By Random Keystone
Every sailboat is a sum greater than it’s parts but none are perfect. Each design represents a process of balancing ambitions with compromises. The laws of fluid dynamics and human biology cannot be changed at present and as a result, only the vessel itself can be transformed. And no version meets all criteria. If sailors are familiar with their requirements for the ideal boat then they might tend to dream about it. They might also find themselves changing their minds as they learn more and more about sailboats and other watercraft over time. There are many hard realities associated with boat ownership and they will vary more or less in severity depending upon the type of boat chosen. If money is no object, don’t worry. If it is, be practical and ever mindful of the given prerequisites.
The singular beauty of the mono-hull, exemplified in the twelve meter sloops of racing fame and still radiantly present in any of it’s great many forms cannot be disputed. And in the case of sailboats, beauty is rarely only skin deep and is often a direct reflection of good design work. A certain type of sailor may muse about a passage worthy blue water cruising yacht for a crew of three with great performance characteristics. This sailor may decide that they would also like to explore channels, rivers and lakes as well. Perhaps the dreamer would like to run their yacht right up onto the beach. To reach all of these destinations the yacht would need to be towable with a standard pick-up truck and have systems built in to facilitate handling of the spars and retractable components below the waterline and otherwise.
A displacement hull and keel designed for speed may prove unstable. A displacement hull and keel designed for stability may prove slow. A hybrid of the two would be required and a design choice would require much careful consideration. A mono-hull design of the type often certified for blue water typically weigh about five tons and have a draft of about five feet. The conventional mono-hull suitable for ocean cruising although sweet and gorgeous, is just too massive for practical towing and storage. Indeed, a suitable catamaran would also prove to be to expansive to meet the specifications of the discerning sailor in question.
A day-dreaming would be argonaut might then move on to modern trimaran as the most viable option. In this classification a number of choices present themselves. If a sailor decides to keep things spartan and minimal then two choices stand out immediately; the Dragonfly 1000 and the Corsair F-28. The Argonauto 27, (built by Tremolino Boat of Minnesota), also deserves consideration. Trimarans are fast. Speeds of twelve to twenty knots are typical. Some claim to run as fast as the wind up to force five. Light weight is integral to trimaran design and even blue water designs are easily towed. Virtually all systems on the models listed above either retract of fold-up making mooring and storage a simple matter of nominal expense. Spars and standing and running rigging are designed for quick deployment so bridges and other obstacles are readily negotiated.
The Corsair F-28 is a proven ocean voyager that drafts only fourteen inches board and rudder up. Her beam of nineteen and three-quarter feet with a amas (or out-riggers) extended provide the stability and the signature “spider-like” stance only possible in a trimaran. A yacht with a displacement of less than a ton and a half can be manueuvered with an auxillary in the ten horse-power range. One might even skull it about with an oar in some conditions without great difficulty if it became necessary. In spite of the obvious drawbacks, such as a poor capacity for storing water, fuel and cargo. It’s a modern trimaran that fulfills the dreams of some sailors. The sailor who desires a kind of “swiss army knife” for a yacht will be well pleased with the trimarans of today.
It is possible to get a sense of what a cruising trimaran might be like by training on a sport trimaran. The WindRider trimaran is a perfect choice for this purpose and if the speeds possible in a trimaran set a given sailor to dreaming, take not that the WindRider Rave hydrofoil takes the technology to the cutting edge. Yes, the modern trimaran is the kind of boat that provides a certain style of sailor with dreams they never want to wake up from. And the reality is even better.
Random Keystone a.k.a John Jaskier Jr. is a freelance writer from Mound, MN.