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Old 14-02-2012, 21:20   #991
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

As the devil's advocate, I was in that debate years ago when there was monohull/multihull war, and there were several designers in the multihull area that got together for a symposium. Now we have catamarans vs trimarans in the last America's Cup. We have catamarans dominating the charter market in the Caribbean.
I guess trimarans are better than catamaran in the smaller sizes, you can get more into a main hull than what you can get into two smaller catamaran hulls. But trimarans haven't really caught on for cruising boats, yet I know several trimaran sailors that have had really good success on cruises. It seems to be unpopular now for them as a cruising boat. You probably have to have acustom builder to make you one now. The racing boats and daysailers are still being made, and they are very effective.
I have a Wharram catamaran, and his mantra is, why build 3 hulls when you can put the added materials into 2 bigger hulls. Popularity has responded with catamarans growing so much of the past few years, but not built to Wharram's desing ideas. The typical large catamaran now produced has a huge deck house that is more condominium like than a sailing boat. This is the configuration that people are chartering, then buying as their own boat. I like the sailing idea of a trimaran, but the problem is condensing the main accommodations into one hull with a couple of almost unusable "floats" to either size. This obviously hasn't caught on. But I know of trimaran home builders that were very happy with their boats as to windward ability and ability to sail rough water with a level deck, better than some other boats.
We've got a Searunner 40 at our dock that was a great cruiser in its heyday, but now the owner has a problem in who can haul it for a rehab, and it's a wood boat with problems from accumulated rain and snow water. It's a lovely boat that will probably sink at the dock.
The key is that any wood boat can be repaired or upgraded. That boat in Greece that brode down, capsized, and sank, needed a bit more survey work, doncha think?
These older designs were inventive me, and we need to do a lot of work to keep them going today. I suggest anyone interested in this area go to Yahoo Groups and look for Classic Multihulls. I think it is a time that came and almost went, something like ferrocement, but there is a resurgence with quite a few of the now aging "new age" desingers.
The main problem with the old Searunners was the plywood and the effect of water intrusion that inevitably happens. The best thing is to haul the boat and clean it out, run dehumidifiers. Get it dry and look for cracks in the sheathing, Grind that off and probe the wood unerneath. Do simple replacement of the wood using epoxy and resheath. If the wood is bad you have to cut it out and replace with similar pieces and encapsulated with epoxy.
These are good boats, well worth preserving, and probably not tha bad of a project. The Greece story really makes me wonder though..
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Old 15-02-2012, 02:51   #992
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Kaimusailing with interest to your post i am waiting to see what others have to say. My observations have been tri's and cats are grouped in the multihull arena and how different they are. The new cats certainly sail incredibly well both off the wind and up wind. I have heard the word roomerangs, meaning they just have so much room. For liveaboards they must be better then tri's having space that allows more comfort but then they do cost somewhat more. From what i have read tri's are more seaworthy because in a 3rd degree angle it has more positive bouyancy and less likely to flip when comparing equal length vessels. The most efficient water born hull seems to be the trimaran recognized by the navy. though in all honesty i think i would own and cruise with a cat or tri, some of these new cats do have lots of merit.
Life seems to be too short to go ahead and build the latest CC. Looking forward to what others have to say ......
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Old 15-02-2012, 07:55   #993
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Thanks Kaimusailing for that thoughtful discussion on cats and tris. I would like to add a bit about the condition of these old plywood tris.
First some background on my 37 Searunner. I have owned Ishmael since 1987. She was built in 1976 and sailed across the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, around the Cape of Good hope and finally across the South Atlantic to the Caribbean by her builder, Mike Heeg. We got her as a 10 year old world cruiser with no idea just what a great job Mike et al did building her to plan with good materials and workmanship. (Thanks Mike!) In our 25 years of ownership we have lived aboard and taken great day-to-day care of her. We have also left her sitting on the hard for 5 years and had to bring her back to life. Between these two circumstances we have learned many lessons.
The key to survival of these plywood tris seems to be the day-to-day care. Reading all these posts on this forum it becomes clear that attacking issues as the arise is paramount to preventing the problems from driving through the structural elements of the boat. Do repairs and preventative actions in the best possible fashion. For instance a common mantra in the posts is: drill out all deck penetrations oversize, fill with structural epoxy, re-drill to size and re-install. Attacking the leaky fitting issue is invaluable in preventing bigger issues. Following our disastrous 5 years away from her, we spent two years repairing, re-drilling, re-everything to get her back in shape. Now, 10 years after bring her back to life, she is every bit as strong and healthy as when we got her. Every core brings up dry, strong ply. Every discovery of decaying or wet plywood is met with a thorough and complete repair.
I can envision that Greek Searunner. She had parts of her skin repaired but it is now obvious that the deeper structural members where not rebuilt. I have seen other Searunners with main frame rot where the lifting eyes have pulled out because the leaks were addressed only on the surface.
In summary, these old beauties have such a following because the Searunner is truly an excellent design (thanks Jim Brown and John Marples!) that meets the needs of cruising sailors. They require and are responsive to day-to-day upkeep but can suffer fatally from neglect. As far as the Cat/Tri debate, well, I have a Searunner. Need I say more.
Karl
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Old 15-02-2012, 15:41   #994
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Patnkarl excellent thread and couldnt agree with you more. Your experience is obivously coming through. I would like to here some thoughts on the comparison of the Searunner for example the Searunner 37 or 40footer to that of the Contstant Camber i think 35 or 44 footer. I own a 37 searunner. And am thinking of the 44 CC. Putting all the design layout interior aside it would seem that the actually size on the 37 Searunner is larger in the forcastle to the 44 CC. Also the deck area would be larger along with having nets than the 44 CC. Nets on the 44 CC dont seem to work to well they get ripped off... thats what i have heard. The 44 CC seem to have a much stonger hull build and would be so much more seaworthy to that of a searunner because of the actually boat width and strength ratio. It all gets a bit complicated but i do have my eye on this CC44 which is getting under my skin.....
Any thoughts out there regarding these two design. I know that the Searunner is the older design but by golly it's a good one....
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:55   #995
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Thanks Rossad, and I really can only speak to the 37 because that's what I've had. There are two 40's, another 37' and two 31's at our club (Toronto Multihull Cruising Club, TMCC). I am always envious of the aft cabin in the 40 because it has more width and obviously, the extra 3' are in a set of frames aft. The fore cabins are virtually identical.
I loved the CC plans, which I reviewed some years back before I finally admitted that I wanted to sail not build. John Marples has take the Searunner philosophy and modernized it with the CC concept. I am convinced it will be a good boat. The open wings, foredeck size and other factors are all part of the compromises in boat design. Every trade off has its value and its drawback.
The challenge with obtaining an older 40', which would be incredibly reasonably priced, is all the issues that you need to be wary of in someone else's boat. As I alluded, we were incredibly niaive when we bought Ishmael and had the great fortune to buy a well-loved, well constructed boat from an honest-to-god world cruiser. Today, I would know how to survey a Searunner. If you don't, take the advice from other posters and get a good surveyor, maybe even John M himself. If you build a CC, you will be the expert.
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Old 19-02-2012, 13:55   #996
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What do you know about the SR 40 Maxolar?
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Old 19-02-2012, 15:30   #997
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

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What do you know about the SR 40 Maxolar?
Moscan - 40ft Trimaran Searunner. Maxolar

looks like a beautiful boat
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Old 22-02-2012, 07:34   #998
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

If a plywood multihull has been built and maintained "correctly", they can be cruised hard for an indefinite period of time. By sealing ALL bolt holes, and the edges of ALL openings, (like cut outs for hatches), our SR 34 is going strong after 16 years of extensive cruising. We are gradually replacing things now... the enclosure and standing rigging this year, and will repaint with Awl Grip again, in a couple more. (An every 10 year chore)...

Except for paint, this would also be true of a FRP production boat. Our main down side is "stringers". We NEVER have any leaks, even in a gale at sea or hurricane driven rain! This requires that the boat is "right"... On the other hand, in our cold NC winters, the condensation collects on stringers. Since they are epoxied, rot is not the issue, it's peeling of the interior paint. If we had used an interior coating, like 2 part "Bar Rust", even this would not happen. "Live & learn".

FRP boats do not have stringers to pool water, interior paint, nor exterior LP paint, (at first). They do, however, get hull blisters, where epoxy / glassed over ply does not, and they cost 4X as much in the first place. (Left UN insured, perhaps they cost closer to "even", if figured over 50 years... unless you count taxes! Then the "one off" is WAY cheaper.) Either hull material will last a lifetime, if taken care of...

The problem with stringers is a good argument for the CC designs, They avoid the issue!

To suffer through the winter with a minimum of condensation, and avoid the peeling interior paint issue, we use 30 descant cups, 2 turbo blowers, 1 dehumidifier, and 3 fans. With all cubbies open to the air flow, this reduces the condensation issue to about "0" for that 4 months when it occurs.

For the 12 years we lived aboard in warmer climates, we had no condensation, and the stringers, like the entire bilge, only collected dust bunnies.

With old designs like Searunners, one has to get a really "good one" with the vulnerable areas like, wet lockers, centerboard, trunk, skeg, and rudder, WELL glassed and perfect. John Marples would be a good choice for survey, as most surveyors would not know what they're looking at.

Regarding tri's VS cats, obviously we prefer tris, but... IN GENERAL, tris are better cruisers in the smaller sizes, and cats start to make sense above 40 or so feet loa. The problem is, if one lowers wing clearance on a cat, to achieve a low profile, WITH standing room, they're giving up WAY too much seaworthiness! Exceptions are, open wing deck cats, like Wharrams, or those with sitting headroom only. The best discussions on this comparison are in OutRig's, "Conversations With Jim Brown", where he and John Marples talk about the subject at length.

The best boat, in the end, is one that suites your needs, and is paid for!

Fair Winds,
Mark
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Old 22-02-2012, 12:00   #999
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

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The best boat, in the end, is one that suites your needs, and is paid for! Fair Winds, Mark
+1 - I definitely agree with this. I enjoyed you description of your boat and agree with you. Diligence is the key.
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Old 22-02-2012, 18:09   #1000
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Mark-

Have you used the bar-rust yourself? Hopefully by later this year I'll be in need of some interior paint for my Woods Vardo cat. Price seem good for the stuff. I was thinking a latex for the interior, but had been planning an epoxy for the chines and sail locker forward of the water tight bulkhead. The inside of the ply is all covered in light glass cloth prior to screwing to the stringers. Both sides of forward bulkheads/ transoms are glassed prior to fitting framing. Not sure what I'll do for exterior paint.

I'll be bunking aboard my former Searunner 34 for some nights coming up in Auckland. I was comparing the SR 34 and the Vardo a bit and it's interesting to add to the cat vs. tri info. The Vardo will displace 30% more than the SR 34 and use about 70% the materials. Cruising payload should be roughly 50-75% more with 20" of bridgedeck clearance fully loaded. Cockpit clearance is 24" and the 20" low spot will only be about 8' long. "Weekend" clearance should be about 24" which is what the newer 36-40 foot cats have when floating at the boat shows. Headroom is meant to be 6' in the bridgedeck, but I may lower it just a little to improve appearances.

Check out my blog of building the Vardo: sailingcatamarans.blogspot.com

Another brief thought is the amount of deck hardware the Searunners have. Bow/ stern cleats on all 3 hulls, usually tons of winches, running backstay hardware, etc, etc. My cat will have 2 winches mounted on the cabin top, HD pulpit bases to bowline docklines to. In a sense Searunners were just a product of the time. Look at the amount of deck candy on say a 1970s IOR boat vs a modern IRC racer. Probably 1/3 the amount on newer boars which is my plan for savings in weight, cost, and maintenance.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Old 22-02-2012, 18:18   #1001
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Maxolar

I would not recommend Maxolar. Boat was not built with epoxy and none of interior wood is sealed in anyway. Was sold 3 years ago by a nice English guy that did a bunch of work upgrading the interior and owned for 6-8 years. Next owner basically abandoned in Bahamas after a few months (weeks?) as didn't know how to sail. I believe next owner is guy that has it now. Doubt he had done much to it and did have some rot in the port ama 3 years ago and broken stringers in main hull. Never got as far as checking the trunk. If you can get it CHEAP might be a good boat for a few years cruising coastwise but will need more effort than worth to make a good long term boat.

Mark can comment to this regarding trying to make a weldwood and nails boat into a composite boat. That said, Jim's boat and others are still around so I suppose you could keep it going, but I felt would always be dodgy in terms of offshore safety.
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Old 22-02-2012, 20:02   #1002
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Hi Jeff,
Yes I have used Bar Rust myself. It is used commercially in boatyards, right after a 100% solids epoxy barrier coat, and before bottom paint. I was told that another primary use is to coat the insides of steel fuel tanks with it!

It is tough stuff, not an epoxy "paint", as much as pure 2 part epoxy, with enough pigment to call it paint. (It is opaque, Not just translucent like when one pigments WEST epoxy) It is best for interiors, or out of the sun, like sub floors and wet lockers. All epoxies eventually get flat and chalk from too much UVs!

I would still glass / epoxy the surfaces and prep them, then paint with white, (or what ever color) Bar Rust. It paints on with a brush pretty easily. Not exactly smooth, but not bad either. It drys to a nice semigloss.

I have done many boat parts with it, my stitch n glue kayak's interior, and even a custom made "submersible" wooden door, in our flood prone marina.

I wish the insides of Delphys was painted with it! It is definetly a lower aesthetic than the consistent, smooth, "Easypoxy" paint that we use, but would last longer than our 10 years, before needing a repaint down below. (Which I am half way through now)...

Your Vardo design does fill a niche. It is the type of cat that can still be seaworthy in a smaller size, by sacrificing some of the high bridge deck cabin, rather than wing clearance.

Cats do have more payload than the same length tri, "in pounds... but not space". (I doubt to the degree that you suggest, however)... We carry more weight than you'd think, and with the wing cubbies and amas full of light weight things, like clothing, linnins, empty jugs, washing & viewing buckets, awnings, spears, etc., we have a storage "space" advantage. I just can't carry as many tool boxes or hundreds of books.

The dinghy is deflated on the wing, and the 8 hp OB motor is mounted in one ama, with the scuba tank in the other. Otherwise, they are full of light weight but really stinky stuff, that I wouldn't want down below. The excess deck accommodates solar panels, which provide 100% of our needs, 98% of the time.

Correct observations. Searunners, as drawn, were / are mighty complicated. Too complicated to be neglected! Ours is quite different. With John's blessing, we have only one pair of headsail sheet winches. Though rigged as a cutter, she sails as a sloop. We have a taller rig, so we carry canvass the size of a genoa, but it is a "Yankee shaped", "lapper". With a roller reef or two, it takes us up to 30 knots of wind, when we strike it and raise the stay sail. (Using the same winches). Our running backs are quite simple as well.

Searunners are, IMO, in a class by themselves in many respects. Their seaworthiness, and windward ability, as well as ease and safety of handling, are hard to beat! On a personal level, I find dinner under lantern light, in the sterncastle, to be the most aesthetic space I have ever hung out in.

I really like your Vardo design BTW. It should definitely get you out there much quicker and less expensively, than many other choices, and I know these are priorities for you. I will check out your web site...

Best of luck in your project,
Mark
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Old 22-02-2012, 20:33   #1003
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Mark, nice pic of Jeff and Jose!
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Old 23-02-2012, 02:12   #1004
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Anyone owning a searunner and not reading this forum should be told about it.......
It must be rewarding also for the designers to know there is such interest with their designs. It would seem like a cult following almost especially with the searunners. I must admit both fore and aft castles have something most other boats dont have.... creating ambience with very practical room. I like to drop down into the shower after a swim and then step into the roomy bothroom then head to the sterncastle for breakfast... The full length of a searunner is incredible well utilised.
Not sure about Cats vs Tri's.... hopefully others might come on board and share their thoughts.
Thanks very much for all your sharing Mark Johnson, i have found it always interesting.
Ply boats, older ply boats even though well looked after i for one have some uncertain feelings with there capability to withstand big wave bashings on the side. Knowing also ply can flex but huge water on the side of a virticle wall like the searunner does make me nervious somewhat.
Also the underwing seems somewhat volitile in the front section. Ply is a very strong light material but can change with time to britleness from heat.. eg motor and rot. There has been so many types of ply over the years with their laminations and glue's.
So basically the ply in the first place selected for the building of these older Searunners is a major factor.

Wouldnt it be nice to have a Tri convention someplace in the world where all Tri owners would gather and talk Tri's...... maybe its alread happened.... Better to happen sooner than later with Jim Brown still with us.
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Old 23-02-2012, 07:23   #1005
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Hi Rossad... Good idea!

Yes, there IS a cult following with these boats! All boats are a compromise, but Searunners got so many details right. Overall livability while cruising, as you pointed out, is a good example.

We were very fortunate to have started our project late, by SR standards, ('91), so ours is both the 34'er, AND an epoxy / LP paint version. (It really makes a difference, maintenance wise).

In drawing the 34', Jim & John addressed so many of the Searunner's vulnerabilities. The wings are smaller, more swept in, and have a vent hole. They are also "safety sealed", rather than open from hull to hull. This reduces maintenance, and If I find myself awash some day, "OMG", she'll float higher.

On the 34'er, the hulls are proportionately deeper and narrower, with almost the payload of the 37. The wing clearance is better, and the minikeel is smaller. Also, the scantlings are the same as the 40'er! (NO ply flexing on the 34)...

I still wish we had better ply, and agree it is called for here, but on the WEST system 34, the issue isn't strength or maintenance, it's the wasted build time from finding and filling all voids larger than a quarter, under the surface veneer. (You can subtly run your finger tips over the completed hull, and hear the voids). Yep, I did this on the entire boat! Better ply would have paid for itself.

We were also fortunate to have John Marples' help in consultation. This is why I frequently advise folks in a major re-build, to buy the plans from John, for the advantage of consultation.

John helped us build a BETTER Searunner. Besides the rig changes, and overall simplification of the vessel, there were still vulnerabilities to be addressed. On all hull chines and underwing seams, we used staggered layers, (2, 4, & 6" wide), of non woven biaxial fabric. The heavy hull chine reinforcing was because of inadequate interior glass work, by the guy that had started and then aborted this hull, 11 years earlier. On the wings' main fore n aft seam, there is a hard spot created by the interior bulkhead. This is very vulnerable in Searunners, so the heavy glass lay up here has served us well. (NO cracks).

We also made large microlite fillets, at the wings' "arm pits", which I later glassed over with bi-axial, to repair small stress cracks.

The CB and rudder / skeg are vulnerable, so ours are glassed 1/8" thick, with 3/8" thick on just the leading and trailing edges. The trunk is glassed VERY carefully, with a heavy build up on the mini keel, and it's radiuses. We later added a 3/8" thick "worm shoe" of solid glass, which is great protection!

On all of the hundreds of feet of radiuses above the WL, we used three staggered layers of 10 oz regular fabric that we cut @ 45 degrees, on the bias. (This puts ALL of the fibers, not just half, across the joint that you're reinforcing).

We made the three wing wet lockers, (AKA "rot boxes"), into mostly, "vented" dry lockers, except when in a seaway. We also went to great pains to seal the cockpit's sub floor, and even baffle it's through hull drains.

So... John told us of vulnerabilities, some I didn't previously know about, and we addressed all of them. This, along with constant maintenance and a dry bilge, has been very successful, and why I say that a plywood boat, especially WEST system, CAN last indefinitely, if maintained.

On the other Searunner models, and pre WEST system / LP paint versions, it can still be done, it's just more of a challenge. Jim's Scrimshaw is an example... I think the deal breaker becomes when there is something going on inside of areas that you can't easily get to for repair, without tearing the boat apart. (like inside open wings)

Our hull was "first" started in 1980, making the hull's standard exterior ply, 32 years old now! The consequences of having used this standard ply, I already mentioned. The only other problem, is that Fir ply gets checks on the inside over time, even if epoxy coated. This causes the need to repaint in there every 10 years or so. Fir ply, even "AA Royal Marine" is not great stuff for boats. A good, quality, imported exterior ply, with surface veneers of Luan or Okume, are what fills the bill. They're smoother surface requires so much less resin in building, that it is money well spent, and saves a LOT of time.

Having made that point, Delphys is an example that even (well sealed) FIR ply can stand the test of time. I have looked at a 2.5" hole saw cut out, as recently as 6 years ago, and the ply's 25 year old interior layers were perfect, dry, and looked like NEW!

It is the Pre WEST boats, (of all designs), that were under glassed, that become more of a challenge over time. Wood boats actually withstand MORE cycles than modern composites, not less. We just have to keep the wood DRY, especially plywood's edge grain. Only if it sits uncoated under water, or sucks up moisture in the edge grain, will it delaminate, or glue joints weaken, over time. Pounding from the sea is much less of an issue, UNLESS the hull is already compromised.

I guess it shows... I love my Searunner!

Mark
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