messing about in boats

Nice Dragonfly Trimaran Photo

Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on July 5, 2010

Had a long and in-depth conversation with my mate Tim (of UK Cherub class president fame) about trimarans the other day. He mailed over this shot the following morning of a Dragonfly which happened to be moored off the beach near his house in Devon while he was fishing that evening.

Looks awesome.

Dragonfly Trimaran

Dragonfly Trimaran

Oh to live by the sea…


Buccaneer 24 Trimaran Plans

Posted in Boat Building & Maintenance, Sailing by Joseph Moore on November 19, 2009

Full plans for Lock Crowther’s Buccaneer 24 Trimaran can be bought from oldsailor7 here. He’s also posted up a threeview, building instructions and materials list which I’ve reposted here as it never hurts to back up fantastic information like this.

Click on each thumbnail to view the full size image.

Buccaneer 24 three view

Buccaneer 24 three view

Buccaneer 24 Materials List Page 1

Buccaneer 24 Materials List Page 1

Buccaneer 24 Materials List Page 2

Buccaneer 24 Materials List Page 2

Buccaneer 24 Building Instructions Page 1

Buccaneer 24 Building Instructions Page 1

Buccaneer 24 Building Instructions Page 2

Buccaneer 24 Building Instructions Page 2

Buccaneer 24 Building Instructions Page 3

Buccaneer 24 Building Instructions Page 3

Thoughts About Thinking About Small Multihulls

Posted in General Boating Stuff, Sailing by Joseph Moore on October 25, 2009

Or in other words – stuff to consider when doing things differently.

I’ve become a bit of a multihull convert this year. They’d always seemed a bit superfluous before now – after all, a boat will float just as well with one hull as it will with two or three. Yet after one ride on a catamaran I was utterly hooked. It was fast, stable, easy to handle and very comfortable.

It’s not always easy to get a sensible answer about boats though. Everybody has their own ideas about what constitutes a good boat and the internet forum battles will probably rage on until the end of the universe debating whether keelboats sink more often than multihulls capsize.

As a dinghy sailor with somewhat nonexistent cashflow and a desire to get afloat in something with a little more space, primarily to cruise with friends and have a few adventures, I’ve been doing an awful lot of “umming and arring” about the right path to take.

Multihulls vs. monohulls

I think this debate actually predates boats themselves, or at least it might as well do – it’s that boring. Both have their merits and it really depends what you want to get from your sailing. I’ve been fortunate enough to sail a fair few dinghies and yachts over the years from a Topper to a Rebel 41 and every single one has their place.

Monohulls sink? Sure, if you buy a badly built boat and don’t maintain it.

Multihulls capsize? Sure, if you push too hard and don’t put a reef in when the wind picks up.

My decision will largely be governed by my wallet and the empty cavern that lies within, but where there’s a will to go boating, there’s a way.

Start with the obvious

It’s usually advisable to start with the easy option before diving into the unknown, so I’ve been looking at small monohull keelboats. There are literally countless different models to consider here, but you can split them into roughly two categories easily enough:

Trailer Sailers are typically under 23 feet, often with bilge keels to allow drying out on the mud and berthing at cheaper marinas which is definitely a plus point. The trailerable aspect is great if you’ve got a suitable vehicle – you can bring it home for the winter or take it somewhere different for a change of scenery. The engine is usually an outboard as well, which can be a real plus point. New engines can be expensive if they go wrong, but small outboards are readily available and can be bolted on nice and quickly.

Popular choices include the Corribee and Pandora, both of which are very pretty boats, although something like a Hurley Silhouette is probably one of the cheapest ways to get afloat.

Small ‘Proper’ Yachts are exactly what the name implies. Usually too large or heavy to be easily trailerable, with a fin keel restricting them to deeper water and marina berthing. You start getting a lot more crammed into a boat as soon as you reach 24′ – separate heads, a proper dining table – real luxury.

There’s a huge choice in this section of the market, but you’re looking at about twice the price of a trailer sailer to buy, plus the inevitable increase in mooring fees. I quite like the look of the Eygthene 24 and Ecume De Mer but the list really could go on and on.

So, the verdict on that lot? Realistically I’d go for a Corribee. They’re pretty little boats with their long overhangs and underhung rudder. A proven, seaworthy boat which can be picked up easily for under £2000 in need of a tidy up. But is it the ideal solution?

The multihull alternative

For the price range I’ve got in mind, buying a multihull is never going to happen. They’re simply too rare, relatively speaking, to lose that much value. Building a boat is an option though. I’d never bother with a monohull – there are plenty available for little money second hand – but it could be the only way to make a multi a viable alternative.

For the length we’re talking about, trimarans are really the only viable option. Small catamarans are usually no more than a shed plonked on the bridgedeck which looks awful and gives a lot of unwanted windage. A tri’s cabin may be small, but at least it’s fairly aerodynamic which is important in a boat that should be doing 15kts routinely. Couple that with the ability to dissemble or fold the akas to trailer the boat it all seems a bit of a winner.

I think despite being an old design, the Buccaneer 24 is a superb boat offering a good mix of simple cheap construction, space and boat speed.

Pros and cons

So it really comes down to a small bilge keel monohull or a small trimaran suitable for shed building on a budget.

In favour of the monohull: Cheap to buy, no lengthy build process, more cabin space, narrow beam means easy to berth.

In favour of the multihull: Much faster boat speed increases cruising grounds, more space for sunbathing (I’ve been assured this is very important), shallow draft.

Both obviously have their merits, but personally I’m leaning towards the multihull – it all depends on the cost and practicality for berthing a 20′ wide boat in the average harbour. I guess at least she’d be happy on the mud and need very little water to go sailing. Given the fact that most of my boating will be weekend jaunts and inshore racing, if there’s serious offshore sailing to be done I’ll be enjoying the comfort of a much larger yacht.

I’m sure there will be more things that cross my mind over the coming weeks, but I’ll publish this now, else it’ll never get finished…

Another Buccaneer 24 Video

Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on October 17, 2009

This is a really good video for anyone interested in the Buccaneer 24 Trimaran designed by Lock Crowther (What a cool name! Sounds like a pirate… actually I believe he’s an aircraft engineer). I’ve become a little obsessed with these simple little cruising trimarans lately, but haven’t got a hope in hell of seeing one in the flesh as I don’t know of any here in the UK.

Study plans and photos can only tell you so much and this video really fills in the gaps about how everything goes together, how big it is, how it sails, where useful places to keep stuff are etc.

I’m warning you now though, if you’re not curious about any of that, you’ll be bored to tears.

Got a real itch to build one now – I guess I have since I saw a couple of small trimarans anchored in the shallows off the south beach at Studland Bay earlier this summer. It just seemed a much more preferable way of arriving than the big yachts and motor cruisers way out in the bay, all struggling to get their tenders out to come ashore. The guy simply took his shoes and socks off, hopped off the back and paddled onto the beach to get an ice cream from the hut.

Arguably I could spend probably a lot less money and buy something that needs a refit, but nothing I can afford will have much space or speed. The Westerly 22 for sale not far from me is a prime example – it’s in reasonable nick, decent sized cabin, fairly seaworthy and strong little yacht – the sensible choice, but it just doesn’t excite me. Ok, speed isn’t everything, but it is useful to extend your cruising grounds and scare your friends.

Buccaneer 24 Trimaran

Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on October 15, 2009

This looks like a lot of fun for cruising around in, albeit a bit wet in a chop. I’m a big fan of quick boats because I quite like the arriving as much as the sailing there. Centreboards do make creek exploration and just pitching up on a beach quite accessible too…

Perhaps it wouldn’t be too far fetched to build one. I know what I’m doing with wood and composites, I’ve got my eye on an old Tornado mast in the Grafham boat park, plus there’s a guy reproducing buccaneer 24 plans. Donations of marine ply gratefully accepted!