Frequently Asked Questions about the Wavelength 780

Q. Would you do anything differently to the design now that you have experience sailing the boat?

A. Since I launched the prototype and sailed her extensively, both racing and cruising, I have incorporated a number of refinements in the plans that are now available. These include a slightly fuller section in the bows of the main hull and a similar option for the floats to give a greater reserve load carrying capacity with full water tanks;
Refinement of the dagger-board rudder to give light finger tip control in all conditions;
A number of small refinements to the building process to simplify and lighten construction – These are all included as part of the standard plans now available.

Q. I am comparing the Wavelength 780 with the F -22. What are your thoughts on the comparison?

A. You are drawing a comparison with the F-22 which is undoubtedly an excellent small trimaran, and because of its power to weight ratio, is definitely a lighter & faster tri than the Wavelength 780, the latter being designed principally with a cruising emphasis. The F-22 is a smaller boat however, without the degree of internal room, headroom and comfort available in the Wavelength, although it carries a rig that is of similar size as on the Wavelength.
Despite the cruising emphasis, the Wavelength 780 fits comfortably into fleets of standard F-82s, Corsair /F-24s, Corsair 28′s etc, and on occasion, particularly in light to moderate conditions, one or both of the Wavelengths currently sailing have out sailed examples of all of the above. This is simply to emphasize, that as a cruising boat, it is certainly not slow and is capable of exhilarating performance in the right conditions and with a high degree of comfort for a tri of this size.

Q. What are the differences in trailing and ramp set up?

The F-22, being a smaller lighter tri, only requires a single axle trailer, which makes regular trailing a bit cheaper, whereas the larger Wavelength requires a dual axle trailer and will be a bit more thirsty on fuel towing. Having severely damaged an earlier tri when a single axle trailer collapsed, I feel much more secure and steady towing a dual axle rig over long distances, despite the added cost.
Raising the rig on the F-22 may be marginally harder as it carries a taller mast of similar section to the Wavelengths (10.2m).
For just weekending and current racing potential, the F-22 may be the boat for you. However, for a more serious and comfortable longer term cruising option, where the building cost of the Wavelength with a larger hull in ply/cedar/glass, given that the rig sizes and hardware are similar, may end up the same as, or noticeably cheaper than the construction of the F-22 which uses the more exotic and expensive construction in foam sandwich with carbon components.

Q. What factors are important to the ‘appearance’ of the boat?

A. As I have a background as an craftsman potter in an earlier part of my life, I have had a strong commitment to good design. As a result, I am reluctant to compromise the design lines of the boat simply because more ‘boxy’ deck structures are seen to be easier to build or provide more level deck space. Comments from many sailing friends testify to the fact that the Wavelength accomplishes both: a roomy safe working deck and attractive flowing lines, as I hope the photos illustrate. Detailed full size templates for the deck mould frames as well as patterns for cockpit coamings, plus detailed building instructions, ensure that home builders can have the same stylish finish in their vessel.

Q. Have you considered offering a more race oriented version of the Wavelength 780, e.g. with some, or all of the following: dagger-board, taller rig, wider beam, bigger floats? 

A. At some stage in the future, I may offer a racing version of the design, however this would be at the expense of some of the attractive cruising features of the current boat and will take some time to do the necessary design changes, so this is not going to happen anytime soon!

Q. What are the likely costs of building the Wavelength 780? 

A. This is one of those “How long is a piece of string?” questions. Available prices of materials, hardware, sails etc can vary considerably from country to country, as well as price differences in the style and quality of components chosen. e.g. cruising sails as opposed to racing sails made from more exotic materials. A basic materials list for the construction of the boat is provided with the study package. Approximate quotes on the mast, sails and trailer for a vessel of this size should be able to be obtained from local suppliers with the general specifications in the study package.
In terms of the basic materials, foam is likely to be around six times the cost of ply per sheet if the boat were to be built in foam sandwich. The ply, having its own intrinsic strength, is sandwiched with much lighter layers of glass than is required for foam construction. The ply in turn, uses proportionally less epoxy resin to wet out for a given area. Internal structures are cedar/ply, again a cheaper, although slightly heavier option in some areas, to a complete foam/glass construction.
As a very approximate budget figure in Australian dollars, the following can serve as a guide:

  • Building stock, mould materials, assembly trolley plus

temporary fasteners, screws etc                                             $1500.00

  • All general consumables – sandpaper, sanding discs, saw

blades, rollers, brushes, gloves etc.                                       $1300.00

  • Ply, cedar, other timber etc. (Ply 30% cost approx.)            $6000.00
  • Epoxy resin, fibreglass and fillers                                        $8500.00 – $9000.00
  • Miscellaneous building items                                               $  600.00
  • Folding system components and stainless steel

fasteners                                                                               $3500.00 – $4000.00

  • Mast and rigging                                                                 $10,000.00 – $12,000
  • Deck Hardware                                                                    $7000.00 – $8000.00
  • Boat trailer                                                                           $5000.00 – $6000.00
  • Ropes                                                                                   $  400.00 – $  600.00
  • Outboard motor                                                                   $2000.00
  • 2 – pack Polyurethane paint plus undercoat                     $2500.00
  • Basic sails & wingnets                                                      $7000.00

(The above estimates include subcontracting out the fabrication of the folding system metal components, boat trailer and assembly of the mast & boom.)

As can be seen from these approximate figures, the major expenses on rig and hardware will come towards the end of the project.
As a rough guide, if a builder can budget $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 to get the building project under way and then find a similar annual amount over the next three years, the boat, with basic equipment, should be funded by launch date.

Q. How long does it take to build a Wavelength 780?

A. The two biggest time wasters in building a boat are
(a) Thinking time and
(b) Running around collecting materials.
In the case of (a), this hopefully is minimized by following the very detailed Building Manual including detailed drawings, with an accompanying extensive folio of digital photos on all stages of the building process. This is coupled with full sized templates of frames and non regular shaped components in the hull that will save a lot of time in fitting and material wastage.
In the case of (b), buy items in bulk where possible to save time and money. With the aid of the building manual, plan a stage or two ahead so that any potential holdups can be prepared for.
Multi-task where it is practical. If a large job is likely to result in left over epoxy, have a second smaller job ready to go to use up the excess.
Realistically, from my experience over the years of a number of friends building tris in this size range, either in foam, cedar strip, or ply, a part time home builder who has a regular full time job is unlikely to complete the project in under three years working alone, using spare time spent after work hours and on weekends. It is not uncommon for the part timer to take considerably longer than this. It is particularly important to keep the family onside, or actively helping in the project, if the building experience is to remain satisfying and the result to be fully enjoyed.
Having the opportunity to work full time on the project for significant periods is obviously more efficient as the number of start/stop/clean up cycles is reduced.
Q. Can I purchase a ready built boat?

A. At this stage, the boat is only available in plan form to home builders. However, a plan purchaser may subcontract a professional boatbuilder to build, or partially build the boat for him. One boat only is authorized for each set of plans.
It is likely to be some time before second hand Wavelength 780s come onto the market where the market price will obviously be in comparison to other trailable trimarans in this size range.

 Q. What is the personal temperament needed to build a boat?

A.You will need patience and perseverance in bucket loads!
Building one’s own boat is not all about saving money, although that will almost certainly happen with the material cost. In terms of labour and time, you will probably be better off putting extra hours into paid work in your chosen area of expertise, or day to day work, to raise the funds to buy a new or second hand boat that may not be all you wish for!
However, if you are seeking those difficult to define reasons to build, or are trying to ascertain whether you have the personal qualities needed to commit to building your own boat, then those reasons are more likely to do with a passion to achieve a significant lifetime goal that you can truly claim as your own, as a result of your own effort and hard work. What will follow, is the personal experience of pride and pleasure in completing the project and the enjoyment of your achievement with family and friends when you are finally sailing, be it weekends down the bay or further a field in ‘dreamed of’ cruising destinations in pristine waters! These are some of the good reasons to build.
As a builder, you need to enjoy the building process as a satisfying pursuit in itself, to take pleasure in seeing the shapes of the hulls emerge from your building space, and to celebrate the milestones in the project as they are reached. Yes – there is dust, noise, sticky fingers and sticky clothes, lots of sanding and other tedious aspects to the process, but having taken them in your stride, the final achievement is that much sweeter.
If your attitude to the building process is positive, then you possess the necessary prerequisite to succeed. If instead, you see it as a chore to be endured to get an end result, then it is probably best to not even start!
Remember that all boats are a compromise. If you do decide to build, then hopefully, this boat reaches a happy compromise between your perceived needs for space, comfort, style, ease of use, as well as performance and ultimately, the cost of achieving these various goals in a boat of this size.

Bob Forster