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Thread: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Is a Searunner obsolete?
    I can see where one could be bought cheaper than built.
    I came very close to building a 37 Searunner rather than my ketch. They still look sweet to me.
    Pivers, yes, they are over the hill , not to mention most were built on an extreme budget.
    Modern tris look either too racy or too luxurious to my eye.
    And ultimately, out in the world, cats have come to outnumber tris by at least ten to one. I didn't see that coming!

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Is a Searunner obsolete?

    I built a Searunner 37 and put 20,000 sea miles on it. That was many years ago but I doubt that a better cruising boat has been designed since then. There was never a sea or wind condition that the windvane would not self steer through. Certainly no need for an electric auto pilot. The center cockpit with the big centreboard case was a stroke of genius.

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Gary, is that a photo of your 37? The designer of the searunners once said that, though he was still pretty happy with them, with new ideas available about bottom shapes, felt he would now change the curve aft on the main hull, but I was not clear on whether he would curve the rocker more or flatten it or move the point of curvature. Having experinced the searunner cockpit set up for 200+ miles as opposed to Gary's 20,000, I give my far less experienced vote for it. I thought I might miss seeing the sea over the stern directly, but I did not, and anyway, you are sitting pretty high. One can always get in the shade of the aft stateroom and watch things from the big rear port, which is a nice place to be. The thing I admired about this design (and I guess that means of most mid-size tris) is that though able for Bluewater sailing, the centerboard under the cockpit, easily managed, and listened to, let you put the boat into some truly shallow water (along with the rudder on its kick-up 'transom' which still gives some steerage even when partly kicked up). These designs get a big "wow" for versatility.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    These designs get a big "wow" for versatility.
    Indeed. I have very fond memories of my 25. I've not since found a more comfortable and forgiving boat that size. But they are a complicated build compared to many more current designs -- endless little pieces to be cut and fit together -- and the performance is good but not what can be had in similar boats. The Marples DC-3 would be the closest current equivalent, and it's a much handier design to keep on a trailer. I did trailer my Searunner, and the first job was to find double-wide launch ramps because you can't fold it up on the water.

    The DC-3





    But here's the reality check. Three years ago when I decided to go back to a trailer trimaran after 5 years with a cat tied to a dock, I found I could pick up a Corsair F27 for under $40,000 easily, and in fact I bought one that needed some work for $26,000. And that boat was ready to be sailed when I picked it up, even though cosmetically and otherwise there were issues. So could you build something as straightforward as a DC3 for less than 30K in materials cost?
    Last edited by Woxbox; 03-25-2013 at 03:29 PM.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    I've sailed Mike Leneman's L7 tri and it is a hoot. Lots of room for a 23' boat. Tons of buoyancy foreward. Round botoms thanks to fiberglass pans. Everything else is ply--and comes as a kit. It telescopes for trailering.

    I was at the helm on a reach one time, under main and screecher, and the rudder stopped responding. The boat was totally happy--steadily charging along. We were flying two hulls--with no commotion whatsoever. I eased the screecher anyway.

    It's a very under appreciated design IMHO.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Another (non-wood) option: Ian Farrier has been taking orders on his new F22. He's going to sell kits which may offer a good labor/cost compromise to get into a boat of this type. He's close to starting up production.

    -Dave

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by tomfindlay View Post
    Anybody got suggestions for a decent small cruising Trimaran design?
    Tom, The DC3 trimaran that won the WoodenBoat Design Challenge III is available from John Marples, designer. It is 27 ft. long, and has accommodations for 2 persons with an additional berth for a guest. The swing-wing folding system allows trailering. See www.searunner.com website (in progress) for ordering info. Thanks, John Marples

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    I posted a link to the Marples boat higher up -- but I still don't know if the design is being completed to the point construction plans are available. Somebody needs to build this boat!
    I just spoke with John, and construction plans for the DC3 are available. Email him here:

    marplesmarine at gmail dot com

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Tom, My DC3 cruising expedition trimaran that won the ProBoat Design Challenge III is available from www.searunner.com. The plans feature full-size patterns for all bulkheads, swing-wing folding akas for trailer transport and a twin cabin interior plan. See WoodenBoat issue #223 for details or write me at marplesmarine@gmail.com. Cheers, John Marples

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Regarding the Marples DC-3,

    In say 15-20 knots, what would be her speed to windward and what angle to windward might typically be expected in fairly typical 'along shore' conditions? How would she go then on a reach? Is there a predicted speed wind rose for the Marples DC-3 trimaran?

    How are the beams built, then fixed in position? What is the process to retract them?

    At what wind strength would I have to put in the first then subsequent reefs?

    I mean this in a positive way, once sailing along tiller in hand, what advantage will I be expected to enjoy for taking the time, when in building mode, of building a round hulled design, compared to say a flat bottom/ sides/ single chine type arrangement, just a bit faster and smoother water flow and aesthetics - is there difference in real world performance/ handling of tri's.

    Just asking as a 'tri' curious mono sailor, going to have to try a cat/ tri one day...as a rough idea how she might be expected to perform given your considerable experience in this area.

    Thanks.

    Ed
    Last edited by keyhavenpotterer; 03-26-2013 at 12:06 PM.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Ed -- You've just got to go out for a sail on a trimaran and find out for yourself. The first outing on a tri is a revelation for every single mono sailor I've ever taken for a sail. They can't get over the experience of sailing that fast and being that comfortable all at once. The trimaran advantage is not just about speed -- it's also about an agreeable motion, minimal heel, on most boats a dry ride, space to stretch out on the trampolines, all on a very stable platform that jibes and tacks without drama.

    If you ever visit Pennsylvania, let me know and we'll get out on the water.
    -Dave

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by keyhavenpotterer View Post
    Regarding the Marples DC-3,

    In say 15-20 knots, what would be her speed to windward and what angle to windward might typically be expected in fairly typical 'along shore' conditions? How would she go then on a reach? Is there a predicted speed wind rose for the Marples DC-3 trimaran?

    How are the beams built, then fixed in position? What is the process to retract them?

    At what wind strength would I have to put in the first then subsequent reefs?

    I mean this in a positive way, once sailing along tiller in hand, what advantage will I be expected to enjoy for taking the time, when in building mode, of building a round hulled design, compared to say a flat bottom/ sides/ single chine type arrangement, just a bit faster and smoother water flow and aesthetics - is there difference in real world performance/ handling of tri's.

    Just asking as a 'tri' curious mono sailor, going to have to try a cat/ tri one day...as a rough idea how she might be expected to perform given your considerable experience in this area.

    Thanks.

    Ed
    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Ed -- You've just got to go out for a sail on a trimaran and find out for yourself. The first outing on a tri is a revelation for every single mono sailor I've ever taken for a sail. They can't get over the experience of sailing that fast and being that comfortable all at once. The trimaran advantage is not just about speed -- it's also about an agreeable motion, minimal heel, on most boats a dry ride, space to stretch out on the trampolines, all on a very stable platform that jibes and tacks without drama.

    If you ever visit Pennsylvania, let me know and we'll get out on the water.
    Old thread, so pardon the resurgence, but Ed asked some great questions that went unanswered. He was not asking about tri-sailing in general. So to restate his questions ...
    1) What sailing characteristics might be expected of the DC-3, which I believe still has not been built, though a few are in progress?
    2) What advantages are offered by a rounded craft (e.g. the Constant Camber designs) compared to those of flatter panels in tortured plywood? How significant? Worth the effort?

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeezix View Post
    Old thread, so pardon the resurgence, but Ed asked some great questions that went unanswered. He was not asking about tri-sailing in general. So to restate his questions ...
    1) What sailing characteristics might be expected of the DC-3, which I believe still has not been built, though a few are in progress?
    2) What advantages are offered by a rounded craft (e.g. the Constant Camber designs) compared to those of flatter panels in tortured plywood? How significant? Worth the effort?
    No problem resurrecting a four-year-old thread.

    I can't speak specifically about how the DC-3 will sail, not having sailed one. But the numbers are all good for a fast, stable and easily handled boat. Plywood tries are generally lighter than fiberglass tris of the same overall size, and that translates into a noticeable improvement in performance. "Performance" in sailboats is all relative. There are small trimarans on the market now designed for all-out speed, lifting foils being the current trend. These boats are seriously fast. Based on my experience with the two tris I've owned and having raced against other small trimarans, I would expect the DC-3 to do 6-9 knots very easily, and in the right conditions, run up to 12-14 knots.

    The rounded, chineless hull gives a small advantage in speed. If you're going to race, this matters. If you're going out cruising, it does not matter. The sail area to weight ratio is the biggest determinate of speed in multihulls. Next is waterline length. The rest is details.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    But here's the reality check. Three years ago when I decided to go back to a trailer trimaran after 5 years with a cat tied to a dock, I found I could pick up a Corsair F27 for under $40,000 easily, and in fact I bought one that needed some work for $26,000. And that boat was ready to be sailed when I picked it up, even though cosmetically and otherwise there were issues. So could you build something as straightforward as a DC3 for less than 30K in materials cost?
    Agreed that refurbishing a used tri is attractive financially ... if you want the Farrier-style folding system. I want horizontal folding, despite the need for waterstays, because it seems more amenable to folding underway and to motoring folded. I do own DC-3 plans, so I have done some cost estimates. Under $30K seems quite realistic. John made economy a prime consideration ... he includes particulars to have a lot of stuff like chainplates homemade, sketched it with a single winch, etc. As I toss the process around in my mind, it seems the best way to keep the cost down will be to scavenge a monohull with the right spar stats. It can then also provide a lot of hardware, ports, electronics, and so on ... and you get back the salvage value of lead ballast. The trick is finding the spar stats (cross sections, weights, and loading limits) for any particular mono.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeezix View Post
    Old thread, so pardon the resurgence . . .
    Friends who have crossed the bar live on in these old threads.

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    No one here has mentioned Richard Woods, he's got quite a range of plywood multihulls, and unlike many of the designers mentioned above is still alive and kicking to support the builder.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    No one here has mentioned Richard Woods, he's got quite a range of plywood multihulls, and unlike many of the designers mentioned above is still alive and kicking to support the builder.

    John Welsford
    That's what I was thinking too. Richard usually chimes in on a thread like this, but he must be adventuring somewhere at the moment.
    John Marples is one of my favorite designers of small trimarans. He's also the best draftsman I have ever seen. When you buy a set of plans from John you get your money's worth for sure.
    Recommending a Piver or Horseman is like recommending a Hudson or Edsel. Not exactly current thinking.

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeezix View Post
    Agreed that refurbishing a used tri is attractive financially ... if you want the Farrier-style folding system. I want horizontal folding, despite the need for waterstays, because it seems more amenable to folding underway and to motoring folded.
    I've only folded and motored in a Farrier a couple of times, but the folding system seemed to work very well, and surely stability when folded is mainly a matter of folded beam rather than folding system?

    I know Lock Crowther used to reckon sliding beam systems were too prone to jamming. Have they improved?

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Brown View Post
    That's what I was thinking too. Richard usually chimes in on a thread like this, but he must be adventuring somewhere at the moment.
    John Marples is one of my favorite designers of small trimarans. He's also the best draftsman I have ever seen. When you buy a set of plans from John you get your money's worth for sure.
    Recommending a Piver or Horseman is like recommending a Hudson or Edsel. Not exactly current thinking.
    Has Jim got anything that might suit this gent?

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft


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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    How about a Tremelino design using the fold-back-outrigger system as in a SeaClipper 20? -- Wade

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    The Tremolino production boat evolved over the years into the T-gull, which does have swing-back amas. I don't beleive there were home-build plans made available for it, however. If you can find one, they are generally very affordable as production trimarans go. Adapting one designer's system to another designer's boat would be a very slippery exercise. It might work, or then again badly aligned stress points might cause the main hull to rip open or some such catastrophe. These boats are very highly stressed and very carefully engineered.

    -Dave

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    I seem to remember a plywood dory-construction version before they went to a more sophisticated (harder to home-build?) hull form; as well as a simpler ama/aka system I think from scavenged Hobie parts? -- Wade

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Wade -- you are right. The original boat was a quick and easy tri conversion for the home builder, using a Hobie 16 for amas and rig. It was designed by Dick Newick. The Tremolino Boat Company put it into production and over the years improved the boat in a series of upgrades, all designed by Newick. The final iteration was the T-Gull, which is quite a bit different in detail the the same in principal as the original Tremolino.

    Also from the board of Newick was the Argonauta. This boat started out as a sketch known as the Back to Basics, or B squared. It featured a single balanced lugsail on a short and very easily raised mast. I'm not aware that complete plans were ever sold, but it did go into production by the Tremolino Boat Company, but carrying a conventional sloop rig. Swing wing design with a big (for a compact tri) cabin aft and a cuddy cabin forward. Unique cockpit arrangement. Some put this high on the ugly boat list, but I find it agreeable funky. Also a cheap trimaran if you can find one.

    -Dave

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft


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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    I've only folded and motored in a Farrier a couple of times, but the folding system seemed to work very well, and surely stability when folded is mainly a matter of folded beam rather than folding system?
    No doubt, the beam would be the largest factor. I do wonder about the flow around folded Farrier-style amas underway, as they are laying on their sides. Also the folded akas would be stressed to rotate those now-vertical arms. The folded akas of a swing-wing like the Marples boats, Dragonflies or Telstar should still take their stresses mostly in-line. And on the DC-3 there is a side running board to supplement the swung-back akas.

    Though it would add yet another factor of weight and complexity, I have wondered if the F-boat aka-ama attachment might be a parallelogram instead of a pivot, to keep the ama vertical. No advantage in that for trailering. Some advantage in the keep-the-dirty-side-underwater department. And how much better for motoring?

    A nice advantage to F-style folding is the tramps are lifted up and away from the water.

    Another concern for motoring with any folding system might be lateral stresses on the rig as you encounter waves, depending on which rigging normally runs out to the amas. Less than any sailing stresses, but I'd wonder about any nasty wakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    I know Lock Crowther used to reckon sliding beam systems were too prone to jamming. Have they improved?
    I don't know. But I've searched pretty extensively for what is out there, and sliding beams are certainly the rarest of the three. When I see them, they seem to be intended to serve the purpose of collapsing the boat to trailer it more than to tuck into a slip, and surely moreso than to motor in skinny channels. A swinging beam seems intuitively a lot simpler as long as it has the design strength at the stress points.

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Good afternoon,
    having built and owned a Farrier F9AX I can assure you that there is only one negative about his folding system and that is the fowling of the outside of the floats, should you leave the boat folded in a marina berth.
    Building the 4 sets of beams and the internal hull reinforcements to which the folding system secures added many months to the building time, but the rewards are priceless. Should you have to squeeze through a too narrow gap in a marina, it is only a minute or two, as you approach, to quickly fold in one side, or both, as needed to fit through. Ditto for any other time when you quickly need a narrow boat in a congested harbour or boat park, or even in my case, on board a ship as deck cargo.
    Farrier does warn you that stability while folded is limited and care should be taken.
    The folded structure is very rigid and strong.
    Folded open for sailing the boat is also very rigid al across the structure. I could stand on one extreme end of the boat and bounce the boat with just about only a millimeter of flex diagonally cross the boat.
    And the sailing is well, .........the best.

    PS. Interesting enough, Farrier is of the opinion that building a small trimaran in plywood makes no sense and that composite glass is the way to go these days. Having built my own tri to his design I can confirm that. The structures are highly loaded and a folding tri in ply construction will become very complex and thus heavy. Also with lots of spots for water to pond. And a heavy trimaran defeats the point of having one. You want a tri for its performance under sail, the other things are secondary.

    Interesting views on this thread, keep it coming.

    Regards,
    Frans.

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Frans Loots View Post
    Good afternoon,
    having built and owned a Farrier F9AX I can assure you that there is only one negative about his folding system and that is the fowling of the outside of the floats, should you leave the boat folded in a marina berth.
    Building the 4 sets of beams and the internal hull reinforcements to which the folding system secures added many months to the building time, but the rewards are priceless. Should you have to squeeze through a too narrow gap in a marina, it is only a minute or two, as you approach, to quickly fold in one side, or both, as needed to fit through. Ditto for any other time when you quickly need a narrow boat in a congested harbour or boat park, or even in my case, on board a ship as deck cargo.
    Farrier does warn you that stability while folded is limited and care should be taken.
    The folded structure is very rigid and strong.
    Folded open for sailing the boat is also very rigid al across the structure. I could stand on one extreme end of the boat and bounce the boat with just about only a millimeter of flex diagonally cross the boat.
    And the sailing is well, .........the best.

    PS. Interesting enough, Farrier is of the opinion that building a small trimaran in plywood makes no sense and that composite glass is the way to go these days. Having built my own tri to his design I can confirm that. The structures are highly loaded and a folding tri in ply construction will become very complex and thus heavy. Also with lots of spots for water to pond. And a heavy trimaran defeats the point of having one. You want a tri for its performance under sail, the other things are secondary.

    Interesting views on this thread, keep it coming.

    Regards,
    Frans.

    Interesting that Farrier advises to not build a plywood trimaran.
    Well, this and youre above info, Frans, about the build complexity of his folding mechanism are two good reasons to rather build another configuration.

    Not to say that you do not have a point about a trimaran being all about light weight and performance, and in which case we may as well drop the ‘cruising’ part of this thread.

    Any chance that you are the Frans who once had a little steel Sloop called Babbelaas?

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Lugalong View Post
    Interesting that Farrier advises to not build a plywood trimaran.
    Well, this and youre above info, Frans, about the build complexity of his folding mechanism are two good reasons to rather build another configuration.

    Not to say that you do not have a point about a trimaran being all about light weight and performance, and in which case we may as well drop the ‘cruising’ part of this thread.

    Any chance that you are the Frans who once had a little steel Sloop called Babbelaas?

    'Morning,
    No, I did not have a boat called Babbelaas. I thought Babbelaas was a word unique to South Africa? You from here?

    Farrier's first few designs were indeed small plywood folding trimarans. Nice little boats but now about 30 year old design. I viewed one particular nice one with the intention of buying it. Then decided to rather build the bigger one. He no longer sells plans to home builders, but I have noticed some people looking for unused plans for his plywood boats on the Farrier Yahoo pages. That is where I read his views on plywood folding tri's.

    My comments on weight and speed should be seen in the context that boats are designed with lots of compromises between performance, cruise ability, cost, looks etc. The Farrier boats are great little cruisers. They just happen to be very fast.....Farrier's words.

    But like so many of the other comments here, I would also like to see what is available in ply wood these days. The Woods boats by all accounts sail well, but they just look so ugly, sorry. As my wife said, nothing is more embarrassing than a husband with an ugly boat.

    Regards.

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Hi Frans, nice to see you here on the forum. Remind me to get your wife's stamp of aesthetic approval before I ever try and sell a design of my own!

    PS.- I took the liberty of adding an image of your McWilliams Sprog painting to the thread on the first glued-ply boats, I hope you don't mind.

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    I think tris make the best small cruisers. Used to have the Brown Searunner 25, which is all about good practical cruising, and now the F27. The F27 is just 2 feet longer than the ply Searunner, but 900 pounds heavier.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Cruising Plywood Trimaran Design max 24/26ft

    Quote Originally Posted by Frans Loots View Post
    'Morning,
    No, I did not have a boat called Babbelaas. I thought Babbelaas was a word unique to South Africa? You from here?

    Farrier's first few designs were indeed small plywood folding trimarans. Nice little boats but now about 30 year old design. I viewed one particular nice one with the intention of buying it. Then decided to rather build the bigger one. He no longer sells plans to home builders, but I have noticed some people looking for unused plans for his plywood boats on the Farrier Yahoo pages. That is where I read his views on plywood folding tri's.

    My comments on weight and speed should be seen in the context that boats are designed with lots of compromises between performance, cruise ability, cost, looks etc. The Farrier boats are great little cruisers. They just happen to be very fast.....Farrier's words.

    But like so many of the other comments here, I would also like to see what is available in ply wood these days. The Woods boats by all accounts sail well, but they just look so ugly, sorry. As my wife said, nothing is more embarrassing than a husband with an ugly boat.

    Regards.
    Hi,

    Babbelaas certainly is a word unique to South Africa and I built a wooden boat in Durban, then went cruising.
    At about the same time there was a Searunner tri (possibly a 25ft’er) that was also launched there, and that served as an escape vehicle for 3 Zimbabwean guys ( ex Rhodesians), who I met up with again, up in a pub in Falmouth England. So yeah, even a small tri can be good for cruising……. Assuming this Searunner was actually a 25 rather than a 31 -- having gone down around the Cape of Africa and then across both the south and north Atlantic.
    I have to agree though, that it was not a pretty boat, but beauty can be found deeper than the skin, and a 30 YO design which can still be found in shape enough to be sailing all of 30 years on, cannot be half bad. Not many years ago my son was sailing a small Searunner for fun between PE and Durban.

    More on the subject of aesthetics weight and performance……. With weight loss trumping all, anything like fairing and cosmetic surface coating is counter productive. So ultimately you end up with unpainted carbon composite everything and the question of beauty becomes a technicality.
    Thankfully we have other options when we are prepared to compromise on the performance side, and maybe this opens design possibility for wooden tris. Has anyone noticed how light paulownia ply SUP boards are in comparison to the carbon composite pop-out’s?

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