In Spring 2009 we drove up to Boston with our F250 pickup and bought a 1991 F-27 Corsair folding trimaran on a trailer and towed it back to Brunswick, GA. We spent several weeks making upgrades and repairs and then towed the boat to Michigan in July for a month of cruising on the Great Lakes.

This trimaran is radically different than Atom, my Pearson Triton monohull that has carried me twice around the world. Two different boats for two different purposes. The F-27 is light, fast, shallow draft with the daggerboard up, sails at less than 10 degrees of heel, doesn't roll much at sea or in the anchorage, is easily trailered and has the versatility of 8-foot beam when folded and 19-foot wide unfolded. It also is expensive to purchase, a handful to launch and sail singlehanded, has a quick jerky motion in rough seas, doesn't like to be overloaded with gear and provisions without hurting performance, has a smaller and less comfortable interior than a similar length monohull, and has the risk of turning upside down if too much sail is carried in high winds. Not ideal for an extended shorthanded voyage because you cannot safely leave the helm unattended or on autopilot in squally conditions and the boat is too fast for windvane self-steering.

On our cruise of the lakes this summer we spent many pleasant days learning to sail this boat. Sailing at a conservative 12-13 knots under full sail on a close reach was easier than I imagined - we were nearly level, the boat had a finger light response from the tiller, not much spray was landing in the cockpit and though we chose to reef when the winds increased, she had the feeling of being able to run much faster. For a longtime monohull sailor it took a while to get used to the strange effect of sailing with boat speed close to the actual wind speed. In the light to moderate winds we experienced most days, the apparent wind was so far forward of the actual wind we often ended up close-hauled with sheets tight when the true wind was aft the beam.All in all, an excellent boat for its purpose.

Update June 2011: This boat is now for sale. Details here (Sold July 2011).


Sailing on the Great Lakes 2009


The "screecher" here on the end of the bowsprit is furled on its own luff rope and can be stored as is or dropped to the deck and stowed when not in use.


You can see here and in the photo at right how narrow the main hull is, making accommodations for two somewhat cramped after a few days.


The poptop is up here for sailing in calm waters. As designed it is best left in the lowered position. This is something I intend to modify so it can be left in the partly up position semi-permanently.


Here the jib is furled and we sail under "screecher" which is similar to a genoa on a bowsprit furler.


The mast has been raised while on the trailer at the launch ramp and once launched it's a simple matter to extend the floats, or amas.

F27_2 F27_11


We carried a 6'5" fiberglass/plywood pram dinghy on the nets.


The companionway poptop is extended here to provide standing headroom. Our bug screen is in place here.


I replaced the original 9.8 HP 2-stroke outboard with a Tohatsu 6HP 4-stroke SailPro with 25" shaft and high thrust prop. The remote throttle/shifter linkages were removed and a tiller and gear shift extension added. This motor pushes the boat at 6.5 knots in calm water.


Here you see the motor in its well with the hatch cover removed.


The motor in its tilted up position with gear shift extension folded back and throttle extension removed.


The outboard well.


I installed a 43-watt solar panel on my Solar-Tracker mount and a ST2000 tillerpilot.


I replaced most of the electrical system with one switch panel here on the forward bulkhead and one on the aft bulkhead as space allowed. 750 watt inverter at bottom. I added a 2nd AGM battery opposite side to the original battery.


The boat came with this Garmin 440 chartplotter which I installed on a teak base with nonslip material glued underneath. The unit plugs into a 12-volt outlet.


Here the Garmin GPS is stored on a locker shelf when not needed outside. Four double 12v receptacles are installed around the boat to run appliances such as portable fan, PC, GPS, cockpit anchor light, etc.


The boat came with this lavac vacuum-type toilet.


Here the holding tank and macerator are visible.


My wife soon figured out that she could have full 5'1" standing headroom by removing the center floor board. We left the board and the salon table at home this time.


The boat originally came with a flimsy sliding bunk that was unusable. I strengthened it by adding aluminum angle to the plywood and flat bar for track.


Here the bunk board is extended.


An insert cushion is added to the extended bunk for sleeping.


Main salon looking forward.


Looking aft into the snug aft cabin. We mostly used it for storage for sails and gear and slept in the main salon.


Floats extended and trailer removed for maintenance.


Looking aft to the galley. I replaced the sink hand pump with a foot pump.


F-27 on her trailer and ready for the next cruise.


F-27 History

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