Building a Lively 28 Trimaran – Follow the Plans

One of my customers purchased boat-building plans for the “Lively 28” trimaran. He is a novice boat builder, but is going to work with a friend who has experience building wooden boats. He asked me if I had any thoughts about possibly “revising” the plans for the boat a bit during the construction process.

I honestly don’t know much about the Lively 28 trimaran. I’ve seen pictures of this sailboat on the web. It certainly looks like a fine craft. But since other novice boat builders out there would love to build their own small trimaran, they may want to consider the following:

— Make sure you’ve got plans for the boat you “really” want … don’t just choose to build a certain boat model because the plans are inexpensive. The Lively 28 trimaran isn’t easily “trailerable.” That doesn’t mean it’s not a good boat. My focus is sort of on boats that EASILY trailer … ones that can be easily kept at home, and then trailered to a sailing venue whenever the urge to get out on the water strikes.

The Lively 28 CAN be trailered — according to its information pages. But it would take a bit of work to assemble and disassemble this boat. It’s really a boat that is meant to stay out on the water, on a mooring, all sailing season long. If that is what my customer is looking for, then this just may be a great boat for him.

— The building plans for this boat MAY not be as detailed as some other trimaran plans out there. I don’t know, of course, because I’ve not seen the plans. But I’m a guy who likes just about every detail explained … and that is something that is lacking in many lower-priced plans. If the builder is okay with this, then building may not be as challenging for them as it would be for me, especially if the boat’s plans aren’t absolutely sprinkled with details.

— It’s good that he has somebody who has boat building experience to work with and can help. That is GREAT … a super asset. This person should know all about working with epoxy, with can make you very sick if not properly handled. Take precautions with that stuff. It’s great building material, but follow the safety directions.

— Be careful about “adapting” plans. If adapting means “changing” then it should generally be avoided … especially by a novice builder. My book, “Small Trimarans: An Introduction,” contains an interview with the founder of Duckworks boat building magazine because he discusses the importance of always following a reputable designer’s plans. He stressed that there are reasons why designers make their boats a certain way.

Trimaran boat building plans should be followed very closely. Build a boat exactly as the designer has specified (especially if you’re a novice) or else you could end up with a boat that isn’t safe, or simply doesn’t perform well. And it would be a shame to spend so much time and money on your dream trimaran, yet have things not turn out wonderful, simply because you didn’t follow the designer’s plans as things were specified.