14' Singlehanded Trimaran

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Doug Lord, May 22, 2007.

  1. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

  2. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    New Zealand version

    The Wetamarine tri/skiff has been out there for a short time already with a manufacturing plant in China.

    Slightly bigger than the Astus shown, it can also haul a couple of folks (or more) and sports an assy chute.

    Both of these boats are very much in the French designed and built Virus, Magnum21, style with beamy vaka hulls stabilized with amas.

    Wetamarine site: http://www.wetamarine.co.nz/

    Chris Ostlind

    Attached Files:

    • WETA.jpg
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  3. frosh
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    frosh Senior Member

    Only a medium performanced sailing diinghy that costs extra, hard to transport, or assemble and would be often be beaten by a laser. What is the point except for some company to make money from beginner unsophisticated sailors.:p
  4. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member


    I think the point, Frosh, is that these guys are going after a market strategy in which they can entice newer sailors to the sport. This is a very sensitive issue for small craft designers and builders as sales have been seriously slumping for small boats for several years now.

    The result is that eventually we will see fewer and fewer buyers of larger boats in the future due to a smaller, less experienced audience.

    These boats will take a hit in the performance area compared to straight forward skiff and dinghy design due to heavier boats and more wetted area. These tri-skiffs can carry a bit more sail to compensate for that reality. At the same time, they will also offer seriously enhanced stability and a much easier learning curve for families.

    I think that if the NZ guys can get it together with the Chinese factory and they can keep costs down to something reasonable, they have a chance of attracting that beginning sailor.

    Their site says the Weta goes for $15,900 NZD with trailer. That's $11.6K USD
    and $14K AUD

    Now, if the same boat were done in a rotomolded or thermoformed plastic, they could get it way down in price and potentially compete with some of the Hobie offerings in the size range.

  5. BWD
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    BWD Senior Member

    Will an inexperienced sailor be able to right this after flipping?
    If so, I would hazard a guess the amas are too low-volume to be of much use.
    Sorry to be devil's advocate, prove me wrong.
  6. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member


    Perhaps you are assuming that these types of boats will need to be righted from the side?

    My choice would be to right them by depressing the bow of the skiff hull and then tugging on a righting line pulled aft, up and over the transom - OR - the transom depressed method would also work.

  7. frosh
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    frosh Senior Member

    The bad news

    Chris, the whole area of attracting new participants to small sailing boats is from what I have witnessed over more than 30 years a losing battle no matter what you do. Numbers are dropping world wide, as they do not have the glamour and media exposure of the super maxis. Lets ignore costs for the sake of this discussion. If maxis would cost about the same as a new Lexus, you would get heaps of new people in. After all these boats are really cool. WE know that this scenario is impossible.
    OK then, lets put out a new boat such as the new little low performance tri in this thread, and lets make it the same price as a good quality racing bicycle.
    The racing bicycle will outsell the boat probably 50 to one. It is a question these days of what grabs peoples interest. Chris, if you can make a living out of designing , selling plans and building small multihulls, you are in very rarified company. Last time I spoke with Rob Denney, and asked if he was making a living out of designing and selling plans, he said NOPE. He then went on to say that the only method for him to make a living in his field was join his associate, Mark who builds the Harry Proas.
    As a business proposition I am very sad to say that apart from a small number of exceptions, I see the whole business side as being dead in the water.
    Personally I am a self employed pharmacist, and resent my work. However it makes me a good living. I sometimes wish that I could design and build boats for a living, but in Australia I would have to barely survive on social security. What do you eat, and how do you put a roof over your head, if your country has no social security for the poor?
  8. BWD
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    BWD Senior Member

    Not being a tri sailor (yet) I had not thought of pushing the bow down!
    Looks like the bow would be easier to sink than the stern....
    Thanks for explaining.
  9. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Cool Tris

    I think these two little tris (and the other two on the Astus site) are neat little boats and they offer a lot of fun in an easy to sail and easy to handle package. They're not powered up like the Exploder or most beach cats but they offer comfort and ease of sailing that seems like it could catch on. They're designed so that the main hull will plane and should give good speed particularly offwind without being at high risk for either pitchpole or capsize. They look great to me...
    I've sailed a 60lb tri with a planing main hull with 85 sq.ft. and it was a blast-a lot easier to sail with the ama's than it would have been w/o them.I think the niche of these boats is decent performance in a very ,very easy to sail platform.
    Weta Specs:
    All up weight w/o crew-171lb. main hull 132lb.
    SA-upwind 95.5sq. ft.
    -downwind 156 sq.ft. incl. screecher.
    Astus Specs:
    Ex Aqua website with more complete info and details of a 16' and 20' Astus tri's:
    Astus Trimarans

    Main hull weight 83lb.
    SA-upwind 86 sq.' main only
    -downwind 161sq.ft. incl. genaker
  10. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member


    There are a bunch of things going on in this post, so let's look at them one at a time just to keep the discussion clean.

    This is functionally true, but I feel that there is the potential to approach the marketplace of possible sailors with solid, easily sailed products that are affordable without a lot of risk involved for the manufacturer.

    I'm sure that this is a potential, Frosh, but it's kind of an apples to oranges thing, isn't it? Bikes are terrestrial, which means they can be sold into thousands of markets more than can a recreational sailboats. You're suggesting the comparison of a race bike to a rec boat and I don't think the two necessarily compete for the disposable income in the same fashion. There are lots of possible parallel arguments hidden in the mix, of course, but racing and just goofing around with your sporting toy are of different niches.

    On a smaller scale, I'm very much like a Rob/Mark partnership in that way. I design, build prototypes and also take custom commissions for my designs. I have a small, affordable shop of 1500 sq. ft. with an adjoining fenced boatyard and I've been able to keep the doors open by hook and crook as I try to grow the business potential.

    I do realize that there are very few folks doing this and that I have some luck involved, some very supportive friends, as well as a few decent designs that some have found to their liking. But, if you don't try, then you don't find out if it's possible.

    I don't see the business side as dead at all. It is a bit of a risk to open the doors to any enterprise, whatever it may be, if one considers the overhead of a proper space, the utilities, the spare parts, the tools and machines, the insurance, taxes and city inspectors, etc. I have always found the process to be very much in tune with the kind of guy that I am. I found out early-on that I couldn't fit into a regular job without being called on the carpet for having ideas outside of the flow mandated by the boss. Yeah, I got fired a lot when I was a young man, so I took my show on the self-employed highway and let my talent speak for itself. Fortunately, it worked out for me

    I've been a self-employed, architectural photographer/video director/cameraman for 35 years now. I still shoot for my client base and I make very good money doing it. I've been tapering off on the shooting business as a strategy for my older years (I'm 58, now) while learning about boat design in my spare hours. I have a wonderful wife with a well-paid job who likes what I produce and encourages me to continue with the boat expression as long as it works for both of us. We talk about it all the time, so there are no secrets at work here.

    I don't plan on retiring, as I consider my work day to be extremely fulfilling. It's an incredible feeling to drop a set of plans for one of my boats in the mail for a builder in Tasmania. Just five years ago, I would have never imagined being able to reach a guy on the other side of the world with something I have created and watch him build his own boat, fulfilling some of his own dreams in the process.

    Money has never been the principal objective purpose in my life. It's more about the riches of experience I can gain so that I can pass that on to my kids. I'm an experience rch guy with a modest cash position. I do earn my fair share in my marriage and contribute to the college expenses for my daughter beyond her scholarship for soccer, as well as my son's planned expenses to a future Art School.

    I don't know if any of my boat designs will ever be translated into a production model. It might be nice if that happened, but I'm not forming my business model based on that reality. The inherent risks involved are tremendous, the investment potentially breathtaking and the fickle moods of the marketplace about two degrees worse than trying to read whisps of smoke from a campfire for info on the future.

    I'm excited about what is in out front of me. We'll see where things go.

    1 person likes this.
  11. frosh
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    frosh Senior Member

    Just downlowded the Wetamarine video and watched it. Although hard to really clearly see the performance, I was generally impressed, even sort of surprized how well it went. It gave me a good feeling about my tri, which is about 95% completed now. I have been going slow on it lately, as it is Winter coming up down under, and I think Spring is a good time to launch for it's maiden voyage.
    BTW, I will take some digital pics this weekend and post on the forum of some of the bits. It is not yet possible to really assemble or rig the whole tri just yet.
    Chris, fabulous letter; one of the best if not the best I have ever seen on this forum. Well done in every repect. :)
    Regards, Sam
  12. Pascal11
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    Pascal11 New Member

  13. frosh
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    frosh Senior Member

    Low adrenaline sail boat!

    Hi Pascal, the Astus might appeal to a very limited market who don't realise that as beginners they will outgrow this low performance tri quickly and it definitely won't hold any ones interest for too long. Take the floats off, save quite a bit of money and rigging hassle, and you get something like the MXRay. This looks like a hoot and is challenging but should not be imposible for a beginner to learn on with a few lessons, and initially without the spinnaker. Check the web site and the "demo video" and you quickly get the picture.
  14. PI Design
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    PI Design Senior Member

    I don't know. There's a lot of people who only sail 5 or 6 weekends a year, in the height of summer. These people will develop their sailing skills very slowly, so may take a long time to outgrow this type of thing.
    I was initially sceptical about small tri's, not really seeing the point and mmuch preferring cats if inherent stability in the aim. But there's a couple of neat little tri designs around now, so I am slowly being converted to the gendre.
    Oh yeah, and I agree. Top post Chris.

  15. Hobiestoke
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    Hobiestoke Junior Member

    never knew Lasers needed training wheels - were they that hard for beginners to sail in the 1st place?:cool:
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