By Mike John - Maclean, NSW - Australia


Well it's a Wa'apa that is shorter and wider, so it's not a Wa'apa. She is 132" LOA and 24" Wide. The total beam with floats is just over 8'.

I was reading Trimaran Sailing for those with Disabilities on the Web and thought, there is an idea. I am not exactly agile and the extra legs (floats) add some comfort to the thought of sailing. I was looking at various plans and most were too complicated for what I wanted. I had built a Wa'apa and decided to build another modified one. The Wa'apa at 16' was just a little big for me on my own but makes a great motor canoe for the two of us. So I decided to build a smaller canoe for just me, but designed accommodating enough so my movable ballast could come for a short sail if she so deemed. (I did this build on my own and Gary Dierking was not consulted and is in no way responsible.)

The Design

I decided to increase the freeboard to 23" and make floats 8' long (shorter but to Gary's plans), which I could also use on my motoring Wa'apa. I will put holes higher up on the float struts to compensate for the higher sides.

16' Wa'apa with motoring floats.

The seats are to be 18" high, about 5" below the gunnel. The waterline height with one person, according to Carlson's Hulls, was 8" and with two for a short jaunt, 12". I was going to use Jim Michalak's leeboard design, and I made the parts, but Mark Bowdidge of Bowdidge Marine Designs said a daggerboard would be better on this tri.

Spotted gum lower Michalak guard left and upper plywood guard (1" thick) right. I put these here as close up pictures of these parts are hard to find.

I decided to use Joe Dobler's pivoting daggerboard design but modify it because of the depth of the boat.

Joe Dobler's Pivoting Leeboard Design
My variation of the design. Note the bevel is cut higher on the left where the arrow is pointing because of the depth of the hull. Bow is on the left. It pivots fully as long as there is some upwards force.

My rig is a Malibu type lateen cat rig with a free standing mast and my sail is a 10' sided equilateral triangle (43.3 sq ft). I decided to use a small motorwell for the 2hp outboard.

Seats set below gunnel at 18" high.

It has three seats. One for me in the middle when on my own to trim the boat and a seat front and back for me and She when she is with me (the middle seat will then be for our dog).

The Build

I made the box beams smaller using 50 x 19 hoop pine Coramba Timbers (nice quality wood and easy to work) and 6mm plywood for the sides. I used 20mm dowel for the ends of the beams with a 1" x 1/16" aluminium sleeve over it. I got some nice spotted gum (hard durable wood) for the outer stems. I used 6mm pink plywood (Pacific Maple or Meranti hardwood) from Boatcraft Pacific. It is heavier than 9kg. Mine weighed about 12kg per sheet, but is is strong and more durable than other plywoods. It does splinter easy so use plywood blades. You can also get plywood blades for the skill saw and it splintered less than the jigsaw.

I found these blades quite good for cutting plywood. They are designed for the job with extra teeth sort of offset to each other. Just ask for plywood cutting blades at your store. They are sometimes called clean cut or precise cut blades. The thin one cut 3/4 pine to a 2" radius easily.

I used fixit mate glue and found it great. It comes in a caulking tube and you can shove the nozzle between the frame and plywood with the screws loose and then screw tight. And, it has no smell that I can detect. It needs moisture to cure so I used a little water spray bottle. I used epoxy where I felt I should on the mast partner etc. Chuck shipped me a Japanese pull saw and a shinto saw rasp and the later surely rips the timber off. The pull saw is great for trimming things flush.

This is time I made all the components before gluing anything in the hull. If you can't hide it make it oblivious works and I like the look of the rivets in the stems.

Spotted gum stems with bronze ring nails that look like rivets. Looks "Rustic" as my neighbour would say.

The mast step connects to the bulkhead, sides and rests on the bottom.

Mast step above and mast step in place left. Note the 6mm aluminium plate to rest the pivoting mast and stop wear to the timber.

My mast partner and step has two holes. It is hard to get the Centre of Lateral Area and Centre of Effort exactly right when you have the drag from floats, so I added an extra hole for safety.

Mast partner
Ready to finish painting. Three seats, daggerboard case middle and outboard well aft at bottom of picture.

Mounting a rudder on this canoe sterned boat proved easy once I discovered the vertical rudder hardware for the Weekender. This is heavy hardware with 1/4" mounting holes which will easily stand up to the punishement I'll give it.

Rudder with tiller extension. It also has rope steering in case I need to sit further forward.
Floats are a little aft of centre to make sitting in the boat easier.
Plenty of sail for a little boat.
Pool noodles as temporary hiking seats until I work out where I need to sit.
Set to go!

Jake is a boy's name

I called her Jake (not my original idea but a trimaran has three legs and this will help you get it - see Video of Australian Rolf Harris). Well Aussies do spend our lives hanging upside down on this planet but it will put a smile on your face even if you have seen it.

I will send some pictures for Splash soon.

Mike John



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