Explorer 44 Trimaran by Chris White Designs
An exciting new cruising trimaran
The working concept behind the development of the Explorer 44 trimaran was to design a fast and comfortable boat that could be built AND maintained economically.
We all know that multihulls, with their many hulls, complex crossbeams and need for high strength at low weight, are labor intensive structures to build. This adds significantly to the cost of a cruising catamaran or trimaran, often to the extent that ownership of the boat is not possible. One way to address the problem is to build a smaller boat. This plan works until it comes time to go cruising when it becomes painfully clear that the boat is just too small to accommodate the crew and their gear.
So the dilemma is this: How can we achieve a good cruising interior plan combined with excellent sailing performance and not break the bank. The answer is simple; go LONG and SIMPLIFY.
By extending the hull length out to 44' an excellent interior plan can be achieved that will accommodate up to six. Importantly, at this size the boat has ample stability for safe offshore sailing. And she can carry a real cruising load of supplies so that you can stay out for months at a time. Accommodation privacy, so difficult to find in a tri, is gained by the aft cabin layout.
Simplification must occur on many fronts in order to achieve a meaningful cost reduction. In the hull and deck design of the Explorer 44 we use an easy, flowing, streamlined shape. Not only is this lighter and stronger than more complicated shapes but it is faster to construct. Another area particularly important to cost control in a trimaran design is the configuration of the crossbeams. The Explorer 44 borrows a simple crossbeam concept proven on the smaller Explorer 34 many years ago. The all important crossbeams are fabricated from modern composites to achieve very high strength and stiffness at low weight but the shape of the crossbeams and their attachment to the hulls is designed to be easy to build. One time assembly is intended so that the boat can be built anywhere, shipped or trucked to a launch site and permanently bonded together.
Many tri's, including some of my own designs, utilize retractable daggerboards and rudders. As usual, there are arguments to be made both in favor and against them. However, there is one thing everyone agrees on. Moving appendages are expensive! Not only do they take a great deal of time to build they require more maintenance to keep going AND are vulnerable to damage. "Ah", the skeptic shouts, "how do we make this boat sail to windward." This I can well respond to after 18 years of first hand experience with my own trimaran JUNIPER, which goes to windward just fine with the same fixed fin configuration used in the Explorer 44. If everything else is right, a well designed trimaran with slender hulls, streamlined decks and crossbeams, a powerful sail plan and well made sails will go to windward exceptionally well with a shoal draft fixed fin. Sure, a deep daggerboard will allow 2 or 3 degrees better pointing. But at what price? A main saloon obstructed by a huge daggerboard trunk, much higher initial cost, and a more vulnerable prop and rudder? You be the judge.
Construction is in modern epoxy composite. Hulls are designed for foam core with epoxy/glass skins. Decks are foam cored epoxy/glass and crossbeams are built from uni- glass and carbon fiber/epoxy with streamlined fairings.
Accommodation plan provides a separate aft cabin which can be configured with either two single bunks or a very large double. The main cabin contains a functional galley with generous standing headroom and a large saloon which has seating for 6 and a panoramic view through large eye level windows. The saloon seats function as two single berths if needed. A spacious head compartment contains a Lavac toilet (favorite of cruisers) with gravity discharge holding tank, a simple hot shower, and vanity. The private forward cabin contains a double bunk (or upper and lower singles), full standing headroom and ample stowage.
The rig is a 7/8ths sloop with a powerful fully battened mainsail and roller reefing jib. All sail handling and reefing can be done easily from the cockpit. Like her Chris White designed sisters, the sailing performance of the Explorer 44 will be exceptional. Her wide beam and powerful floats will turn sailpower into forward motion. Driven hard, speeds of 15 to 20 knots under working sail will be common. Average cruising speeds over distance of 10 to 12 knots will be typical with a fair breeze. Light air performance and motorsailing in light winds will also be excellent and superior to most, if not all, cruising catamarans.
An inboard diesel engine (either 18 or 27 HP Yanmar) is located beneath the cockpit floor. The Explorer will do 9 knots with the larger engine at very low fuel consumption providing about 350 miles range on 25 gallons of fuel. A folding prop will minimize drag while sailing.