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Newsletter No. 8 - May 1980

Probably the most interesting news is the soon to be released fibreglass production Trailertri.

Many enquiries have been received about such a boat, but the enormous cost of development has always been the major problem. However, one of Australia's largest power boat manufacturers HAINES HUNTER has taken up the challenge, and will be releasing the TRAMP, as it will be called, Australia wide within a few months. So at last, you can now buy a ready made Trailertri.

A very simple boat, the TRAMP is basically a day sailer, and has developed from extensive testing and experience with the current Trailertri 18 and 680 designs. Measuring 5.9m (19' 4") overall, the most impressive feature is the huge central cockpit that can easily seat 6 adults, with still enough room for a full size dinner table! Mast and all sail controls are located right in the cockpit, while the kick-up centreboard is under the cockpit floor.There's more than ample storage in the bow, stern, and cockpit, while a stove and sink unit will be located in the small cuddy cabin.

The TRAMP on show

But why a day sailer? Several reasons, the main one being that in practice, many trailer yachts are actually only used for day sailing, with occasional overnighting. During the day the cabin is not used, as it is usually too hot, and many can get sea sick if down below for too long. The net result is that the cockpit gets most use, while the cabin, even though it takes up most of the boat, gets hardly any use at all. What the TRAMP does is combine both the cockpit and cabin, so that most of the boat is used all of the time.

But what about overnighting? Simple solution, the TRAMP has an optional VINYL CABIN, which is fitted around the cockpit coaming, on its own aluminium frame. In just a few minutes, the TRAMP has a roomy, weather and insect proof cabin, with full sitting headroom, two single berths along the seats, and a roomy double on the cockpit floor. For a chemical toilet, there is ample room under the large forehatch. Not luxurious accommodation, but roomy and very practical.

TRAMP can be sailed with the cabin on, or even more important,with just the roof on, so that wind drag is minimal, yet the whole cockpit is shaded. To convert back to the full cabin, just zip in the cabin sides, seal them around the coaming, and you are ready for the night!

Day sailers, of course, have been around for some time, but with only limited success. The large cockpit doesn't work out too well in a monohull, due to the exposed position of the crew, and the dangers of swamping. However, when the day sailing concept is applied to the trimaran, then it starts to look a lot more interesting. The lack of heel,wide beam, and light weight eliminates the danger of swamping, the cockpit is completely enclosed and well away from the water, there's an enormous amount of room, and for kids, there is not a better, or safer boat on the water. The whole concept makes a lot of sense.

So much sense, that HAINES HUNTER have spent the past year tooling up for full scale mass production, and from the reaction to the prototype at the Channel 10 Boat Show just a week ago here in Brisbane, production will probably not be able to keep up with demand. Price is not yet finalized, but looks to be around $9000 to $10,000, which is very competitive with other similar size boats, particularly as the TRAMP comes with the HAINES HUNTER guarantee of quality.

Performance, of course, will be excellent. HAINES HUNTER are well known for their high performance power boats, with numerous race victories, and the TRAMP will continue this tradition. Speaking of performance, the racing news is almost as exciting as the production boat. For the first time a 680 was entered in the MARLAY POINT RACE, which is Australia's premier trailer yacht race, this year having 607 starters.

Bob Hall trailed NEHEYA II from Canberra, with fellow 680 owners Leith Andrews and Bob Mortimer as crew. The race covers some 45 miles and even though missing a course marker and losing over a mile while backtracking, they still finished 3rd outright across the line, won Division 1 on handicap by 18 minutes, and were fastest trailerable yacht by 17 minutes. Average speed for the course was 8.6 knots and during the race three monohull trailer yachts capsized, two of these sinking. There is apparently no truth in the rumour that Bob is going to install an Omega navigation system for next years race!

Further race results, Bert Hayward reports from South Australia that he won the cruising multihull division of the Milang to Goolwa race in his 680, while here in Brisbane, Keith Cutcliffe's WINDENWAVE (680) will be the one to watch. Keith's boat has the new optional racing rig and on his second outing saw 16 knots on the sumlog. This to date is the highest authenticated speed, though it is almost certain that NEHEYA II has exceeded 18 knots on several occasions. Highest recorded speed to windward is held by Graham McFie's 18 at an incredible 12 knots. Ross Turner's 680 being next with 11 knots.

The prototype TRAMP, on the trailer, light enough for towing by even a small 4 cylinder car.

Quite a few new launchings - Dick Vroegop (New Zealand, and now also building a 680), Dick Smyth (U.S.A.), Bruce Russek (PNG), Alan Rolfe (Townsville) and Howard Davis (Brisbane), and 680s are Chris Lansdell, George Sadler, Ivan Ferris, Keith Cutcliffe (all in Brisbane) Wymer Plenter (Victoria) and soon to follow Tony Adams (Perth), Philip Curro (Ingham) and John Barraclough (New Zealand).

On the construction side, Don Chesher recently provided a convincing demonstration of Trailertri's strength, by ramming a rock wall at 10 knots. This demolished his starboard float bow with a bang that brought Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra to a standstill! The value of the watertight bulkhead at the forward beam was demonstrated by the boat still being sailable. So Don retrieved his bow and retired to consider the situation. Damage (apart from the bow) was remarkably slight, the folding system and beams were intact, and she folded up as usual. The forward beam had some cracks in the outer ply at the float, but removal of the ply showed the main beam to be still okay. So major damage was confined to the float bow. This has now been replaced and Don's tri is back in the water, as new.

Don Chesher's 680 , with a broken wing.

The float bows were designed to fail before the folding system or beams, and thanks are due to Don for his excellent demonstration of this! Float bows are always a vulnerable part of any tri, and should be regarded as sacrificial in this sort of situation. With the watertight bulkhead, no real danger exists for the boat. So don't make your bows any stronger, as such a severe collision could then cause major and expensive damage to the beams. Very few cars would be drivable after hitting a rock wall at 12mph. so don't regard the loss of a float bow.as a trimaran weakness. It is to their credit that they can survive such collisions and still be seaworthy. On one occasion several years ago, the 35' trimaran ARIEL lost its float bow in the pacific, due to a. collision with a fishing boat. But because of the watertight bulkhead it was able to continue, covering a further 1000 miles to reach Honolulu. In contrast, countless monohulls are lost every year as a result of collisions and then sinking.