I don’t know how many of those kinds of deals are around, but I do know I love to see them when they’re available. Kudos to Jerry for hopping on this one and making a go of it. Now he has a little tri to enjoy … for years to come if he so desires.
Click on images below to enlarge. Thanks for sharing this one with us Jerry!
Marples’ Seaclipper 10 Trimaran
by Jerry Culik, North East Small Craft, Nottingham, PA
He did a lot of the hard work: coating both sides of the okume ply with glass/epoxy, assembling the vaka and amas, and painting. I began the work on the akas, assembly, and rigging this past June; launch and my first test sails were in August.
John Marples (the designer) provides well-thought plans that include a huge amount of detail on the sail rig and hardware. But to keep my costs low, I used what was available in my shop, re-purposing two straight (rear) Hobie tramp crossbeams (one from a H16, and the other from a H14) for the akas; and an old windsurfer mast and sail.
I re-cut the original sleeved-luff sail and laminated a curved sprit boom from some oak trim strips (from a big box store) to build a leg-of-mutton rig (a la Phil Bolger, photo below). The windsurfer mast is “buried” to the vaka step and the mast has a short extension to make up the length difference.
It’s simple, lightweight, cheap to build and modify, easy to rig, and works great for light to moderate breezes. It was perfect for the little Seaclipper’s test sails.
We don’t get a lot of wind on the Chesapeake Bay in the summertime. For the first few times out, the re-cut windsurfer sail had plenty of drive, but it was clear that the boat needed and could handle more horsepower.
I attended the Labor Day boat auction at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (St. Michaels, MD), and at their pre-auction flea market I found a pile of old spars and a sail. Once I got it all home I found that I had acquired a complete gunter rig. I figured that I could use the parts to build a Marconi rig with 50% more area than my earlier leg-of-mutton sail.
The old gunter sail was a little dirty, but good enough to use “as is”, and it’s lashed to the windsurfer mast, which now has an even longer extension (photo below). The boom is also from the old gunter rig, and I used cut-down wooden yardsticks from my local W-mart for sail battens (even though they worked fine, I will probably replace them with proper fiberglass battens next year).
Early on in my Seaclipper build I decided to change the original builder’s paint scheme from blue to orange — it’s a pretty small boat and I want to be highly visible out on the water.
The “Kubota Orange” tractor paint from my local hardware store worked great (and costs a fraction of marine enamel), and I will give the vaka and amas a second coat in the springtime. I think the yellow sail looks pretty good with the orange hulls, too. I coated the mahogany rudder and daggerboard with the new Duckworks DWX epoxy to test out it’s application properties and long-term UV resistance (no varnish on this boat!). I am very happy with the way the DWX epoxy laid down — it took a while to kick, even though it was hot outside, and I had a minimal amount of hillock sanding after it cured; there’s been no problems with yellowing or adherence so far.
My next task will be to find a used spinnaker — a ‘chute is also shown in John’s plans — from one of the small planing skiffs, or maybe I’ll build my own. Even with just a mainsail, the Seaclipper 10 is a really sporty boat, and it always gets the looks.
The bucket seat is great (once you figure out how to get in…), much more comfortable than the Hobie cats that I used for teaching beginner sailing. And the Seaclipper sails just like the Mini I used to drive — “on rails”.
It’s a very sweet ride!