Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Groupama 3 out - heading for Capetown

Franck Cammas and the crew aboard Groupama 3 are heading for Capetown after sustaining damage near the join between the port float and the rear beam 2 days ago. This ends their second attempt on the Jules Verne trophy for the fastest boat around the world non-stop. They have reduced sail to slow the boat as well as making some running repairs.

The damage occurred to a bulkhead inside the  rear part of the port float. Image © Groupama, used with permission.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BMW Oracle Racing wing takes flight

Yesterday the BMW Oracle Racing team took their BOR90 trimaran for a sail off San Diego in its "version 4.0" configuration - with the world's largest wing replacing the soft sails of earlier trials.

The "2-element" wing is raised from the port side with a massive gin-pole. The aft "element" of the wing is divided into 6 sections which appear to be controlled independently, allowing its "twist" to be tuned.

Getting the BOR 90 away from the dock after the wing was attached for the first time was a complicated process. The wing needed to be attached to the boat in near calm conditions, before helmsman James Spithill carefully maneuvered away from the dock with the wing down, in a horizontal position, assisted by numerous RIBs. Apparently, while the wing is attached the boat swing at a mooring - since it won't be possible to de-power the rig at the dock.

All photos © Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle Racing. Used with permission.

Monday, November 9, 2009

BMW Oracle Racing reveal the wing

The BMW Oracle Racing team have revealed their "secret weapon", a 57m (190ft) wing for their BOR90 trimaran. There had been a good deal of speculation that BOR were building a wing for the boat when two large and long items arrived by truck from their boat builder in Anacortes, Washington several weeks ago.
BOR will test the performance and handling of the wing in comparison to the soft sail which the boat has been using on sea trials for the past several months.
Having the wing ready at this point was fortuitous timing for BOR, as they broke the mast for their soft sail last week.
A solid wing like this is more efficient than a soft sail in aerodynamic terms, and it is easier to control than a soft sail. This is the largest wing-sail ever constructed for a sailing boat. Its height is larger than the semi-span of a 747 (57m vs 31m).

Photographs © Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle Racing, used with permission.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Groupama 3 sets out for Jules Verne attempt 2

Franck Cammas and the crew aboard Groupama 3 have started on their second attempt to take the Jules Verne trophy. They left Ushant at 3:50pm November 5th sailing in a strong North-Westerly breeze and lumpy seas.
Their website features lots of updates from the boat as well as the mandatory course tracker allowing us to follow their progress.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Groupama 3 arrives in Brest to await Jules Verne start

Frank Cammas and a delivery crew of 5 (Thomas Coville among them) have positioned Groupama 3 in Brest to begin their wait for a suitable weather window before starting on their attempt to break the Jules Verne around-the-world record.

With the boat now in Brest, some final preparations are under way, including the removal of the engine and propellor-shaft as well as loading provisions (once the bilges have been cleaned).

The Jules Verne trophy is currently held by Bruno Peyron aboard Orange 2, with a time of 50 days 16 hours and 20 minutes, set in 2005. This is the second attempt at the Jules Verne trophy by Groupama 3 - she abandoned her last attempt after losing a float off New Zealand in February 2008. She became the first sailing boat to pass the 800 miles per day record with 857 miles in 24 hours on her recent North-Atlantic crossing.

Groupama 3 berthed at the new port of Le Château. Image © SEA&CO /Benoit Stichelbaut, used with permission.

BOR90 v3.0 sailing again

After a second round of modifications taking nearly 5 weeks, BMW Oracle Racing have taken their 90-foot trimaran sailing again off the California coast. The boat returned to the water on Sunday (October 25th) and spent 4 days undergoing dock-side tests of its new systems. The BOR90 went out for its first sailing trials yesterday (Thursday October 29th).

The single largest change made was to remove the four "coffee grinders" powering the winches and replace them with an engine and hydraulics. The boat now sails with a smaller crew, the engine providing the horsepower previously supplied by manual "grinders". The deck layout for the winches has been extensively modified now that there is more room to fit everything.

There were several other changes visible from yesterday's sailing photos. The rudder and dagger-board have been removed from the main hull and longer J-shaped foils (the previous foils were C-shaped) have been fitted to the floats (amas). The bow-sprit appears to have been lengthened and its braces have new struts below and above. Finally, the trampolines no longer extend all the way to the floats, only reaching about one-third of the distance out from the main hull.

Sailing again - sans grinders and main hull foils. Photo © Gilles Martin-Rage, used with permission.

The longer bow-sprit and deeper foils are clear in this shot. Photo © Gilles Martin-Rage, used with permission.
There is now more room on-deck with the removal of the grinders. Photo © Gilles Martin-Rage, used with permission.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Adrenalin is pumping again

One of the most interesting trimarans ever built has been re-assembled and is sailing again in Auckland, New Zealand. Adrenalin was built to Formula 40 rules by the Gougeon Brothers in the 80's. Bruce Niederer explains her history:

The last commissioned boat the Gougeon Brothers built was Adrenalin. Started in 1984 and launched in 1987, she is a trimaran with articulating amas built to Formula 40 rules for Bill Piper of Ossineke, Michigan, and intended to race on the European circuit. She shocked the sailboat racing community by placing a very close second in her first regatta on the Grand Prix circuit in 1988. She raced for two seasons in Europe against the traditional big cats until, as Jan Gougeon put it, “They couldn’t stand being consistently beaten and changed the rule so the boat became illegal and only cats could race.” Adrenalin was purchased by New Zealander Grant Beck in 2007.

Built from wood and epoxy, Adrenalin has articulated amas (floats) which pivot from the front beam). Photo © John Bertenshaw, used with permission.

Adrenaline is now jointly owned by Rodney Keenan and Colin Palmer/Adhesive Technologies Limited, and they have recently re-assembled her in Auckland. Apart from the articulated wave-piercing floats, she also features a rotating wing mast and boomless main.

The aft end of the floats (amas) are supported by a wood/epoxy leaf spring. Downward travel is limited by a control line (the blue one). Photo © John Bertenshaw, used with permission.

Adrenalin is constructed of wood and West System epoxy, as shown by clear sections left in the wings decorating the transom of the centre hull (vaka). Photo © John Bertenshaw, used with permission.

The following short video shows Adrenalin out sailing on Auckland harbour. You can plainly see the windward float (ama) pivoting freely out of the water, as well as the leeward float pivoting relative to the centre hull. You can also see how fast she is in this light breeze.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Majan starts "Tour of Arabia"

The first Arabian 100 (A100) has now been launched by Oman Sail, and officially christened Majan (the ancient name for Oman). After four months of assembly in Oman's southern-most port of Salalah, Majan has been carrying out sea trials off the Omani coast under the watchful eye of skipper Paul Standbridge.
Designed by Nigel Irens, Majan is a development of the proven design Sodeb'O, the single-handed record breaker designed for Thomas Coville. Image © Sail Oman, used with permission.
Majan first kissed the water back on August 23rd. She has since been rigged and fitted out ready for sea trials. Image © Oman Sail, used with permission.
Her first official outing will be a 'Tour of Arabia' starting today from Muscat, which will include stops in UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar before joining the Dubai-Muscat race back to Muscat at the end of November.

55 knot foiler - Hydroptère

Alain Thébault and the team of Hydroptère have succeeded in setting a new sailing speed record. On September 4th the crew took their highly-developed foiling trimaran to a new record of 51.36 knots over 500 metres and 48.72 knots over 1 nautical mile on Hyères Harbour.

The two new records were ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council on September 24th, making Hydroptère the fastest sailing machine on the planet.This amazing foiler turned 28 knots of breeze into 51 knots of boat speed. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / L'Hydroptère, used with permission.

Top speed measured was 55.5 knots (103 km/h). The fastest average speed over 500m was recorded on the last of 8 runs by the boat on September 4th. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / L'Hydroptère, used with permission.

Concentration at 100 km/h! Hydroptèreis configured for open-ocean sailing, not just record attempts in protected waters. The team are looking to set an open-ocean speed record next. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / L'Hydroptère, used with permission.

The fastest men under sail! Alain Thébault and his crew - Anders Bringdal, Jean-Mathieu Bourgeon, François Cazala, Damien Colegrave, Stéphane Dyen, Matt Hodgson, Jérémie Lagarrigue, Pierre Trémouille, Gérard Navarin and Jacques Vincent. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget / L'Hydroptère, used with permission.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

North Atlantic record tumbles to Banque Populaire V

The crew of Banque Populaire V after breaking the North Atlantic record. Image © BPCE/Benoit Stichelbaut, used with permission

After 6 weeks on stand-by in New York city, Pascal Bidégorry and his team aboard Banque Populaire V sprinted across the North Atlantic to smash the previous record by 12 hours and 32 minutes on August 2nd. In a dramatic downwind drag-race across the North Atlantic (a “duel Atlantique”), the 40m long Banque Populaire V arrived off Lizard Point just 12 minutes before Franck Cammas and his crew aboard the 31.5m long Groupama 3 (the previous record holder) who left New York 2 hours and 35 minutes ahead. Groupama 3 also beat their 2007 record, but they were not as fast as Banque Populaire V. The new record stands at 3 days 15 hours 25 minutes and 48 seconds, an average speed of 32.9 knots.

On the third day of the crossing, Banque Populaire V also established a new record for the distance covered in a 24 hour period, covering an incredible 907 nautical miles (1,044 miles or 1,680km) at an average speed of 37.79 knots (70 km/h). The fastest speed achieved on the crossing by the world’s largest trimaran was 46 knots (85 km/h).

Both trimarans decided to depart from New York city into the same weather window, and after a slow start on day 1 they were rewarded with around 30 knots of wind at an ideal angle (130°) by day 2. Groupama 3 was the faster of the two boats when the winds were below 20 knots, but when the winds went over 25 knots Banque Populaire V was the faster boat, taking advantage of her longer waterline.

On breaking the record, Pascal Bidégorry said “I did not think we could go through so quickly. We did not ask whether we could better the time of 2007. We stayed focused on the weather, strategy and progress of the boat, obsessed only with squeezing the most speed out of the boat. Banque Populaire V is unique and we are all extremely proud to sail on this exceptional boat.”

Arriving off Lizard Point after breaking the North Atlantic record. Image © BPCE/Benoit Stichelbaut, used with permission

This was a truly awesome drag-race between two of the most advanced sailing machines on the planet – and they are likely to meet again as both boats go into preparation for an around-the-world attempt for the Jules Verne trophy.

The team aboard Groupama 3 arriving off Lizard Point. They broke their 2007 record, but were not as fast as the larger Banque Populaire V. Image © SEA&CO /Benoit Stichelbaut, used with permission

Friday, July 24, 2009

BMW Oracle Racing launch version 2 of their BOR 90

BOR 90 sailing again with new bows. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget, used with permission.

The America's Cup Deed of Gift match continues to feature plenty of legal action in the courts. But more interestingly, both teams now have boats on the water - so now we can see what the designers are thinking. Alinghi have launched an enormous catamaran (fitting the 90 foot length by 90 foot beam "box rule") in Switzerland and BMW Oracle Racing have re-launched their BOR 90 trimaran in the US with wave-piercing bows on the floats, giving a radical new look to the boat. BMW Oracle Racing may still launch a new boat (or modify their current boat) once the location of the Deed of Gift match races is announced, but for now we can enjoy these shots of their behemoth undergoing a fresh round of sea trials.
New wave-piercing bows on BOR 90. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget, used with permission.

Wave-piercing bows like these have become popular on 16-foot A-Class catamarans, where they are said to reduce pitching in choppy conditions. Does this mean the BMW Oracle Racing team are already making some assumptions about the location of the Deed of Gift races (somewhere choppy), or are they trying several options to gather data for their final boat?

For comparison, the original bows on BOR 90. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget, used with permission.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Designs: Lots of fun for very little money with the Maora

What is the lowest cost production trimaran available for sale today?

A flock of Maoras, showing some of the rig options and colours available. Image © Nautylys, used with permission.

Well, it would be hard to beat the Maora, a new design by Stephan Vallet being produced by Nautylys in France. Built for fun and simplicity, the Maora is being targeted for sale to schools and resorts, where it offers ease of sailing and peace of mind (against capsize) for beginners. The base version of the Maora trimaran with a 5m² (53.8 ft²) semi-battened sail is offered for sale in Europe for €1,590, and the sport version with a larger 6m² (64.6 ft²) fully-battened sail is offered for €1,990 (plus delivery from the factory), making this the least expensive production trimaran of which I’m aware.
The Maora is designed for simplicity. All the major components (main hull, floats, “nacelle” and rudder/tiller) are roto-molded from high-impact thermoplastic resin. The aluminium tube beams which support the floats are locked to the main hull by a “nacelle” which is bolted to integrally-molded bolts in the main hull. The “nacelle” also provides an anchor-point for the mainsheet and wings which spread outboard of the main hull, forming a generous seat on each side. Each of the main components can be molded in 9 different colours, so you can choose a boat of one colour, or mix and match all you like.

Low-cost fun! Image © Nautylys, used with permission.

The un-stayed rig comes in 3 versions: the “Classic” rig of 5m² (53.8ft²) with horizontal top-battens; the “School” rig also 5m² with vertical top-battens enabling sail area to be reduced by rolling around the mast; and finally the larger fully-battened square-topped “Sport” rig of 6m². The mast drops into a tube molded into the hull fore-deck “Laser-style”. A simple vang keeps the boom under control, and simple down-haul and out-haul lines give control over the sail shape. The mast breaks down into three sections for transport – the whole boat can be transported on car-top roof-racks. You can also slide a pair of wheels over the aft beams to roll the boat (upside down) to and from the water.
The main hull features a long shallow “skeg” (no centre-board) and a low aspect-ratio shallow-draft rudder to avoid damage from beaching – ensuring simplicity and ease of use for beginners. Check out all the details and prices on the Maora website.
This looks like a fun off-the-beach boat, for very little outlay. That’s trimaran cool!

Image © Nautylys, used with permission.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New designs: Fast cruising in comfort - Langevin's Trial 1100

The Trial 1100 fast cruising trimaran. Image © Sylvestre Langevin, used with permission

For those of us outside France, the name Sylvestre Langevin may not immediately come to mind as an accomplished trimaran designer. However this should be rectified, as Sylvestre has a long history of high-performance multihull design over the last 20 years, including record-breaking designs like the 18m (60ft) aluminium foiling trimaran Mecarillos, first to reach 30 knots during an Atlantic race.

Sylvestre has recently announced his new Trial 1100 design, an 11m (34ft) “swing-wing” design intended for fast comfortable cruising. The design includes many of Sylvestre’s signature touches, including wide lines aft (above the water-line) for maximum cockpit space, a clean deck devoid of raised coach-roof, multi-chined hull constructed in aluminium; and a self-tacking jib for easy handling while cruising.

The floats swing towards the aft for marina berthing, and are locked in their sailing position with a bracing strut aft from the rear beam and a wire forward from the front beam. With the floats swung in-board, they extend beyond the stern and the overall length increases to 13.2m (43ft).

Sylvestre describes the Trial 1100 in his own words: Among the sailors who have experienced a trimaran, not all are able to repeat the experience. But all of them have dreamed of a trimaran that combines the advantages of the monohull (good interior volume) and the catamaran (stability and speed) and provides a sensation beyond the ordinary.

At low speeds in confined spaces the handling is equivalent to that of a monohull of the same size, but at higher speeds when let loose a little trimaran accelerates dramatically. Under power, the fineness of the 3 hulls enables fast cruising with low power.

Designing a fast trimaran without concessions to comfort is relatively easy. But to reconcile an efficient hull with internal volume sufficient to allow long-term cruising requires a real knowledge of trimarans. On the Trial 1100, I decided to create a "step" in the main hull above the waterline while maintaining a fine and powerful hull. This has resulted in a design not found in any trimaran of this size. It includes a double berth aft, a forward cabin with double berth, two raised beds in the main cabin, a spacious L-shaped kitchen, a bathroom, a navigation station and many storage areas. The intended engine is an inboard shaft-drive 20 HP diesel.

Internal layout of the Trial 1100. Image © Sylvestre Langevin, used with permission

On deck, the useable deck area is impressive and equivalent to a monohull larger than 18m. The oversized cockpit allows 10 people around the table for lunch. Obviously, the arms are pivoted and when returning to port the beam of 10m (32.8ft) can be reduced to 4.6m (15ft). Beaching is facilitated by a pivoting rudder and centre-boards placed in the floats to allow for easy movement in the central hull. We chose pivoting boards and rudder because who knows, you can always hit something hard ... inadvertently.

Wetted surface area remains moderate because the displacement of the Trial 1100 does not exceed 3,100kg. However, the hull and structures were calculated to enable 1,000kg of payload, allowing a week-long cruise with a crew of 6 people in full independence. Water (300 liters) and fuel (120 liters) capacity will match the needs of such a cruise, and remain very exceptional on a trimaran of this size.

Finally, the choice of aluminum construction provides great strength and durability – both important, and contrary to general thinking, is not heavier in comparison to fiberglass molded construction.

In short, if you enjoy speeds of 15 knots under sail and 10 knots under power, and if you like to moor right on the beach, all while keeping a comfortable living environment, then the Trial 1100 is for you!

The Trial 1100 features a fully battened large-roached main with self-tacking jib. Image © Sylvestre Langevin, used with permission

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Discovery Route will have to wait as the French head for New York

Following several months of waiting for a suitable weather window which never arrived ("pas de fenetre météo favourable"), two of the world's most advanced trimarans have abandoned their attempts on the Discovery Route record for now - and both are headed to New York for an attempt on the North Atlantic record.
The crew of the 40m (131ft) Banque Populaire V under the leadership of Pascal Bidégorry have left their stand-by port of Cadiz in Spain and headed for New York via their regular home base of Lorient, expecting to be on stand-by for the record attempt by June 26th.
At the same time, Thomas Coville and a small crew are currently sailing Sodeb'O from La Trinité-sur-Mer to New York to stand-by for a solo attempt on the North Atlantic record.
The North Atlantic route takes sailors from New York to Lizard Point in Cornwall, the southern-most point in the UK. The current record holder is Groupama 3, sailed by Franck Cammas and a crew of 9. They made the crossing in 4 days 3 hours 57 minutes and 54 seconds - an average speed of 28.65 knots over the 2,925 mile course.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

First Arabian 100 coming together in Salalah

Photo © Oman Sail, used with permission

Trimaran Cool has been following the exciting trimaran activities of Oman Sail for a while. Following their team's round-the-world voyage on Musandam (the former B&Q/Castorama), they are now working hard to create a new class of maxi-racing trimaran, the Arabian 100. Following construction of the first boat at Boatspeed in Australia and then shipping via India, the Oman Sail team are now assembling the un-named trimaran in Salalah, on the southern coast of Oman. The previously unreleased cell-phone shot above shows the progress made as of yesterday - she is really starting to look like a fast machine!

Some more details come from Oman Sail: The first Arabian 100, a new class of 105’ trimaran, has arrived in Mina Salalah for final assembly. Built by Boatspeed in Australia, the three hulls and connecting beams were shipped on deck to Salalah via India. On Saturday the 2nd of May, the parts were transferred to the only shed in Salalah that could accommodate what will be one of the biggest racing trimarans in the world. Salalah was chosen not only because of the facilities available, but also because the project that Oman Sail has undertaken spans the length of Oman’s coastline and includes all cities, towns and villages of Oman. The project is already a few days ahead of schedule with the beams and amas (the shorter outer hulls), having been connected.

Over the next three months the spars will arrive from Southern Spars in Auckland, New Zealand whilst the Harken deck gear and winches have already arrived from Italy. Before the trimaran is launched near the end of August, during the annual Khareef, for sea trials, a full set of North Sails will arrive from France. Originally designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret, the Arabian 100 is a close sister ship to the very successful and very famous Sodeb’O campaigned by Thomas Coville. Sodeb’O has set many records around the world and her design was a perfect platform on which to develop a new class of racing trimarans that also offer optimal training platforms.

Here are the amas being unloaded in Salalah:

Photo © Oman Sail, used with permission

Here is what she will look like when complete:

Photo © Oman Sail, used with permission

The Nigel Irens design influences and her family likeness to sister-ship Sodeb'O is very apparent. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project... that's Trimaran Cool!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Attempts: Embouteillage de route Découverte?

(traffic jam on the Discovery Route?)

While Pascal Bidegorry and the crew of Banque Populaire V have been waiting in Cadiz for many weeks, Thomas Coville has only just arrived in La Trinite su mer during the last week or so, and is set to head off on a single-handed attempt at the Discovery Route. So its possible we may see two mega-trimarans racing the clock across the Atlantic when the weather looks good!

Check out Coville's Sodeb'O website for news of his imminent departure.

That's trimaran cool...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Records: Groupama 3 makes it number 5

Groupama 3 sailed by Franck Cammas and his crew have broken the Mediterranean Crossing record, reducing the crossing time from Marseilles in France to Carthage in Tunisia to 17 hours 15 minutes and 33 seconds (that's an average speed of 26.72 knots) which was 48 minutes and 10 seconds faster than Bruno Peyron and his crew aboard the catamaran Orange 2.

This makes it record number 5 for the 31.5 metre (105 feet) trimaran, the first since she lost a float near New Zealand in an attempt on the round-the-world Jules Verne Trophy.

All the details can be seen on the Groupama website.

Image courtesy of Pline, Wikimedia commons.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Attempts: Tri vs Cat across the Med

As I type this, Franck Cammas and his team aboard Groupama 3 are half-way across the Mediterranean on an attempt to break the north-to-south Mediterranean record (currently held by Bruno Peyron and the maxi-cat Orange II).
This attempt to beat the record held by a catamaran may be prophetic for the challenge facing Cammas in the coming America's Cup deed of gift match. If the rumors are correct Cammas, the multihull brains of the BMW Oracle Racing team will be facing a maxi-cat from the Alinghi team in their battle for the America's Cup...
Watch the Groupama 3 progress on their website.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Voyages: Overnight on a Sprint 750

The Sprint 750 is a lively day-sailer from Corsair Marine, based on their popular Corsair 24 folding trimaran.

Gregg Boone in Texas owns one of these machines, and he described a recent enjoyable outing on a trimaran community website. He gave me permission to re-print his story here, enjoy the read:

"Overnight in a Sprint. I know what you’re thinking – does a Sprint even have a cabin? Depends on your definition of cabin. After the 2nd summer of daysailing on Sundays most weekends, we finally discovered a new element of what we all can enjoy as Corsair and F-boat owners, our first 2 day cruise.
It was Saturday morning in mid September. We had experienced the most brutal week in a vicious year. Stress needed to be released before a mental breakdown occurred. 12:15pm my wife comes up with a brilliant plan, let’s spend the night on the boat . I definitely married the right woman. We had been planning to overnight all summer – and summer she is gone. Started packing food and gear. We love to go tent camping, and go frequently. However we live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex along with 6.1 million other humans (mostly human, a few I’m not so sure). This means you must have reservations a month in advance to go camping anywhere within a 3 hour drive. But we own a boat that does not require advance notice.
Took about 30 minutes extra to load the extra food and gear aboard. 5:15pm and we are just pulling out of the marina., this is a new experience. My general policy is to go back to the marina when my wife makes me, typically around 6-7pm. She is the First Mate when sailing, however she is the Admiral when deciding when the fleet should return.

We have our Sprint on a lift at the one marina on Lake Ray Roberts north of Dallas. The lake is a Corps of Engineers lake. This means there is very little development allowed. There is one small 30 room hotel, one marina, and not much else built on-shore. The lake shoreline is mainly covered by trees.
There is only 5 knots of wind, got the screecher up going upwind, cool beverage in my hand, just my wife and I, and the stress is starting to be released. We’re not going fast, but we are moving at warp speed into another dimension away from the big city with it’s traffic and stress, and into a relaxing nature experience. Flocks of birds are flying overhead back toward their evening roosts. The trees look greener with the sun getting lower.
Our first anchorage has 4 boats there already, this won’t do. We keep going. 2nd anchorage is right by the dam and I can hear traffic going over it. We keep going. About 10 miles from the marina we come to a horseshoe shaped cove with no one there. The wind has died so I motor in and prepare to drop the “cruising” anchor that I have never used.
North Texas summers can have unpredicted thunderstorms that hit you by surprise. I wanted an anchor that would hold in the killer winds of thunderstorm. I got a 24lb. Delta with 16 lbs of chain. The anchor locker on a Sprint is 4.0” deep. Obviously the Delta is not going to fit in there. When I removed the daysailing anchor and put the cruising anchor onboard I moved them in 2 pieces and shackled them together. The only place the anchor will fit is underneath the cockpit. This is accessible from inside the cabin. You have to sit on the cabin floor bend over, grab heavy anchor and lift up onto the cockpit floor. This is not easy with 16lbs of chain dragging but I manage without smashing fingers or gelcoat. I think maybe this much anchor and chain is overkill!
Anchor sets no problem and I attach the bridle that another group member described to the amas. I put the Coleman stove on the cockpit seat and fire up the burgers. As we eat our dinner we watch the sun set. It’s a brilliant orange-red beauty. Here we sit surrounded by nature, frogs croaking on shore, storks flying over and croaking at us because we are in the middle of their normally deserted cove (I did not know that a bird could croak). He gave up in a few minutes and decided he could share the water with us. It’s 80 degrees and the water is warm.
The sun sets and I see something you cannot see in a city of millions, stars. The moon has not risen yet and we can see thousands of stars. We can even see different colors, some bluish, some reddish. In the city only 10-12 stars are visible. Amazing that most people are scared of the dark and have to have their nightlights on all night.
We have good tunes playing, drinking cold beer watching the brilliant stars. Suddenly I hear loud music. We are offshore of a state park and there are no campsites in this area. It could only be a jerk ski boat with a massive stereo. After a minute I wonder if a ski boat could even carry a system this large. It sounds like a sizable system. I realize it’s a Stevie Ray Vaughn song playing, I love Stevie Ray!!!. Several minutes later I realize it’s not Stevie Ray playing, it’s a live band playing (or maybe a recording of a live band) Stevie’s songs and they are great. Now there is nothing but wilderness around me, no lights of any kind on shore (except or distant radio tower lights). Where could this band be? The only thing possible is the one hotel on the lake, but it’s 1.5 miles away with a hill between us. The wind has dropped to dead calm and the music is carrying across the hill. We can still hear the frogs
singing along with the blues band.
The band quits at 10pm. I don’t know if I’ll ever hear another live band that I love while anchored on my boat without seeing another human again. I feel like Scotty has beamed me to another sparsely inhabited planet. I’m amazed to be only 50 miles from downtown Dallas and to be alone with nature (well with a blues band in hearing range). And the stress of my regular world has vanished. The stars have never looked prettier. The moon rises and seems to be 3 times the size it normally is, or is it magnified by the Dos Equis? We’ll never know. Now I know another element of the magic of our boats, the other dimension of a world completely separate from the stress of the everyday, the world at anchor. There is no traffic, no deadlines, no decisions to strain about except do I want the next Dos Equis with or without lime.
We sleep out on the nets in a sleeping bag underneath the stars. It’s quite comfortable there and you can’t find a better view.
Next morning I cook breakfast and brew coffee. This is my first coffee onboard. I go to haul the anchor up. Oh my god this thing is heavy!! Perhaps 40lbs of anchor and chain is overkill. At least it’s a good upper body workout. Of course if we had been hit by a storm the big anchor would not have felt like overkill. I think I’ll at least get lighter chain.
I feel like a new man, most of the stress has evaporated and I am happy once again.
I can’t wait until it warms up. We will definitely be overnighting a lot more this year."

Gregg Boone
Sprint 750 #50 Obsession
Lake Ray Roberts
Fort Worth, Texas

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Corsair US Nationals see a new French design

Randy Smythe (Olympic silver medalist for the US) is sailing his French-designed Chinese-built Multi23 trimaran at the US Corsair Nationals at the moment. The nationals are hosted this year by Pensacola Yacht Club. Mike Leneman (US importer for the Multi23) makes some comments about the new boat in this article from the Pensacola News Journal.

Photos from this year's event are not online yet, but you can check out the gallery by Peter Macgowan from last year's event for great shots of trimarans racing

Trimaran Deed of Gift race getting closer?

Judging from the previous antics of the protagonists for the 33rd America's Cup contest, this could all go pear-shaped, but today the Alinghi team of Société Nautique de Genève announced that they accept the challenge from Golden Gate Yacht Club, and are prepared to meet GGYC on the water for a Deed of Gift race in 90-foot trimarans. You can see their announcement here. If it ever happens, this will be mega-trimaran cool!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New designs: Has Ian Farrier done it again with the F-22?

Yes he has.

(Image courtesy of Farrier Marine)

Over the last 20 years Ian Farrier has been leading a quiet revolution in the sailing world, converting thousands of sailors into worshippers of “trimaran cool” with his innovative folding system and trailable trimaran designs. Following hits like the original Trailer-Tri 680 (hundreds of which have been built by amateurs), the “beach tri” Tramp, and the USA Sailboat Hall of Fame winning F-27, he has now launched the entry-level F-22. I’m willing to make the armchair prediction that the F-22 will open up a whole new generation of trimaran owners with its economical package and solid pedigree.

(I also have to admit that I liked it so much, I now have a set of plans and I’m s l o w l y building one myself)

The F-22 cruiser and its all-carbon F-22R racer sibling are highly-developed designs, benefiting from Ian’s many years of folding trimaran experience and incorporating the latest design and construction features from some of his larger boats. His strategy for offering construction plans for home-builders before his own production is established will get the design off and running faster, and allowing only factory-built beams and beam mounts (although more expensive than home-built beams) will ensure that buyers of home-built boats can trust the integrity of these critical structural components.

With a length of 6.96 metres (22 feet 10 inches) and a beam of 5.51 metres (18 feet 1 inch) or 2.5 metres (8 feet 2 inches) folded, the F-22 may be built in numerous configurations – the standard cruising cabin with or without an aft cabin, a cuddy-cabin day-sailer with or without the aft cabin (resulting in a very roomy cockpit for the size of the boat), and the option of a sliding daggerboard or pivoting centreboard (offset slightly to free up leg-room inside). The standard cabin actually offers more interior room than the earlier F-24, with the 3rd generation beams taking up very little internal volume. Another interesting option on the F-22 is a boomless main, which reduces weight and enables an un-cluttered cockpit with the traveler mounted a long way aft. The sail may still be slab-reefed using cam-cleats at the foot of the leech.

The F-22 is constructed in temporary female frames from foam sandwich, using Farrier’s “vertical strip planking” process. To qualify for the F-22R designation, the sandwich should be laminated with carbon fiber, and a carbon-fibre wing-mast fitted. Target weights for the F-22 and F-22R are between 590 - 680kg (1,300 - 1,500 lbs). The F-22R also has a taller mast and more sail area - 35.9m² (386 ft²) compared with 30.2m² (325 ft²) for higher performance.

What will an F-22 cost you? Farrier’s latest estimate is around US$45,000 for a sail-away home-built boat, depending on which design options you select and how economically you can source your materials. Of course the F-22R would cost more on top of this due to the more expensive materials. With so many options to select and careful purchasing of materials you may get away with a little less, but this estimate appears realistic (based on what I’ve spent already and what I have yet to spend!).

There is a great deal more information on Ian’s F-22 web page.

With 80 boats already under construction and 4 already on the water, this looks like a new boat with a great future that may open up a new market for entry-level trailable trimarans. That’s trailable trimaran cool!

(Image courtesy of Farrier Marine)

Friday, April 10, 2009

First Arabian 100 trimaran heading for Oman (by freighter)

Now that Musandam (former B&Q / Castorama) has crossed the finish line in Oman, the Sail Oman team are concentrating on the delivery of their first Arabian 100 class racing trimaran. Constructed by Boatspeed in Australia, the first boat is now complete (although not yet assembled) and is now on the deck of a freighter en-route to Muscat. You can see the final stages of construction at the Boatspeed webcam. If this first boat is joined by others in the class, it will be a spectacular sight to watch them racing!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

She gets to race! BOR 90 trimaran will race in Deed of Gift match.

(image by Lymeydal)

For around 6 months, the team from BMW Oracle Racing have been conducting sea trials and tuning their new 27 metre (90 foot) “BOR 90” trimaran near San Diego. And following a ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals in favour of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, it looks like the boat will get to race! (the ruling is surprisingly readable, and sheds light on some interesting aspects of AC history – you can view a copy at the BYM News website).
We have yet to see the new trimaran that Alinghi are also building, but this Deed of Gift match-race between two of the largest and most technical trimarans ever constructed will be a huge boost to the “cool-appeal” of trimarans.
As the two teams prepare to go head-to-head in boats which have never contested an Americas’ Cup event - the only previous multihull to contest an AC race was Dennis Connor’s 18 metre (60 foot) Stars & Stripes wing-sailed catamaran in 1988 - we will see many new names not familiar to regular AC fans. The BMW Oracle Racing activities are being coordinated by French trimaran guru Franck Cammas (holder of 4 speed records on Groupama 3), and the boat has been designed by French multihull experts Van Peteghen Lauriot Prévost.
VPLP have followed a conservative design approach (apart from the incredible size of the boat) - she is essentially an enlarged version of the ORMA 60 class trimarans, featuring carbon-fibre construction, canting mast, curved asymmetric lifting foils in the floats, triple rudders and a Bruce ratio of 1 (beam divided by length).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Attempts: World's largest sailing trimaran tries for the Discovery Route record

One of the great things about the world of sailing trimarans is the incredible diversity you can find - this post comes from the top end of the “Trimaran Cool Richter scale”… the world’s largest sailing trimaran is about to start stretching her legs on the first of several warm-up runs in preparation for an attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy (fastest non-stop crewed lap of the planet).

The boat is Banque Populaire V, the latest in a range of vessels campaigned by Frenchman Pascal Bidégorry. She is a 40m long behemoth, designed on the CAD workstations at VPLP and built by JMV Industrie in Cherbourg (main hull) and CDK Technologies in La Forêt Fouesnant (floats and beams). Her first warm-up run is an attempt at the Discovery route record, which is currently held by Frank Cammas on Groupama 3, at 7 days 10 hours 58 minutes and 53 seconds, an average speed of 21.79 knots.

Banque Populaire V after her launch in Nantes, October 2008 (photo by Pymouss44)

The Discovery Route (la Route de la Découverte) - from the port of Cadiz on Spain’s Atlantic coast to the island of San Salvador island in the Bahamas - is named in honour of the first voyage of discovery made by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Columbus’ fleet of 3 boats took around 30 days for the original voyage.

As I write this Banque Populaire V is on stand-by in Cadiz waiting for a favourable weather window. This Discovery Route attempt will be the first serious sailing for the new boat, however she already reached 40 knots during the overnight positioning journey from her regular base in Lorient to the starting point in Cadiz.

The Banque Populaire website has lots of details as well as a route map which will show the boat’s progress once she sets off. There are also some great videos showing her at speed. The site is all in French, but you can get a reasonable translation using Google Translate.

I’m looking forward to seeing Banque Populaire V show her stuff…

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Voyages: Oman Sail take Dame Ellen's B and Q/Castorama for another lap

Oman is a desert country, but according to the Oman Sail website it is also a country with a long maritime history - at one time controlling much of the trade around the coast of the Indian Ocean. So what better way to "rekindle Oman's long and glorious maritime heritage" than to put together a fleet of high-performance multihulls and pull together a busy calendar of events. And not just any multihulls, but the cool B&Q/Castorama trimaran aboard which Dame Ellen MacArthur captured the round-the-world solo record. The boat has now been re-named Musandam (after a coastal peninsula in northern Oman) and modified to accomodate the crew of 5 for their circumnavigation.

As I write this, the Oman Sail crew skippered by Loik Gallon are passing between the North and South islands of New Zealand, more than a third of the way through their circumnavigation.

Cool video of the freshly-painted Musandam:

As a reminder, B&Q/Castorama is 22.9m in length, has a beam of 16.2m and weighs in at 8,300kg. Her mast is 30.6m high. Designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret of Nigel Irens Design, her hulls were built at Boatspeed in Australia, mast and spars by Southern Spars in New Zealand, sails by North Sails in the United States (finished in France) and foils in the UK.

Dame Ellen MacArthur departed from Ushant, France on November 28th, 2004 and returned on February 7th, 2005 for an elapsed time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds, taking 1 day, 8 hours and 35 minutes of the previous record held by Francis Joyon.

The Oman Sail website has lots of detail on the round-the-world voyage, including the usual route tracker so you can see where the crew are sailing at any time, and blogs from on board, all powered by the OC Vision web-hosting service.

Its good to see B&Q/Castorama getting out again for another lap. That's trimaran cool!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome to Trimaran Cool

Welcome to the first post here at Trimaran Cool.

Ever since I was about 5 years old, I've been fascinated by these yachts with 3 hulls. I guess its mostly the speed, but there is also a curious grace in seeing three bows sailing together in such tight formation. So this blog will reflect my fascination with trimarans - and hopefully what I find and pass on will fascinate you too.

Trimarans range all the way from hundred-foot carbon-fibre record breakers to open canoes with beams and floats (also known as vakas and akas) added for stability. As long as its cool, it will feature here. That's trimaran cool!