First Choose a Design
The 18ft STRIKE is a trimaran design that uses a 16ft beach cat as the outriggers/amas and rig. The main hull is plywood and has a dory shape that is extremely easy to build. The cabin top is removable to convert a fast day sailing boat that sits six in dry comfort into a simple pocket cruiser that sleeps two.
You can use most 16 ft beach cats as outriggers (but I do not recommend using the Hobie 16). If you cannot find a suitable donor beach cat then you can build the Quattro 16 to use for outriggers. Please ask for advice if you are uncertain which boat to use.
The prototype Strike 18 is one of our personal boats and we sail it as much as we can. So check the Year Reviews for more videos, photos and comments. The Plans Update Strike page has some more detailed photos of the boat and trailer.
DOWNLOAD PLANS MAIN HULL ONLY GBP100.00
COMPLETE DOWNLOAD PACKAGE MAIN HULL AND OUTRIGGERS GBP150.00
THE FACTS AND FIGURES
Sail Area (Q16) Mainsail 13.5sqm Jib 5.67sqm
Empty weight 250kgs Loaded weight 600kgs
Open deck version seats 6 Cabin version sleeps 2
sheet ply main hull
CLICK HERE for a pdf study plan
After a year of slow, part time, building the prototype Strike was launched in Canada on September 2nd 2009.
NOTE: Most of these comments also apply to the Strike 16, the smaller sister to the 18, so I suggest you also check out that design on its own page. The Strike 15 and 20 are designed primarily for racing, not day sailing and cruising.
The Strike is available as both an open deck boat, as we have built, and also one with a removable cuddy for a basic one/two person micro cruiser. In its open deck form I recommend this as an inshore Category D boat. That is because it has a large open cockpit which could get swamped.
However, in 4 years sailing we have never had more than light spray on board. And of course the boat will still be safe when swamped as there are big built in buoyancy compartments in the bow and stern of the main hull, never mind the sealed outriggers. With the cabin attached the boat is Cat C, Coastal, as it then has a "watertight" main hull
One reason why I build prototypes is to refine the design. Even before launching our Strike I decided to raise the wing bottoms slightly and to lower the front windscreen. Even with the raised wing and lowered windscreen there is still plenty of room below with the cuddy fitted. So the boat you build will look more streamlined than ours.
On the prototype the outriggers are cut down 18ft singlehander hulls. The mast is a shortened Tornado mast while the mainsail was originally a cut down 18sqm but was changed in 2010 to one from a Trac 16. The original jib was also from a Tornado, but 38 years old. Later this too was changed to a sail bought on ebay. So, as you can see, with a bit of time spent modifying things, you can use parts from most beach cats.
Photo from the BCMS website, showing Strike on and very windy day and on its third sail at around 9 knots with original mainsail and, soon discarded, boomless rig,
I found that the boomless mainsail is horrible. (Something I had actually already learnt when sailing a Dart 18). For as soon as you ease the mainsheet the sail goes baggy and you can no longer point and tacking is hard.
I also decided that for sensible cruising (as opposed to just burning around in the bay) I need a set of reef points, while a furling jib would also be nice. Other than that the boat sailed great! And it could definitely be pushed hard without problems.
Despite the evidence from the video above, which shows us sailing at a similar speed to a F24 trimaran, the Strike is not intended as a fast, "hairy" boat to sail. Instead it is for those who may be new to boatbuilding and multihulls and want to start with a quick and easy project. And it is also for those who already have a beach cat and enjoy it, but who also want to be able to take the whole family out on gentle sails.
The windscreen serves several purposes. Obviously it helps keep the crew dry and is also used as the front of the removable cabin. But it also means the boom is well above head height, important for family crews. Furthermore, a beach cat mast and mast foot can be used without modification. If a windscreen is not used then a complicated extension would be needed to raise the boom, and unfortunately such an extension would be in the most loaded mast area.
It is a "sit in" boat, rather than a "sit on" boat, which is more comfortable and a lot more reassuring for nervous crews and for those with young children. Even on windy sails I usually sail without foul weather gear and no spray comes on board. In part that's because of the big wings/cockpit extensions. Again, they may look ungainly, but they sure do keep spray down! Check out videos of other similar trimarans on youtube and you'll see how wet some of them are to sail. It's not just the sea-waves that can come onboard but also the bow wave and spray can flick over the gunwale to soak the crew
Comment from an owner "We can get the whole family (5) plus friends on board...I've had 7 people and could get one more I think. It's VERY stable."
As the photo above and videos show it is extremely relaxing to sit back and steer (cockpit cushions were one of the first additions - along with drink holders). The cockpit is a very sociable area and easily sits four adults, it is possible to squeeze in six. In comparison a "sit on" boat is tiring after only a few minutes.
This "sailing kayak" concept has several major disadvantages.
When you drive a car your passenger sits next to you, not behind you. It's more sociable that way and makes it easier to talk. Compare it to riding pillion on a motorbike which means all you really see is someones head, not the view. Often the passenger sits in front of helmsman, not only does that block his view but also it is the passenger who gets hit by spray, it's hard to duck out of the way when sitting in a fixed position. It is usually the passenger who is the reluctant sailor - very off putting, even for me, to be hit in the face by cold water! Again check the owners comments about how dry the Strike 16 and 18 are to sail.
And that is another thing I don't like. I find it nice to walk round the boat, and with a bad back I cannot sit still for hours. Sitting in the hull gives you a great impression of speed, because you are so close to the water (but its also very wet, as I just said). Sitting high on the trampoline feels like flying and you get a good view of approaching waves and wind gusts.
But boats are not just for sailing! You also have to get on and off it. That may well mean coming into a dock or pontoon. Doing this on a small trimaran is tricky at the best of times, because you cannot get to the outrigger bow to fend off or jump ashore. So, on a boat where you are trapped in the central hull, you will have to be very skilled to avoid bumping the dock especially if you come alongside under sail..
It's not much better if you have an engine, for it will be very difficult to start and control when you are sitting facing forwards and the engine is behind you.
Many of those boats are steered with your feet. One argument for that approach is that you have both hands free to drink or smoke. That doesn't stop anyone I know from doing that when driving a car! and has never stopped me when holding a tiller.
My hands are much more sensitive than my feet. People don't usually play a piano or paint with their feet! Furthermore the more joints/wires between rudder and tiller the more friction and slackness. So the steering feels heavy and sloppy. Check out the video below for what it should be like to steer a small trimaran.Boats like this are not necessarily any faster. This video shows us overtaking (rather easily!) a Windrider 17 in our Strike 18. Both boats had two people on board and as you can see we were not using our screecher.
However, if you want to blast around then the crew can sit on the outrigger and really power the boat up. So a telescopic tiller extension is ideal. (We use a 3ft-6ft extending brush handle, much cheaper than the real thing). Even in light winds the Strike is fast and easy to sail - just look at the thumb holding up the tiller!
Many people still think that a multihull is unresponsive and difficult to manouever. So check out this video!
For trailering the outrigger hulls fold up. Because they are beach cat hulls they are very light (around 40kgs, under 100lbs) and so it is easy to do, even singlehanded. The centre of gravity is still relatively low so no problems when driving. Trailering beam is under 8ft.
The flat hull bottom makes it very easy to launch and retrieve, while no trailer chocks are needed. Initially we used a flat bed trailer, but now have a off the shelf 1000lb (400kgs) boat trailer. Because of the flat bottom a strop fore and aft is sufficient to hold the hull securely on the trailer. I have found that much of the time spent assembling a trailable boat is un-tying all the bits. So the fewer strops the better.
As always, practice makes perfect and we can now launch and retrieve the boat in under 15 minutes. I timed one such retrieval. We sailed up onto the beach (no motor) at 4.36pm and drove away with the boat lashed down on the trailer at 4.49pm. Thirteen minutes! And that was basically singlehanded, as Jetti was taking video. In 2012 we trailed our Strike 2800 miles from Port Townsend, Wa, USA to Arizona and back to sail at the Lake Havasu PCC (see Year Review 2012)
The first home builders Strike 18 I sailed was the one below, based on a Prindle 16 and built in Texas. Seen here with three big men and two boys on board.
The owner arrived at 12 noon, we rigged the boat launched it and were sailing before 1pm. We took out several interested people for short sails and then took the boat out of the water and derigged it. The owner drove away again at 4pm, see below
Please note: It isn't possible to make a "bigger" Strike and fold it the same way, people aren't tall or strong enough to fold up the outriggers. Furthermore the boat would be too wide to be legally trailed. But see the Strike 20, which has a narrower cockpit but folds the same way - it's a more suitable design for day racers.
The photo above shows a Florida Strike using a Nacra 5.2 for outriggers.The owner reported
"Our preliminary sail was almost completely successful...had a bit of a problem getting the main totally up. Nevertheless, we did manage to see over eight knots on the GPS. Yesterday I went out solo in a light wind which built to somewhere around ten knots with gusts. Saw ten knots briefly.
The boat sails great! Very responsive. Very pleased with its performance and looking forward to see that improve as I get some small issues sorted. Richard: thank you very much for a great design!"
The photo below shows our prototype Strike 18 after 75 hours work. It took about 150 hours to finish the first boat prior to final painting.
Quote from a builder "The support is excellent from both fellow builders and from Richard. And on top of this, the plans are excellent, they are very easy to follow and the manuals are a plus"
And from an Australian builder
"I launched my Strike in October 2013 and have been sailing every weekend and after a few sails have started tuning things a bit. Am very impressed with the way she tacks and jibes and in a straight line have been easily getting 6 to 8 knots in about 8 to 10 of wind . Upwind she handles well (I don't have boards, my hulls are Prindle 16 ). This boat is unique up here and has many admirers. Anyway the boat is a joy to sail and I am thankful to Richard for the design."
and "This is an ideal boat on which to learn to sail as it is very stable. I have sailed it at 12 knots with no problem. I have recently done a 10 day trip in the Great Sandy Straits from Tin Can Bay to the top of Fraser Island and the boat handled all conditions very well."
And here is a great video showing a homebuilder's mainhull build
or here www.youtube.com/watch?v=duZQ6kvQNU0
Strike Materials List
6mm gaboon ply (8ft x 4ft sheets) 10 sheets
2in x 1in 25m
11/2in x 1in 40m
1in x 1in 10m
5in x 1in 3m or laminate from 2in x 1in
3in x 2in kingpost 1.3m
Epoxy resin 10kgs min 200g glass cloth 2kgs min
Screws 3/4in counter sunk stainless steel 1000 (or use barbed ring nails)
Filler etc as required
Scrap timber for frame No allowance for waste Timber sizes nominal planed all round (PAR) use softwood, eg Douglas, fir, Sitka spruce etc