National Heroes Day 2008 will celebrate Cayman’s seafaring past, of which the Cayman Catboat is probably the most iconic reminder. For generations, the indigenous people of the islands relied on these vessels in one way or another for their very survival.
The enduring success of the Caymanian Catboat was in no small part due to its design, which gave it supreme versatility. The Catboat ranged in length from 14 feet to 28 feet. The Catboat was a low-sheered vessel with a very distinctive sail form – borrowed by the National Heroes Day logo – and was capable of venturing off shore for hundreds of miles to hunt and fish turtle. They were also traditionally utilized as transporters for goods and produce around the islands.
Catboat tales are rife amongst islanders and are often told with a degree of great affection and more than a hint of pride in tribute to their skillful handlers.
On National Heroes Day 2008, a monument commemorating the Cayman Catboat will be unveiled in Heroes Square. Its bronze form was meticulously shaped following a great deal of extensive research. Among others consulted during the design process was Cayman Brac’s legendary Catboat builder, Japhard Walton.