Want to engineer a small solar powered trimaran. Seeking advice.

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by JunkRat, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. JunkRat
    Joined: Dec 2018
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    Location: USA

    JunkRat Junior Member

    Greetings all--

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    Let me edit to add right here up front: I'm looking to buy a boat, or at worst buy off the shelf parts that can be assembled into a boat. I'm not looking for plans or designs for me to build a boat. I'm never going to build my own hull, but I could custom fabricate a set of AKAs to attach hobie cat hulls as amas to some central hull. (As an example.)
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    I've recently retired from a career in software engineering, and I like building stuff . As a hobby used to build robots, and in retirement I am going full throttle into my projects. The next project I'm considering is a boat for the Ultimate Florida Challenge. The UFC is a circumnavigation of florida via small boat. Small-- you have to be able to launch it from above the high tide mark on a beach by yourself. And as a circumnavigation of a state which is actually a peninsula rather than an island, it involves a 40 mile portage on a state highway in georgia! This is quite the challenge, and some competitors build custom boats from scratch. I'd like to not build from scratch, but I can fabricate as needed.

    I may or may not attempt the UFC, but the challenge brings into focus kind of what I've been kicking around in the back of my head for years ever since I heard about the microship. ( Building the Microship Trimaran - Nomadic Research Labs https://microship.com/the-microship-substrate/ ) The idea of a personal sailing vessel, which can go anywhere and camp anywhere is really appealing, small enough to launch in unsupported areas (eg: no boat ramp, no beach) but capable enough to comfortable sleep in and travel hundreds of miles along ocean coast (I'm more of a salt water guy.)

    When it came time to actually buy a boat years ago I bought a very comfortable monohull, and loved that boat.

    I've a fair bit of experience building stuff and where I don't learning is fun so I am up for building just about anything, good metal working experience, and even have made my own composite (though I've never made real fiberglass).

    I have good sailing experienced, I have very strong electrical and electronics and battery experience, .... but I don't have extensive knowledge of the "trimarans small enough to be beach launched" history.

    Really I'm looking for suggestions of small sailing trimarans that might fit the criteria I'm about to list. Since the 1970s there have been so many different trimarans built, but other than the Corsairs none of them have really become viable long lasting businesses... so I'm guessing that the ideal boat is one I probably have not heard of yet. And I'm guessing you have.

    Design Overview:
    -- Need to be able to have back support while sailing (eg I'm too old to be hiking out on a catamaran.)
    - Needs to be large enough to be able to comfortably camp one. (tent/bimini type arrangement ok.) I'm hopeful I can carry a bit of an oversized anchor and sleep at anchor on the boat in decent conditions.
    - Yet needs to be small enough to beach launch from above the high tide point.... and to portage 40 miles under human power. I'm hoping I can mount a couple wheels on the back akas and a swivel wheel (like on the front of trailers) on the front, and then carry along a folding bicycle and *tow it with a bike*. 40 miles is a challenge, but on a more day-to-day basis, I would want to be able to use this boat in State and National park lakes where there is likely not a boat launch and possibly not even a beach... so human powered launching from shore, and movement from the trailer up to a mile should be possible.
    - Needs to collapse or fold down enough to be trailerable. Would like it to take as little time to go from trailer to water as is reasonable, though this is an area for potential trade offs.
    - Budget is open, I'm not poor, and will be DIY a lot of stuff, but I can spend money where needed. Particularly if there's a carbon fiber hull out there that is the perfect platform for this.
    -- Under 500 pounds overall weight. I'm not sure about this- the weight under sail is not an issue so long as everything is proportionate to move the boat, but the portage phase of the challenge is a limiting factor.

    I've been doing some research. Part of what prompted this posting is that I keep finding boats I've never heard of before, which tells me there are a lot of boats I'd never head of.

    Things I've looked at so far:
    -- Hobie Tandem Island. This is a pretty unique boat and pretty close in a lot of ways. Alas its a bit less of a sailboat and more its own thing. Has good siting position, can have a spinnaker, but it is a bit too small to do everything, carry a bicycle and camp on. It's the default choice, though.
    -- Wind Rider 17. More of a "real sailboat" than the Tandem Island. I am still learning about it. Not sure how to sleep on it.
    -- Sea Pearl 21 Trimaran Version - Also something I just learned about, really interesting, a bit big for beach launching but should be doable with attached wheels. I love unstayed masts and mast reefing. I like infinite reefing sails (rather than reef points which were a pain on my last boat.)
    -- Corsair. The pulse 600 is the smallest one they currently make, it's 900-1500 pounds which is too much for towing, even with a bike.
    -- Minicat - looked at these, they are inflatable, but catamarans would be hard for me to sail physically.
    -- Fulmar 19 -- Researching these, might be good. Still digging up info.
    -- Warren Light Craft -- this seems to be exactly what I'm looking for, maybe, carbon fiber and they made various sized ones. Little Wing maybe? But they are defunct, there is little information online, and I can't even figure out how many of waht they made or what they various models look like.

    Steve Roberts (microship / Technomad guy) talked aobut "kayak based trimarans" going back to the 1990s, and it seems that Hobie didn't invent this concept. I'm aware of the Triak and others with small amas, but are there any folding kayak trimarans somewhere like a small corsair/farrier design?

    Or any other idea for a good platform for this idea? Open to really out of the box ideas...

    Junk Rat

    PS-- having written this all out now, I'm thinking the 40 mile portage requirement might have to go. Having something comfortable enough to take expedition trips like I want, that can be human portaged about a mile might be sufficient. I'll do the everglades challenge and maybe even the florida coastal challenge. UFC would be cool, but might be just too demanding of a requirement.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  2. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I read your SOR and while I am not am expert at this type of craft; I see some likely difficulties where the SOR has internal conflict.

    The self launch and batteries are sort of going to battle each other unless you spend a fortune on high tech batteries.

    You allude to this problem in the ps, where you realize a 40 mile portage is cumbersome as well.

    I suggest you allow wiser fellows to respond and begin to adjust the sor as needed and update along the way..all the best
     
  3. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Also, have you followed the Race to Alaska at all? Pedal power is the rage.
     
  4. JunkRat
    Joined: Dec 2018
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    JunkRat Junior Member

    Of course any challenge has tradeoffs. A successful solution is optimizing the tradeoffs for your conditions and the race course. Every pound of gear has a cost against the carrying capacity of the boat in question, and of course the heavier the boat the more difficult the portage.

    I'm not looking for people to design the boat for me. I'm looking for suggestions of a platform, a complete boat, or boat hulls from which I can build the boat. I don't have marine engineering experience and can't design a boat hull so I want one already designed.

    And let me re-emphasize-- I'm building a sailing boat. Max sail area is a key goal here, though I didn't list it, because it is such a basic assumption.

    Better yet, I would rather buy a sailing boat in this size. Smaller than the smallest corsair, but bigger than the tandem island.

    Yeah, that race is a "pay to win" competition. I doubt anyone operating on pedal power will be allowed to finish (They have a sweep boat that if it passes you you get a DQ. I'm pretty sure the sweep boat is a powerboat.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    What is the weight and size of the solar panels you need?
     
  6. JunkRat
    Joined: Dec 2018
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    JunkRat Junior Member

    Zero. I've deleted all reference to solar power or electric drive because it's not really relevant to the question I'm asking and it's just going to be a distraction. And zero is the correct answer. I don't need any. All expedition gear will come out of the boats capacity budget, whether its water or batteries or GPS or solar panels.

    I did find this boat and decided that it was so much like what I was describing: Argonauta 26 ft Trimaran, 1992, Canyon Lake, Texas, sailboat for sale from Sailing Texas http://sailingtexas.com/201101/sargonauta26101.html

    Alas, it's 1500 pounds, too big to be portaged even short distances. Something like a Hobie Tandem Island with a 6 foot by 3 foot tube of a "cabin" and a LOA of 20-24 feet would do it.
     
  7. bjdbowman
    Joined: Apr 2017
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    bjdbowman Junior Member

    Junk Rat...

    Are you in Florida? I am working on the same exact concept myself... I have only been shot down with my SOR as to date.
    I would also like to find a partner for the Challenge and work toward the 2020 event. I am on the Space Coast.

    I have made a few posts, but I am working without the help of this forum, as I have had nothing but bad experiences with ego's and experts informing me that I'm just an idiot... Thus is life, take what is given and move on.

    With my design I want to build boats and I am stating with a self designed pram dingy for experience. I also want to build the EC project light enough that each hull can be man-handled as a single unit from a trailer to the beach for setup. My idea is to try a skin on frame trimaran with each hull having a 250 pound live load capacity for people/propulsion/mechanical/electrical etc... with all of the drive/batteries/stores etc on the Almas and the main hull for enclosed accommodations for one... with a cockpit for two...

    Also, I want to use the trampolines between the hulls for small screened pup tents for the hot Florida summer nights.
    The idea was for my wife and I to go on adventures, and I also wanted to do the EC, but my wife is not up for the EC... she is asking for a more lazy way to travel than to pushing the limits...

    Anyway, I have some ideas, budget and a small bit of time. I am still a few years away from retiring. Congratulations on your retirement. I hope that you can get a direction for your project. Let me know.

    Thanks,

    Bowman.
     
  8. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Have you seen any of Gary Dierking's sailing canoes?

    I built my safety outriggers for the BWCA gillnetting using one of his methods.

    My canoe with outriggers is probably about 80-85 pounds. His bigger designs with sail rigs would be much heavier and they can be built rather long. Long enough to probably modify for even two people to sleep under separate tents.

    Outrigger Sailing Canoes https://outriggersailingcanoes.blogspot.com/?m=1
     
  9. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Also, Richard Woods has some great small cats and trimarans. Make sure to check out his webpages. There are a few pictures of him carrying outriggers around.
     
  10. JunkRat
    Joined: Dec 2018
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    JunkRat Junior Member

    Hi there! No, I'm not in florida. I would PM you but this forum doesn't seem to have a way for me to do it. I have an inbox but looking at your profile I can't send you a message. I followed you, send me a message if you can and I will be happy to help with all things electrical.

    I'm not looking for a project as large as yours. I'm looking for something more off the shelf. Like "take a ocean going rowboat hull from X and add the inflatable catamaran pontoons from a minicat and build your own outriggers." I can build outriggers in a couple weeks, but building a hull is more than I have space, time or expertise for. I wish you the best but your idea is pretty ambitious, and I have so much work to do once I have the boat that actually building a boat from scratch would be too much.

    Here's an example of an ocean going rowboat design. Seems almost perfectly designed to have AMAs going across the fore and aft parts of the cockpit:
    [​IMG]




    For some reason that appears to be a blog of images where none of the images are loading.

    Ah yes, he sells plans. I'm looking for something I can buy. I'm not looking to build a hull. I'm looking to buy an off the shelf boat, or assemble a trimaran from a main hull and some off the shelf (maybe hobie cat hulls) as outriggers and an off the shelf rigging.

    I probably should have made that clearer.
     
  11. JunkRat
    Joined: Dec 2018
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    JunkRat Junior Member

    Further research. Newick seems to have been on the same wavelength. The original Tremolino plans were for a customer built center hull and Hobie Cat hulls as outriggers.

    I really like the look of the argonauta 26:
    [​IMG]

    but the Tremolino is closer to the right size:
    [​IMG]


    Of course these are much bigger and heavier than I need. But they have a part of the central cabin that is covered and closed off.

    Maybe the route to go is to go with a hobie tandem island, lenghten the mast a about 3 feet and raise the sail up a bit (and build an arch on the stern of the boat for the main to sheet to) and then build a little tent structure across the akas.
     
  12. rob denney
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    rob denney Senior Member

    There have been some significant breakthroughs in boat building recently. Building your own hulls is not such a chore, and is probably less work than adapting an existing set INTELLIGENT INFUSION – Harryproa http://harryproa.com/?p=1845.
    Performance is primarily a function of light weight, sail area and length. The boat that supplies these best is a proa. Elementarry ELEMENTARRY – Harryproa http://harryproa.com/?p=1753 would fit the bill pretty well and would be way quicker and more fun than any of the boats you listed.
     
  13. JunkRat
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    JunkRat Junior Member

    For quite a few reasons, I'm not going to be building any hulls, nor significantly modifying any.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  14. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    The Dierking designs are sold on duckworks.

    Gary Dierking's Boat Plans for Amateur Builders http://www.duckworksbbs.com/gary-dierking-s/128.htm

    He is a builder; not a website guru.

    His outriggers are super easy to build. I built a set for my canoe for safety traveling dangerously cold waters. I started to fair them and said why? Never even bothered to paint them either. If they chalk out, maybe I will reglass them then.

    I realize the buy not build strategy. But it falls down when you realize the good stuff isn't for sale. These amas and akas are custom made for the boat; they have two positions loaded and un. Lashings are inner tube rubber strips tied around a hole under ash gunwhale. They have a small block of wood used as a stay. There are two beams. Water temp in pic is 39F-so dangerous to go over although that canoe is a Gilpatrick Laker and I have not been able to flip it sitting on the gunnel, although sure it is possible.
    EA527F73-314E-4BA2-BACA-3BADCDDBCF2F.jpeg
     

  15. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Those are specialized boats designed to go downwind close to the equator. You need a trailer and truck to move them. There is no way a person can portage them.
     
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