D/T-10 Trimaran, Newick


Trimaran, Newick

40' x 28' x 3 Tons

36" Dia. Galerider

Force 8-9 Condition


File D/T-10, obtained from Deborah Druan, Farmingham, MA. - Vessel name Greenwich Propane, hailing port Greenwich, CT, ocean racing trimaran designed by Richard Newick, LOA 40' x Beam 28' x Draft 5' 6" (2' 6" board up) x 3 Tons - Drogue: 36" Diameter Galerider on 250' x 5/8" nylon braid rode - No bridle - 5/8" Stainless steel swivel - Deployed in a gale in deep water about 400 miles NE of the Azores with winds of 40-45 knots and seas of 18 ft. - Vessel's stern yawed 10° - Speed was reduced to about 3 knots during 10 hours of deployment.

Debbie Druan is the United States' foremost female multihull skipper - America's Florence Arthaud. She has won numerous first-to-finish trophies to date, the latest on her Formula 40 racing trimaran, Toshiba. Doubtless she will make it to the Whitbread. Debbie is also commodore of the New England Multihull Association and has written numerous articles about ocean crossing and heavy weather tactics in the journal of the NEMA. In May 1994 she arrived in Bermuda with David Koshiol and Joe Colpit to deliver the 40-ft. Newick trimaran, Greenwich Propane, to Plymouth, England. The owner of the boat, John Barry, was to race it in the 1994 Two Star Double Handed Transatlantic Race from Plymouth to Newport. On the Horta to Plymouth leg of the crossing Debbie and crew ran into a gale. The following is a transcript of her report, appearing in the September 1994 journal of the NEMA (reproduced by permission):

The gale hit us on May 23. We were 838 n.m SW of England and 424 n.m. NE of the Azores. It was good to know about the low in advance because by noon when it started building rapidly we knew why. We went from the full main, jib, and spinnaker to just the jib, surfing at 10-12 knots down 8 ft. seas in 18-22 knots of wind. We decided to just take the main down and not deal with reefing. We weren't racing and just needed to get the boat to England in one piece and on time, so we played it conservative. By 5:00 PM as the wind and waves increased we just kept rolling in more and more jib and took the rotation out of the mast. We were still going just as fast. It was tiresome, wet and cold on watch, so we went to a 2 hours on and 4 off system. Late that night it had moderated down to 30 knots and 12 ft. waves, so we started thinking the worst was over.

The next morning we started getting hit by rain squalls and an increase to 40 knots and 18 ft waves. There wasn't much jib left out so we started wondering what we were going to do when we ran out of jib. The problem was that the boat didn't have a barometer and we had no way of telling if we were moving along with this storm, or if it was intensifying. After much discussion between the pros and cons of setting the para-anchor or the Galerider, we decided on the Galerider because it seemed out of the question to turn the boat up broadside to the 18-20 ft steep seas to set the anchor off the bow. So we pulled out the Galerider and got it ready just in case. It wasn't the high wind that concerned us but the fact that the boat just was not steering down the steep waves very well. Occasionally she would surf madly down the face of a wave, the rudder would cavitate, we'd lose control and go down a wave sideways. You only needed for this to happen once and the boat could trip over itself. As Joe had once capsized in another trimaran, he was familiar with the warning signs.

Finally, after 24 hours of hand steering down these steep seas David, who was on watch, yelled down to us "hey these suckers are getting bigger, we better do something." As another large wave slammed us sideways, you could hear the nervousness in his voice. They were over 20 ft now. We determined that we must be moving along with this system, as the wind was supposed to change direction after it had passed, and it hadn't. We needed to stop and let it pass by us. We were all worried. None of us had ever set out a drogue before. The Galerider was constructed of thick 2" webbing in a criss-cross pattern with a 3 ft diameter opening. Attached was 6 ft of 3/8 chain and a 5/8 swivel. The line was 250 ft. of 5/8" nylon braid. The blocks on the ama sterns weren't strong enough to be used for a bridle, so we used the main stern anchor cleat to secure it.

While David steered, I made sure all the line was flaked and ready to pay out of the bag in the cockpit, and Joe stood on the main transom with the drogue. He looked like he was standing over the edge of a huge cliff with 20 ft deep troughs and 250 ft to the next wave crests. Joe took a wrap around the cleat and gently dropped the Galerider off the stern: instantaneously the Galerider took hold and you felt the boat take a huge tug backward. The transom was pooped instantly as a wave overtook us. Joe paid out 150 ft of line. We waited, wondering if the anchor cleat was holding. You could see the Galerider riding the crests of the waves, so he paid out another 100 ft of line to take the strain off the cleat. Now you could see only the line riding in the waves. Soon we were surrounded by mountains of waves and they just came up, passed under the boat, and away. We were calmly and slowly going down wind at three knots.

Our first reaction was "why hadn't we put it out sooner?" Even without a bridle, the Galerider stayed centered off the stern. It only yawed back and forth a little. It was now easier to steer. For anti chafe gear we used a rag on the cleat and kept and eye on it. Ten hours later the wind and seas had moderated enough and we simply pulled the drogue back in. Joe from the stern pulled it in hand over hand, waiting for the line to go slack between waves. David tailed the end of the line on the runner winch into the cockpit.

Two days from the onset of this low we were able to put the full main back up. For the next 800 n.m. to Plymouth we'd have 2-3 days of wet, bumpy and cold conditions to one day of dry and warm.... The last 300 n.m. was a beat to weather. As we were worried about the rig we sailed the boat as conservatively as possible. We made our approach to England by the Lizards.

D/T-4 Trimaran, Newick


Trimaran, Newick

31' x 26' x 1.5 Tons

4-Ft. Dia. Conical Drogue

Force 9-10 Conditions


File D/T-4, obtained from B.J. Watkins, Arnold, MD. - Vessel name Heart, hailing port Richmond VA, Val ocean racing trimaran designed by Richard Newick, LOA 31' x Beam 26' x Draft 5' (2' 5" board up) x 1.5 Tons - Drogue: 4-Ft. Diameter cone (unknown make) on 200' x 1/2" nylon braid tether, with bridle arms of 75' each and 1/2" galvanized swivel - Deployed in a whole gale in deep water about 300 miles NE of Bermuda with winds of 40-50 knots and seas of 20 ft. - Vessel's stern yawed excessively - Damage and risk of capsize lead to the abandonment of the boat.

In order for a medium-pull drogue to take greater control bridle should be attached to the extreme outboard ends of the floats. (Review also Figs. 22, 23 in Section 4 for options relating to the attachment points of low-pull drogues that may require hand steering).
In order for a medium-pull drogue to take greater control bridle should be attached to the extreme outboard ends of the floats. (Review also Figs. 22, 23 in Section 4 for options relating to the attachment points of low-pull drogues that may require hand steering).

B.J. Watkins was singlehandedly sailing Heart from Annapolis to England to participate in the 1988 C-STAR (Carlsberg Singlehanded Trans Atlantic Race). Her intent was to become the first American woman ever to finish that race. "That is not what happened, unfortunately," writes B.J. in an article entitled The Agony of a Premature Defeat (March/April '88 issue of Multihulls Magazine).

B.J. departed Annapolis on 9 April 1988. On the third or fourth day out the boat hit something, damaging the rudder. A week later, 380 miles NE of Bermuda, Heart ran into a whole gale. B.J. set a 4-ft. diameter, conical drogue - unknown make - off the stern.

While the cone was too small to pull the bows into the seas (B.J. had tried that once and the boat just laid beam-to), by all tokens it should have done a good job of pulling the stern into the seas. But it did not. Why not? Likely because of the incorrect attachments points of the bridle. Heart was practically identical to Galliard (file D/T-2), both trimarans being Newick Val 31s. The difference was that Tom Follett deployed a 5-ft. diameter Shewmon with a bridle leading to the extreme outboard ends of the floats, whereas B.J. deployed a 4-ft. cone with a bridle secured to chain plates located on the cross-arms, inboard and forward.

The cone may have been on the wrong part of the wave train as well. In order to keep the stern aligned into the full blown gale B.J. found that she had actively to steer the Val trimaran. The pull of the drogue was not constant. Now and then the yacht would surf down the face of the steeper waves. To steer risked further damage to the rudder. To not steer risked a broach and possible capsize. The barometer kept falling. Components began failing. The seas built up and finally started to break over the small trimaran.

The situation became untenable and B.J. had no alternative but to turn on the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). She was taken off the crippled trimaran by the Dutch container ship Charlotte Lykes.

B.J. Watkins had spend about $50,000 in preparing her boat, which was uninsured once it was 200 miles from the U.S. coast - a bitter loss. A transcript of the DDDB feedback submitted by B.J. Watkins follows. It includes portions of related correspondence with Donald Jordan (by permission):

I have enclosed a copy of the correspondence I had with Donald Jordan. I hope this is helpful. Mr. Jordan and I have reached the conclusion that the reason the sea anchor did not pull the stern to the seas was because of the location of the attachment points. We feel that they were too far forward on the boat and too far inboard....

[From the Jordan correspondence]: I cannot tell you exactly what size drogue I had. It was a cone shape, approximately 4 feet in diameter at the widest point. It was original equipment which came with Heart, so I do not know the exact measurements. I had attached snatch blocks to half-inch "D" shackles whose pins formed the pins for the turnbuckles on the mast rig. The bridle lines ran through the snatch blocks to the primary winches. I am at a loss to explain why the boat did not ride stern to the wind. My experience with Heart prior to rigging with the wing mast was interesting. I had on a previous occasion deployed the sea anchor from the bow of the main hull, no bridle. This was done in Long Island Sound, 50-knot winds, 5-8 foot seas, no bridle. Heart laid beam to the seas at that time. We had the board up but the rudder was in place. Dick Newick suggested that possibly if we had raised the rudder we might have then set bow-to. The action of the sea anchor at that time prompted me to investigate further. We added the bridle and decided to try stern-to.... I agree that the best arrangement is to attach the bridle to special reinforced fitting provided at the aft ends of the amas.

UPDATE: Two years later B.J. Watkins and her teammate Boots Parker were participants in the 1990 Two Handed Transatlantic Race on the 45-ft. Peter Spronk catamaran Skyjack. On their way to England they lost both rudders (the shafts had been fabricated out of aluminum instead of stainless steel). And, while attempting to limp to the Azores on one spare rudder they ran into two Force 8 gales!

However, this time B.J. had an 18-ft. diameter Para-Tech sea anchor on board. In the second gale she deployed it. The orange parachute pulled the bows of Skyjack into the teeth of the gale, parking the boat and minimizing damage.

In a subsequent telephone conversation with Victor Shane, B.J. said that the parachute sea anchor performed in a most satisfactory way - it was a morale booster and it allowed them to "call time out" in a difficult situation.

D/T-3 Trimaran, Newick


Trimaran, Newick

60' x 34' x 8 Tons

5-Ft. Dia. Shewmon

Force 10 Conditions


File D/T-3, obtained from Thomas Follett, Orange City, FL. - Vessel name Rogue Wave, Maxi ocean racing trimaran designed by Richard Newick, LOA 60' x Beam 34' x Draft 8' (board down) x 8 Tons - Drogue: 5-Ft. Diameter Shewmon (sea anchor) on 100' x 3/4" nylon braid rode. - No bridle - Deployed in a gale in shallow water (50-60 fathoms) about 80 miles west of Tunisia with winds of 50 knots and unstable seas of 15 ft. - Vessel's stern lay at a 25° angle during 36 hours of deployment with very little drift.


This is the second of two major reports obtained from veteran delivery skipper Tom Follett (see also previous file). The occasion of this file led to the publication of the Shewmon Paper, Sea Anchor - Rode Tactics (1986, Shewmon, Inc.)

Multihull sailors may recall that Rogue Wave once belonged to the late, great Phil Weld, whose previous 60-ft. trimaran Gulfstreamer was capsized by a rogue wave in the Atlantic, later to be picked up by the Russian ship Boreas and taken to Odessa, where she collected dust for many years. Some time after Phil passed away, Rogue Wave was purchased by a wealthy individual of the United Arab Emirates. Tom Follett and crew were delivering the big tri when the incident occurred.

Rogue Wave departed Almerimar, Spain, in February, bound for Sidi-bu-Said, Tunisia. Two days later and some 100 miles north of the African coast - in shallow water - she ran into an Arifi (a cousin of the Scirocco), packing 45-50 knot winds. The waves were about 15 ft. high and 200 ft. from crest to crest. Rogue Wave was doing about 10 knots on bare poles with her 117 sq. ft. wingmast feathered when the 5-ft. diameter Shewmon sea anchor was jettisoned over the stern.

The crew had led about 100 feet of the rode through some deck hardware to three cockpit winches, thinking that they could let out more line afterwards. When the sea anchor took hold it brought the huge trimaran to a jarring halt, yanking some minor hardware out of the deck. The three cockpit winches held, however.

Tremendous tension was noted in the rode, "too great to risk paying out any more line after we got the thing made fast," quoting Follett. Notwithstanding, the sea anchor held the stern into the seas for 36 hours, until the storm abated. According to Shewmon, "When the sea anchor was retrieved, many of its longitudinal seams were found ruptured despite its tug-tested 10,000 lb. pull rating. The wind force on the boat was well under 1,000 lbs., so what caused the other 9,000 lbs. of pull?" Dan Shewmon then draws from Bowditch table 3303 showing that the circular surface water particulate speed for the reported 15-ft. waves must have been 3 knots.


Orbital rotation can cause extreme high loads in the case of large sea anchors, or small ones used as medium pull drogues.
Orbital rotation can cause extreme high loads in the case of large sea anchors, or small ones used as medium pull drogues.

When the boat was moving downwind on a crest at 3 knots the sea anchor must have been moving upwind at 3 knots in the adjacent trough. This adds up to a divergence of 6 knots, "which explains the missing 9,000 lbs. and the ripped out hardware and ruptured seams." (Quoting from the Shewmon paper, Sea Anchor - Rode Tactics.) The trouble appears to have been caused by a rode that was too short. Had the crew tied off 400-500' of rode (instead of only 100') the initial shock and the subsequent system loads would have been a great deal less. (Walter Greene seems to have run into a similar problem in File D/C-1).

Rogue Wave spent a few weeks in Tunis and then departed for Crete. About 100 miles from Sicily she ran into a Gregale (a cousin of the Mistral). This time Follett used a smaller, 3-ft. diameter Shewmon drogue. Transcript:

About a hundred miles or so east of Sicily, we streamed our smaller (3-ft. diam.) Shewmon drogue in an easterly wind of Force 7, in order to avoid plugging to windward. Worked much better. Lots of shipping about and we could maneuver with the engine whenever necessary [drogue in tow]. Didn't stop us but slowed us down a lot and was very comfortable. Not nearly as much strain (of course the wind was only about Force 7) and we could easily vary the length of the rode.

EPILOGUE: Tom Follett passed away shortly after Victor Shane obtained invaluable feedback from him. He was a close friend of Richard Newick and delivered many of Dick's fantastic wind machines to exotic places all over the world. During his lifetime he made fifteen Atlantic crossings and numerous other passages, successfully negotiating a variety of heavy weather situations in monohulls and multihulls.

Tom knew the sea. He could discern subtle differences between gales and compensate for them ahead of time. He knew when to heave-to in a H-28 monohull and when to deploy a drogue on a 60-ft. racing trimaran. We are very fortunate that just before passing he left some of his priceless knowledge to us.

D/T-2 Trimaran, Newick


Trimaran, Newick

31' x 26' x 1.5 Tons

5-Ft. Dia. Shewmon

Force 9-10 Conditions

File D/T-2, obtained from Thomas Follett, Orange City, FL. - Vessel name Galliard, Val ocean racing trimaran designed by Richard Newick, LOA 31' x Beam 26' x Draft 5' (2' 5" board up) x 1.5 Tons - Drogue: 5-Ft. diameter Shewmon (sea anchor) on 200' x 5/8" nylon braid tether, with bridle arms of 80' each and 1/2" galvanized swivel - Deployed in a whole gale in deep water about 300 miles east of Cape Cod, with winds of 45-50 knots and seas of 12-15 ft. - Vessel's stern yawed 10-20° during 48 hours of deployment.

This is one of several files Victor Shane was able to obtain from Thomas Follett. Follett delivered hundreds of boats all over the world. In February 1985 Follett and crew were delivering Galliard, a Newick Val 31 ocean racing trimaran, to Villa Mora, Portugal, from Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts when they ran into a heavy gale some 300 miles east of Cape Cod. Follett deployed a 5-ft. diameter Shewmon sea anchor off the stern - in drogue fashion. The boat was hove to the Shewmon for 48 hours, during which time the sea anchor must have withstood over 40,000 wave cycles. Transcript:

A crew of two and heavy load of stores. Boat was essentially a daysailor and not suitable for the North Atlantic in October, and we ended up returning to Norfolk. About 300 miles ESE of Cape Cod a NE breeze came up and increased to Force 8 or 9 with rough seas. Streamed a 5' drogue with a bridle to the stern ends of both amas [floats]. Bit of nuisance with the stern of the aka [main hull] jutting out and all cluttered up with antennas and with a spade rudder hanging down. Managed to get part of the bridle under the rudder at one time and this took some time to sort out. Unlike Rogue Wave [see file D/T-3] there was not enough windage on Galliard. Finally had to set a storm jib in order to reduce the tendency to surge forward and then snap back, as though tethered to a rubber band. Caused the drogue to collapse after a time and we had to reel it in for a sorting out. In general, however, we lay quite comfortably about 20° off the wind and very few seas broke aboard in spite of the heavy load of stores and crew. No damage to the drogue, except for the swivel, which got crosswise somehow.

Before 1981, Tom Follett was using warps and other makeshift drag devices during his deliveries. Typically the setup consisted of two lengths of rode, with a bit of sail or chain in the bight. The arrangement proved itself quite satisfactory when Follett was delivering lightweight multihulls. Here is a transcript of a report involving one such occasion:

Vessel name, Bonifaccio, 41-ft. trimaran designed by Dick Newick and built by Damien McLaughlin for a French owner to sail in the Double-Handed Trans Atlantic Race from Plymouth, England, to Newport, R.I. in 1980. Used warps (3/4" braided nylon) from both ama sterns with a 10-ft. piece of 1" chain in the bight. Each warp was about 200 ft. Wind about Force 8 from SW (blowing us in the right direction, i.e., towards Plymouth) with heavy rain. Rough sea. One part of the bridle led through a snatch block on the Ama stern and back to a cockpit winch. Very easy to handle the whole mess and the boat rode very easily. Not necessary to steer. Fresh breeze only lasted one night and we were back in gear about noon the next day. Fair amount of drift. About 2 knots, more or less.

General comments: The trimaran configuration makes the use of a bridle difficult when streaming a drogue off the stern. If one could get around to setting things up with the wind about Force 4, life would be easier. But unfortunately it's often Force 8 or more before one gets around to it. Then the difficulties are magnified and one often ends up doing it all wrong. The ideal system would be one which is easy to sort out, does not put too much strain on the boat or fittings and holds the boat fairly steady while riding easily. Not exactly compatible factors.

S/T-5 Trimaran, Newick Derivative


Trimaran, Newick Derivative

30' x 25' x 2 Tons

5-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 9 Conditions


File S/T-5, obtained from the owner of the boat, residing in Falmouth, MA. - Vessel name withheld by request, hailing port Falmouth, design derived from the Newick Val 31 concept (lightweight, open wing ocean racing trimaran), LOA 30' x Beam 25' x Draft 8' x 6" (2' 3" board up) x 2 Tons - Sea anchor: 5-ft. Diameter Shewmon on 200' x 5/8" nylon three strand tether and bridle arms of 50' each, with 1/2" galvanized swivel - No trip line - Deployed in a gale in deep water within the Gulf Stream with winds of 45-50 knots and seas of 12 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - True drift was undetermined due to the Gulf Stream.


This lightweight Val-class racing trimaran was sailing back from Bermuda to her home port of Falmouth when she ran into a gale within the Gulf Stream. The skipper deployed a 5-ft. diameter Shewmon sea anchor, which pulled the three knife-like bows into 12-ft. confused seas, and kept them safely there for a period of 18 hours. Several snatch blocks were used to bring the bridle ends to cockpit winches. This enabled the skipper to work the bridle from the safety of the cockpit. He found it necessary to freshen the nip once every hour or so - two turns on the winches to shift the wear points and reduce localized chafe. The large daggerboard - drawing 8' 6" when fully lowered - was raised about two thirds of the way up, leaving about three feet of board sticking out of the bottom to keep the hull's center of lateral resistance sufficiently forward. The tiller was lashed amidships.

The bridle was led off the main hull and the tip of the port float only. The beam of the yacht being 25 ft., this "half-bridle," extending from a 12½ ft. base, was evidently enough to provide the leverage needed to keep the trimaran facing into the seas. In general your author is opposed to "half-bridles," however. Along with other safety experts, your author feels that the multihull bridle should make full use of the leverage afforded by the maximum beam of the yacht. The wider the base of the bridle, the greater the leverage - and the more positive its influence in terms of vessel alignment.