Multihulls – Part 2, Jim Brown – original

“A Different Attitude Toward The Seas Distinguishes The
Modern Multi-huller”

Highlights from this Segment

– Which multihull requires a life raft when capsizing

– The very thing that really niggles the mind of the man, woman, and child who is contemplating sailing offshore

– The one fact that points the way for multihulls

– Who’s responsible for the difficulty of getting into a trimaran

(transcript for this segment)

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Here’s what you’ll discover in this presentation…

  • What you need to know about modern day multihulls
  • The monster advantages and disadvantages that set
    catamarans and trimarans apart
  • Why multihulls and pack rats are not suited for one another
  • The one thing that the multihull has that cannot be approached in a monohull
  • The truth about trimarans with hydrofoils
  • Which multihull can provide a habitat for the castaway sailors after an offshore capsize
  • How multihulls behave in heavy weather
  • The history of the modern multihull
  • What’s driving up the costs of multihulls
  • The real Achilles heel of the boat

About Jim Brown

Jim Brown is a marine architect and boat builder He is best known for his trimarans, but has also designed and sailed many catamarans. The New England Multihull Association has honored him for “Outstanding Achievement.” He is also the owner of, a project to collect, preserve, and disseminate the history and lore of modern seafaring.


Jim: Whereas with the catamaran, if you violate the airlock that in those capsized hulls, the boat is probably going to settle too deep to be habitable inside. And so like sunken monohull that has disappeared, the catamaran requires that the crew take to a life raft and I’m not saying that they should take to the life raft alone.  It becomes critical now for the life raft to remain tethered to the mother ship in a catamaran.  And right in there, we’ve had several incidents that indicate that it’s a bad mistake to take off in your life raft if you can stay attached to the capsized mother ship because the mother ship contains all kinds of stuff that you can use for survival while awaiting rescue.  And there are a number of wonderful historic examples to illustrate that point, Robin and we’ve seen particularly with my great friend, John Glennie, who his crew of two managed to survive for  120 days, four months, inhabiting their capsize trimaran in the South Pacific.  And when they finally got to the shore, they were in such good shape that the authorities didn’t believe their story. So if you want to talk about safety that’s ultimate safety.  That’s zero hour.  That’s the very thing that you know really niggles the mind of the man, woman, child who is contemplating sailing offshore.  My G-d, what if the thing sinks or capsizes?  Well, from what we know about it now, you’d rather have it capsize and if it’s going to do that, you’d rather have to be a trimaran and a catamaran, at least, that’s my analysis.  

Robin: Uh-huh.

Jim: And it’s pretty longwinded, I hope somebody is still interested because I think this is hot stuff, you know.

Robin: This is just so fascinating.

Jim: Yeah.   We’ve learned a lot in the last 50 years.  A lot of it we’ve learned the hard way.  You know, a lot of us have learned our seamanship the hard way.  There’s been a lot of crack ups, some loss of life, some true tragedy in order to accumulate this knowledge.  But we’ve got it now and there’s just no doubt, Robin, that it all points the way to the fact that multihulls represent an absolute sea change in marine architecture.  We’re going to see a whole lot more of them both recreational and commercial and military.  No doubt in my mind.

Robin: Oh, I’m sure.  It sounds like as I matter of fact that I know quite a few people now that are actually buying cats than trimaran.  Well, I don’t know so many about buying trimarans but…

Jim: Yeah.

Robin: …I do know a few that are building their own.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Robin: It is heading that way.

Jim: That could be pretty hard nail to get into trimarans because the press these days, you know, the evidence in the harbor and so on is …

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