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The 18ft STRIKE is a trimaran design that uses a 16ft beach cat as the outriggers/amas and rig. The main hull is plywood and has a dory shape that is extremely easy to build. The cabin top is removable to convert a fast day sailing boat that sits six in dry comfort into a simple pocket cruiser that sleeps two.
for a pdf study plan
After a year of slow, part time, building, the prototype Strike was launched in Canada on September 2nd 2009.
The Strike is available as both an open deck boat, as we have built, and also as one with a removable cuddy for a basic one/two person micro cruiser.
One reason why I build prototypes is to refine the design.
Even before launching our Strike I decided to raise the wing bottoms slightly
and to lower the front windscreen. Even with the raised wing and lowered
windscreen there will still be plenty of room below with the cuddy fitted.
On the prototype the outriggers are cut down 18ft singlehander hulls. The mast is a shortened Tornado mast while the mainsail was originally a cut down 18sqm but was changed in 2010 to one from a Trac 16. The jib is also from a Tornado, but 38 years old. So, as you can see, with a bit of time spent modifying things, you can use parts from most beach cats.
My third ever sail on the Strike was singlehanded on a breezy day. In fact the first time in 2009 that we saw white horses in our normal sailing area. The wind was certainly well over 20 knots at times. The local multihull association (the BCMS) was having a regatta so I decided to sail along with the fleet for a while. An indication of the wind strength was that I was the only boat unreefed (because the original mainsail had no reefs), a Farrier 32 was double reefed.
Unfortunately, after the first sequence I was rather along way from shore, but you should be able to see that I did sail at a steady 10 knots for much of the time (11.2 was the highest speed on the gps). In the last shot I appear from the right. The other boats on the video are a F24, a F32, a Banks 35, a Horstman 38 and Bad Kitty, one of the fastest 35ft cats in the world.
Photo from the BCMS website, showing Strike on its third sail at around 9 knots with original mainsail and, soon discarded, boomless rig, see below
I found that the boomless mainsail is horrible. (Something I had actually already learnt when sailing a Dart 18). For as soon as you ease the mainsheet the sail goes baggy and you can no longer point and tacking is hard.
I also decided that for sensible cruising (as opposed to just burning around in the bay) I need a set of reef points, while a furling jib would also be nice. Other than that the boat sailed great! And it could definitely be pushed hard without problems.
A few days later we sailed Strike again. This time in company with a Lock Crowther designed Buccaneer 33 trimaran, which has always been acknowledged as a fast design. As you can see from the video below, we sailed at a similar speed. OK the Buccaneer was faster, but also it was 15ft longer and, despite the small jib, had a 49ft mast (the Strike has a 26ft mast)
The Strike is not intended as a fast, "hairy" boat to sail. Instead it is for those who may be new to boatbuilding and multihulls and want to start with a quick and easy project. And it is also for those who already have a beach cat and enjoy it, but who also want to be able to take the whole family out on gentle sails.
The windscreen serves several purposes. Obviously it helps keep the crew dry and is also used as the front of the removable cabin. But it also means the boom is well above head height, important for family crews. Furthermore, a beach cat mast and mast foot can be used without modification. If a windscreen is not used then a complicated extension would be needed to raise the boom, and unfortunately such an extension would be in the most loaded mast area.
It is a "sit in" boat, rather than a "sit on" boat, which is more comfortable and a lot more reassuring for nervous crews and for those with young children. Even on that windy sail I sailed without foul weather gear and no spray came on board, despite the fact that we had not yet fitted the trampolines.
As the photos and videos show it is extremely relaxing to sit back and steer (cockpit cushions were an early "must get" item on the shopping list - along with drink holders). The cockpit is a very sociable area and easily sits four adults, it is possible to squeeze in six. In comparison a "sit on" boat is tiring after only a few minutes.
It is also a very manouverable boat as the video below shows. (And note the boom height, I am standing up in a boat only 18ft long.) First I do a couple of quick tacks. Then I put the helm down and leave it there and let the boat sail round in circles. As you can see, easy to do. And the turning circle is about a boat length
However, if you want to blast around then the crew can sit on the outrigger and really power the boat up. So a telescopic tiller extension is ideal. (We use a 3ft-6ft extending brush handle, much cheaper than the real thing)
NOTE: the video below, and the one above, were taken before we fitted the trampolines and other details. See the Latest News page on my main website for newer videos showing the fully completed boat. http://sailingcatamarans.com/latestnews.htm
For trailering the outrigger hulls fold up. Because they are beach cat hulls they are very light (around 30kgs, under 80lbs) and so it is easy to do, even singlehanded. The centre of gravity is still relatively low so no problems when driving. Trailering beam is under 8ft.
The flat hull bottom makes it very easy to launch and retrieve, while no trailer chocks are needed. Initially we used a flat bed trailer, but now have a off the shelf 1000lb (400kgs) boat trailer. Because of the flat bottom a strop fore and aft is sufficient to hold the hull securely on the trailer. I have found that much of the time spent assembling a trailable boat is un-tieing all the bits. So the fewer strops the better.
As always, practice makes perfect and we can now launch and retrieve the boat in under 15 minutes. I timed one such retrieval. We sailed up onto the beach (no motor) at 4.36pm and drove away with the boat lashed down on the trailer at 4.49pm. Thirteen minutes! And that was basically singlehanded, as Jetti was taking video (see Latest News page) I'm sure we will get a bit quicker.
The Strike is very easy to build with a hard chine hull and flat panel ply decks. Plans and building manual are now available and selling well (over 25 sold by June 2011)
Plans for the main hull are GBP100, or GBP150 including the Quattro 16 plans if you want to build the complete boat yourself. Plans are available only as download plans in pdf format.
CLICK HERE for a partial plan set (in pdf format, but saved as a zip file)
The photo below shows the prototype after 75 hours work. It took about 150 hours to finish the main hull prior to final painting.
Strike 18Materials List
6mm gaboon ply (8ft x 4ft sheets) 10 sheets
2in x 1in 25m