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Multhihulls Magazine's Big Boat Chute-Out


Rick White

The Firebird swoops by the Mothership while in the background is the Cape Florida Lighthouse located on the tip of Key Biscayne.

After the Miami International Boat Show wound down and exhibitors were all breaking down and heading home, Charles Chiodi, publisher of Multihulls Magazine, hosted a "Shoot Out" between a number the multihulls that were on display at the show -- particularly those that want to be viewed as cruising/racing boats.

The boats that participated were Corsair F31 and the new F-36, a Firebird, a Raider, a True Wind 32, and a Maine Cat 30. Since the F31 is a well established and known quantity in the mix, it was considered the pace boat for the fleet. The object of the others was to see how they stacked up against the F31.



The winds were pretty light, starting out around 5-7 mph, but built to around 10 mph before the boats make a big triangle course on the ocean. After each leg, the fleet would rendezvous and start off even again for the next leg. The legs consisted of a close reach (almost close-hauled and upwind), then a beam reach and the final leg was directly downwind.

Surprisingly, the F36 had very little trouble staying with the F31. When you consider the size of the new F36 and the fact that the rigging is obviously not tuned up for racing, it was pretty incredible that it sailed right with the fast boats with ease.


The Firebird (nearest) starting easing away from the Raider (background) on the downwind leg in around 10 mph winds.


The "hot" boats were the Firebird and the Raider. Both of these cats appear to be speedy beach cats on steroids. And they sailed like beach cats as well. From my viewpoint it appeared the Firebird was slightly faster than the Raider. Keep in mind, that I was on a boat that was more of a cruising boat and we were usually pretty far back and not able to catch all the action.

However, on the last downwind leg it was definitely the Firebird walking away. Both of these cats were significantly faster than the F31 pace boat off the wind.


The Maine Cat was faster than the TrueWind on all legs of the course.


Of the two cats that leaned more towards cruising, the Maine Cat 30 and TrueWind 32, the Maine Cat was a bit faster on all points of sail. As an observer on the TrueWind I can say it was not a very fair contest since the True Wind was barely outfitted in time for the show and ended up with some pretty bad sails. The main was very flat and lacked any power. But worse, the jib looked more like storm sail -- just tiny handkerchief hanging out there.


On the upwind leg with just main and jib up, the TrueWind managed to pull a few boat lengths on the Maine Cat. So, the Maine Cat unfurled its Reacher and took off. The TrueWind had no headsail at all and was not even rigged for one yet, although the promoters of the boat intend to get the boat properly suited up for speed in the near future.

Needless to say that off the wind the Maine Cat walked away from the TrueWind.

Charles Chiodi supervised the whole entourage from the power cat on the left which the participants referred to as the "Mothership."

"Beam us up, Scotty."

This was great idea of Multihulls Magazine to let these multihulls go out there and see what does what and when. While it certainly is no exact science, it was nonetheless interesting. I was able to get pictures of all the participating boats except the one that I was on.., Sorry!

More on the TrueWind 32

This boat appears to have some pretty nice lines to make the boat quite lively to sail, but as pointed out above, it was very much underpowered for the light air conditions we encountered. The mast was a beautiful carbon wing-like foil that would really work well with a good sail. On most multihulls that I have sailed on the rotating masts barely rotate. Not this one. It behaved beautifully and stayed where it was supposed to stay.

The hulls both had good standup room and the berths were designed for a bit of roominess -- all single beds. The deck was open and airy and easy to move around on. I particularly liked the engine compartment that was built into the deck right behind the mast. The first part of the compartment was the engine area, and behind that was a built in cooler. When the engine was running you could barely hear it -- a combination of a 4-stroke engine and that it was down under all the decking.


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