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Old 21-11-2013, 07:51   #1
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The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

Good day Gentlemen,
I have now absorbed Chris Whites and Brown's books (and arguments) for the Cruising Tri. Quite convincing I would say.The speed, stability and seaworthiness of a well built Tri seem quite attractive. But this question needs to be asked.
Given a production (not homemade) Tri that is :
Over 30 feet in length.
Designed for cruising.
Not being raced.
Do any of you have first hand knowledge of these being flipped? If so:
What was the sea state?
Wind scale?
Were drogues, sea anchors out?
Any deaths?

Why? My wife wants a multihull. I know when to reef, heave too, etc on my Valiant. I know what to watch out for. But if we are getting a Cat or a Tri I really don't want to go through the same learning curve, and turtle my boat before I learn its limitations.
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Old 21-11-2013, 08:12   #2
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

There are two books about the Rose-Noelle, a trimaran who had quite an inversion adventure:

Rose Noelle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 21-11-2013, 09:08   #3
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

Production tris are a very limited group. The big players are Dragonfly, Corsairs, Contours and Condors more or less in that order. FP also made at least one big tri way back. I have no knowledge of any cruiser version flipping. The racer versions like the Corsair that was just posted the other day go turtle more frequently which is the nature of the beast.
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Old 21-11-2013, 09:47   #4
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

How the boat is being sailed is the biggest part of the equation. Racers are safe if sailed with reserve and reefed early. The current production tri offerings miss a few of the advantages of the cruising tris imho. The older wing deck boats have the advantage of dry decks, dedicated bunks and less cramped interiors. Wing deck bunks offer lots of room at eye level down below making up for the slender hulls. Cross, Brown, Horstman etc....have these elements and are almost impossible to capsize even if you try. There is plenty of warning when it is time to reef, your nerve will give out before the limits are reached. A car has a gas pedal, if it is kept to the floor at all times it isn't safe, modulated for the road, traffic and conditions hazards are minimized. We sail hard in light air and get progressively conservative as the wind picks up. In a real blow the boat is easy to manage, the deck easier to work on and the absence of down wind rolling more comfortable.

Check out the Farriers, Dragonflys etc... in your size range, they are safe boats, anything can be pushed past its limits but the limits are easy to recognize. See if there is enough room and payload for you. For fun then look at a Searunner, Cross, Marples etc....to compare. If you want something larger your money will go a lot farther. Instead of a short cruise, weekender you could get a ocean passage maker. We taught sailing classes for a private school with the Nicol, at 37 feet the wing deck never got crowded with a dozen extra kids aboard and they came back dry.
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Old 21-11-2013, 10:54   #5
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

If you handle sails appropriately any multi is safe from capsize from wind force. I said "if" because extreme conditions, microbursts for example, do occur. A microburst will knock any boat down unless you are very fast on the sheets.

Wave action is another story. There are waves out there that can capsize any boat. Again, they are not common but they do exist. Phil Weld was capsized by a wave in Gulf Streamer, a 64' (by my recollection) Newick tri. This happened in the Gulf of Mexico.

Like any other type of boat, tris have their advantages and disadvantages. "Ideal cruiser" is very much a function of individual needs and where one cruises.
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Old 21-11-2013, 11:21   #6
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

Newt,

I have a good bit of second hand information not first. But I know a number of people with large trimarans, and own a 24' (corsair sprint 750).

Frankly I don't see flipping as a real concern unless pushing very hard. While I guess it is possible, the 750 has been in Jamaica day sailing and local cruising for a while, and even with full sail (main, jib, and screecher) up we can't get the main hull to lift in 25kn. If sailed more conservatively I can't imagine how a large tri would flip absent true survival conditions (50' waves 100kn breeze).

If it a real concern you could look at some of the safety equipment the racers use to auto dump the main. Basically it's a load cell attached to the stays that when a threshold is hit dumps the main traveller and sheets keeping the boat from being able to turn turtle. See Informatique embarque marine lectronique marine, ordinateur, portable, logiciel, cran, tanche, navigation, navlight, feux led, feux leds, Ocean Data System which is the one being used on the MOD 70's.

Frankly I think this is an overblown problem. Sure it could happen, but cruisers just don't push hard enough to flip boats, and even racers most of the time couldnt flip if they tried. It takes a huge amount of force for a crusing tri to even get the middle hull out of the water, let alone flip it.


You may want to look at some of the larger semi-custom tris. The ones mentioned are all intended to be trailerable/demountable which requires some compromises on a true cruser. If you are going this route call Steve and Tanya at The Finish Line in Stuart Florida. They were the broker for my tri, and I can't tell you how easy they are to work with. The best brokers I have ever dealt with period.

They are the SE rep for Corsair, and Steve is the goto guy for big tris up and down the east coast.
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Old 21-11-2013, 13:01   #7
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

I forgot to mention the Telstar. At only 28' it is shorter than your requirements but is a pretty cool coastal cruiser tri. They hold their value, too.
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Old 21-11-2013, 13:14   #8
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

Farrier and White have designs that aren't production, but should be on your list, as mentioned by others.

The other one that should obviously be on your list is the NEEL 45!
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Old 21-11-2013, 13:15   #9
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

Thanks for the leads about buying a boat. I am really interested in first hand account of cruising tri's flipping, as I know that it happens, but apparently happens less than say mono's being abandoned or sinking.
I would also be interested in any multi skippers who have braved force 9 or above in a multi. What clued them into reefing/ throwing drogues or parachutes. I would think that once the main hull starts lifting off the water (or a side hull of a cat) its probably too late.
Probably the question in the back of my mind is- I love to sail in the Northwest Pacific. It can get rough. (Those that sail out here know what I mean) Am I crazy to think about one here?
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Old 21-11-2013, 13:19   #10
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Good day Gentlemen,
I have now absorbed Chris Whites and Brown's books (and arguments) for the Cruising Tri. Quite convincing I would say.The speed, stability and seaworthiness of a well built Tri seem quite attractive. But this question needs to be asked.
Given a production (not homemade) Tri that is :
Over 30 feet in length.
Designed for cruising.
Not being raced.
Do any of you have first hand knowledge of these being flipped? If so:
What was the sea state?
Wind scale?
Were drogues, sea anchors out?
Any deaths?

Why? My wife wants a multihull. I know when to reef, heave too, etc on my Valiant. I know what to watch out for. But if we are getting a Cat or a Tri I really don't want to go through the same learning curve, and turtle my boat before I learn its limitations.
It's really not that hard to keep a large cruising cat right side up. You have to try pretty hard to not do it.

In the Whitsundays on any 25-30 knot day, you'll see dozens of charter sailors running around under full sail. And they don't tip over. This goes on month after month, year after year.

If cat's were that easy to tip over, you simply wouldn't be able to charter them.
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Old 21-11-2013, 14:16   #11
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

The PNW is great for multihulls, we cope very well with the conditions and have had pllenty of practice with sudden strong changes. I've been caught out in Juan de Fuca in +9 in my small mono cutter and really would have been happier on the tri. I'd suggest figuring out the stability curve of any boat you get and use the heeling indicator as a tachometer. Some of the designs get maximum stability at 30+ degrees. Setting a dump the sail/reef margin of 15 degrees then would give a huge safety factor. In gusty or performance conditions hand hold the sheets ready to dump like a dinghy. The old multihull rule is to reef for the strength of the gusts, it can be tame taking longer to get somewhere but you will still get there faster than that heavy mono. I'd suggest reefing for upwind wind strength until you get used to your boat. Going downwind you can fly much more sail as the high speed traveled takes away from the apparent wind. Once you turn to windward you have full wind plus the speed you are traveling.

Get some sailing time in and you will see there really is no big question about suitability. Up here it is hard to think of any boats that have ever gone over that weren't racing.
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Old 21-11-2013, 16:43   #12
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

I should add that size does matter on the ocean, if you want to sail the North Pacific through everything I'd recommend checking out the EU stability standards for off shore Multihulls. 30 is too short to get the top rating, a length of 35 is about the minimum when combined with appropriate beam, displacement and sail area.
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Old 21-11-2013, 16:43   #13
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

Newt, I was in the vicinity when the F31 tri "Cheekee Monkee" went arse over teakette during the 2010 Lake Ontario 300 race (we had squalls of 45, 55 and 65 knots within the same 90 minute period).



I think a guy aboard broke ribs, but to judge from the "Cheekee Monkee" videos on just YouTube, either they are risk-takers or you can learn something about tri stability when hit by a downwind line squall.

I suspect they require a different skill set and can be very rewarding, but there is a much more rigid "either/or" point that has to be understood with cats and tris. Also, contrary to popular belief, you can purchase a real dog: I was talking to a skipper who did a delivery of a cat recently and he found it surprisingly sluggish. Why, I don't know.
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Old 21-11-2013, 17:05   #14
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

What's your budget and time frame?
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Old 21-11-2013, 18:09   #15
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Re: The Ultimate Tri Cruiser Question.

Production Trimarans are usually of the cruiser/racer variety pure cruisers are usually homebuilt if you found one it would probably be named unicorn !
Maybe look at Condor 40's in your hemisphere, if you like a trip down under you could pick up a Chamberlain Cirrostratus 10 or a Farrier Command 10.
The Cirro's were professionally built by OSTAC (now defunct) but lots of ply. Still, both boats of impeccable pedigree.
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