A visit to "Finn" by Jason Gard:
In July 2016 we were lucky enough to be in Nantucket at the same time as the trimaran FINN. This fantastic trimaran was built by McConaghy in China in 2014 with the Banuls design team that were involved in Oracle BMW challenge doing the the shapes and final design. The owner Clint Clemens is an incredibly nice fellow and invited us onboard for a look to see his work of art, which you can see he is incredibly proud of.
First impressions as we step out of our tender onto her Amas is that she is a very large volume boat, she’s definitely made for ocean passages and has huge volume and large open spaces. The decks of the Amas are very large and flat with non-skid applied professionally to all surfaces and have large water tight hatches with dogs made for winch handles in each corner, we didn’t view inside them but I’m sure that the volume here is large enough for a double bed if one wanted. Clint said he uses these spaces for fenders and mooring lines and nothing else.
The large diameter Dyneema shroud end tails are led through turning blocks mounted on the aft side of the Akas and were as big and over built as everything else seemed to be on FINN. One of the other first and different things we noticed was the fact all access to the boat was done on the end of either Ama where there are large steps built into the transoms. There is also large rudder gear on each hull including the main transom hung rudder, which has a large orange kickup rudder mounted. All rudders are interconnected with carbon tubes and hinges as per the MOD 70’s.
After tying off the tender we made our way over to the main hull with Clint showing us all the different design inputs and things he’d done to make this his perfect multihull. Clint has owned two prior multihulls, the last one being a Gunboat so he’s done some miles and knew exactly what he wanted in FINN. The sail handling is mostly done in the cockpit, one of Clint’s design briefs was for the boat to be single handed easily. All lines run to the large vast and open cockpit and to large powered harken winches that run via buttons mounted near them. Forward there is a huge sail locker that holds lines and sails, it’s depth struck me at first as the boat has huge volume in her main hull, which has to be at least seven feet in depth and this shows with the open feeling you get when in each internal space. There was an ample amount of room here to hang lines and stow sails. There was no prodder or bow roller as the large light air reacher was mounted at the top of the stem and the self tacking jib was mounted about 1m aft on an above deck curler with a fitting on deck another 1m aft for attaching an inner forestay.
From forward we walked aft to the first large curved Aka where on both sides just outboard of the hull mounted on the rear side is an anchor winch. This setup is mirrored on the other side so you have the ability of using two anchors in tandem should you want of to be able to anchor with tandem anchors. Finn was on a mooring when we viewed her but Clint told me the system works great and he was more than happy with it. It was very different to anything we had seen before and it seemed like it was practical keeping the weight well aft and allowing to independent systems to be deployed should it be needed. I would like to see how it performs when lifting an anchor in a blow but it did look the part and there was a large bridle system for once the anchor had been set that ran from the bow of each Ama. This whole area was flat and made for a great working deck for whoever was operating the ground tackle. On the top of the Aka was a curved track for the self-tacking job and just forward on the centreline was the exit point of the long and thin daggerboard.
The rig is carbon from Lorima and it’s huge! The section is big and it reminded me of the dyneema shroud end tails of the large Maxi-Trimarans like Banque Populaire V now Spindrift II and the old Groupama III, big and powerful especially for a 53ft trimaran! It’s matt grey in colour same as some of the cockpit and structure and of course it cants from side to side! The shrouds run back to the cockpit in hollow box sections on the aft side of the rear Aka’s. FINN has X-beams and then aft there is a curved aft beam that encompasses the cockpit with the mainsail track mounted on top.
The cockpit is large and open and is sheltered incredibly well by the curved and dominant coachroof. This structure is what stands out most about the boat when viewing her from the water. It’s big and it’s one of those structures that you either love or hate. To be honest I didn’t take to it much when we were heading past in the tender or when I saw her on the net after her launch but you have to admit it’s super practical and anyone that’s sailed on a fast multi knows how wet they can be. This shelter offers superb protection from the elements and when onboard it becomes apparent that’s its a necessity on this type of beast.
The cockpit has a large and open deck that is divided into three main areas. In the middle there's a large four-six person lounge that’s big enough to sleep on should you want to kick back and relax and then forward is a working nav area with another large seat that is to starboard. Opposite this is a large hatch with a virtual and spiral stairway that lets down around into the interior. Either side of this centre cockpit and entertaining area is the working cockpit which contains the winches, lines, clutches, rope bins and outboard is the helm stations. Both sides are a mirror of each other and the area is so well designed that this huge beast can be easily sailed by an experienced sailor singlehanded, which is a testament to Clint and Banuls design.
In the cockpit area under the aft seat is the water maker and under the forward seat is the hydraulics that run the winches and rams. The main boom has an internal hydraulic ram for adjusting the mainsheet. This system has a right-side-up emergency dump controller attached so if the heeling moment is to great the ram can dump the sheet, which in turn de-powers the rig and hopefully keeps her upright. Next to the helm and mounted on the aft side of the aft Aka is a Harken winch that is the mainsheet traveller so the helmsman can also dump the traveler should he need and on the deck at his feet at the controls for dumping mainsheet and canting the rig. Everything is as it should be within easy reach and in practical positions. The helm seat is a high back seat made from carbon and the tiller is right there next to it again done in carbon and with an eight ball mounted on each tiller end. The deck here has no non-skid applied instead Clint sourced gorilla deck which is super light, soft and great on your feet. He says so far he’s really impressed with the durability of it and the way it looks is perfectly suited to the rest of the style of FINN.
Moving on from the cockpit we took a tour down below and wow what an interior!! None of the photos I’ve seen online do FINN justice as her interior is huge! It’s nice and open and Clint has done an incredible job with the interior LED lighting. He’s hidden all the strip lighting in coves cut out under the cabinetry so it’s hidden and creates a superb ambient feeling on the interior. When you go down the stairs you notice the nice firm and large diameter handhold or rail that’s mounted to the stairway bulkhead, the details is immaculate with the handrail even having a cut out on the bottom side and containing a LED light strip. just super stuff and very well thought out. The interior flooring is a dark colour and accents well with the black carbon counter tops and the white paneling and timber veneer that’s been used throughout.
To port there is a galley with a two burner electric stove, there’s a sink to the right of that and beyond you find the interior dinning area that can fit around six comfortably. There’s great ambient light here as there’s plenty of hatches that are capable of being opened in the hull there’s also a deck prism that diffuses natural light into the interior. The seating area is done is a deep red leather and has an hinging table that has the ability to be lifted up and well clear of the floor. Under the floor here you’ll find the 50hp Yanmar engine that powers FINN.
Walking forward there’s a main bulkhead that divides the interior communal area from the forward cabin and head. Just past the bulkhead to port is the head and shower and then forward of that is what seems to be Clint's spare guest cabin. It’s large has plenty of volume high deckheads and what looks like a large queen bunk. There’s a hatch above in the deck and plenty of ambient light and air should you be sailing tropical waters and want some breeze.
Aft of the galley and you find yourself in a huge aft cabin with that again has great ambient light provided by the two emergency escape hatches. Clint has these open and had formed an ingenious way of doing this by cutting a clear plastic bowl in half which allowed him to mount it on the bottom of the hatches as it was the exact same diameter of his hatches. He sealed them to the inside of the hatch and protected the interior from water coming in from the wash of passing boats. Great idea and it worked very well. This cabin has what was a huge double bed I think it was the size of a Californian king bed just massive!
It’s the little things through out this boat that make her stand well above the rest. Clint’s eye for detail, Macconaghy’s build quality and experience mixed with one of the worlds top multihull designers and you have FINN, which in my mind is the perfect crusing multihull. She fast, simple to operate considering the complexity of some of her systems and she’s beautiful to boot. Clint said when we were onboard that he wanted to have a boat that was easy to sail, easy to maintain and easy to live on. He’s done that and more. The systems that are complex are the hydraulics and electrics and honestly they’re simple compared to some but they are still complex system and need maintaining and looking after, for this reason he’s made sure they are all easy to get to such as the engine, hydraulic power pack being under the seat in the cockpit and the desalination unit being under the aft cockpit seat making accessing and maintaining these systems a breeze.
A huge thanks to Jason for sharing his observations of being onboard this beautiful beast of a performance trimaran. You can follow Jason and Claudia's sailing adventures aboard Spirit on his website and blog:
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