What can be done – with less

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If you haven’t stumbled upon Webb Chiles excellent online journal – InThePresentSea – I highly recommend it. Mr Chiles, accomplished author, artist and sailor, writes most every other day on life in general and specifically on his latest voyage aboard his Moore 24. Not a trimaran, I know, but a small light fast boat nonetheless. Mr Chiles is in his 70’s and has sailed Gannet from San Diego to New Zealand – solo.

I remember something I read in his journal several months ago regarding efforts to produce sailing records backed by large amounts of sponsorship money. I cannot find the exact quote now, but the gist was “I am not interested in sailing around the world spending millions, I am interested in what can be done with less.” And that got me thinking. What CAN be done with less?

I recall some classic and untold cruises accomplished by an elderly couple aboard their Corsair F27 trimaran (there’s that boat again). They sailed her from Key West to Belize and back. And immediately set out for the Bahamas upon their return. Amazing, as they were in their late 60’s and he was diabetic. And I recall the French trio of surfers who took a TriCat to the Solomon Islands in a container and documented their epic cruise via video. Lost in the Swellshared here.


The Race to Alaska accomplishes more with less. Small human or wind powered craft racing 750 miles on a tough course for no good reason. At least, no good financial reason. The entrants in the R2AK do it for the adventure and because their human spirit compels them. They could not NOT do it.

Could there be other events that generate the same spirit and joie de vivre? Other events that inspire as does the R2AK and Webb Chiles?

WaterTribe runs several “Adventure” races primarily for kayaks in the SouthEast US. The most extreme being the Ultimate Florida Circumnavigation – 1200 miles around Florida. Billed as the toughest small boat challenge anywhere, it encompasses the famous Everglades challenge, and adds Northbound legs up the East coast of Florida and Westbound legs up the St Marys river, a 40 mile portage (???) and then South again to finish in Tampa. Small sailboats are permitted in the WaterTribe events, but must be able to step and un-step their masts while under weigh, and also must fit thru some incredibly tight canals and creeks. Excepting Randy Smythe’s parallelogramming trimaran Sizzors, not too many small trimarans fit the bill for these events.


The WaterTribe events have the right tenor, the right idea. But the R2AK is more suited to trimarans. The F27 cruisers and Webb Chiles have the right attitude for challenging ourselves to do more with less.

We’ll be taking a Bahamian adventure cruise of our own this spring – departing the Keys for the Exumas and beyond. We hope to get out to Cat Island (my own personal Everest) with Maravilla before the hurricanes start to howl.

A trimaran with its shallow draft, speed, and relatively large deck space is an excellent platform for adventure cruising. Strong enough to cross the Gulf Stream, fast enough to make long miles, more stable than a beach cat and able to carry more gear, shallow and light enough to beach, and a blast to sail, trimarans are the first choice for “raid” style adventures.

Not that we need an “event”, “rally” or “race” to take our trimaran adventuring. We like going solo and would rather not follow the herd around the buoys. But it’s good to balance the mega-millionaires zooming around the world on trimaran space-ships with what we can do for less.

Fair winds and Go Sailing!

Video by Tom Kirkman doing more with less – a great YouTube Weta channel at TomKirkman1


  1. Great post but I’d just like to point out that the Everglades Challenge is open to small tris – which is how Randy Smythe won his class in the EC in Scissor. There are at least 6 trimarans entered in the 2016 Everglades Challenge, including Randy Smythe in Scissor and Linda Wright (Gadget Girl) in her Weta Trimaran with a modified rig.
    See http://www.watertribe.com/Events/ShowRosters.aspx
    The Ultimate Challenge allows a switch to a different craft for the sailors for the cross-country/portage section.

  2. Thanks for the info YottieGuy. Scissor is an incredibly innovative design – as you would expect from Randy. The EC always beckons, but an F-Boat is too big. Do you know if any Weta’s have actually completed the EC? I seem to recall several had entered over the years, but none had yet finished? Most likely that is no longer true…..

  3. No Weta has yet finished the race. Linda’s boat, with Randy’s help, is probably the best prepared Weta to enter thus far. She was doing very well last year when the race was cancelled.

    Oddly, the boat that was laughed at when it first entered the EC a half decade ago now predominates the event and has proven itself over and over and one of the best vessels for this type event – the Hobie Adventure/Tandem Island.

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