Sailing on trips can get long and that’s why I thought of making a model boat. Also, when we came back from our first trip to Noosa, someone had come in with a Neel 2013 45-foot trimaran and let us have a look in his boat. I really like it, so I decided to make a trimaran. Here is a bit about it and how I built it…
The hulls are the bottom structures that sit in the water. The hulls of my boat are made of quite a lot of materials. I found lots of them on the beach and lying around the boat. The main hull (the middle one) is a milk bottle, and the port (left) hull is a glass juice bottle and the starboard (right) is a Guinness can. I put some water in the Guinness can to make it the same weight as the port hull. My dad then plugged it with wax. I put a thick stick across the hulls and tied them on with: fishing line, sticky tape, duct tape, heavy duty tape, box tape, even more tape, loads more tape, red thin rope, elastics and wax. (I’m the sticky tape king, as you have seen). I also used a koki on each side at the stern and secured them on with all those materials I’ve just mentioned. I’ve reinforced the stern with a stick tied on either side. On the bottom of the boat there are aerofoils that also act as a rudder. I attach them on with elastics and I can take them off as well.
Ballast is used to weigh down the boat so it won’t get tossed around too much. In my boat, I put water in the main hull for ballast.
I found plastic webbing on the beach in Bundaberg, and used it to make nets near the front of the boat.
The mast pierces down to the bottom of the middle hull, a bit forward from the middle. At first I secured the mast with tape and wax. I made side stays and spreaders from chopsticks which help to support the mast. However, the mast was still flimsy and unstable. My dad was using some epoxy for fixing his long board so we poured some in where the mast meets the hull. It took a day to harden but the mast is completely secure now.
I made the mainsail out of cloth. The mainsail works the same way as it does on a catamaran. I used a long bit of fishing line for the halyard to hoist it out of the stack pack. After this it gets cleated off on the cleats I made. The stack pack is like a long thin bag that goes over the boom and when the main sail is lowered, it falls into it and gets zipped up. My stack pack is also made out of cloth and held up by fishing line.
The genoa, in case you didn’t know, is a furling genoa. This means that instead of taking the sail up and down, it rolls and unrolls around itself (kind of like a pancake). I put a long thin stick from the bowsprit to the top of the mast, and the sail furls around it. At the bowsprit I connected a washer, and the bottom of the long thin stick goes through the washer. This allows it to swivel. The end of Josh’s fishing rod had broken off, so I put that on the top of the mast. The top end of the furling stick went through that so now both ends can swivel. But how to stop it falling through? Well, my mom suggested I put a small stick across the furling stick just above the washer.
I cut the actual genoa out of cloth. Then my mom helped me sew the genoa onto the furling stick, using dental floss. I made a little lock to stop the genoa unfurling once its fully furled.
Cleats are T-shaped pieces of metal used for the tying of ropes such as: the genoa furling line, main halyard and other lines. You would usually do a figure of eight around it. I have made about six cleats out of wood, located all around the boat.
I made the anchor using a heavy bolt and a 2cm stick. It weighs 60 milligrams. When I tested my trimaran it capsized because it was front heavy. I had put the anchor on the bow, so I moved it back and then it balanced.
I built the tender, or dinghy, out of thin sticks, stuck together with wax. Then I covered it with cloth. I made an engine out of wax and coloured it with permanent marker. I made a special place at the back of the boat where the tender is tied (the davits).
At the top of the mast I’ve put the South African flag. This helps me to know which way the wind is going. I’ve also got one half way down the mast to just to make doubly sure.
The lanyard for my boat is a long ten metre rope that is attached to my boat and to a thick stick. I can let my boat out and roll it back in using the stick. To also tell which way the wind is going I’ve got a wind indicator attached on the thick stick.
For the repair kit I’ve got spare sticks, wax, tape, strong tape, cloth and rope. They are in storage units on each side of the trimaran.
How does it sail?
My trimaran can actually sail. I often only put out the genoa and the wind or breeze catches it. It then moves along probably at about 1 knot. When I put out the main and the genoa it goes much faster (for its size – probably 2 knots). The best time was probably when we returned from Lady Musgrave Island. Our granny came to welcome us and I showed her how it sailed. I had both sails up and it was pretty rough, but it was handling well.
I really enjoyed making my model trimaran and sailing it is really fun. But I still haven’t decided a name for it, yet…