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triraid-560s-trimaran-5The following boat is being built by a professional boatbuilder for kayaker/sailer Tom Rough. It’s a variation of boat designer Klaus Metz’ TriRaid 560 trimaran.

I’ve little doubt it’s going to be a great looking boat when finished. Hopefully the sea trials meet Tom’s performance expectations. (He promises an update soon after the boat gets into the water :-)


TriRaid 560 Trimaran Under Development
by Tom Rough

triraid-560s-trimaran-3I came into sailing late in life by way of the kayak. After some amusing- as well as downright terrifying- experiments sticking sails and leeboards on my faithful old Impex, I decided I needed something more.

The idea was to obtain a boat I could use in cold water, “off season”, when the jet skis and stinkpots are off the water. I kayak a lot in the Saguenay Fijord up in Quebec where the water is deadly cold, and whales and seals surface alarmingly close, so safety and stability would be imperative.

I wanted a collapsible sailing trimaran that would be reasonably light, cartop-able and dry, yet big enough for two people and enough gear for a week-long “expedition”. And it would be really neat to steer with the feet to keep my hands free, and even neater if it also had some alternative means of propulsion so I could paddle or row when the wind don’t blow.

triraid-560s-trimaran-8I yearned for a boat in which I could reduce or drop the sail immediately and fold up the amas while underway, and if I had to, revert back to the simple paddle to slip under low bridges or trees to disappear into the landscape to commando camp in stealth mode.

In addition it would also be great to be able to disassemble alone and re-launch without benefit of a ramp or dock. But even these practical requirements were not enough. I had begun to develop a strange hunger for the aesthetic experience only a wooden boat can give.

I’d sailed my modified kayaks and canoes, even a plastic trimaran for a good while, and I wasn’t worried about making any fashion statements, but when a sail snaps out taut in a spanking breeze and the sky is a blue immensity dotted with puffy white “sheep”, and the mountains all around are a riot of autumnal splendor, you just don’t need a big bright plastic ama or a sail with some loud logo on it sticking up into your field of vision.

triraid-560s-trimaran-5It’s kayakus interruptus, and it just starts to make you feel bad. I really felt the need for a watercraft that projected a natural feel … shiny wood and fine fittings … maybe even a tanbark sail … a piece of “kinetic art” in which to frame my retired posterior.

Well, I am a handy guy, and the interview I saw Jim Brown do with Mr. Frank Smoot really inspired me, but for my dream project I realized that I would have to engage a real shipwright. Although it took me a while to track him down, I was fortunate to connect with Chris Brennan, of Brennanboatbuilding.net

He was one of the last traditional boat builders here in the Hudson Valley, and he was pulling up stakes to go down to Tilghman Island where he works restoring boats for the watermen all around Chesapeake. Chris readily undertook the task.

triraid-560s-trimaran-6I personally looked at the plans only once, and as I did, I felt something deep within my brain start to fray and come unraveled, so I don’t think this sort of thing is for a back-yard cob-jobber like me, but Chris Brennan has the thing well in hand.

If you go to his website and click on “projects”, you will be able to see the progress as it progresses.

For our design, we stand on the shoulders of giants, taking our cue from Roger Mann of EC and R2AK fame who so cleverly adapted amas and a peddle drive system to a central hull designed by the formidable Klaus Metz.
For this particular build, Klaus magnanimously re-designed the center hull to accommodate two Mirage Drive systems. We are also considering the addition of a jib to offset the relatively lower performance of a roller-furling main sail which I asked for to enable quick reduction of sail in the event of the williwaws I often encounter in Canada as well as here in the Hudson highlands.

triraid-560s-trimaran-4It is my understanding that Klaus Metz has designated this new iteration of his tri raid as a tri raid “S”.

Can’t wait to get this boat out on the Hudson, or Long Island Sound, or up in Quebec for sea trials when it’s finished.