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Launched:  Sept 2019

My early W17  Experience — by Jon Jesizek, Michigan, USA.  C-101

Not having a lot of time available, I decided to purchase a W17 kit by Chesapeake Light Craft and this certainly got me going quicker than having to mark out and cut all the parts myself.     Things fitted together well with minor adjustment, so I'd say the computer work to prepare the cutting tape for the kit was well made and the plywood quality was very good also.

I did not need to contact Mike more than a couple of times during the building as I found all I needed was either in the Build Manual or on his website, where the W17 is used to illustrate many aspects of building with plywood .. all under his section Construction Tips.

I also built the fiberglass latches for the folding system and they seem to do the job well.

Even the rigging went well, but I also took the quick route to get a mast and sails.  Having friends at Quantum Sails, that was a natural place for me to get them, and they recommended sails using carbon fiber for both performance and relatively long life.   I also splashed out for a carbon fiber mast, but again, not having time to build the wing mast that Mike recommends, I found a more conventional section (5.25" x 3") from Forte Carbon, that I set up with a lowering hinge at the base - not unlike the one used by Mike for his wing mast, but as presently installed, my mast is non-rotating.     Perhaps I will change this later on as I know a rotating mast can perform better, but I was eager to get sailing and I figured this was the quickest way.

Well, in Sept 2019, I finally got the boat afloat and I must say, I am really happy with her.   I have now been out 3 times in winds from 10 to 15 kts.  By myself (150lbs) I put in a 1st reef at about 12k. because I have the racing rig and I set it fairly high on a 27ft mast for good boom clearance.   For my last time out, the  wind was about 12 to 15 and I had 2 friends with me;  so altogether, we were about 500lbs of people.  We had the reacher up just trying to go fast and were going about 12.5 kts with that weight on board.     We all had a ball.  Once we buried the ama in a wave going probably 12 knts.  The whole thing was totally under water!   Naturally, it was someone 20 years younger than I who was driving the boat,  but we may have had too much weight forward at that moment and we certainly did not release the mainsheet fast enough!    Anyhow, the good thing is that the boat just yawed, slowed way down, and then the hull popped up and off we went again.  I know that’s not a good place to be on a trimaran but I was relieved to see that it didn’t seem to bother the boat as much as it concerned us!      Not something I'd recommend to try, but it's good to know the boat tries to be on your side if you sail poorly or mess up..

I have a Miata as my summer car.  They are not the fastest car, but their handling is excellent.  But most of all they are really fun to drive and they put a smile on your face each time you take a ride.  Well, this boat seems the same.  It’s really a joy to sail, and I sense an exciting journey with her is just beginning.     Water temp. here is 64 degrees.   We consider that warm and the Great Lake cools slowly.  Even October can be nice, though it can also be cold and wet.  Sailing days in early Nov. are sometimes even possible.   But then, so is snow.    In the winter, I work 60hrs a week at a ski center,  so I've little time in that season to do much boat tinkering.  

Even if this season will be very short, I am happy to have got the boat afloat and am already eager to get it on the water again in 2020.   I also love how easy it is to beach this boat.

Jon J from Michigan    (I am 63, but my sailing crew are generally younger).