At the time of writing no firm decisions have been taken about the model sizes or features and no builders have been appointed to manufacture the models we are proposing. This article is for discussion only.
I see a bit of debate about how wide the boat should be and whether or not it's OK to be over width and require a permit for the road.
Firstly, this is difficult. In most countries you can legally trailer at 2.5m wide and you'll need a wide load permit if you're wider. But then it get's messy.
Every country has its own rules and they vary a lot on things like the absolute width, whether you need a police escort, whether you can be on the road at night etc. In Australia it's worse than that. You can be legal at night in one state and have to stop at the border of another state because you're not legal.
So how do we resolve this argument when we're creating a new design. How do we make important decisions that we will have own in the long term? The answer is to be clear about our objectives. Who is this boat for and how are they going to use it? We've already decided it will be easy to fold on and off the water, we're not debating that attribute.
Let's select three other key attributes that we've chosen to design for. We'll call these our first tier objectives. We want the boat to be exciting to sail, we want it to have reasonable accommodation for cruising, and we want it be easily trailerable.
There are other factors too including cost and appearance but let's just stick to the above to keep it simple for now.
Depending on the size of boat we choose we're going to have to be very clever with design and we're going to have to make some compromises. Which of these features can we keep without making unrealistic compromises in the other features? By trying to please everyone with all three of these features across a range of boat sizes we're probably not going to please anyone because the boat will not excel in any of the selected areas.
A good example is the mast raising issue. If you have a 30'/9.2m boat and you expect good performance you'll need a mast height of at least 40'/12.2m. If you're serious about racing the rig height is more likely to be 45'/13.7m.
Getting the rig up and down is probably no big deal for a team of three or four guys who also play football on the weekend. For a family with just one man in the crew it's a different issue. So regardless whether the boat is legally trailerable without a permit, this 30' boat doesn't tick the box of being "easily trailerable".
We can use a range of boat sizes to focus on how the boat will be used and focus on two of the three attributes for each size in the range to create a product that excels in both of those areas, and is acceptable in the area where the compromises have been made.
So we can have a small boat that is focused on performance and ease of transporting within the 2.5m width limit. Ideal for an owner who wants to do a lot of weekend sailing without a lot of setup time, compete in a lot of regattas and travel to distant cruising grounds by road maybe two or three times a year, or even more. I suggest this model should be up to 28' LOA, maybe just 27'
We can have a medium size boat (I'm suggest 30'/9.2m LOA and 2.9m wide on the road) that will have an excellent combination of performance and accommodation. We've kept the performance feature and focused on a roomy interior by accepting that we need a wide load permit under most jurisdictions.
Thirdly we can have larger boat that offers the possibility of offshore racing and long range cruising with the kind of accommodation that you might compare to a similar sized monohull. This model could be 37'/11.3m LOA and be trailerable on rare occasions at 2.9m wide.
By being clear with our first tier objectives in each of the three model sizes chosen we are now able to focus on the second tier objectives for each of these three models.
Prospective owners can be clear about the boats' intended purpose and the designers can be clear about the problems they need to solve and the features they need to focus on for each of the models in the size range.