Recently Trimaran Journal undertook to review eight intriguing new trimarans under 30 feet. The eight we selected were – Diam 24, Multi 23, F22, Corsair 750, RAW 30, Radikal T26, SeaCart 26 and Astus 24. In response to feedback we received (thanks Owen) we are adding the Dragonfly 28 to our list. The list can be divided into those boats that fold or slide for transport and those requiring dis-assembly or de-mounting. Today we will take a closer look a the only two boats in our list that de-mount – The Multi 23 and the Diam 24.
Both boats are products of the esteemed design firm of VPLP – who seem to know a thing or two about designing fast multihulls, having put their imprint on the MOD70 class design, Banque Populaire VII and Spindrift 2 among others. Both boats have no accommodations to speak of, but do have rudimentary lockers for storage. Both have open cockpits and both boats must be de-mounted for transport.
Lets look at some numbers: The Diam is 24 feet long, the Multi 22 ft 6 in, the Diam weighs in at around 1000 pounds, the Multi about 790. Sail area on the Diam (main and jib) is 344 sq ft, the Multi is 328 sq ft giving the Diam a SA/D of 55, and the Multi a 61 – both in the high performance racer class as you would expect, with the Diam slightly hotter. The Diam has an 18 foot beam compared to a 15 ft 6 in beam on the Multi.
These are both light, powerful boats. The extra width of the Diam should translate into more righting moment and therefore, we should expect her to stand up to a breeze a bit better, presuming the floats are equivalent buoyancy. Ah, but they aren’t. The Diam floats are wave-piercing needles, while the Multi sports big buoyant spoon shaped floats with lots of reserve in the bows. It is probably a toss up on which boat has a larger righting moment.
Lets look now at some of the configuration details of each boat – The Diam has a deep daggerboard mounted in the main hull with twin float mounted rudders. The Multi has a less effective centerboard and a single rudder mounted on the main hull. Both boats have rotating wing masts, synthetic rigging, Karver furling gear. The main hull of the Diam is a sharp, narrow, wave-piercing design with little rocker, while the Multi main hull is fairly deep and rounded, with generous rocker. The Diam sets her gennaker from the main hull bow, while the latest version of the Multi (the Mark 2) – sports a short carbon sprit.
The Diam is currently a strict one-design class for racing, while the Multi has two manufactured configurations (Mark 1 and Mark 2) and several highly modified turbo-charged one offs in the fleet.
Reports indicate the Multi 23 suffers when going to windward as her dihedral (angle between float and main hull) allows her to heel, thus reducing the effectiveness of the centerboard and rig. Some Multi’s have been retrofit with daggerboards and canting rigs to compensate. The Diam looks to have addressed this characteristic somewhat with her own daggerboard and a flatter dihedral, tho in the interests of simplicity, she does not have a canting rig either.
Downwind, both boats are blistering fast. Diam advertises 30 knots downwind, and below is video of a Multi 23 reaching along at an estimated 25 knots. You may not keep up with a foiling cat, but you will horizon most everything else.
Both boats demount in approximately the same manner and by all accounts take one to two hours to assemble and disassemble. Reports indicate the Diam may be the easier of the two to put together and get in the water. The Diam also has an innovative specialized container available for shipment. A race between these two from dis-assembly to assembly and completing an Americas Cup course and back to dis-assembly would be a telling event.
Kudos to VPLP for designing two boats to fit in this slight niche market. Somehow, they were able to create two trimarans under 25 feet encompassing two different design briefs. The Diam is certainly more the racer of the two – evidenced by it selection as the boat du jour for the Tour de France a la Voile. She should outpace the Multi to windward and her flatter sections and more powerful rig should get her down the track faster as well. However, the Multi is designed as the day-boat blast around the bay, raid to a beach and have lunch. She gives beach cat thrills and speed, without stability or seaworthy concerns. Multi’s regularly sail in the open ocean and other severe venues with little or no drama – aside from the crazy speed. Those big bows do their job to keep her upright.
Now for the bottom line – the target price for a Diam 24? 50K Euro or approximately 65K USD. Current price for a Multi 23 – approximately 40K USD, for a new boat, though you can find used ones on the market for around 29K. It is a valid criticism that the same sort of speed and lack of accomodation can be found for thousands less in a beach cat. However, the trimaran platform provides better stability and comfort, while delivering the speed and thrill of the cat. Whether that stability and comfort is worth the extra money is for each individual to decide.
After all, it comes down to feeding your passion. If you long for speed without the chills and spills of an overpowered beach cat, either of these boats will fit the bill. If you lust after a red-hot one-design race boat – the Diam 24 is for you. If you want to do big curvy fast S-turns across the bay laughing your ass off – the Multi 23 is your baby.
Either way – you win.