It took two southern hemisphere men and one from the 'north' to get the AIRPLAY Trimaran series to see the light of day. Ian Farrier pioneered the folding trimaran. It was quite sometime ago when the Farrier's hit the water for the first time and it proved to be a success due to the easy portability.
In the modern world trimarans are the record breakers, but what works for them on the water works against them in the marina. A wide beam allows a powerful platform but marina's charge excess for the added beam. However, if you can fold then you really have the best of both world's.
Ian Farrier's designs have become legendary thanks to what they offer in versatility. But the advent of the modern record-setting trimaran highlighted the need for more performance shapes in hulls, floats, rigs and beams. And so what was envisioned was a more modern interpretation of a performance folding trimaran, one that looked more racey, offered scintillating performance and yet could be packed up a towed on a road trailer by an average car.
Accomplishing that is no easy task and goes a long way to proving the genius of Ian Farrier's original thought. First of all, the modern trimaran needs enough buoyancy in the floats to support the entire sailing platform and sailing loads. Then the float has to be able to fold snuggly against the side of the main hull so that it can fit flat on a trailer. Then the floats have to be able to be manually pushed into position for sailing. Finding the right combination of float buoyancy and practicality is tricky business.
Airplay's design brief was for a truly modern folding trimaran. One that would be as captivating to sail as it was practical to own. Thirty feet was chosen as the best length as being the maximum you would want to put on a trailer and tow it yourself. At thirty feet you have enough space for a comfortable interior and a waterline long enough to get you upwind at a good pace.
Here's where the market splits. Some sailors want pure performance. Others want good performance combined with comfort enough for a family to enjoy sailing together and weekends away.
Soon it became obvious that it was two different platforms and so the RAW went to the racing edge while the SPORT series went to the second group of sailors that enjoy a dual purpose machine.
SPORT gets a bigger wider cabin that sits on the same hull shapes as the RAW Rocket.
SPORT+ adds an aft cabin for even more sleeping accommodations in the already cavernous interior.
But since AIRPLAY make the full carbon infused RAW Rocket, why not add RAW's weaponry to the SPORT series? This makes the HYBRID and includes RAW's carbon rig and even full carbon construction on the SPORT. Best of both worlds? You bet!
Hakes Marine was one of the more prolific builders in the New Zealand race boat scene having crafted the TP52 Audi as well as having a hand in Steve Fosset's round-the-world record holder Playstaion maxi-catamaran. Paul and his team of erstwhile carbon specialists put the RAW together, employing all manner of race boat technology in the folding trimaran.
"Coming from the hard core race boat scene, at first I couldn't figure out why anyone would want a floppy-boat. But walking past it every day as it took shape it grew on me then after the first sail well, I was blown away! I've never been on a boat that moved that fast with so little effort!"
Hudson should be attributed as the man to have the vision to put the Airplay name onto the sailing map. Hudson comes from a long lineage of successful mega-factories that produce everything from baseball bats to boats.
"The boating industry is my most challenging. It's a very complex series of events that get strung together in a great chain from concept to production to market."
Hudson Yachts bought out Hakes Marine and now Paul Hakes team have found themselves in one of the best production facilities that produces on the production line, the Gunboat 60 as well as the new HH42 race boat.
The original concept of the Airplay series was developed in a collaboration between Tony Grainger and Corsair Trimarans. At that stage, Corsair were looking to replace their existing C31 with a new model. Two years of work between the Corsair factory and Grainger Designs resulted in a corporate decision to "not go ahead". So Tony Grainger scooped up the last two years of his life into his arms and walked away.
Will it prove to be a decisive point in the history of folding trimarans? Only time will tell.
BE A SPORT!
The names behind a great design are important but in a performance boat the one thing that speaks volumes is... Her performance! It wouldn't matter who thought it up or who put it together if she didn't sail as intended.
We put RAW through her paces in the World's Only Equator Race. That might seem an odd thing to do but Equatorial climes are where you get the greatest variations in tide and weather. The ensuing 300 miles of the Neptune Regatta provided an ideal way to run the RAW in. A couple of short course races mixed with an 80 mile downhill run and topped off with an 80 mile beat. The race runs through a very mixed bag of tidal conditions that can generate unusual wave forms.
We didn't stack the boat with pro's but had her crewed by the owner of Number Two, a couple of Canada's most experienced trimaran sailor, a sailing newbie from New York and one chap who has loved the RAW project since first eye-balling it. Together they represented a cross section of people that are most likely to represent a fair cross section of Airplay's market.
Feedback from the experience was channeled to the Airplay Factory so that any changes that were required could be accomplished before production commenced.
So RAW One was performing a prototype role. That she won her fist regatta ever with a nice stiff rating only serves to exemplify the fact that she is full of RAW ability.
"Taking RAW to the Neptune Regatta was a great experience and tremendous privilege. Although I had spent a few weeks tinkering with RAW none of us had sailed together as a crew. Raising the sails for RAW's very first race was very much a boom or bust feeling as we had never seen a start line with the RAW machine. That RAW won the event only speaks volumes to me. Right out of the box she has untold potential. A really enjoyable eye-opening experience and we can only be scrapping the surface as far as the performance envelop is concerned." - Scott McCook.
RAW's fantastic sail carrying ability and non-threatening stance, will only mean that Sport owners will get a finely crafted boat that will have exemplary sailing abilities. The SPORT series has a lesser rig than the RAW Rocket and so RAW's mainhull flying ability will remain as her ability as the SPORT will generate less heeling moments while the huge floats will offer total forgiveness as on the SPORT. These floats will probably never be pushed to their full capacity.
Based on the same hull form as the RAW, the SPORT series feature fully fitted interiors, Class leading interior volume, supurlative performance with either a huge cockpit or an aft cabin.
The SPORT+ is for performance oriented sailors that want more space or just enjoy the safe confines of a centre cockpit. AIRPLAY's deep monocoque design creates a really volumnous cavern and a very comfortable aft cabin.
If you need a SPORT interior but want a little more buzz while racing add the mighty Marstrom Wing rig from the RAW 30! This will give the SPORT an extra 2m of mast height! Need more? Specify all carbon construction.