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Designs by Mark Gumprecht - South Coast, Massachusetts - USA

The Drifter trimarans are sort of a modern version of the outrigger canoe, being designed to be paddled or sailed. There are some boats out there like this, mostly small tris that use kayaks for the main hull. This works fine, but kayaks have some limitations for this use. It all started when a retired college professor I know wanted a boat to explore the local rivers and bays where we live, but didn't really know what kind of boat would be best for his purpose. He thought of getting a canoe, but he liked to sail, and wasn't that excited about paddling everywhere. I told him I thought I could design a boat that would work for him. I was picturing a small tri that could be paddled or sailed with a simple rig, very stable, with a comfortable seat, light weight, and easy to launch off of a beach. I did some drawings, and he liked the concept, and over the next few months, I built him the first Drifter 12. It is a simple flat bottom design, built out of 1/8" luan plywood, with a free standing windsurfer mast, and a roll up sail. It has a lee board, and a kick-up rudder.The whole boat would come apart in 15 minutes and go on top of his car. The amas also fit into the main hull, another way to transport it, and great for shipping. The boat probably weighs about 100 lb. It is easy to paddle, and really fun, and easy to sail. It's great for inexperienced sailors, because you launch and land with the sail rolled up, and set sail once you are out on the water. It's a very enjoyable way to get out on the water and explore protected waters. The owner has been having a great time with it, and even takes his wife along, even though it was really designed for one person. It's a little overloaded, but they do fine, because the boat is so stable.

One thing leads to another, and while on a camping trip to Florida, I was showing some friends pictures of the Drifter 12, and describing what it was like. They were interested but wanted one designed for two people. I took the basic design, and stretched to 15'. I went home, and spent the next couple of months building the Drifter 15. It is just like the Drifter 12, but is designed for one or two persons. I shipped the boat to Florida in a crate, and fortunately it arrived intact. Next time I'll build a stronger crate! The amas on this design also fit in the main hull. It is a fun boat to sail, and faster than the smaller model, with a taller mast. These are not designed as high performance boats, but sail well because they are so easily driven with a simple rig. Basically the same concept as the Fulmar 19, which has always been a favorite of mine. This would be a great boat for camp cruising for one person. You could carry plenty of camping gear without the weight of the second person.

The latest boat in the series is the Drifter 14, which I build earlier this summer for my own use. It is more high performance than the others, with bigger amas to give it more sail carrying power. The amas no long fit into the main hull, but everything fits very nicely onto a custom rack on my Toyota pickup. It's quite a fast boat, considering the simple rig I am using. The center of effort of the rig is low, so there is no problem with pitchpoling, and going downwind in stronger winds is really fun. I made up a special masthead fitting so I could put on stays, out of 1/8" spectra, and still allow the mast to rotate to furl the sail. The stays keep the mast from bending, which gives you better sail shape. I can add a small roller furling jib, which really adds to the performance. All of these boats are steered with rudder pedals; it's nice always having your hands free. You can eat lunch while you are cruising along.This design is mostly meant for one person, but I can take my wife along for a ride. She wants to take it out by herself next time, after sailing the smaller version.

There are plans available Here for four different versions of the Drifter trimarans. There is the Drifter 12, the Drifter 12L, which has longer amas, and a taller mast, the Drifter 14, and the Drifter 16, which is an enlarged version of the 14, for two people.

My wife did a couple of nice videos of the boats:

Anyone interested in one of these boats can contact me at -

Plans for the four Drifters are available at Duckworks

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