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The Windrider 17 Trimaran —

The Tri That Flies By Bruce Matlack

The Windrider 17. Photo courtesy of Windrider dealer Don Wigston, Windcraft.

SPECIFICATIONS LOA: 17 feet, 4 inches Beam: 12-13 feet Weight: 325-350 pounds Draft: 18 inches


February 2009



ike many sailors, I was starting to get multihull fever. So, about three years ago, I began researching them in earnest. Although I had a history of racing, my multihull fascination was stirred by the shoal waters of my new location on Anna Maria Island on Tampa Bay on the west coast of Florida—away from the dark blue, deep waters off Southern California where I sailed for many years. My taste, though, soon outgrew my pocketbook. As I began to retreat from sticker shock of sophisticated trimarans, I happened to reconnect with my waterman friend Allan Parducci from Santa Monica, CA, who was a pioneer in windsurfing as well as Malibu outriggers, and other multihulls. I ran my dilemma by him and he said, “Bruce, there is no question what the solution is for you; it is the Windrider 17 trimaran.“ Furthermore, he told me it has been the single, most fun boat he has ever owned. I had never heard of them. With such unwavering encouragement from an old, respected friend, I decided to simply get one somehow. I searched the Internet and found a used one for sale in Maryland, made a ridiculous offer, and— sight unseen—bought one for under $5000. If Allan was correct, I just saved myself over $100,000 to cure my desires! I thought, “What can I lose for a mere five grand?” In a blink of an eye, I became a Windrider 17 owner, thanks to Allan. And I have never regretted it. Designed by famed multihull specialist Jim Brown, this model is the surviving member of a family of rotomolded polyethelene, trailerable multihulls that came out in the mid ’90s—first produced by a Carolina kayak company. The Windrider line has included a 10-footer, the 16, the hydrofoiled Rave, and the Windrider 17—the only one that is currently in production. (The Rave and 16 will again be in future production.) It first appeared in 2002 and is now manufactured by Windrider Inc., located in Minnesota. It is available through selected dealers, and appears at many boat shows. There is an active forum on the Web (the Windrider Yacht Club), and used units can be found in sailing publications, classifieds, eBay and Craigslist sites on the Net, starting at around $4500. If you are considering a new one, they are wider by a foot or so (closer to Jim Brown’s original design), and the angle of the amas (the smaller outer hulls) off the horizontal is one degree greater than the older ones. With these changes, the boats stay more level