Anacortes – DeepZone Charts, Shipwreck and Ask the Journal

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We sailed around the San Juan Islands last weekend celebrating the Independence Day holiday in the US. Tide is king in the San Juans with large swings and sometimes baffling currents. In a pass where you would expect the current to be outbound on the ebb, you might sometimes find it inbound. I can interpolate a tide chart as badly as the next skipper, so wished there was some sort of animation that would make it all clear.

Lo and behold there is one. DeepZoom ( provides just such a service. The site has a convenient slider function to adjust the time of day, and great animation to show the tidal currents. The only app is for Windows phones, but the full website worked great on my Android phone.


Armed now with up to the minute tidal data, and anxious to haul the boat after the dock party and holiday festivities, I motored out of Cap Sante Marina on a minus tide in a hurry to get to the ramp. In such a hurry that I decided to cut inside the second channel marker – never done that before – and head straight across Fidalgo Bay to the ramp.

CRASH! There be rocks – big ones – invisible, submerged, jagged, hard rocks lurking a few feet under water hereabouts. The boat stopped, lurched forward, stopped again. Motor to idle, board up, we floated free. I cycled  the board up and down a few times and all seemed good. I paralleled the channel and turned gingerly to cross the bay. I looked below for water, saw none. With no further incident, I got Maravilla on her trailer, mast down and began to secure the cabin. Inside, there was a trickle of water across the floor. I opened up the access hatches and saw water….lots of it. The aft lower corner of the daggerboard trunk was splintered and and I am sure the daggerboard is done for as well. I was lucky to get her out of the water when I did. If I had been hundreds of miles away from a ramp in the Bahamas……I shudder.

So….Maravilla is shipwrecked for awhile, until she can be professionally repaired. I will keep you posted – and dont cut those channel markers!

Not this bad....but it can happen to the best of us

Not this bad….but it happens to the best of us

I received an email request this week from one of the R2AK race crew – a monohull sailor now enraptured by trimarans. He asked for recommendations and resources for trimarans that might be suitable for  events such as the R2AK and Single-handed TransPac. I thought our conversation might be interesting and provide some resources for anyone with similar thoughts.

The query from sailor Mike:

“I’m a monohull sailor who just did the first leg of R2AK on team Golden Oldies. I’ve never sailed a tri, but am suddenly addicted to the speed of a multihull. Steve Marcoe says Tri’s are where it’s at. I’m looking to buy a boat in the next 2 years, with an eye on R2AK, single-handed transpac. Rec’s on resources, boats, etc? SF bay sailor.”

The reply:

Good Morning Mike –
First lets narrow the field.

1) Should the boat be trailerable?
2) Should the boat be capable of blue water crossings?
3) What is your budget?
4) New or used?
5) Amateur or professional build?

To do R2AK plus sail in and around SF Bay I would recommend a trailerable boat. To be capable of crossing oceans it needs to be at least 31 feet – more is better. Within this group (Trailerable 31+ feet) you can spend anywhere from 65K to 300K. And dont forget the tow vehicle – a full sized van or pickup will be required.

The big trailerable trimarans are either Farrier or Corsair. There are some others worldwide, but not readily available in the US (Airplay and SeaCart for example). Dragonfly is another manufacturer, Danish, extremely well made, capable boats but Expensive with a capital E. Dragonfly is a comfortable boat, and as a result heavier than the other boats in this group. Not slow, but not as quick as the others – more cruiser than racer.

Farrier has designed numerous fast trailerable boats that are usually amateur built, but may have been produced professionally – Mail Order Bride was professionally built in the Philippines for example. I am not sure where Taniwha (Tritium Racing) was built, but she is a Farrier F-32SRX. And last years R2AK winner, Elsie Piddock – is a semi-amateur built F25C (C for Carbon). Ians website is F-boat and will keep you busy for hours.

Corsair and Farrier were partners a few years ago, and the F/C-31 was the most successful result of their collaboration. Corsair continues to build their new designs in Vietnam and import them around the world. Corsair is the biggest and most successful manufacturer of trailerable trimarans. Their website is Corsair Marine.

A Corsair/Farrier 31 is not really big enough to cross oceans, though some have. If you take proper precautions and make a few minor mods you would be OK, but something bigger – in the 35/36 foot range is more suitable. Of course, the cost goes up significantly as does the work required to rig and de-rig off the trailer.

There are two yahoo groups with good info and plenty of owners willing to give advice about Corsair and Farrier boats at F-Boat and F-Boats

Its a long story why there are two groups, and usually the posts are duplicated but there you go….

So, the most suitable boats for your adventure that are available will be Corsair or Farrier pedigree and can cost anywhere from 65K for a used F-31 to 300K for a custom built F-36 or factory built Corsair 970.

Have a look at this carbon F-9AXR – she is an amateur built F-31 to very high standards also listed on Trimaran Journal. 

Helms Yacht Sales is the local San Francisco dealer for Corsair. They can help, but know they will be representing the seller. If you want a buyer’s representative to help you – I suggest Mike Leneman at MultiMarine in LA. Mike is an excellent resource, experienced racer and builder and all around good guy.

That should keep you busy for awhile!

I am in Anacortes until July 11, then heading for Southern California for awhile. Mike Leneman puts on an annual multihull rendezvous/race called Summer Splash in September. We run out to Catalina from Marina Del Rey and its a hoot – plus a good time to talk trimarans with other addicts. Taniwha was there last year among other rocket ships. I dont think I will have time to meet up in Seattle before I head south, but if you make it down to LA for Summer Splash we could get together.

Hope all this helps – give me a shout if you have any questions.

Fair winds and Happy Hunting!

And finally – Enjoy this great video of Phaedo screaming around the Isle of Wight.

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