Please check this blog for our cruising stories in our own boats, which is also available using the link to the left.
For many years we have spent the winters cruising in the tropics in a number of different boats. Great fun, we both really enjoy it, but it means I don't get much design work done. Except that sailing is good "R and D" and something all designers should do, for how else can they really know what sailing is like?
However this winter is different. We have rented out our house in Port Townsend, Wa, USA and, for the same money, rented a beach house in the Baja, Mexico right on the tropic line. So we are in the tropics, I do have my Tryst in the back of the car to sail, but it also means I can do some real work. Even when waiting for wind, below, I am thinking about design.
So look out for some new designs in the next couple of months. The first can already be viewed online: the 14ft Zest dinghy, 20ft Saylon and 28ft Salish catamarans and the Strike 20 trimaran.
Shortly there will be Spectrum which is a two person cruising dinghy.
Also look out for the February 2015 (so probably around Christmas time!?) issue of Practical Boat Owner magazine, the UK's biggest, as it has an article of mine (rather dated, PBO sat on it for 5 years, but that's life) about the differences between catamarans and monohulls.
Details of new boat launchings are now generally put in the individual design pages for the boat in question. Those editing changes mean that this Latest News page will be updated less frequently than in the past.
As you will discover, this website is now very large and it may take you time to find what you are looking for. But please persevere and in particular please read the FAQ's and Forum pages as you will probably find the answers to any questions you may have there.
There are now over 100 YouTube videos scattered around this site. If you want to save time you can see a list of them all if you search YouTube for www.sailingcatamarans.com or visit my Woods Designs Sailing Catamarans youtube channel
If you plan to buy, or indeed, have bought, download plans then you should also check the Plan Updates page in case there are any for your boat.
PROFESSIONALLY BUILT DUO for sale
Our Skoota was beautifully built by Josh Turner of Wheelhouse Woodworks. He agreed to help me build a Duo in the 2 day Edensaw Boatbuilding Challenge, which is part of the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.We used okoume plywood, clear sitka spruce timber and epoxy, so the Duo is good as it can be, despite the two day build time. However although it is epoxy coated inside and out it is not be faired and painted. It is the standard rowing version. However it is possible to fit a sailing rig and even to make it a nesting boat.
RECENT OWNERS REPORTS
June 2014 Vardo
The second Vardo was launched in early June in St Augustine. I visited this boat in December and was very impressed with the boat and builder. As always launching was an "interesting" time, but it made it unscathed and sits nice and high on its marks.
the photo comes from his blog HERE
After his first couple of sails he wrote "Sunday was the annual St Augustine Father's Day race. It was a beautiful day for sailing and the first time I've been fully out the inlet onto the ocean since I've lived in St Augustine. We were not actually entered in the race, but started about 1 min after the cruising fleet. Some of those boats had bad starts so were no very far ahead when we started.
On the beam reach we immediately passed the Hunter 386 and closed with the Hinckley at the gybe mark. The wind strengthened on the final leg which was almost a run under jib and mains and we had gained almost 2 minutes on the Hinckley on the final leg.
He later said he was fitting a proper sized mainsail and genoa, which will certainly improve performance.
JUNE 2014 DUO
We launched our 10ft Duo dinghy in April, but only had time for a short row before I left for the UK. Since my return we have been busy sorting out the rig and the inflatable collar. Even a small boat takes time to sort out, but we are getting there. Plans are now available and as I write this 10 sets have been sold.
When we return to the USA we will be fitting a set of "dinghy dogs" instead of the beach rollers we are currently using. Although expensive they will look better and mean we can keep the rollers for their real job on the Strike 15
JUNE 2014 WIZARD
Not a new launching (I sailed this Wizard a few years ago in S California) but a new owner, who reported "Richard, thanks for such a fun design! Don't let anybody say a Wizard is slow - Saturday sailing in Southern California out of Marina del Rey, heading up the coast past Santa Monica. Wind 12-15 (whitecaps just starting to form)
May 2014 Strike 16
Comments from a Florida builder "Mr. Woods’ plans are very easy to follow and I it’s possible to build this boat in a side or backyard.
What do I like about this boat? I like having the ability to just buy a derelict Prindle catamaran, half buried in the beach, for next to nothing, then being able to just cut the amas in half and use all the equipment, including the rudder, for this new trimaran.
The ride on this boat is very, very dry. The main reason I built this trimaran was to take my wife out, as she does not like the wet ride of my proa, or the small catamaran I have.
The ride is fairly good. As with most trapezoidal designs, there is some slamming when the weather picks up and the waves get bigger and you are going upwind. On the plus side, the boat surfs very nicely. There is plenty of space for a weekend gear and provisions, and you could sleep inside of the boat if needed.
I have an outboard cradle, but haven’t used it yet … I do not have to as just paddling is very easy.
I think the best days on this boat are when we can take a bunch of people on board and it still sails decently. I have 3 kids, so although a little bit cramped, we have sailed with 5 people at a very decent speed.
Being a trailerable boat really opens up possibilities to explore all over Florida, on both coasts, and through all the Florida key chains and the Everglades Park.
May 2014 Strike 15
A report from a French Strike 15 builder (a slightly modified boat)
"Newly launched Strike 15 Citronette had its first testsail on 06 and 07 May. She was very well balanced, light and responsive, a real pleasure to helm. The first day with very light wind she sailed consistently at 7 kt . The second day with more wind, she sailed consistently at 9 to 10 average speed, with maximum 10 s average speed of 11.5 kt (no anemometer record in the close vicinity, but my estimate is around 9 kt average wind).
My feeling to windward was very positive, with average speed comparable to A class cat. On a beam reach I had the feeling of a drag hump to go over 11 kt, compared to my A cat, but it is only a feeling as I had no opponents. The sailing school manager of the club, on the water, reported me he was puzzled by the boat speed with not much wind. Congratulations Richard, Strike 15 is a good vintage !"
May 2014 Vardo
Just an up date on Alona Blue, she is 99% finished and we sail her at least once a week. We have been doing some Island hopping and sunsets and she sails great! I am so happy with her performance and handling. I have 6ft head room and a beautiful Cat............. I could not be happier........!
As you know I stretched her to 36 feet and to compensate I had the jib cut to 140%, she is very balanced on all points of sail. We will continue to finish the details that we want then sail the southern island of the Philippines.
The newest cruising design is Vardo, a 34ft cruiser, something between a Romany and Flica. Many people (like myself) don't need the space of a Flica and want better performance. Which is why I like the Romany design. But many less fanatical sailors want an "inside toilet" and basically more comfort.
So this design is a cross between the two boats. The hulls are essentially enlarged Saturn hulls, but with a bit more freeboard. The bridgedeck cabin is Romany styled and a minimum size to get a saloon and space to access the hulls. (a quick note re the name. A Vardo is the Romanii gypsy name for the horse drawn caravan they live in). The first three set of plans have now been sold.
You can see a builders blog here http://sailingcatamarans.blogspot.com/
The Skoota 28 is now available with hulls stretched to 30ft (9.15m), making it more suitable for larger engines, and by implication, bigger fuel tanks. The cockpit and interior will remain the same. The extra length also allows for a bigger dinghy hung in davits.
Please contact me for more details.
For new readers
When I am not in the UK office Mary Theobald is the person to contact. She has a great background in multihulls as she has been helping to run the brokerage side of the Multihull Centre (www.multihullcentre.co.uk) for many years and currently owns a 33ft catamaran.
Finally: Normally we use Paypal as our payment gateway, but we do still take sterling cheques. If you wish to send one, please make the cheque payable to Woods Designs, not Richard Woods, thank you. If you want to pay me using other means just email and I'll sort something out
Many of you ask me for contact details of other builders. I'm sure you can understand why I am reluctant to give out customer's email addresses to strangers. So can you please use one of the forums and ask there for other builders to contact you direct. After all, that's one of the reasons for setting up the forums in the first place!
We really like the photos you send us of your boats either in build or sailing. Please keep them coming in, but when you email them please send them as JPEG's and send them at 72dpi resolution with a maximum width of 450 pixels. That size will fit neatly on the screen and saves both you and us email download times!! Thank you.