Sailing trimaran and catamaran design

We know that Owen Clarke Design are not the first office that comes to mind when thinking multihull design. Bare with us and please take the time to also read the two paragraphs below this one. They serve to illustrate our extensive and largely unknown background in this type of yacht to the media, interested parties, existing and future clients. We were before anything else multihull designers long before moving into the field of high performance monohulls with the design of Open 60s such as Kingfisher, and Ecover. These 60s, with their carbon daggerboards, rotating masts and high speeds were a natural progression from designing and sailing the catamarans and trimarans we had been used to. Indeed, it was attractive to us that like multihulls the design of IMOCA 60s was essentially open, unrestricted by rating rules and required a 'from first principles' technical approach to design the fastest possible platform without worrying about rating. It suited our methodology, they interested us and now that trimarans and catamarans have become more mainstream and popular with the sailing public the very same rationale prevails for us to revert and include once more the design of multihulls as part of our repertoire. It's only six years or so ago that we were approached to design a Multi50 racing tri and it was very dissapointing when at the end of the preliminary design phase the sponsorship was terminated, ending the project. We have a passion to design interesting performance orientated yachts and multis fit that bill. We're looking forward to adding both cruising and racing designs to our portfolio.

                   24m performance cruiser                    Light and airy interior                    Consequent design


In 1993 Merfyn Owen and Allen Clarke designed and built their first monohull. She was a radical 30' ultra light displacement boat (ULDB) with twin rudders, carbon lifting keel and appropriately called, Maverick. In the six years before this Owen was exclusively designing, building  and project managing racing and cruising multihulls pursuing a knowledge based design process from the very beginning utilising probably the world’s first multihull VPP. The software, written in Fortran 77 was created while he was studying naval architecture. at University College London and took more than a year to develop. Shortly after leaving college design on the first yacht began in earnest. The result was the first ‘as wide, as long’ trimaran, Fiery Cross, 35' long and 34' wide, which he, Allen Clarke and a small team built in Cornwall between 1987 and 1988. Completed only weeks before that years Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR) in which her owner Rupert Kidd finished second behind a young Brian Thompson. Fiery went on to win the following years Round Britain and Ireland Race. In 1991 Allen Clarke collaborated with Merfyn on their first design together, Syn Y Mor, a thirty foot racer-cruiser catamaran. Two years and several projects later Merfyn completed the design of the racing trimaran Spirit of England for a client who would return later for an Open 60  Mike Golding. Built in strip cedar, carbon and glass, this wing masted fourty footer would later, under the ownership of Peter Clutterbuck with crew Brian Thompson, go on to win and set records, some of which the pair still hold today.

                     Fiery Cross                                    Syn Y Mor                                         Spirit of England

 
Merfyn Owen first started racing multihulls with Rupert Kidd in 1983 on the 30' Applejack (ex MarkOneToolHire), gaining experience quickly delivering and racing boats of various sizes within the small UK multihull community. In 1985 he had his first big break at the age of twenty two taking the slot as navigator on the 85' catamaran Novell Network for the UAP Round Europe Race. Between 85 and 93 Owen continued to build up practical knowledge racing catamarans and multihulls in French regattas, the Formula 40' circuit and British events such as the Three Peaks Race. With crew Allen Clarke and Alex Phillips, Fiery Cross was delivered back across the Atlantic in 88 from the OSTAR finish completing Owen's first Atlantic crossing.The winter of 1990-91 was spent managing the refit of Tony Bullimore's latest 60' trimaran, Spirit of Apricot, before sailing as crew in the Round Europe Race of that year. Despite a disastrous capsize three months before the start which led to the team missing the first two legs of the race, Spirit's outright speed dominated the event, with her winning the final leg into Toulon by over twelve hours.

                   Novell Network                    Three Peaks on Fingers Crossed                    Spirit of Apricot    

 
As time allows we will be developing further concepts for cruising and racing multis until we find the client who's interested to tread a different path and wants something different from new, while at the same time, experienced designers in the field. If you might be that client and wish to begin that discussion contact us here

For more information on our 24m design go to: 24m Custom performance cruising cat

For an explanation of the technology behind the design process go to: NAVAL ARCHITECTURE

For an insight into our engineering and detailed design work go to: ENGINEERING
 

And for those that might be interested, three videos from the 90's from three classic British multihull events:

1995 Azores and Back Race

1996 Three Peaks Race

1998 Round Britain and Ireland Race


 

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