Hammerhead 54 Trimaran by Chris White Designs
Hammerhead does it all! Incredible performance, shallow draft, excellent accommodations.
Sailing performance is extraordinary by any standard. She can lope along at an easy 20 knots with mainsail and jib alone. I have seen extended periods of STEADY 19 to 20 knots of boat speed with a single reefed main and full jib beam reaching in approximately 20 knots of wind. Steering under these conditions was a one handed affair. At high speed the helm is easy and balanced with absolutely no feeling of loosing control or of impending broach. Stronger winds can yield higher speeds, I feel that Hammerhead is capable of sailing at 24 to 25 knots without surfing and without a spinnaker. There is not a single production cruising catamaran or trimaran that can approach this level of performance. I know they make grandiose claims but I have sailed on many and raced against others. The claims are, for the most part, hyperbole and in some cases downright fraudulent. Hammerhead will easily out sail them all, in any conditions.
Hammerhead's windward ability, something which is completely overlooked in many production multihulls, is astounding! With her centerboard down draft of 9' she has the ability to drive to windward like a freight train. In moderate conditions she will tack inside of 80 degrees making 8 to 10 knots through the water. As wind speed increases the fastest way to windward is to open up the tacking angle slightly to build more speed- which offsets the greater distance. Boat speeds of 11 to 12 knots hard on the wind can be achieved with proper sail trim. All of this with a masthead height under 65' so that Hammerhead will clear the numerous fixed bridges on the eastern U.S. and gulf coasts allowing unimpeded travel through most of the Intracoastal Waterway and other important harbors.
In ocean conditions her motion through the water is extremely comfortable. The narrow forebody can slice through waves at high speed without the slightest amount of pounding. Downwind she is steady as a rock with minimal roll and yaw.
Single and short handing is easy with this trimaran. All sail controls are lead to the secure midship cockpit. Hammerhead, on her first single handed passage, averaged 235 miles per day while sailing conservatively from the Chesapeake Bay to Bermuda.
Normally, to achieve Hammerhead's level of performance the accommodation plan is the first to suffer. Not so with Hammerhead. She incorporates a very comfortable tri-cabin layout that provides a large galley and saloon with a fantastic view, a double cabin forward with it's own spacious head and shower. Aft, a completely private double cabin with ample stowage and ensuite head and shower provides the space and privacy normally associated only with large catamarans.
If you need extra beds, within the main saloon there are 2 seats that easily convert to single berths, or 1 single and one double; as many as 7 can be accommodated overnight.
Twenty nine inches, less than 2 1/2 feet of water is all it takes to float Hammerhead! With a pivoting centerboard and a retracting rudder the shallow draft of the hull can be fully exploited. Vast areas of the Bahamas become "cruisable", secure hurricane holes become easy to find, over-crowded anchorages can be left behind for secluded coves inaccessible to most boats.
The pivoting centerboard is contained in a trunk located beneath the cabin sole and is completely out of the way. The board itself is positively buoyant so that it floats upward into the trunk if the pull down control is released. Up and down controls are led to a simple self tailing sheet winch in the cockpit. The centerboard can be positioned to either side of full down position in order to balance the boat under any sail combination. Careful design of the centerboard trunk and exit slot ensures that the board is quiet under all conditions. Except for the way Hammerhead tracks to windward you will never know the board is there.
In order to make sallow draft practical the rudder must also retract. Many schemes for rudder retraction fall short of ideal. Just the opposite is true with Hammerhead. Her rudder will retract automatically upon impact with the bottom or any submerged object thereby preventing rudder damage. In addition the rudder can be steered during all phases of retraction, this allows the rudder to be retracted to the draft of the hull and still be functional. Hammerhead can be sailed or motored in 2.5' of depth!
When the wind quits a 62 horsepower Yanmar turbo charged diesel engine takes up the slack. With a power cruise speed of 10 knots you will cover ground at a rapid pace.
Sailing to windward in very strong winds under a combination of deeply reefed sails and engine is a pleasant, and awe inspiring experience. Motor sailing to windward at 11 knots with 45 knots of apparent wind over the deck is unforgettable and a genuine display of the vast capabilities and versatility of this design.
Hammerhead Makes History
If there is another boat that offers better performance, comfort, seaworthiness and versatility I have never seen or heard of it. She is truly a "breakthrough" boat that will compare well with any boat from any designer at any price.