Small Trimaran Design

About the Author


Picture of Michael Waters
About Michael Waters N.A.

Michael (Mike) Waters started to sail at 10 years old in his native England and built his first small sailboat at 12 after reading Arthur Ransome's Swallows & Amazons. He went on to successfully compete in several National Championship events as both skipper and crew. He lived and sailed in the famous Solent‑Hamble River area, sometimes racing against the likes of Uffa Fox, Ian Proctor, and John Westell (of 505 fame). He designed several successful dinghies, one being the Flying Moth that was a forerunner to the single-handed Europa dinghy and started a company in England to build them, called Singlehanded Products.

After graduating as a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer and then teaching for a year (both in Southampton, UK), he came to Canada, in his mid twenties. He then spent 30 years designing large Marindus cargo liners and tankers, etc. for international markets, as one of Canada's most noted and successful naval architects, but meantime, always sailing for pleasure, and dabbling with small boat designs that he often built and sailed himself.

Throughout his career, Michael was an established Member of the Society of Naval Architects, the Royal Institute of Naval Architects and the Professional Engineers of both Canada and Quebec, up until taking retirement from the industry. He was also author of several published papers, covering a range of things from cargo liners to the design of sailboards. Always the inventor, his illustrated Record Book (1953-20xx) covers over 130 items of which about 30 are boat related.  One of the first of these (#23) was a centerboard that permitted an adjustable angle of attack to reduce leeway, while one of the latest (#115) is the design of a semi-automatic mainsheet release to avoid a multihull capsize, (a concept that will soon be in production and made available through a new company called SeaSafetyTech).  

In the early 1970's he became convinced that the concept of multihulls was the way to go, and after attending the first World Multihull Symposium in Toronto in 1976 (along with 750 equally passionate enthusiasts), became an ardent supporter of trimarans as the most ideal form for multihulls under 35ft, especially if upwind performance means anything to the owner.  Over a period of 40 years, he has owned two Crowther Buccaneer trimarans, plus being a long time (16 year) owner of the first, most famous Dragonfly, 'Magic Hempel' that won the '85 Round Britain Race. 

He more recently (2013) built one of his own W17R's and has sailed and tested 'Magic' extensively and says "she's proving to be the ideal boat to bring both pleasure and adventure to ones senior years, yet still offers the thrill and excitement of speed and high efficiency, along with a comforting degree of safety even when caught out in rough water.".   Over the last 40 years, he has taken every opportunity to sail other multihulls from 12 to 60 ft, and has also sailed the F24, F25A, F28 and F31 folding trimarans by the noted designer, Ian Farrier.    With a strong desire to freely share what he had learned and experienced over more than 70 years of designing and sailing, he started this website in 2009. 

See About the Site for more detail on how best to use the website and what also to be wary about.

To learn what small boats (and ships) Mike has designed, try this Boat Design Summary that was published early 2021



From the Webmaster … under the radar ;)

Unknown to many, Mike also has a second time-consuming passion, other than boats.     That’s classical music.   He graduated in piano performance as a teenager, winning many competitions*  and completing all his exams for the LRSM (Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music, UK) with distinction.    As a happy diversion, he’s since coached many young people in music interpretation and enjoys staying in touch with them as they take off with their own careers.   He got into composing at 60 (check here if intrigued) and then taught himself cello in his late 60’s and although he finally dropped that to start this website, he still plays piano & accompanies in his 80’s and volunteers as Music Director for a local Art Center, having organized over 100 classical concerts in 4 towns, over the last 30 years.    So if he does not get back to you right away, perhaps you can cut him a little slack ;)

*At 14, he once lost a competition in the UK to a 13 yr old 'up-start' opera singer.   Her name was Julie Andrews (pre-Mary Poppins time  ;)