Rod’s Slingshot Trimaran

by Frank Smoot – Bradenton, Florida – USA

As promised, here below are 6 photos of Rod’s superbly built Slingshot 16 Solo trimaran. Here is part of the message he gave me the OK to share with y’all: “I wouldn’t mind at all if you posted my tirade on our first Slingshot 16 outing. But just as long as everyone knows the problems we encountered were not design related.  One of these days, maybe, I’ll figure out Facebook and post as events happen.” – Frank


Dear Frank,

I haven’t lived up to my promise. No excuse besides procrastination. I’m still upset about losing all my Slingshot 16 build pictures when I destroyed my phone.

Update: we had our maiden launch last month. But to tell you that story I’d have to be in your presence, it took a call to 911, a MS13 gang and two off duty police officers to get the Tri back on the trailer. Thank goodness there were witnesses or no one would believe that episode.

First your tilt trailer design worked great. Towing and launching is a breeze. We have a 20-minute drive to get to a non-bridge obstructed launch site that has car and trailer parking. Water all around us but no place to launch and park the car and trailer. Just doesn’t make sense. The Slingshot 16 prelaunch setup is a breeze especially with the tabernacle and mast mod. If it wasn’t for all the tie down requirements for the 20-minute tow we could launch in 10 minutes and that would include backing down to the water and parking the car and trailer time.

Since this was the first (maiden) launch there were a few minor adjustments to be made but even with the lack of good wind, it was only 4 – 6 miles an hour, I was impressed with the speed and handling. Nice. We aren’t sailing the Slingshot 16 in its intended configuration. Since my wife has never sailed alone she wanted to have an instructor on board so I sat on the hull with my legs over the rear aka and into the storage area just aft of her seat. Her concern was well founded because this particular launch site has tugs/barges, many power boats and of course the usual masses of jet skis. This day was no exception and part of an unbelievable story to be revealed at a later date. My wife’s comments on the first day out with her Slingshot 16 – I love it, we got to do it again, soon.

Pros for the Slingshot 16:
1. The plan set and designer correspondence makes this an easy build.
2. The ease of set up, launch and extraction from the water takes all the headaches out of the “Hey let’s go sailing”.
3. Once under way the Slingshot 16 is very responsive and a breeze to handle. Like Franks says, “Look no hands”.
4. A great sailboat for someone that’s never sailed before.

Problems noted on our first sail: (Note, these were user issues not design problems, just stuff good to know.)
1. Make sure all thru hull fittings are properly sealed. I used some questionable 5200 and the drain plug housing did not seal properly.
2. If you have an outboard motor make sure it really runs. We have a Honda 2.3 HP outboard that ran great on its stand but not when needed on the water.
3. When sailing a boat in a configuration other than intended make sure the added weight isn’t going to cause water to enter the hull.
a. Because the Tri was taking on water thru the poorly sealed drain plug housing we sank low enough to start taking in water thru the lower rudder raise and lower line port.
b. Since we were now riding much lower in the water with my added weight and the hull with six inches of water inside it now made the optional motor mount the third water entry point. Each wake and afternoon wave encountered caused water to hit the motor mount and splash into the Tri. If I were to do it again I would buy a long shaft outboard motor. That extra 5 inches would eliminate the splash on the motor mount even if the Tri was sailed solo (as intended).
4. My wife had problems with the rudder pedals. Because of all the other issues we were having that day I wasn’t thinking the problem through. When she started sailing she failed to ensure the rudder was locked in the down position. Consequently, the rudder was 90 degrees out from the down position and more or less just floating straight back. When trying to make any steering changes she was pushing a 34” flat board back and forth that required a great deal of effort which moved the steering control settings making the rudder pedals in operative.

The lack of pictures on our first launch was another one of my well thought through plans. I was hoping that my son was going to show up at the launch site to shoot pictures and videos with his quad chopper. At the last minute, he couldn’t make it and my wife and I were so excited/wound up because of the initial events of the day, that’s another story as well, we just forgot to take pictures.

We have since taken the Tri out but again on each outing we forgot to take pictures. What’s wrong with us? As you can see in one of the attached pictures, I did make another mod to the lower rudder up down control line thru hull port. For the time being we like the two-up configuration so I had to make a mod to prevent taking on water. I know my wife is going to occasionally want to take the grandkids out so narrow side boards and relocation of the motor mount are on the next hit list.

As we take the Slingshot 16 out more we’ll try and be more specific about its handling and speed.

Great boat Frank


Plans at Duckworks –

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