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Yamaha's first production boat CAT-21 Catamaran (1960 model) Reconstructed

July 19, 2002

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (YMC) has used its state-of-the-art boat-building technologies to reconstruct the FRP catamaran-hull powerboat “CAT-21” released by the company initially in 1960. This reproduction of the CAT-21 is completely faithful to the original 1960 design plans and it is now on display for the general public at the head office’s Communication Plaza (Iwata, Shizuoka Pref.) as part of the Corporate Founder Genichi Kawakami Memorial Exhibition that opened July 19.

The CAT-21 (Overall length: 6.90 m, Overall width: 3.33 m) was Yamaha Motor’s first production boat, released in May 1960 along with the “Run-13.” Adopting the catamaran type hull that was becoming dominant at the time on the U.S. boat racing scene, The CAT-21 was characterized by its particularly wide beam and other unique design aspects. Being a time when the Japanese were just beginning to take an interest in marine leisure, the CAT-21made an impressive debut as a large, deluxe high-performance powerboat made of what was then the new material FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastics). In 1961, this new model provided a big stimulus for the fledgling Japanese marine leisure industry by won the 1st Tokyo-Osaka 1,000 km Marathon race and was later displayed at Chicago Boat Show. Truly, this is a model that helped lay the foundation for today’s Yamaha marine operations.

The man who supervised the development of this memorable first Yamaha Motor boat was the company’s founder, the late Genichi Kawakami, who passed away this May. Many aspects of Mr. Kawakami’s product-creating spirit can be seen in the CAT-21. This is why it has been reconstructed four decades after its debut especially for the Genichi Kawakami Memorial Exhibition.


The reconstructed Yamaha CAT-21. It bears on the hull and rear deck the same race number “20” used in the 1st Tokyo-Osaka 1,000 km Marathon race that it won in July 1961

Features and Production Data for the CAT-21


Constructed: Nippon Gakki, Tenryu Factory


Marketing: Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.


Production period: 1960~1964


Total units produced: 10 (standard spec)



Development Aim


Aiming to enter the leisure boating industry, Yamaha Motor began development of the CAT-21 and the “Run-13” in 1958. True to the company founder Genichi Kawakami’s policy of “build nothing but the best from the very start,” the goal from the beginning was to produce a large-class deluxe model.


Model Summary


Noticing the performance record of catamaran-hull boats in the U.S. boat-racing scene at the time, it was decided to develop this model with a catamaran type hull. The resulting CAT-21 had a very soft running performance and extremely good lateral stability. It was popularly used primarily for cruising.


Winning the 1st Tokyo-Osaka 1,000 km Marathon race

Yamaha Motor entered this boat in the 1st Tokyo ~ Osaka 1,000 km Marathon, held from July 7 ~9, 1961. It immediately proved the high quality of Yamaha’s design technology by winning all three legs of the race for a total victory time off 20 hrs. and 03 min., which was over six hours faster than the second-place finisher in a tough race that saw only five of the original 14 starting boats finish. The three-man crew was captained by former YMC Director Kotaro Horiuchi.

the 1st Tokyo-Osaka 1,000 km Marathon race

The CAT-21 that won the 1st Tokyo-Osaka 1,000 km Marathon race

Specifications for the CAT-21 (standard spec)

Overall length:



Outboards, 80hp x 2

Overall width:


Passenger limit:

8 ~ 16 persons

Draft (bow):



770,000 yen for 1961 model
(excludes engine)



*The CAT-21 that won the Pacific 1,000 km Marathon mounted four Scott (USA) brand 75hp outboards (total 300hp) and reached a top speed of 70 km/h.

CAT-21 Design Lines

CAT-21 CAT-21

-Hull type: Catamaran
-Construction: FRP monocoque



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