Folding Tri        

Dear Chuck,

It's nice to hear that someone is still interested in the concept or the Folding Tri (after the somewhat discouraging outcome of the reader's poll). I admit the design was really ugly... we engineers are prone to overemphasizing functional aspects. I changed the design, but this decision was caused mainly by the facts that; 1st I got a cheap used trailer, which is a bit too short for a 5 m boat and; 2nd my wife clearly stated that she would not sleep in such a small boat. So I shortened the design to 4,70 m and cut off the raised cabins in the  bow and stern.

I built and tested a 2,30 m prototype this summer.  Here are a couple of pictures:

There are still "cabins" for my two sons, the one in the bow is about 75 cm high and  is intended as a shelter when it's raining or the wind is too cold. The aft cabin is very low (about  45 cm) but 1,60 m wide and 1,20 m long, so the two boys can sleep in it till they are about 14-15 years old. I myself will probably sleep in the cockpit under a boom tent. Since I dont have the high cabins any more, I can fold the platforms 180 instead of 90 so that the amas will rest upside down in the middle of the boat. I will mount them fixedly to the platforms. If I manage to pitchpole the boat, I will cut them off again and come back to the rotating ama solution.

Work on the real boat is going on slowly since my wife will only let me work on it for 4 hours per week. However I should manage to finish it by next summer. The enclosed photos show the current state of the boat. There is also a photo illustrating how we built the styrofoam double bottom under the cockpit: Styrofoam plates were glued in and then cut along the contour of two vertical sheets with a hot wire (a battery charger delivered sufficient energy for heating a 0.8 mm diameter wire of about 1 m length).

When the whole thing is finished I will write a report for Duckworks Magazine. I'm still convinced that trimarans of this concept are a good choice for someone who wants a very light, spacious and very safe boat. I have made some design sketches for boats of 20 ft, 22 ft, 23 ft and 26 ft length which in my opinion might close the gap between the small James Wharram catamarans (too little space for the length and weight) and the floating camping cars the industrial production offers. It is more or less Jim Michalaks "market niche" , but I can't accept the idea of going sailing with my small children (1 and 2 1/2 years old) in a boat that might capsize.

Greetings from Germany


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