Hedley Nicol 42'

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by B. Arson, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. B. Arson
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    B. Arson New Member

    I'm looking for any kind of information about the Nicol 42' in particular and about Hedley Nicol in general. The web doesn't give much details.

    Can someone help, please?

    B. Arson
     
  2. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    Hedley Nicol

    Gday

    Hedley Nicol was an Australian trimaran designer. He lived in Brisbane and designed a number of wing deck trimarans from about 1963-1966. His designs included racing and cruising versions although it can be tricky to tell the difference between them at times.

    Hedley won the Brisbane to Gladstone race in his designs Vagabond and Privateer. In 1966 he went to the USA and left Brisbane in the winter. He was never heard from again but about 18 months later one of the floats from Privateer was found washed up on a New Zealand beach. It had been sawn off the boat.

    I don't think Hedley ever finished drawing the 42 footer. In fact as far as I can recall he was supposed to draw the plans on route to the US. Ernest and Val Haigh built a 42 footer called Tryst. As the plans were unfinished he was given other plans and finished the boat off with them. In it the family travelled extensively in the 70s - I think they circumnavigated. In the early 80s they were on a trip and the float fell off. They were towed to a harbour and Tryste never sailed again. The float had showed signs of failure before and its attachment strengthened.

    Nicols seemed to have a problem with floats falling off as they do not have box beams but rather a continuous web in their wings. That said I don't recall any losing their floats in the last 20 years so a good example should be a good boat

    The Haighs wrote a book about their travels. I would urge you to read it. Cavalier may even be able to get you an email address for Ernest and Val.

    cheers

    Phil Thompson
     
  3. B. Arson
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    B. Arson New Member

    Hi Phil,

    thanks for the answer.
    Most multihull books (McMullen, White, Harvey, Cotter) just state that Nicol was lost at sea. Only Jim Brown goes a bit deeper and quotes from a letter he got from Hedleys father (in the Case for the Cruising Trimaran).

    Strange you say the plans for the 42' were never finished.
    When you google for Hedley Nicol, you find a few Nicol 42' Tris that are for sale!
    (One was build and still is in Denmark, thats why I'm intrested in the topic.)

    The 42's I found have a beam of 22' (in metric 12,5 meters long and 6,5 meters wide), that seems quite narrow even for a 60s design.
    What is the length-beam ratio of the other Nicol models?

    Cheers, Arson
     
  4. Waterat
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    Waterat Junior Member

    Hi, Hedley's Clipper 25, was 25ft long and 16ft wide. I sailed for 15 years
    and would have put 5,000 NMiles under the hulls. I never had any trouble
    with a float detachment even when she breached on a stoney shore in
    a force 8 north easterly gale. I had to rebuild the pod and fix a lot of
    holes in the main hull, but no sign of any break up in the wings ;);)

    Best Regards, Johnny.
     
  5. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    Most of the Nicol float problems were a result of poor build/glueing or gross overloading as in the case of the Haig's Buccaneer 40 (actually 39.5 feet). They sailed 100,000 miles with a 2-3 ton overload twice around the world before they lost their float. Interestingly they didn't capsize and the boat survived a 1500mile tow at 15 knots without breaking up. Hedley Nicol was finishing the plans enroute on his final Voyage and they were lost with him. Jim Brown details much of the information found inscribed on the recovered ama in "The Case for the Cruising Trimaran", Hedley ran into problems while trying to sail at full speed in a 70 knot ocean storm.The 42 footers may be stretched Cavaliers or a modification made available by Doug Phippen or Lex Nicol. The beam of the Buccaneer 40 was 20'4" so the 42 footer is wider. The cruising boats such as Wanderer and Cavalier have more freeboard in the hulls, 10" in the case of the Cavalier. I've got some drawings I'll try to post on the plans thread that show the difference. The boats are constructed much like a Cross or Brown. There are main wing beams, a triple one under the mast and double one at the stern of the cabin in Vagabond MK2 and Cavalier the 36' designs, with many other supporting beams. The wing deck and under wing form the outsides of the box. The beam failures in the the few craft that had them started on the underside ama wing joint which was supposed to be reinforced by fiberglass. Cleats around the beam/hull skin joints were supposed to be put in but were not really well detailed on the plans and some amateurs may have left them out. With the wider main hull Nicol allowed more payload than other designers for same size boats, a 35' would have a payload of 4000lbs instead of 2000 etc...This made any construction inadequacies show up and also illustrates how tough the Haig's boat was as it carried a huge load on top of the big payload. The boats that are around today have stood the test of time, The beam length ratios are typical for the time ( the shorter boats are wider in proportion, the Clipper is 18'), the 35' and up boats meet EU class A stability standards. I sail a modified Vagabond mk2 with a longer cabin, it has caught many newer cruising wing deck tris (and cats) of similar size. If you are looking at the 42' with the streamlined cabin it probably is a good, fast cruiser, our boat is.
     
  6. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    If the boat you are looking at has a cabin that goes all the way to the ama sides it is likely you are looking at a Voyager which is a 45' design that had the 22' beam. (Actually 24'+) The 42 in Australia is likely a stretched Cavalier. The Voyagers have huge cabins and were widely used for charter and usually Ketch rigged. They also have conventional box beams and are known for their room knot their speed though they aren't slow.
    Interesting the amount of forum people joining this year, you don't write english like a German? Post some pictures of the Denmark boat so we can give you a more accurate identification. There are some misinformed owners out there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  7. B. Arson
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    B. Arson New Member

    Hi y'all,
    thanks for all the input, here's some pics. And now dig this:
    The boat can be taken into 3 bits!
    So what model could that be?

    Cheers, B. Arson
    (BTW I guess I'm somehow a typical German)
     

    Attached Files:

  8. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    It is a stretched Cavalier with the length added to the mainhull stern. The beam mod and extra width are a modification unique to that boat so you'll have to research its build history. Here is a picture of our boat undergoing a U.S. Army beam strength test.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    That boat could be a stretched Vagabond MK2, we really need a profile view to make it easier. Another possibility is someone scaled the design up in a metric conversion. You'd better check the length with a tape to see if it is 42' feet. 2 other books with information on Nicol are Val Haig's book "Chasing the Dream" which chronicles their adventures. Another book is "Pelinta" by Francis Smith which covers the building and sailing of a 29' Nicol Islander in Australia, very informative. The Nicol family still has lots of information about Hedley including correspondence of his father Hunter as he searched for news of Hedley. Hopefully some of this material will find its way into the Mariners Museum as it appears Australia doesn't have a similar institution though with their sea lore and designers they should! I just checked my Voyager information and it shows lengths of 45' and 48' feet and a beam of 24 depending on the source. They are of course much chunkier designs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  10. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    Nothing to add on what Cav says - he is the Nicol junkie here. From what I see the boat looks more like a stretched Cav than a Vag Mk2. That said they were both good boats so it matters little.

    The photos show a boat that looks very well maintained. Most of the Nicols here are in much worse shape and go allright. As for the folding mechanism it is simple and maybe Oldsailor could help here as he had a small Piver with the same setup. I would be very interested in the strength of the pins holding the float down. I would think it would be great in Europe as you can store it easily for the winter. I am just about to pay extra to slip my 23ft wide cat and would love to be able to pull it to pieces and work on it in the front yard.

    The mod is certainly not standard but if done well the boat looks very worthwhile

    cheers

    Phil
     
  11. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    Nicol junky? I'm a vintage enthusiast! :)The Cavalier (my first thought as well) and Vagabond MK2 are the same basic boat, the higher sheer of the Cavalier was to give more underwing clearance for bigger payloads at the expense of weight and windage. I've told people to stick to a comparable Searunner payload, 2500 lbs for these boats, but for the Cavalier Nicol allowed a whopping 4500 lbs. The boat does look well maintained. We use latex paint so the sand covered feet of schoolkids and the wear of adventure sailing far from docks are less traumatic to deal with. As the exploits of Tristan jones show, trimarans are a great platform to use.
    Removing one ama as shown would let you go through the European canals.
     
  12. B. Arson
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    B. Arson New Member

    So what would be a suggested (good) weight for a boat like this (mahogany cold molded)?
    What tacking angle/windward ability do the long keel Nicols offer?

    Thanks & Cheers
    B.Arson
     
  13. Seafarer24
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    Seafarer24 Sunset Chaser

    I'm digging up this old post as one of these has recently surfaced and I would like to know where to find more information about these boats.

    Here are the pictures from the ad:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. bearfoil
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    bearfoil Junior Member

    Seafarer24.....Howdy. That is my boat and that is me scrubbing the deck. The bottom photo is OCEANIA going back in off Matt Butler's yard in San Rafael. She is a Nicol, cold molded launched in 1970. She was lovingly built by Chuck McCall, from whom I purchased her in 2011. I have been getting calls off the hook. Currently a cutter rig, she started out as a Ketch rig, and she is wicked fast. Weighs 7000 pounds. I was lucky enough to find her when Chuck decided to sell. Previously I had a Marples 44 built in my shop in Half Moon Bay, by Barry McAdoo. Nice to meet ya.
     

  15. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    Hello Bearfoil, Is there a way to find out from Chuck what design Oceania is based on and where he got the plans? She isn't a stock Nicol , we fellow owners and fans are interested in her story. My Vagabond MK2 was used as a Orca whale research vessel in the San Juans for years. Is Oceania faster than the Marples 44 ? We tend to pass the CCs our size.
     
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