Richard Edlin, boat builder and designerMatakohe, North Auckland, New Zealand
You may be converted
Amongst those wanting a weekend or coastal cruiser in the thirty-foot range, multihulls, especially trimarans, have been slow to catch on. Andrew Mitchell went for an exhilarating sail on a new boat from a young designer that may make the most diehard monohull sailor look twice.

Boating World: July 1995 - Andrew Mitchell

If you're like me (a monohull owner and sailor) you may have looked at multihulls and said to yourself: great, fantastic speed and fun to sail but it needs to be big (and therefore expensive) to have good cruising accommodation. The countless owners of Turissimos and GBEs will probably berate me, but crammed in those narrow hulls isn't my cup of tea. Trimarans have always appealed to me. I guess as a monohull sailor I felt comfortable: there's one tiller, one cock-pit, one interior, just like I was used to, but three hulls went three times as fast! Interior volume, though, at least in a manageable length, was still limited. Graham Ambrose hasn't always been a multihull man. He used to own a Townson 28 until a ride aboard Richard Pilkington's Skytrain converted him. He and partner Jill Campbell built their own 8m trimaran in 1989 and cruised that extensively. They sold that and Ambrose set about acquiring a larger boat but faced a problem: none of the designs available offered the cruising accommodation they wanted in the nine-metre... range. Ambrose researched extensively the work of Grainger, Farrier, and others to no avail. His last option was to enlist the help of a local designer, but who? Ambrose was introduced to a little-known 23-year-old designer/builder, told him what he was after, and a few days later the enthusiastic and keen-for-a-challenge Richard Edlin was back with some concept drawings that seemed to fit the bill. Ambrose admits that asking Edlin, who until then had only designed the 8m harbour racer Mix T Motions, was a gamble, a gamble that he now says, with a grin a mile wide, has paid off. Having researched his subject well, Ambrose needed a designer who would listen to what he wanted rather than tell him what he should want. "Richard proved perfect," he says. "Originally I only intended that he would build the hull and decks and I would finish it off but soon I realised he was a fast and skilful builder so I asked him to see the project through to the end."
Red Alert offers the superb sailing of a modern performance multihull with central accommodation and headroom not far short of a moderate-beam keelboat achieved through the careful manipulation of flare above the waterline and clever layout. Certainly if speed and racing were the primary concern, main hull volume would be much less and sail area would be much greater, but long easy blasts of 17-18 knots on our test sail suggested this boat would keep most hard multihull speed freaks content and comfortable.
 
Graham Ambose (left) & Richard Edlin
Cockpit, Deck,Rig:
The immediate thing that strikes you about the cockpit is just how big it is. The arrangement is simple: two fore and aft seats, huge lift-up lockers underneath (the outboard to port), and a broad, open transom. Two Anderson 28 2-speed self-tailers on the cabin top combine with Spinlock jammers to ser-vice all sail controls including jib sheets. Two more standard winches on the coamings serve the double-ended mainsheet and spinnaker sheets. If I have one complaint it was that the mainsheet purchase tended to impede the crew working the winches during tacks and gybes. The traveller runs across the cockpit just aft of the hatchway on top of a short bridge deck. The centre board, raised and lowered from the cockpit, has been positioned further for-ward than you might expect so as not to compromise the interior layout.
Continued page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4