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Pros and Cons of solid WINGS on Trimarans

Question:

I’ve noticed in modern trimaran designs that the wings between the central hull and the amas are not covered, but come with netting.     In older models like the Cross and Piver designs, the wings are used for sleeping.

Could you please tell me the advantages and disadvantages of the enclosed wing.             David, Canada

Answer:

It's primarily matters of safety and performance.  Here is my personal perspective.

Re the safety aspect, solid wings create significant windage when the boat is heeled and it is felt that a strong gust under the wing increases the risk of capsize.   Even Cross himself started to reduce the solid wing and on his own final boat (a 31/32R) he created about 50% of the wing as netting.     Waves can also impact a solid wing if it’s too low and can potentially blow a hole in the structure.     Waves under the bridge decks of catamarans can do the same when decks are too low.     (It even happened to voyageur Henk de Velde while circumnavigating in a 60ft catamaran .... see INTERVIEWS)

Solid wings also add weight, and along with the windage, clearly affect performance.

In addition, solid wings generally cost more and are not so comfortable to laze around on as trampolines are, but there's little argument that solid wings do provide more interior living space.

For a modern reasonable fast cruising boat, I personally think there's a compromise available and a moderate wing, enough for say a single berth outside the main hull side, would be quite acceptable still on a good performance boat.  (I am presently in the early days of sketching out a W32 with that compromise)

Smaller boats are better with full netting, but larger tris (like the Neel 50) can get away with solid wings as they will heel less and their rounded house front helps in lowering the windage.   

No high performance boat would have raised solid wings though ... too much weight and windage.   The smaller the boat, the more this is proportionally true.

Hope this helps to answer your question.

Mike

 

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