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Old 14-01-2019, 18:46   #1
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Advice on Trimarans

Ok Im getting really Intrigued by trimarans. I know I have an upgrade my lagoon thread, but its all cat talk. I wanted to keep this seperate so I can retain the knowledge in one post.

Firstly, Trimarans are HEAPs lighter for there given size.

Im looking at a Corsair 37 and its half the weight of the Seawinf 1060.

Now clearly with these smaller models you have basically the centre hull for everything, pretty much. That doesnt bother me as I like to sail by myself or with spearfishing friends, 1-3 crew.

I know they heal a bit more for obvious reasons, but how easy are they to flip compared to a Catamarn, for some reason I have it in my head they look easy to capsize. But surely if you reef in a blow and sail to the conditions they cant be that bad or they wouldnt be popular?

Speedwise, given they are half the weight, are the fairly easy to sail in slight winds both up and down wind?

They are super cheap to comparable sized cats.

Is there more I need to know before going down this route and looking around?

The one thing I dont like is no cockpit coverage.

So they make better coastal sail boats than blue water?

thank you for your patience and guidance.
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Old 15-01-2019, 02:24   #2
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

I would like to add some questions :
Storm behaviour ?? I always wonder how a trimaran behaves and performs on the stresses .
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Old 15-01-2019, 17:01   #3
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

Yes that is one of mine too.

I think its only scary for me as I dont know the construction method.

I was looking at the Corsair 37, but someone has mentioned there was some debate by Farrier over the build or something, im not sure of the entire details. If anyone knows please advise, I dont want to lose a hull in the middle of the pacific :-)

However Ive found a used F-36 2011 for $220k. Thats below my price range :-)
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Old 15-01-2019, 18:18   #4
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

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Originally Posted by LuvSun View Post
Yes that is one of mine too.

I think its only scary for me as I dont know the construction method.

I was looking at the Corsair 37, but someone has mentioned there was some debate by Farrier over the build or something, im not sure of the entire details. If anyone knows please advise, I dont want to lose a hull in the middle of the pacific :-)

However Ive found a used F-36 2011 for $220k. Thats below my price range :-)
The F-36 is a great boat! That will definitely be fast sailing. You'll need a crew to put the hammer down, though, with sheets in hands and not locked into a self-tailer.
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Old 15-01-2019, 18:43   #5
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

When I was young, trimarans were popular with home builders. For the next 20 -30 years there was usually a story about one capsizing. Sometimes one would be found by some freighter in the Pacific, a few without a sign of their crews.

It doesn't matter if you reef, but your seamanship to keep the wave direction directly ahead or astern. Abeam of big waves, they will capsize. If you get a radio message out or your epirb gets launched, some poor bastard has to come out in evil weather to save you.
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Old 16-01-2019, 06:10   #6
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

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When I was young, trimarans were popular with home builders. For the next 20 -30 years there was usually a story about one capsizing. Sometimes one would be found by some freighter in the Pacific, a few without a sign of their crews.

It doesn't matter if you reef, but your seamanship to keep the wave direction directly ahead or astern. Abeam of big waves, they will capsize. If you get a radio message out or your epirb gets launched, some poor bastard has to come out in evil weather to save your dumb ass.
I think this view is biased.

It doesn't matter if you reef? Of course it matters. That's a silly statement.

I'd suggest the vast majority of issues with trimarans happen when they're racing and pitchpole, too much speed, or capsize from too much sail up. Not from wave action at all. I'd like to see that position justified by more than just an opinion and some anecdotes.

A trimaran is a stable platform if you don't overload it; which you control by reefing ..... And use a drogue in big seas etc to slow you down and avoid pitchpoling. Or use a sea anchor.

Careful of the 'traditional and received wisdom'. In the traditional view multihulls are death machines.
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Old 16-01-2019, 11:59   #7
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

Okay, time to put in my .02. Iíve been sailing multiís for a while now, mostly trimarans, but also some excellent catamarans. Typically the only time Iím sailing a monohull is as crew or when Iím being paid to deliver it. Most of the tris have been performance based designs, most of the cats cruising boats. Our personal preference is for a tri. We like the aesthetics, the motion at sea and the overall sensation from sailing in an actual cockpit. Itís easier to sail shorthanded Ė the jib sheets are right at the helm instead of 20 foot walk side to side. It can be easier to judge just how hard youíre pushing a tri Ė you can see how much the outrigger is being depressed. Stability wise a trimaran is at least as stable as a cat, just not as initially stiff. As for capsize, research has shown that trimarans are more susceptible to capsize from the correct shape wave rather than the overall size of it, the same thing that rolls monohulls. This is obviously regarding cruising boats, all bets are off when discussing racers. While itís pretty exhilarating to blasting along on one hull ( cat or tri) with just the rudder and daggerboard in the water itís a poor cruising plan . Sailing in heavy weather is always a pain, regardless of how many hulls your boat has. That said, Iíve never been concerned that the trimaran I was aboard was about to capsize or start breaking up. To the contrary, a good multi of any description, kept light and well sailed, can give you a lot of input and may well ďtellĒ you when youíre getting it wrong. Reef early, control your speed and angle of attack to the waves. Like any boat, no design is perfect, seamanship required.
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Old 16-01-2019, 13:40   #8
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

Personally I've reached the conclusion that as far as stability in reality it's probably a toss up. In many ways I like trimarans better, but cats offer far more space per length, and nearly double the payload per length. The trade off is bridge deck clearance and cabin windage if you have a bridge deck cabin... it's a lose lose situation for a smaller cat. If you want standing headroom in the cabin, you sacrifice clearance of accept high windage. There simply is no alternative. High windage can be a huge liability when sailing, and pounding can be absolutely miserable.......take your pick. For coastal sailors / motor sailors this is not an issue, for true voyaging sailors it is. My choice is a cat because of payload and space, and because of the short length I'm willing to accept, I have to live with less than standing headroom on the bridge deck.... A personal choice I'm willing to accept. On a trimaran, your feet are around the WL, not two feet above it. This makes the overall cabin height much more reasonable, resulting in a better sailing boat. Then there is the tacking issue with cats. A few catamarans with open bridge decks utilize significant portions of the bridge deck as "wings" like a trimaran, vastly improving the cabin space........ this would be a good compromise, except it means that you cannot be in a protected cabin keeping watch in rough, cold, miserable weather, and must pass across the deck to go from one hull to the other. In the tropics, this is an acceptable solution. You can have a reasonably protected helm / watch station, but it is in the weather. Wind vane or tiller pilot steering is non optional IMHO on a passage.... At least you can retreat to warmth and dryness even if only briefly.

Doing the math on payload, I would need a 37 foot Searunner to handle the payload I consider "realistic" for passage making... I can achieve the same thing in a 30 foot cat, carefully built. That means lower costs all the way down the line........both initial and ongoing expenses. And that is important to me...... It's not to some folks with a generous income stream.



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Old 17-01-2019, 03:36   #9
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

Went for a sail for a few hours yesterday on our full time cruising/liveaboard tri. Hit 15.8 knots in flat water.
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Old 17-01-2019, 04:01   #10
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

Did I mention in light winds we sail at or above wind speed with Main and jib? I have way too much ďstuffĒ on the boat. Gotta lighten it up so we do better.
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Old 17-01-2019, 05:18   #11
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

@tusitala and @tp12 have it right.
If you want the best sailing experience, there is nothing to equal a tri. If you want the best at-anchor experience a cat is better.
BTW, there’s no reason you can’t add a dodger and Bimini top to a tri’s cockpit to improve shade, dryness and reduce windchill. I have them.
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Old 17-01-2019, 08:04   #12
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

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Went for a sail for a few hours yesterday on our full time cruising/liveaboard tri. Hit 15.8 knots in flat water.


Oops, just looked at our chartplotter, speed was 16.8 knots.
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Old 17-01-2019, 14:54   #13
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

Well Wheels now you have to tell us about your boat. I'm sorry but that's the forum rules.
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Old 17-01-2019, 15:10   #14
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

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Reef early, control your speed and angle of attack to the waves. Like any boat, no design is perfect, seamanship required.

That is my plan even on the Cat, I left racing monos behind because I was tired of feeling on the edge and wanted to relax and enjoy the voyage as much as the destination. So I alway reef early.


When you say the right shape wave for capsize, is there a way to avoid it, ie if you arent pushing the boat hard is it less likely to go over?

Ive always wondered how the outrigger hulls handle a wave when they are pushed under it, cats have massive hulls so Ive never seen this, but a lot of tris have quite short outriggers which look like they would push into a wave not over it.

Thank you for the great tips.
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Old 17-01-2019, 15:14   #15
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Re: Advice on Trimarans

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Did I mention in light winds we sail at or above wind speed with Main and jib? I have way too much “stuff” on the boat. Gotta lighten it up so we do better.
This is the main reason for looking at Tris, the sail more than they motor. I know performance cats can sail upwin in a light one, but Tris sail to or near wind speed.

As I sail by myself, maximum 2 up, space is a non issue, cats are oversized for 2 people imo. Id rather have more speed. But each to their own.

The Neel 51 beats both for salon space :-). that thing is a beast.

But Im looking at a corsair 37 or f36. Only thing I dont like i tillers, I much prefer a wheel and as some have said a bit of inclosed space for the cockpit. but no yacht is perfect.
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