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Old 28-03-2007, 03:39   #1
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Just Trimarans

I suppose you multie folks would be able to tell me about Tri's.They are cheaper to buy over this way,and don't seem all that different to Catamarans. I understand that cats have a bigger/wider living space and all.What I'm after is do they handle similar,or, does the mono in the middle create a different feel as opposed to a cat.Tri's and Cats look very fast,so, I would see that as a given.I think what I am asking might be motion at sail or even at anchor.Living aboard a Tri,I would imagine,would be similar to a mono all beit at the cost of a multie as far as berthing. Thanks Mudnut.
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Old 28-03-2007, 12:10   #2
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A trimaran sails like a monohull. It is quite different from a catamaran and not a good comparison in any manner. The trimaran hulls are not useable except for storage and the boat ends up having smaller space then a monohull in many cases. That said, the trimaran owners I've known like them immensely. The advantage over a monohull is shallow draft and higher initial stability. They are often faster then a monohull as they are far lighter. If you are going to single hand it might be a good option for you though interior space is very limited.
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Old 28-03-2007, 12:24   #3
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Agreed tri more like mono

We sail a 38 foot cat and friends of ours made the bahama crossing with us in a 36 corsair tri. As stated above they really loved the boat.

The hull and interior are smaller than a mono for the given size. The main hull is very narrow (flares our above the water line) and the below water hull design reduces interior volume below the sole. For a 36 foot boat they literally camped on the dining table which drops to make the bed. It may be just the corsairs but if the on watch peron wants anything from the galley the off watch either must get it or be step over to get anything from the galley.

It was very fast, but it being very low free board they took a lot of water over the bow. The other issue was the engine is an outboard. They can not use it in any wave condition that rasies the stern out of the water.
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Old 28-03-2007, 13:32   #4
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I've had both a Lord Nelson 35 (which was a great cruising boat) but I currently own a Dragonfly 1000. The Dragonfly has less freeboard, but it has a considerably more comfortable and dry ride going to weather. The difference between a Dragonfly and a Corsair or F boat is considerable in many ways. While our boat isn't quite as fast as a Corsair, it's a heck of a lot more relaxed and comfortable, although I've routinely sailed it in the low to mid teens. Take a look:

Dragonfly - Quorning Boat

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Old 28-03-2007, 17:53   #5
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A tri will in many ways handle like a monohull but with out the excessive heeling(maybe 10 degrees) and rolling downwind. For someone coming from a monohull the tri would feel more familar in the way it handles. They will tack quicker than a cat but not quite as quick as a monohull. Cats and tris do have a quicker pitching motion fore and aft. Generally the tri will be faster than the cat especially in light air and may have a little better windward performance. Many of us who sail multis don't care to sail as close hauled as possible because if we head off the wind a little more we can pick up speed and still get there at the same time and in more comfort.
Cats and tris are very comfortable at anchor even in a rolly anchorage and using the bridle anchoring technique will stay put and not sail around. No doubt the tri will have the smallest interior but if you are looking at a pure cruising design there is plenty of room. Many of the tris out there seem desiged for performance/racing and would make pretty sparten cruisers IMO.
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Old 28-03-2007, 21:18   #6
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OTOH, nothing wrong with the old designs. The Browns and Pivers are cheap, don't sail too bad, and have decent accomodations. When my wife and I considered moving from our very large 40' mono to a much smaller 37' tri, we considered how much living space we actually use. For the two of us, the 37' main hull with 6' beam was fine. What makes it even better is the berths over the connectors, so it gives a very open feeling, does not use valuable living space for sleeping accomodations, and provides a saloon with easy to reach grab points. I have only been on a few trimarans so far, but the motion is very comfortable, and the heel, as Steve said, has never exceded 10 degrees. I can not really compare cats, as I do not have the experience on them to make a fair comparison, but I am very satisfied with the sailing characteristics of the trimaran. The concessions are simple. Always jibe. If that is not an option, motor tack. Try to keep off the wind, and, as Steve mentioned, take advantage of the speed. One night in a rolly anchorage, after years on a mono will sell you on a trimaran for life.
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Old 28-03-2007, 23:48   #7
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One of the keys to successfully tacking a trimaran is that you have to "sail it thru the tack". Tacking close hauled should not be a problem with most of them. I think the problem arises when you try and tack from a close reach or a beam reach by just throwing the helm over like you might in a monohull. With their light weight they may not have the momentum to carry them thru. You should sheet in the sails and head up close hauled, keeping your speed up and then throw the helm over. I can only remember one time missing a tack from a beam reach in light air when I did not follow my own advice. I think some of the original Piver designs may have had problems tacking but many have had upgraded and modified rudders and keels that I would hope this problem is one of the past. I think that with a little experience with your tri you should not have to jibe or motor tack to often, Kai.

When you are cruising/liveaboard where the weather is always pleasent how much time do you really spend cooped up below? With their expansive wing decks a fixed wing tri will allow you to spread out and not be confined to some dinky cockpit or cramped foredeck area. Tennis, anyone?
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Old 29-03-2007, 04:27   #8
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Okay,there is a general concensis that Tri's arn't all bad.Maybe a bit of difference in sailing tactics needed,although,I can not see how they would be smaller inside to the same size mono.Unless ya saying that Tri's have a smaller beam than mono's.Would that be a given rule for some reason?.I can also see that Cats have a more useable space on deck than any Tri I have seen.I really appreciate what you folks have posted,Thanks,Mudnut.
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Old 29-03-2007, 09:00   #9
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I think the main reason tris are smaller (inside) is because the main hull is much narrower than a mono. Because the boat is so light you don't need much hull to float the boat. A narrow long hull slices the water very well. Another reason is because most tris are performance oriented (now days). Older tris have more cruising accomadations and can be found in great shape.
Almost all multihulls have more living space on deck than their mono buddys. This is really great in the tropics or a warm place. New trimarans don't have tramps going all the way forward. Most cats do. The trampoline is a great living space. I do believe that tris under 35 feet or so generally have more space than a cat under 35 feet.
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Old 29-03-2007, 15:20   #10
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Mudnut
The lenght to main hull beam ratio on a tri is generally about 6 or 7 to 1 for an older cruising design. Newer designs more like 8 to 1. This is for the hull only and does not include the wing extensions. My forty footer has a hull beam around 5.5 feet. A few feet above the water the hull flares out into the wing extensions and the beam is about 12 feet. This is where all the bunks, galley countertop/cabinets are located, so the narrow hull is not as cramped as one might think. You can't stick a wide monohull type hull in between the floats and have a boat that sails and handles well. I will second what a few people have posted here that the "classic" older designs seem to provide better accommadations and in my mind are the best bang for the buck. Brown Searunners, Cross, Horstman, and Piver. I would add John Marples Constant Camber designs to the list though they are a little newer and may cost a bit more. There are others but I think these would be the most common. Over in Oz you will see some boats from Crowther, Grainger, etc but most I have seen seem to be geard towards racing/performance.
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Old 29-03-2007, 15:29   #11
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New Tris Old Tris

I was on a Dragonfly 1000 from Norfolk to USVI (we never made it all the way but that is another story). New tris like that are very fast but have spartan accomodations and they can be pretty wet. I think the same holds true for the Corsair and Farrier. I thik they are great for coastal cruising and weekending. The Dragonfly handled beautifully - like a dream really.

I now sail a Brown Searunner 31. It is not real fast (particulalry with the sails I own) but has decent accomodations and is not wet either. Unlike many tris the Searunners have a center cockpit. Forward cabiin has out of the way single bunks on either side. I like this setup better than staterooms on monohulls which I consider to be wasted space. This allows for ample storage and dressing room space forward. The stern cabin has a double after sliding the dinette table out of the way. If the cockpit can be enclosed there is additonal living space while on anchor when removing both companionway covers.

In larger tris like Steve Rust's 40' Searunner accomodaiton is NOT even an issue. On such like the 36" Farrier accomodations are no problem either.

I guess a lot depends on one's pocketbook and intentions as to what tri to pick.

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Old 29-03-2007, 21:41   #12
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Tris - Mainbeam concerns.

My concern with older and larger trimarans is with the crossbeams.

Trimarans can be put into roughly two classes - Those with submersible amas and those without.

Submersible amas (as in Philippine bancas) combined with somewhat flexible crossbeams do not impart large loads to the structure.

However non submersible amas combined with rigid crossbeams on older design and larger boats may break in some of the rough sea/strong wind conditions that may normally be expected, particularly if it has been weakened by rot or any other factor.

Intuitively I would look at the large beam for a tri and expect that its transverse strength should be similar to the longitudinal strength of a boat of that length.

The original Hartley tris had this problem and the designer stopped offering the plans (concentrating on ferrocement).

The more modern designs should have fixed this problem but I would check this carefully before using a trimaran for long distance cruising.
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Old 29-03-2007, 21:59   #13
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I have had both catamaran's and Trimaran's, I am currently building a 39ft aluminium trimaran.

A catamaran has to be 40- 50 ft for the bridgedeck to be high enough off the water and stiil have headroom.
Also on any Cat less that 40ft the hulls are like narrow coffins and practically useless.
A 40-50 ft Cat costs a lot of money to build where as a 35 ft-40ft Trimaran can be built for about half the price of a 40-50 cat.
For two people cruising that is plenty of space and much easier to handle.
You still have all the advantages of multihulls, fast, shallow draft and doesn't heel.
I am building my boat with outriggers that fold in (like the dragonfly) so I can reduce my beam from 18 ft to 12 ft in the marina.
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Old 30-03-2007, 00:12   #14
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Mudnut, as for deck space, my friend's Victress has had 40 people partying on deck on the hook, and pleanty of room for the kids to run around. My 37 is no slouch either. The crossbeams are a concern in the older designs, but if you want to purchase on of these boats, all you need is a surveyor who is familiar with them. The Lodestar has sufficent access so that with only a few removals, the whole inner structure of the cross beams can be inspected.
As for the living space, a guest on my show once pointed out, when selecting the perfect cruising design, he expected to spend only about 15-20% of his time underway. The rest, on the hook. It simply made sense to him, and to me, that a boat should be designed around comfort where you spend the most time. If the tropics are your thing, you will not want to be in the saloon much. Nothing better than a nice bimini cover, and some lawn chairs with room to spread out. A hammock will hang very well a number of places on my tri. Life just doesn't get much better than that.
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Old 30-03-2007, 02:34   #15
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First off,110% on reality in regards to the replies.All good solid experience related thoughts.Beau,any pic's yet? Yep,Iv'e seen the Hartley tri and can understand why the don't sell the plans anymore.Mind you they were strong looking.If I were a young fellow,I would build a Tri with a bridge deck similar to a cat of maybe 38/40 ft.I haven't seen any like this yet but will keep looking.Thanks. Mudnut.
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