+(44) 01590 619315 The online community for enthusiasts of trailerable (and cartopable) trimarans stg@smalltrimaran.co.uk

Today we hear from a long-time boatbuilder & sailor Bill Murphy. He shares the story of how he got to build one of Dick Newick’s smaller trimaran designs – the Outrigger 26. For some of us, this would be a wonder boat to messabout with in America (once upon a time).

Many thanks to Bill, for sharing this short article with us, along with the images :-)


“The moon in the water
turned a somersault
and floated away”

– Japanese Haiku writer “Ryoto”

My wife Linda, and I built the Outrigger 26 Newick designed trimarans — twelve of them.

The boats were originally named Somersault to reflect the built-in, patented righting system by which a single sailor could right the boat even if he or she had suffered minor injuries in the capsize. We thought that such a system would appeal to potential buyers. Also, there was considerable concern at the time as to the safety of multihulls as ocean going vessels since they could “flip”, and then what?

As it turned out, once we had solved this capsize problem, no one cared about it. Owners of some early boats went so far as to simply removed the blocks of foam which were essential to the righting system, in order to get more living space in the cabin. In subsequent boats we just eliminated the righting system.

When we first approached Newick to design a boat of which we would be the builders, we owned a Tremolino. We wanted a larger boat with an aft cockpit, and, an essential — a south seas flavor. Dick’s response was a boat in which the hulls and cross arms are joined and held together, not by nuts and bolts, but by ropes, ultimately trampolines.

She is a fine example of the lasting power of good design. The boat is very flexible and “fits” into the waves and seas almost like a living creature as it sails. There have been differences of opinion among owners regarding flexibility. At least one restricted all movement with steel cables.

We know two of the boats are no longer sailing. We are interested in knowing the whereabouts of any others. We are especially interested in a final boat which we tried to launch on Chincoteague Island. When it’s outboard failed the owner decided wisely enough to just trailer it to his home. This boat was the first and only which had a rotating wing mast. We have long wondered if the mast worked successfully.

We of course know of Klaas Parrel’s Somersault 26, mentioned elsewhere on this site, which rotted for some years neath the palm trees in the southern Caribbean before being shipped to Holland where she was lovingly repaired and now proudly sails and races.

Should someone perhaps find a somersault rotting in some inner-city building in the Americas, or wasting away somewhere east of suez where garlicy smells accompany the tinkling of temple bells, I say “go for it”, let the adventure begin.

Update – 09-13-21: The following video was just sent featuring the Outrigger 26 Trimaran under sail. Look at it fly…