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In my opinion, the Cross 18 trimaran is one of the most attractive daysailing small trimarans you’ll find on the Internet. With its sleek hulls, folding crossbeams and roomy cockpit, it certainly offers an appealing package to guys who are thinking about building a boat with its features.

Jeff Turner is the owner of CrossMultihulls.com. As the custodian for multihull designer Norman Cross’ plans, this website is the go-to place for information and building plans for each one of the well known Cross designs, including the Cross 18 trimaran.

I emailed Jeff and asked him if he’d share a little about himself, his relationship with Norm Cross, and the Cross 18 model in particular. He kindly responded and wrote the information below. I thought it best to publish my individual questions this time, along with Jeff’s responses.

(Many thanks for taking the time to supply us with this great info and photos Jeff! :-) — Small Tri Guy

A CROSS 18 TRIMARAN INTERVIEW

Can you briefly tell me just a little about yourself? How did you get into sailing, etc?

My father was introduced to sailing in the early 1960’s by a friend who owned a P28, in Long Beach, CA. The P28 is a wooden monohull sloop. There were numerous trips to Catalina Island, local class races and pleasure sails on that boat. We joined the Long Beach Yacht club and bought an 8′ Naples Sabot, in which I took sailing lessons. Later, my father purchased an Aqua Cat, which was a precursor to the legendary Hobie catamarans.

My sixth grade teacher owned a Piver Nugget and taught in the same school district as my father. The summer after my sixth grade year we went sailing with him for the day out of Los Angeles harbor. Two and a half hours out of the harbor, we were within 8 miles of the island. It was a very leisurely “flat” sail that completely changed my father’s direction in sailing. My mother loved the fact that the boat did not heel like the P28.

Within months my father purchased a CROSS 26 in Los Angeles that was newly finished. We met Norm Cross in San Diego in the late 1960’s and my parents became friends with he and his wife Dee. My father’s dream was to eventually circumnavigate, and after a number of years with the CROSS 26, he purchased a CROSS 39 named “Thesis” in San Diego. She was built by Bill Ingram and his wife Sherry in San Diego.

Bill was a Junior High School Industrial Arts teacher and built the boat as his Master’s Thesis project. We moved aboard in the summer of 1974 — and my parents lived aboard until 2005. My father raced Thesis locally in Southern California, joining ORCA (Ocean Racing Catamaran Association), culminating in the 1976 Transpac race. Thesis garnered second place corrected time. My parents spent several seasons in the Channel Islands and Mexico before launching out into the Pacific in the early 1990’s. They cruised the pacific for four and a half years with great success and satisfaction.

In 1995, I purchased a second set of CROSS 18 plans and began building it in 1997. The boat was launched in July of 2000.

The Cross 18 Trimaran

Cross 18 Trimaran - Front View

How did you come to be the representative for Mr. Cross’ trimaran designs?

Since the year my father purchased our first CROSS 26 in the late 1960’s, I became obsessed with his designs. In 1971, I was fifteen years old, and I bought a set of CROSS 18 plans. I built hull number 9 during my high school years.

Over the years my parents became good acquaintances with Norm Cross and his wife. He was at my father’s retirement party in 1989 and that was the last time I saw him. He died in August of 1990 and his wife Dee continued selling plans for a number of years. About five years ago I told Dee that if she would ever consider allowing someone else to manage the plans that I would be interested. Some months later, she contacted me and I am now the custodian of the plans and have been organizing, cataloging and selling them.

Cross 18 Trimaran at Dock

Can you describe the Cross 18 small trimaran in a few sentences … perhaps a short description, along with the biggest benefits of this particular model?

The boat is easy to build needing basic wood working skills and tools. The CROSS 18 handles well at all points of sail. It tacks easily since the floats draw an inch or two when the boat is level and the boat pivots on the dagger. The myth that multihulls cannot point is dispelled with CROSS designs.

The dagger board in the center hull provides excellent lateral stability, and the option of easily beaching the boat. The boat is easy to sail and an excellent choice for beginning sailors. The speed and stability of this boat offers the thrill of a beach cat much greater stability and safety. I took my 96-year-old grandmother sailing.

How many can go sailing on this boat at one time?

I have had as many as seven people aboard for a fun group sail, but performance is obviously compromised. The ideal number is two to three. My favorite number is one, me. I love to solo sail the boat. Seated on the windward ama, at the rear cross arm, allows an unparalleled view of the entire boat and rig. In the right conditions, the boat absolutely charges across the ocean, slicing through the waves with its narrow v-shape hulls. What a thrill.

What type of rig is it designed to use?

Norm Cross always designed conservatively … more than adequate structure and a modest sail plan. The standard sail plan calls for 175 sq. feet of sail on a 24-foot mast. Norm Cross recommended the Hobie 16 rig as an excellent alternative, giving the boat better performance.

What type of performance would this sailboat typically offer a sailor?

The boat offers the speed and thrill of a multihull, with greater stability than the typical beach cat. The boat has a 12-foot beam, as opposed to 7-1/2 to 8 foot for the beach cat. And it can be beached.

Is there anything else that you would like readers to know about this particular model?

The boat is fun to sail for all thrill and safety considerations. When ordering plans, do not send funds prior to receiving an invoice to take into consideration sales tax and shipping. Anyone interested in acquiring plans for Cross 18 should contact me via the CrossMultihulls website.

Note: You may also download a free copy of the Cross 18 trimaran brochure here.