now have dry hulls. Last summer I was in such a rush to go sailing I cut some corners with
What I wanted to share with you was my experience on the wire. On Memorial Day there was a fresh breeze on Wellfleet and Cape Cod Bays, so I decided to see what the boat could really do. (The previous day I just had a pleasant sail but did not push anything during the first sail of the season.) With the wind at about 15 knots and an incoming tide with 1-2 foot seas, I trapped out and had the boat flying flat. I stood more or less mid-way between the crossbeams. As I have noted before the boat points very high. I use a telescoping tiller, and like all your ads say, I was steering with two fingers.
I then furled the jib to see what she would do with the main alone in the same conditions. At first it was much as I would have expected. I needed to fall off and found the boat a little less responsive overall, even a tad of weather helm. By this time the waves were 2 feet about 12 feet apart. I thought the bows looked low. The water on the leeward hull was running above the stripe, so I stepped back placing my rear foot almost on the rear cross beam. What a difference this made! The boat took off. I used to sail my Nacra 5.2 this way. At first I thought that if I planted myself that far back I would be dragging the stern and creating a braking effect, but in fact I had reduced the wetted surface dramatically. Best of all, nothing broke.
Thanks for the Pivmatics. I am working now on the rudder lines which are quite frayed. I will take your word for it that they can be drilled out without dammaging the rudders.
Lastly, I jury rigged the rudder head I broke last season. If you have a used one that needs a home I would appreciate having a spare.
bought and started sailing an Isotope in 1993. At first I had the
same feelings that every new boat owner had, a basic thrill that
I had a cool fast boat that could beat anything on the water. Here
I am eight years later feeling the same way. I have gone to many
different regattas and seen many of the latest and greatest boats
but the performance of the boat has always challenged me and kept
me on the edge. Telling you about the performance of the boat is
only half the story, the outstanding support of Rhoda and Frank
Meldau, and the great people I get to go sailing with keeps me looking
forward to the next race. Every third weekend of the month from
April to October for the rest of my life is booked, my family knows
this and my boss knows this. It is amazing how only two days a month
can transform your life.
Isotope is a very fast boat. Beware! Once you've sailed an Isotope,
sailing anything else feels like some kind of slow motion time warp.
And on those windless racing weekend in July and August, it is the
only moving boat on the water.
aside, my wife and I have mounted a tent, a cooler and some sleeping
bags on the trampoline and sailed through the marshes of the Bogue
Sound to Bear Island. The Isotope is very versatile boat.
Isotope is a boat to love. Beautiful to look at [a good friend who
regularly could not help but comment on the beauty of the hull design
first saw them...]; a manufacturer that is as pleasant as they are
work with; signs of intelligence everywhere in the design; fast
as the wind; a
joy to sail...
my purchase of the Isotope catamaran sailboat to be a great
shopping around and comparing used catamarans that were on the market,
I chose the Isotope because it had the best features such as ease
of trailering and set-up as well as great quality and design. What
sold me on the Isotope when compared to other model catamarans was
that it could be rigged and launched by one person.
Isotope is also the only cat with a righting bar and storage compartments
(very handy for holding gear and a cooler!) It is also well-balanced,
fast, and very user-friendly.
sailing the Isotope this year (my first sailing season), I have
to admit that I'm addicted! I love it!
Brier - purchased April 2001, sail #1214
arriving back in North Carolina after spending a two week vacation
sailing my 23 foot swing-keel sloop off Key West ( in heavy winds
the whole time I might add), I was looking for a means to replace
some broken equipment when I saw IFG listed in the phone book. I
called and a welcoming voice said, "come on over".
is not hard to find. Their boatyard usually contains an amazing
assortment of sailboats but most amazing to me was this whole passel
of racing catamarans. This was my first exposure to the great Isotope
Catamaran. It was also my first exposure to Rhoda and Frank Meldau,
which is a pretty exciting experience in itself.
ordering the parts I inquired about the catamarans. Rhoda explained
how Frank had designed this strictly one design catamaran back in
1962 and how he has built the boat and refined its running gear
over the years. She also talked about the Carolina Sailing Club
and the active fleet of Isotopes that races with the club. In a
way that only Rhoda can challenge your imagination she commented,
"maybe you would like to try out an Isotope Catamaran".
Between the fond memories of sailing a cat off the beaches of Mexico
and Rhoda stirring my curiosity about this boat, I could hardly
some hands-on instruction on how to rig and sail the Isotope off
I went to launch it on Falls Lake. I put in at Rock Ledge Cove and
hit the main lake in an eight Knot breeze. The wind picked up to
twelve Knots and with the air whistling through the rigging and
the boat flying across the lake I quickly realized that this was
no ordinary sailboat. The boat had an incredible feel of balance
and excitement about it and offered challenges not encountered in
ordinary catamarans or monohulls. I could tell that this boat was
definitely a thoroughbred and that sailing and racing it would be
an awesome experience. I have now been sailing and racing this boat
for six years and have never for one moment swayed from my original
opinion of the fantastic Isotope Catamaran.
Wolf - Isotope 007
Isotope is a very well balanced racing catamaran. It has the ability
to be so well tuned that the tiller actually feels like it has power
steering on it. Weight placement of skipper (and crew) can make
this boat take off and leave others far behind.
can be setup for sailing by one person, and taken apart by one person.
She is easily sailed by one person, or she can readily take on crew
for 2-up sailing/racing.
reasonably good skipper can easily sail her to her portsmonth number,
and this usually results on some nice trophies at regattas.
sailed and raced on a number of other sailboats, and I always come
right back to the Isotope. Must be something special if the same
thing keeps happening after sailing and racing the same class of
boat after 20+ years isn't it?
Smith - Isotope 1953
a new owner of an experienced boat. An experienced sailor is teaching
me the ropes. I love the boat, especially its relentless will to
fly! It's an exhilirating time, a wonderful boat - more like a partner
ballanced boat, easy to sail and fast! Great safety features puts
it in a class of it's own.
had my Isotope for three years and it's a great boat. Although the
boat will easily handle two people, I normally sail/race it by myself
and it handles really well. It's very fast and stable and steers
with a very light touch. I like the various features of the boat
-- center boards that rotate up out of the way, kick-up rudders,
barber haulers, a righting bar that makes it possible for one person
to right the boat after capsizing, and many other niceties. I've
thoroughly enjoyed sailing the boat, mostly in the Potomac River
but also at a few other locations, and feel that the Isotope was
the perfect choice for me.
have been around boats for most of my life, beginning with Frank
and Rhoda Meldau's Cheshire cat back in the mid 60's. Back then
the boats were built our of wood and glass and were real things
of magnificent beauty.
as I traveled far from Durham, raising a family and sailing cats,
I owned a Hobie 18, two Hobie 16's, and a Prindle 16, a proa, and
a few older one design daysailers.
on a soccer tournament several years ago in Durham, my son, Evan
and I chanced upon IFG Fiberglass, and I recognized the Isotope
fleet. After 30 odd years, our friendship was reborn. I traded my
skills as a advertising photographer for a used boat for my son
and I to sail. It sure was a eye opener to the dogs that we had
spent so much time rebuilding and sailing. (Dogs listed above).
Not that they were bad designs, just they were junk by the time
we got them and sailed like worn out beach cats they were compared
to our older Isotope. (JP's older boat) I have a picture of Evan
beating the fleet on a start at the Nationals and the Grey Shark
was in bad wind. Or was it we were slow and the fleet was catching
up? I will never tell.
2 years of banging around in our Isotope cat, trailering 180 miles
each way for fleet sailing each month, getting caught in storms
on the Chesapeake Bay (you do sail to weather for more wind, right?),
racing freighters across channels, crusing with the Hobie fleet
and amazing those kind sailors with the cavernous space in each
hull when we need a: cooler of beer, set of paddles, coolers, water
bottles, beer, foul weather gear, anchor and rode, radio, beer,
USCG safety gear, beer. You get the picture. A couple of enterprising
souls can CRUISE on a Isotope, with a tent, sleeping gear, and all
that you can need for a few days of just getting away! Together
as a 2 up team, father and 16 yr old son, with different view points,
different racing tactics, we did alright at the 2001 Nationals,
only argueing just a little bit, with the minimum of fuss, no yelling
(yeah, right), and even beat a few sailors who were single handed
not by seconds, but nearly a 1/2 hour on the course. And that was
with two leaky hulls, now repaired. Thanks Frankie! We learned a
lot about fluke air when it kicks up and the fleet is hull over
using their righting bars! We hit 19 knots (Magellan GPS recorded)
with our combined weight of 415 pounds, on a ama flying, with no
problems at all! This is one fast boat! The response is unbelievable.
We are totally into our cat. Now if I can find a motor mount, I
make it a USCG Auxiliary facility for spring, summer patrols on
the James River and Chesapeake Bay in Virginina where we live!
Frank and Rhoda for a fine yacht! We sent IFG a picture of a 17
foot cat with a radical design on a wing sail that is reported at
40 knots! Ummm, maybe a experimental Isotope could be built?
and Evan Setzer, Virginia Beach,Virginia
you an Isotope sailor? Please send us your comments!