The 18 ft Strike is a comfortable trimaran for cruising or day sailing that uses a 16 ft beach catamaran as the outriggers (amas) and rig. Designed by renowned multihull sailor Richard Woods, the main hull is plywood and has a dory shape that is extremely easy to build. It can be used as a fast day sailing boat that seats six in dry comfort and it has an optional, removable, cabin top to convert it into a simple pocket cruiser that sleeps two.
In its open-deck form, the Strike is recommended for inshore use only, because it has a large open cockpit which could get swamped. However, in 4 years sailing Richard has 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, as well as sealed outriggers. With the cabin attached, the Strike becomes a basic two-person micro cruiser with a watertight main hull suitable for coastal use.
You can use most 16 ft beach cats as outriggers (but the designer does 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 outriggers on the prototype are cut-down 18 ft singlehander hulls and the mast is a shortened Tornado mast. With a bit of time spent modifying things, you can use parts from most beach cats.
Building the prototype enabled some refinements to the design. The wing bottoms have been raised slightly and the windscreen has been lowered and lengthened, making the boat look more streamlined but still leaving plenty of room below with the cuddy fitted.
If you want to blast around then the crew can sit on the outrigger and really power the boat up. A telescopic tiller extension is ideal for this (the prototype uses a 3-6 ft extending brush handle). Even in light winds the Strike is fast and easy to sail.
Many people still think that a multihull is unresponsive and difficult to manoeuvre. Videos of the Strike sailing prove otherwise!
However, the Strike 18 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 helps keep the crew dry and it also means the boom is well above head height, which is important for family crews. Furthermore, a beach cat mast and mast foot can be used without modification.
The Strike is a sit-in boat, rather than a sit-on boat – it is more comfortable and a lot more reassuring for nervous crews and for those with young children. It is extremely relaxing to sit back and steer (cockpit cushions were one of the first additions to the prototype, 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.
The big wings (cockpit extensions) help to keep the spray down so that the cockpit remains dry even on windy days. Other trimarans can be quite wet 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.
Many small trimarans have the crew sitting in front of the helmsman. Not only does that block his view and make it hard to talk but also it is the passenger who gets hit by spray – very off-putting, especially for a reluctant sailor, to be hit in the face by cold water! However, the Strike 16 and 18 are very dry to sail from the comfort of the cockpit.
Being able to move around the boat is not only more comfortable but it makes it easier to fend off to avoid bumps when coming in to dock and to embark and disembark over the trampoline.
For towing on a trailer, the outrigger hulls fold up on their beams, reducing the width to less than 8 ft. Because they are beach cat hulls they are very light (around 40 kg, under 100 lb) and so it is easy to do, even singlehanded. The centre of gravity is still relatively low so doesn't cause problems when driving.
The flat-bottomed hull makes the Strike very easy to launch and retrieve; with practice, it can be done in less than 15 minutes.
Richard Woods has also designed three other versions of the Strike trimaran: the Strike 16 is a smaller version of the Strike 18; the Strike 15 and 20 are designed primarily for racing, not day sailing and cruising.
The Strike 18 trimaran plans include detailed specifications for building the main hull. If you have suitable existing catamaran hulls to use as outriggers you just need the main hull plans, otherwise you can get the full plans, which include the plans for the Quattro 16 hulls to use as outriggers. The quality and clarity of the plans ease the construction of this boat, though you still need to be confident of your plans-reading ability.
A complete materials list is supplied with the plans. All dimensions are in metric units.
An electronic version of the plans in PDF format that can be viewed using Adobe Reader. After credit card authorisation the file will be sent to the email address put on the order form.