TRITON Tandem Sailer Trimaran – Easy Sailing for 1 or 2
Would you be interested in a very light, cartopable small trimaran for 2 sailors? If so, then you’re going to love this tri. I contacted boat designer Don Rypinski yesterday and asked him a few questions about a model of his called, “TRITON Tandem Sailer. (I’d just discovered it the day before).
Don kindly responded and sent me the information below, along with some great pictures. (Thanks Don!)
The TRITON looks like a great little boat with some very unique features. While it’s not designed for “camp cruising,” or carrying a lot of gear for a long rugged adventure, it would be wonderful for countless days of “no hassle” sailing fun. This small trimaran is light, cartopable, quick to set up and is designed especially to be able to take a couple of sailors out instead of just one.
Here is Don now, writing from Costa Mesa, California about the TRITON Tandem Sailer …
Many years ago (around l950 or so) I was at a party at Wayne Sheaffers house in Dana Point with Hobie Alter and many other friends. All of a sudden everyone was pointing out to sea as a sailing outrigger was riding a wave onto the beach and off jumped Phil Edwards. I wouldn’t leave him alone until he took me out for a ride. As we were heading back on a large wave I could see the sand below me and I started to jump off. Phil yelled not to jump and that things would be OK. We glided up the beach and got off as the wave receded and at that moment I knew I needed to build an Outrigger (see attached photo).
In the late l960′s I worked for Carter Pyle who designed the 18 foot P Cat along with the Kite Dinghy. In the early 1980′s my brother gave me a l2 foot cat built by Hobie’s shop foreman Robbie Robeson intended to be a car top transportable sailboat. However it weighed about 300 lbs and would crush most roof racks if you could even get the boat up there. I got rid of it but it got me thinking that if I built a light car top transportable multihull that could hold two people it would be worth doing. My first attempt was a sailing outrigger and it was my sailmaker who suggested I consider transforming it into a trimaran which was easy to do.
I have always felt that many multihull sailboats take too long to rig and are difficult to control in extreme conditions. I wanted a sail that had a high roach with vertical sail panels and full length vertical battens that could easily furl around an unstaid mast. I got thrown out of a lot of sail lofts asking for this design and was told if you could do that, you would see it being done. Finally, I found Skip Elliott of Elliott Pattison sailmakers, who said, “Sure, we can build what you want.” So one of the most unique features of the TRITON is you can safely and easily furl the sail from 1 square foot area up to 98 square feet while underway with no problem.
Other unique features include: 2 position foot pedal steering (for short and long legs), separate fore and aft cockpits with comfortable face-forward seats molded into the deck; a swing-wing ama configuration in which the bows all line up when sailing (12 foot beam) and all the sterns line up when folded (5 foot beam) due to the short 6 foot long amas; and the most unusual feature to me is a patented wedge shaped transom with a sweep action kick-up rudder. This design enables the boat to be sculled very effectively in addition to making it turn much better than most boats.
Optional accessories include: a rudder mounted trolling motor; a fiberglass stern dolly that plugs onto the transom in place of the rudder; a fiberglass spray shield for each cockpit and a lexan snap-on windshield for the bow spray shield in extreme conditions.
The typical customer seems to be people who are about 50 or over who have had many boats and are no longer willing or sometimes able to sit in a sling or hike out for long periods of time. These people appreciate the simplicity of the design, the quick assembly time (no longer than 10 to 15 minutes) and the ease and comfort of sailing a TRITON.
There are over 17 TRITONS in use from Seattle to New York and Florida. I presently build only to order, with the help of my long time shop connections. At the moment I have sold out all models except for the 12-foot TwinSailer Catamaran.
The TRITON is very unique and a joy to sail along with just a few other boats. I am currently looking for a company on or near the East Coast that I can establish a partnership with (for building purposes) to eliminate cross-country shipping fees. — Don Rypinski