A couple of Crowther Kraken trimarans were punching into a stiff South Easterly out front of a mixed fleet of cats and dinghy classes off Paynesville. Were they 18's or 25's? Just two trimarans or were there more behind them in the fleet?
Regardless the details my imagination was fired and the ideas those Kakens inspired were reinforced in 1968 when Eric Tabarly and Alain Colas brought Pen Duick IV to Sydney. Her architecture was raw and functional, nothing too glamorous but clearly intent on doing some serious sailing.. Some people joked that she looked like a floating version of the Sydney Harbour bridge but no matter, she had three hulls and looked like a cool bit of gear to me. I figured these guys were onto something and clearly a lot of other designers and sailors were equally inspired.
In France and in Britain the technology of large offshore multihulls blossomed through a process of trial and error. The designs evolved through experimentation, imagination and the relentless determination of the sailors who drove this new breed of offshore multihulls to ever increasing levels of performance.
In the late 1970's I built my own Crowther trimaran and took to the ocean living aboard and racing whenever the opportunity arose. In the mid 1980' struck out with my own trimaran design, the 8m LOA Born to Run that drew enough attention to enable me to sustain a full time career designing multihulls.
Pen Duick IV circa 1968
Trimarans as a genre had arrived and the mid 1980's was a boom period for trimaran design technology. There was an awareness of the possibilities that had emerged through the design dynamics of high buoyancy floats, minimal windage and a broad stance that could deliver a level of stability that just don't get in the package with your off the shelf monohull or catamaran.
In 1987 I penned the lines of the Spoon Bay 10.6 trimaran and several versions were built around the world.
I accompanied Steve Soden on a voyage to New Caledonia where we surfed pristine left handers on the reef with dry land a distant smudge on the horizon.
Concurrently with the rapid evolution of the modern racing trimaran, in the mid to late 1980's cruising cats came to the rescue for those who were seeking more spacious accommodation, less demand on real estate for berthing and the ability to bring along more of that stuff that generally accompanies life on terra firma. This development freed the trimaran designers to pursue a pathway of elegant lines and efficient sailing dynamics.
TR40 Morello, big sister design to the Spoon Bay 10.6
In 2016-17 the TR36 was created to bring the bring the Spoon Bay 10.6 up to the minute with some tweaks to the hull lines, some more contemporary styling and to adopt some construction methodologies to streamline the build process. The engineers at CCG came on board for the structural work and laminate specification.
Oleo is the second of its type. It's built from the plans without compromise and the boat you see is purely the product of the designer's intent without modifications for market forces or an individual owner's demands for greater comfort and living space .
Trimarans are not for everyone but if you're lusting for some serious ocean travel they're a great mode of transport, especially if you're planning on doing a lot of single handed or short handed sailing and you don't need multiple cabins for family and friends.
There's an element of elegance about trimarans, a kind of purity that makes them unique in the sailing world. My experience of circumnavigating Tasmania on my own 33' trimaran, and sailing to one of the world's most isolated surf spots on Rock Lobster have left priceless memories that wouldn't be quite the same on any other kind of sailing boat.
TR36 Oele built at Waarschip