The Easiest Small Trimaran to Build?

Naval architect Bill Kristofferson started designing trimarans soon after the Piver Trimaran backyard-building wave hit in the late 60’s.

Bill actually sailed around the Pacific with his entire family on a couple of his large trimaran models. He never did much advertising in print or other media. But he still sold hundreds of his plans during the 70s and 80s.

How?

Wherever Bill went cruising in his trimaran, it would generate a lot of interest. He’d take enthusiastic sailors out for a ride on his boat and then encourage them to sail on any other trimarans they could ride on before buying plans to build one of their own.

As it turned out, Bill’s own boat ended up becoming its own successful (and long running) advertisement. And plans for his “Kismet” trimarans were sold all over the world because his boat was often settled upon as the trimaran-of-choice.

As time when by, a lot people were asking Bill if he’d design a smaller trimaran for them. This is how his small tri called the “K24T” came to be.

One thing unique about the K24T is that I don’t know of a trimaran that’s easier to build (of comparable size). The process is even easier than simple stitch and glue technique because there is no stitching required at all.

The boat is simply put together with straight cut pieces of marine-grade plywood, which are fit around a very simple frame.

Does that sound easy enough?

Bill told me the entire main hull and 2 amas for his first K24T were fully constructed in a 2-day weekend. And to top it off, he said those 3 boat hulls were literally put together right under his carport.

The next weekend he glassed them (with fiberglass and epoxy). It turned out the whole K24T boat-building project was completed in 2 months during his spare time.

Amazing?

You bet. But what about the boat’s performance?

Bill said the first day he took the K24T out on the water near his home in western Canada the sailing conditions were perfect. The boat hit 17 knots without a hitch.

I suppose the K24T may not reach blistering speeds of 20+ knots … like a few other small tri models out there occasionally hit. But it’s certainly “high performance.” This seems remarkable considering the simplicity of its construction method.

The K24T is also easy to build for another reason.

Like all Kismet plans, the prints for the K24T are laid out in sequential order. A builder starts at page one, and then moves through the blueprints one page at a time. When he or she is done with one page they can permanently set it aside and move on to the next one … until the boat is completed.

In other words, a boat builder never has to “refer back” to previous pages.

If the above is true then the K24T could be the easiest (and certainly one of the most affordable) small trimarans to build with wood for a homebuilder.

If you want to read more about the K24T at Bill’s website then click on the link at the end of this article. I think the most comprehensive information about the K24T is found within a bonus chapter that is a part of Small Trimarans: An Introduction.

Talking with Bill about his experience as a multihull designer and sailor was a real treat. I hope you feel the same way if you read the transcription of our discussion.

Here is the link that will take you to Bill’s K24T webpage … http://www.smalltrimarans.com/r/K24T.html

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10 Responses to “The Easiest Small Trimaran to Build?”

  1. Barry Ellery Says:

    Waiting on study plans from Bill. Any additional enquiries will assist in getting Bill to complete some upgrading of his plans as he has informed me as the status.

  2. Small Tri Guy Says:

    That is great news Barry. I hope that Bill receives a lot of inquiries about the K24T from readers of this blog. For anyone concerned that Bill’s hull design may not be “rounded” enough (i.e. too much wetted surface) … may I encourage you to read a great article by Michael Waters about the issue of hull shape at http://www.smalltrimarandesign.com/Trimaran-Articles/Trimaran-Hull-Performance.html

  3. Barry Ellery Says:

    Interesting article. Fast build hard chine hulls like seaclipper have deep v keels. Crowther Buccaneer is hard chine but more rounded and Cross has a shallow v hull that looks simple and fast build. Some plans, however are becoming impossible to aquire. Younger designers are needed to pick up these threads so that the plywood, cold moulded or strip plank combination low tech materials trimarans continue to be built. If someone is interested to indulge in this one, I would like to talk to them. I have been waiting on Bill for over 4 months, Jeff Turner has not replied in nearly two months I am close to ordering seaclipper or searunner plans. If it is true that no searunner has turtled, the compromise in speed for cruising given this factor may be worthwhile as average sailing speed is reduced when you turtle.Your comments on the hull section of a double chined v as a compromise against a simple v form appreciated.Further comments on a narrow but shallow draft hard chined v that fits closely to section proportions of a rounded hullform (with added Chris White or Norman Cross shallow keel plus centreboard / daggerboard) would be highly appreciated.

  4. Greg Walter Says:

    Hi Barry and Site maestro,

    This site is an interesting place to visit. I checked out the K24 (still waiting for the material list promised 4 years ago). personally I think the main hull is too fat (8:1 WL from memory)Bucc 24 is similar, trench and pod, with the wrap around construction method and is a bit leaner – probably faster but less payload.

    There are other multihull designers beavering away in far-flung corners, with the axiom of safe, simple and cheap (in sofar as any boat can be cheap). After casting around for years I’ve just begun building a 25 foot ply trimaran. Its a Delaveau Nicky Cruz 25. Similar interior layout to an F24 (doesn’t fold though) with a square step in the topsides rather than a flare. I was drawing similar boats for a few years but never got the proprtions right. Graeme has nailed it I think.

    If you want to have a look go to Multihull_Boatbuilder and check files under Nicky Cruz.

  5. Small Tri Guy Says:

    Thanks for the info regarding the Nicky Cruz 25 trimaran Greg.
    (The forum address Greg is referring to is located at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/multihull_boatbuilder/ … there is a file within the group that you will be able to access after joining that contains information about the Nicky Cruz 25 trimaran).

  6. Pippo Bianco Says:

    Just purchased the e-book and was delighted to read the bonus chapter devoted to the K24T, whichis one of my favourite boats. I currently sail a 15′ plastic trimaran (the danish “Supernova”) which is a lot of fun, but would lovea more substantial boat to build by myself. I’ve been in touch with Bill via email but the process is VERY slow ;-) Anyway, I succeeded in getting one PDF page from Bill showing the K24T sail plans, front and top views with the main dimensions. I really like the boat and would insist with Bill in order to buy a set of plans from him. The price at 660 $ is a bit on the high side though… :-(

  7. Pat O Says:

    Pippo Bianco, is there any chance of you emailing the one PDF page of the K24T sail plans, front & top views with the main dimensions. I sure would appreciate it. My nephew wants to scale down the plans and make a K24T model. (Not a real K24T–just a model. Maybe someday the real K24T.) I have unsuccessfully spend all day surfing the net trying to locate free 3D drawings (top, side, front) study plans of trimarans. He was also interested in the Norman Cross 35′ or 40′ trimaran designs but have also been unsuccessful there. I read your May 6th, 2009 posting and instantly smiled with a glow of hope. Let me know. Do you know of any other sites that might be helpful.

    Thanks – Pat O – pato @ suddenlink.net

  8. John Says:

    Hi Joe
    have been trying to get to Bill web site. Looks like it is down. Do you know anything?

  9. Small Tri Guy Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Bill’s website is now down. I haven’t heard from him for awhile now. I will post relevant info if I do hear from our Canadian friend — the designer of the K24T.

  10. Patrick McGrath Says:

    Lock Crowther was my business partner for 11 years and a dear friend for 27 years.
    Of all the wonderful multihulls which he designed, the Buccaneer 24 was the most succesful in the terms of how many plans were sold–but more importantly how many actually got built, sailed, cruised and raced.
    Although Lock is gone , as is his company, the Buccaneer 24 plans are still available, including on going advice backup.
    To my knowledge at least 200 were built, which probably outnumbers any other home build Tri in this class.
    Although the design is forty years old it is still up to the present day mark in terms of simplicity of construction, longevity, suitability for it’s design target (Fast 3 berth Cruiser), and above all –Seaworthyness. Many, including mine, have been very successfully raced.
    Some people baulk at the idea of alloy crossbeams, but it really is so simple. Every country has an alloy manufacturer (Alcoa, Alcan etc:) who can provide stock alloy tubing, cut to size, drilled and triple anodised so that all the builder has to do is bolt it in place. That includes the mast, boom, Spinnaker pole, (or better still the modern day “Prodder”).
    Full size patterns are included in the plans, not just for the frames but for all the required metal fittings, so the builder can make them himself if he wants to.
    Sailplan shapes and sizes–including the sailcloth weights for each sail are likewise included. And to top it off the whole boat can be built in 500 man hours of well planned work. This boat is NOT folding, but it is demountable for trailing. A friend of mine built and sailed his B24 in Toronto Canada. He de-mounted it onto a standard trailer and drove it down to Florida for a two week holiday. He trailed it back just in time for the start of the spring launching in Toronto, a smart way to extend the sailing season in that clime where the water goes solid for six months of the year.
    For a small trimaran it’s payload capacity is perfectly adequate for it’s size and the well designed cockpit is remarkably dry if built as shown in the plans.
    .
    All in all the Buccaneer 24 Trimaran should not be overlooked.

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