Florida's "Sunshine Coast"
is small boat heaven!
What's On This
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).
4. Building our first "real" trimaran:
the tandem rig
(includes construction photos).
5. Building the first lightweight, single-seater
trimaran, "No Commotion"
6. Building Laura's 65-lb "ultralight" trimaran
- see 50 construction photos!
7. The Amazing "Planing Amas"- see
8. No Commotion Gets A Slick
New "Sliding Aka" System!
1. Why do I believe
that small, homemade
trimarans are the only way
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!
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
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!