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January 11, 2011

Latest on the W22 — January News

Well, due to learning new software and having some personal matters to look after, work did not progress at quite the rate that was planned, but I'm glad to report it's now moving along again.

As originally planned, the W22 is being designed to fill a gap between two fine designs of about the same length. First of all, there is the M23—a neat open boat with round hull form, molded in glass sandwich, with bolt‑on beams of carbon fiber. An M23 TrimaranShe's pretty light and fast, and intended for those interested in racing and day sailing, as she has a large open cockpit. The other desirable boat of this size is the already popular F22 that has the buoyancy, volume, and optional enclosures for different cabin arrangements—creating, in this case, a folding boat that well suits those who sail and often sleep aboard with a small family. In addition, there will most certainly be enough of these around in popular sailing areas to provide good class racing.
The only major obstacle for those who might wish to consider either of these designs is that, at US$30k and above, they fall outside the budget of many who might otherwise choose a small trimaran of this type. For a while, it was possible for the intrepid and experienced builder to cut the cost of an F22 by building it totally himself from an elaborate set of finely detailed plans but, since Farrier Marine will soon be producing controlled kits, they have elected to stop the sale of hull building plans, so only by purchasing major parts through Farrier will one be able to construct an F22 in the future.

 An F22 TrimaranSo, seeing there's a real need for a 22‑foot design that can be built 100% from scratch at significantly lower cost (about ½), the W22 is aimed to fulfill that need. In order to do that, this design will offer something between the two boats noted above. The aim will be to provide more overnight protection than does the M23, for the occasional long weekend on board in camping style. By building in a low, lightweight cuddy, this will still give enclosed sleeping for a couple. By then attaching a portable but optional tent-like structure to enclose the large cockpit, the W22 will be able to provide full enclosure at a fraction of the cost of either of the above boats. In fact, the enclosed cuddy will be about 7‑6' long and the cockpit will offer a wonderful 8 feet from the cuddy back to the aft beam, so offering a roomy place to set up for a sociable supper, or for taking friends and family for a great ride.

So where am I with this right now? Well, the main hull is well advanced and there will be no compromise on what I currently consider to be the fastest 'all-round' shape for such a boat. As I have indicated in earlier introductions, this new design has been considerably influenced by my long ownership of one of the finest small trimarans ever—the famous Magic Hempel that once won the Round Britain Race in rough conditions. The magic of this boat was that she was not only fast (reportedly timed at 25k in the Baltic by radar) but that she was also remarkably dry, comfortable, and a total joy to sail, even single-handed. All of those attributes will be designed and built into the new W22, but by using new approaches to the construction, offer ways for a relatively novice builder to create such a boat at a very reasonable cost, using familiar materials. Like Magic Hempel and the M23, this new boat will initially be of demountable type (see my articles on Folding Systems for more on this) in order to offer the best performance for the least cost. Although the plans will show a simple interior arrangement, individual builders will be free to tailor that to their personal need and preference and although I may not produce detail drawings for all the possible options, I will certainly be available to give guidance on what can be done and what I would advise against.

This approach will keep the price of plans lower than for other more complex designs, and for those who might wish to upsize from the W17 there will also be a significant discount offered. This is to encourage builders who might first think to start with the smaller W17 but want to retain the option to move up.

So if you're tempted by the W22 design but like the lower cost of the W17, you can start with the latter and then qualify for a major rebate on W22 plans when they are ready. Even if you only end up reading the 80‑page W17 Build Manual, I think you'll find it worth the mere $60 extra the two plan sets will cost—and you'll still have the option to move up to the W22, should you decide the larger size and associated cost, man-hours, and storage are acceptable and justifiable in your circumstance.

A view of W22 Trimaran

Two views of the W22 Trimaran

As you can see from these computer views of the W22 main hull, she will have a moderate flare just above the waterline that will help retain the dryness of Magic, and the reduced flare aft has been lowered to add potential support aft, while limiting the wetted surface as the speed picks up. The flare also separates the moulded part (initially of glassed strip‑cedar) with the upper part of pre-sheathed plywood, that gives a significantly wider boat above the waterline. As pride of ownership is an important ingredient for a successful home-built, the W22 is also designed to look fast and modern and, if equipped well with equivalent sails and rig, promises to give either of the above boats a good run for their money.

If an interested builder wants to get a head start on construction, dxf files for printing out full size templates of the lower hull body should, barring the unexpected, be available in just a few weeks, together with enough supporting construction details to move ahead, with the balance of plans for the upper part, interior, amas, and rig etc, becoming available over the coming months. So if anyone is interested to make an early start, I suggest they write to Mike Waters to get the latest on what might be possible re early info delivery. Total plan cost will not exceed $600 but initially, partial payments might be arranged to match available plans and info, rather than lose months waiting for the complete package at one time.

Thanks for all the interest shown to date in both the W17 and the W22, and may you all have exciting new plans and dreams for 2011.

mike, Jan 2011


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