Seaclipper 16 Trimaran Build

Getting started


John Marples

John Marples, the designer of the Seaclipper 16 Trimarian, is building an SC 16 for me in his shop in Penobscot, Maine. He invited me to work with him and his wife Robin. I jumped at the chance. I’ve always followed and admired John’s work. He is and has been my go-to guy when I had questions or was looking for advice. I got to know John 25 years ago when he surveyed my first tri, a Searunner 27. Took a constant camber boatbuilding course with John and Jim Brown at Wooden Boat school. And dropped in on their class three years ago when they were building the Seaclipper 20.

Why a Seaclipper 16

Windrider 17

Windrider 17 in the North Channel

I recently sold my Windrider 17 trimaran. Over a six year period, with input from other WR 17 sailors, I modified the boat for adventure cruising. I sailed the boat mostly on Lake Champlain. I also sailed with other WR 17 sailor on expeditions out of Key West, in Core Sound inside the Outer Banks, and three times to the North Channel of Lake Huron. One of my greatest pleasures was making modifications to the boat, and then putting those modifcations to the test on these expeditions. A description of the modifications and on-line articles videos about these adventures can be found here.

So after 6 years, I am ready to start the process again, from scratch this time. The SC16 built in plywood covered with epoxy and fiberglass is similar in length to the rotomolded WR17. And I will sail it the same way, from a seated position, with foot steering, all lines leading to the cockpit. The SC 16 has some features that I was looking for.

  • A deep daggerboard and pull up rudder for improved windward performance and ease of beaching.
  • Hobie 14 mast, boom and sails which make the boat more affordable.
  • A single large central cockpit – almost 7′ long and wide plywood benches that will be ideal for a pop up tent when camping.
  • A deep hull that provides lots of storage capacity for cruising.

Making long plywood


Cutting the scarf with a power plane


In building the WR 17, first you cut out a lot plywood bits and pieces. Hull sides and buikheads. And epoxy them before assembly.

The first step is scarfing together 8′ pieces of plywood, to make the hull sides and the ama sides and bottoms.



Gluing the scarf joints


Then you glue the scarf joints together with epoxy, stacking them on top of each other so you can do them all in one shot.


Finished scarf joint










Next: Building parts and pieces here.