Lock Crowther’s Buccaneer 24 trimaran is a vintage design that still holds its own among contemporary small tri models. This is especially true when it comes to performance.
I first mentioned the Buccaneer 24 trimaran a while back. But this post comes to us from contributor Patrick McGrath, who knew Lock Crowther, served as a Canadian representative for his designs, and personally built 2 Buccaneer 24 models, which included one for himself.
Patrick kindly answers a few questions that I had for him (I could have sent him dozens more :-) … along with most of the photo images found below.
So please enjoy; this post is a gem — Small Tri Guy
I had an RAF career and since air force stations are mainly inland I didn’t see much water until my last posting, which was right in the North of Scotland. On the hard at Findhorn Bay, there was a “Dragon” class keelboat. I thought it was the most beautiful thing on earth and I made a vow that as soon as I got out of the RAF I would have a sailboat.
When I finished my service I went straight to Canada to a job in the Aero business. That winter I built a pram dinghy in my living room and sailed it in the Spring and Summer. I subsequently taught myself to sail fast on a Sunfish. I met a man at work who owned a Sillouette MKII, 18ft mono with twin keels. I sailed a lot with him and got the urge to have my own boat. I fancied a little 20ft DIY plywood mono called “Juanita”.
But then I saw a 3 view of Arthur Pivers’ “Nugget” in “Yachting” magazine. With my aeronautical background I immediately saw the logic of a simple lightweight plywood boat, with positive buoyancy for stability, instead of a heavy lump of lead. I read Arthur’s book “Trans Atlantic Trimaran”—and I was sold.
I bought the plans from Piver and built the boat in my car space in the underground carpark of my high-rise apartment. I built it during the winter in modular sections, carting them on top of my car to a marina at Lake Simcoe. I assembled it in the Spring — launching it in July 1964. With my wife and two boys, we sailed it every weekend in the summer and cruised for two weeks every summer vacation for four years. It was great.
I really got into the business of yacht design and became the Canadian Secretary of the AYRS. I realized that the aircraft industry was a Boom & Bust business and started my own part time company and registered it as “Canadian Multihull Services.” I chose what I considered to be the best multihull designers, and simply asked them if I could represent them by selling their plans in Canada and the USA.
Piver wanted exclusive agency, so I declined, as I did not want to drop the designers that I already had. This included Jim Brown, Norm Cross. Hedley Nichol, James Wharram, Robert Harris, and of course Lock Crowther … plus several others who didn’t make the grade and are now long forgotten. In 1966 Hedley was lost at sea, as was Piver in 1968.
I wrote a book called “Modern Catamaran Design” which sold well, but which would seem archaic today. I also wrote the book, “50 Multihulls You Can Build” featuring all the designs offered by the designers whose agencies I had.
By 1970 I had to make a decision. I made the right one, quitting the aircraft business and going full time in my own. It was the best thing I ever did. In 1969 I sold a set of Kraken 40 plans to Dave Green, a Toronto businessman. I helped him build “Ringo” for the New York -Bermuda race. Lock came over for the race and that was when I first met him.
We talked a lot and he told me about his design for a small trimaran that could be built easily and quickly at low cost. He felt that to many boats that are planned, never get finished because of the long time, sustained effort and cost involved. He envisioned a boat that could be made from three sheets of ply joined end to end, without needing a strongback, and having its major stresses passing thu a main bulkhead. This would be achieved with standard alloy tubing for the crossbeams, mast, boom, and spinnaker pole, with stainless steel straps for the water stays, giving a strong, rigid but light structure for the whole boat.
The result was the Buccaneer 24. I decided to build one for the 1970 Bermuda race, but I didn’t get it finished in time. I then wrote an article for the long gone “Trimariner” Magazine, called “A Buccaneer for Bermuda”.
I built ,sailed, cruised and raced a Buccaneer 24, in Canada in the middle seventies. I subsequently built two Buccaneer 28’s — one for a customer and the other for myself. I then built three Buccaneer 33’s in foam glass sandwhich. I was Locks Canada/USA agent from 1966 to 1977, when I sold my company and moved to Australia.
The Buccaneer 24 is a stunning performer. It is strong and light. It has a moderate waterline L/B ratio, so it is a comfortable cruiser for 3 people and sometimes 4.
It’s multi chined bottom approximates a semicircle and so its low drag and light weight enable it to quietly move out when surrounding boats appear to be anchored to the water. It moves out smartly in a good wind.
Unlike many modern tris, its cockpit is comfortable and protects the helmsman, with good back support in the form of a coaming, which has lockers in it for easy access to sailing equipment. There is no need for an expensive or complicated mainsheet traveller. A diagram for a simple mainsheet/outhaul is included with the plans.
There is a much modified B24, made of foam sandwich, with a streamlined cabin top sailing in Toronto Harbour, Canada, as we speak. It rivals any of the “Modern” designs currently being offered. It is called “Toy” and is a delight to the eye.
I want to make it quite clear that I am retired and am not in the plans selling or boat building business any more. I am only making the B24 plans available on request because I don’t want to let this wonderful example of lock Crowther’s genius to be lost. This was the most prolifically sold and built of all Lock’s designs, and is today the only one which is still available. Because I don’t think that this very special design should be allowed to die, I have been making the plans available again at about a quarter of the cost of comparable Tris.
If you go to “Boatdesign.net” and scroll down to “Multihulls” then search for “24ft Trimaran plans for sale” ,you will find a lot of information, including “Buccaneer 24 Trimaran”, “Buccaneer builders Forum”, “Lock Crowthers Biography” and other stuff.
Images of the Buccaneer 24 materials list and building instructions can be found here. And plans for the Buccaneer 24 Trimaran can be purchased from “OldSailor7” at BoatDesign.net