Copyright 2019 - Woods Designs, Foss Quay, Millbrook, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL10 1EN, UK
  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

We spent the 2006 season sailing our Merlin Tucanu. This was the first time I had cruised an open deck catamaran for 15 years (but I did cruise and race a Wizard in the mid 1990's) As a result I have a few ideas that will improve both comfort and performance. The sketches are given to give you an idea. I am not offering these changes as detailed plans, but those of you who have already built your own boat should be able to make something similar without any problems. They are drawn for Merlin, but should also work, with modifications, on Janus and Strider.

1) I like telescopic tiller extensions, one on each side. However they are very expensive. So I got telescopic boathooks, removed the ends and fitted a universal joint. Total cost was 1/4 the real thing. After several seasons heavy use they are still working well.

2) To reduce forestay sag and mast loads the new Tucanu rig has a bowsprit and a forestay that is 500mm aft of the original position. Thus the genoa is smaller (and so easier to handle) while we are fitting a new larger racing mainsail, see below

3) Many people now use a "squaretop mainsail" for racing. This is very similar in concept to the mainsail I made for Cockleshell Hero back in 1980! We ordered a triradial carbon sail from GM Sails in Australia. CLICK HERE to see the new rig. But please note that the Strait of Georgia, where we race, is an area with predominately light winds and flat seas. Unless you are very experienced this rig may be too powerful for English Channel sailing, for example.

4) The Shadow/Strider Club had a deep mastbeam which we found a big improvement over the standard beam. The new Tucanu beam is shown HERE. It also has the advantage that the mast foot and hence boom is higher (note you will need longer rigging). If you do not use this deep beam and have a wide beam version of a micromultihull then I recommend fitting a dolphin striker under the mast beam to limit deflection.

5) The micromultihull daggerboards were originally drawn to make the best use of plywood sheets. However for optimum performance you can extend the length of the boards between 250 and 300mm.

6) Maybe we are too old for small boat cruising, but we like more undercover space. So we are making a small cuddy. This will be removable when racing and will fit in our truck for transport. It can have a fixed nacelle or a "pop bottom" as used on Wizard and Sango. The bottom needs to be 9mm ply, but the rest can be as light as you dare. You may also need to recut the genoa to fit.

The photo shows the almost complete cuddy being fitted to Tucanu's deck

To see the general cuddy details CLICK HERE

To see the cuddy dimensions CLICK HERE

To see the pop bottom details CLICK HERE

Note: If you plan to trail regularly then I suggest either having no nacelle, or fitting the pop up version. That is because the fixed nacelle makes it harder to slide the cuddy off the boat and it takes up more room on the trailer.

These drawings make the cuddy look large, so CLICK HERE to see the cuddy with rig above - much better visually! You will notice that the boom is angled up to give yet more room as we found ducking under the boom hard on our backs and knees. This change was easy to make, as we simply cut the sail along the first seam.

Just to repeat, these sketches are to give you ideas. At this stage I am not going to draw detailed plans.


"I just want to thank you for the cabin plans you put on the web.

"I have used ideas from those plans and the open Strike cabin to build a cuddy to suit me and my wife for our Strider - a suitable shelter for daysailing which can easily be converted with a tarpaulin (or in the future something more sophisticated) into a night time cabin.

"It looks much better than I hoped and as soon as I get it on the water again I will be able to find out what it is like in practice - but I am confident it will fulfill my needs.

"All the best and thanks again,

"John, owner of Strider no37."