My wife Laura's 16' trimaran with 84 sq.

ft. sail on a homemade unstayed mast.

 

Welcome to...

"DIY-Tris.com"

 

A Web Site For Do-It-Yourself 

Small, Homemade Trimarans

 

Presented by "Dr. Frank" Smoot, and

dedicated to DIY boatbuilders everywhere!

 

My 16' trimaran No Commotion with its

optional 124 sq. ft. rig (from a Laser II).

 

 

Florida's "Sunshine Coast"

is small boat heaven!

____________________

 

What's On This Site:

1. Why I have come to believe that small trimarans are the only way to go. [click here]

 

2. A Brief History of the 15 or so homemade boats and rigs I have build over the past two years [click here]

 

3. Our first "trimarans"- made from kayaks (includes construction photos). click here

 

4. Building our first "real" trimaran: the tandem rig (includes construction photos).  click here

 

5. Building the first lightweight, single-seater trimaran, "No Commotion" click here

 

6. Building Laura's 65-lb "ultralight" trimaran - see 50 construction photos! click here

 

7. The Amazing "Planing Amas"- see 40 photos! click here

 

8. No Commotion Gets A Slick New "Sliding Aka" System! click here

 

1. Why do I believe that small, homemade

trimarans are the only way to go?

 

Here are 12 Great Reasons…

Why A Trimaran?

1. They go fast - faster than comparable monohull sailboats. No, speed isn't everything. But a recent quote I read said, "Nobody has ever tried to convince me that sailing slow is more fun than sailing fast.

2. They sail flat. I don't know about you, but every time I'm in a monohull sailboat that tips over precariously whenever the wind blows, I feel like there ought to be a better way to sail. Well guess what -- there is a better way!

3. They are very stable, and stable = safe!  My wife Laura and I had bought an old Laser II dinghy a few year ago. We wanted to see if we really liked sailing. Unfortunately, we dumped it first time out. The mast sticking in the bottom mud of Lake Manatee was about all the "clues" we needed that this boat wasn't for us. Next stop: a multihull!

4. You sit comfortably on an actual seat, facing forward -- "armchair sailing," as legendary trimaran designer Jim Brown so eloquently puts it. And because you steer with your feet and can put the mainsheet in a cam cleat, both hands are free! That's how my wife Laura was able to shoot that YouTube video.

5. They turn and tack better than catamarans, and if done right, just as well as monohulls. This may not seem important until you really, really need to turn quickly in fairly close quarters. I have to confess that my catamatans were really bad at turning in a hurry, which is yet another reason I love tris!

6. They can sail well in extremely shallow water. Mine will sail in just 5 inches, and Laura's in even less! Now, this may not be a big deal where you live. But here on Florida's Sunshine Coast, the bays can get REALLY shallow, especially at low tide. But if I simply pivot up the leeboard(s) and let the rudder kick up, I can sail right up onto the first foot or two of sand!

 Why Homemade?  

1. D-I-Y is much cheaper. My tri, No Commotion, cost me less than $1000. You could possibly do it for even less. The wood costs under $100. The most expensive parts are the sail and mast, which will probably run you $300-500, depending on what you get. But a commercial tri of similar size and capabilities starts at about $5000 -- and goes way up from there!

2. Building is lots of fun. Of course, I have always been building…something. I was a building contractor for much of my working life. But even today, nothing seem to make the clock disappear like an engaging building project.

3. If it breaks, you can fix it! This I know from personal experience. Yep, lots of stuff I made in the early days broke -- mostly to do with the rudders. I build things lots sturdier now, but even so, if it breaks, I can fix it!

4. You get great sense of accomplishment. Building anything with your own hands is rewarding. But believe me, a trimaran is MUCH more rewarding to build than a coffee table. And the feeling of being out on the water in something you built yourself is just amazing.

5. Building keeps you off the streets and out of trouble. Well, it does that for me. Of course, if your spouse feels neglected because you spend so much time in the garage or shop, see if you can get them involved one way or another in the construction.

6. They cost so little to make that you can build two, and sail with a friend! That's what I did, and now my wife Laura is my very contented sailing partner -- and an incredibly competent sailor as well. (And that video of me going 12 mph in No Commotion? Laura is the one who shot it:)

 Bottom line: Building your own trimaran simply gives you the most bang for the buck!

 

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