By Gerry Lavoie - Comox, BC - Canada

I love sailing little boats. I sail on the local lakes as well as the nearby straits. The ocean frequently whips up some steep seas that concern me and would terrify my friends and the special-needs adults I work with.

A year ago, I began building a Seaclipper 16 trimaran, designed by John Marples. I chose this trimaran for its stability yet speed. I also wanted this seating arrangement where the crew needn't scramble from side to side while tacking. It is also wonderful that the boat and sails can be controlled from both cockpits.

John Marple's plans are wonderfully clear and easy to follow. I was able to do most of the building inside an unheated shop, so work could continue most days through the winter.

Here, one of the amas is about ready to be turned over to work on the decking.
The work on the main hull moved to a car port just before it got too wide to make it out of the shop door. Also in time for warmer spring weather.

I am using a Hobie 14 mast and sails. All the information for using that rig as well as using optional aluminum tubing for the cross beams is included in John's plans.

The boat folds easily for trailing.

I can assemble the boat by myself, though it is nice to have a hand flipping the amas into sailing position. I use the trailer winch to raise the mast with no trauma.

This picture was taken the day of the launch.

The boat sails nearly flat and easily reaches 6 knots in light winds. I've reached nearly 10 knots in moderate winds.

On Father's Day, I went for my first sail in a protected strait near Comox, BC, Canada. The water was very choppy and the winds were 10 - 15 knots. The boat rocked with the waves, but didn't do any rolling
other than in the wake of big boats. That sail was exciting, but not scary. Like downhill skiing. I was recording speeds of 6 knots in the chop, and up to 8 knots when I got into a harbour where the water was
calmer, but the winds not diminished.

Back in the choppy water, I tied in a reef and all the action settled down, perfect for touring. Also great for touring is the amount of storage space ahead and behind the cockpits.

I made a short video that day from the cockpit. Full sail and beating into the wind at about 6 knots.

I am streamlining my assembly and I still have too many lines to sort out, including the great pedal steering. Once I am on the water and sailing along I realize the nuisance of getting there is well worth it. I am looking forward to taking my friends and special-needs clients on some adventures they never dreamed of.

John Marple's plans are available at

Thanks for the opportunity to show my rendition of a terrific trimaran.

Gerry Lavoie


To comment on Duckworks articles, please visit our forum