Multihulls & the OJ

Hi all (and in particular Laszlo),

I recently bought the plans/patterns for the OJ and am still contemplating my next build, which I'm confident will be a multi-hull. I love the W17, various canoe/kayak bolt-on ama options (CLC vs Michael Storer), but I'm still drawn to the simplicity of the OJ.  Two hulls does mean a lot less build time than three.  I'm looking for double-digit knots and a $h17-eating grin on my face blazing across the sound, hiking out and getting soaked.  

The rub is: there continues to be very little, if any, online presence of the OJ and I can't help but wonder if it's insufficiently vetted or a flop design I'll be disappointed with if I do opt to build it.  Nothing on YouTube, one video on Facebook from years ago by CLC, very few pictures on instagram.  I'm not sure why there aren't people racing these things around constantly, calling from the hills how stoked they are?

So I suppose this is asking for anyone who has experience with the OJ - I'd really love to see some videos/pictures, and sailing impressions!  Or perhaps the canoe/kayak DIY tri is the way-to go?  Or is the w17 really all it seems it might be?

Thanks in advance!


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RE: Multihulls & the OJ

Um... should I be embarassed to ask what's an OJ?

I Googled it (adding 'multi-hull' to fill out the query description a bit) and your post here today came up as the #1 entry on the entire Internet!

So you're spot on about it being a rare bird indeed.

I've built and sailed a Waterlust, added the amas/aka kit to add some predictable stability. Before CLC brought us the add-on I had a lengthy dialogue with Mike Waters who sketched out a different solution he thought would meet my needs, scaled down from what's proven to work Very Well Indeed on his W17 design. I'd started building that in accordance to his instructions but instead changed direction when the amas/aka product was introduced, mostly out of its simplicity and complementary design over the more complex, twin folding akas Mike proposed.

There's so little about this OJ out there I'm not at all surprised you've had trouble finding information about it. Please share what you've found, maybe we can generate some interest to get more exposure for it!

RE: Multihulls & the OJ

just to clarify what i am almost certain the question is asking about:

the OJ is the "outrigger junior"

the W17 is a W17 trimaran   and



RE: Multihulls & the OJ

Thanks h.

I knew of the W17 but the abbreviated Outrigger Junior had me fooled. Likely a bit extreme for most but heck where there's a will there's frequently a way!

JFTee you looked in at the CLC Builders' Club? You may find OJ builders there.

RE: Multihulls & the OJ

Hi back at you, JFTee.

The OJ is certainly not a flop design and it does what it's meant to do very well. I think that the reason you don't see more of them around is that it fills a very specialized niche. At over $7,000.00 before shipping it's one of CLC's more expensive kits. As a ProKit model it is more demanding of the builder's skills. It's also larger and heavier than than CLC's more popular boats and too wide to trailer unassembled without a wide load permit, so unless you have a home with water access there are serious logistical issues. Instead of hitching up the trailer, driving to the ramp and slipping it into the water, you need to assemble and rig it before launching. And then there's the fact that the average casual sailor feels exposed sitting on a bench over an open mesh trampoline. Because of all this, it will never be popular with the casual boating crowd and you won't see large numbers of them. If you read the ad copy you'll see that the OJ was designed for a youth sailing program, not the everyday sailor. As part of a program, trained professionals would have dealt with all the disadvantages while the sailors would have only experienced the fun part.

But if you have the money, skills and can handle getting it to the water, if you think that time spent rigging your boat is secondary only to time spent sailing it and if you want a fast beautiful boat that is a joy to sail, you can't go wrong with this one. I was lucky enough to go for a sail on an OJ with John Harris at Okoumefest one year and he handed me the sheet and tiller. That boat was truly a joy to sail.

FWIW, while it's a large boat with a lot of parts, the build is actually pretty simple if you've done this before. The hulls are gently curved flat pieces of wood that can be glassed flat and then assembled. The steps are simple, but they are repeated many times (like installing the padeyes for the trampoline).

So the reason it's not everywhere is because it's not everyone's boat, not because it's a bad boat. If you want the kind of sailing it provides, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better boat to give it to you.


RE: Multihulls & the OJ

What Laszlo said. 

Quite a lot has been published about the Outrigger Junior, including a thorough write-up and review by none other than John Marples, in Small Boats Monthly. Probably a half-dozen articles in print, that doomed format.

Here's a good article about the origins and development of the Outrigger Junior.

Some early sailing impressions are here.

I built at least four of them as the subject of a wood-epoxy composites class at the WoodenBoat School. CLC had a matched pair of completed examples that got sailed hard for a few years. (We still have one in the demo fleet.)

The design brief was for a (relatively) easy-to-build multihull that was easier and more fun to sail than a Hobie 14 or 16. This the Outrigger Junior accomplished, without reservation. I think it's the nicest-handling multihull in its size class.

Here's one of ours doing 14 knots on the GPS:

In keeping with the OJ's inspiration, the Malibu Outrigger of the 1960's, I thought it should handle really well in waves and surf, and it does. A terrific boat to launch through the surf at the beach, a capability I enjoyed when I took the boat with me on family beach vacations.

I'm guessing about 20 have been completed. A few years after launching the design, we swapped the lashed aka/ama assembly for ratchet straps, which cut assembly time by more than half.

The Outrigger Junior's exciting performance, combined with comfortable seating, is the result of being 12 feet wide (!). Thus, the qualities of the OJ that everyone likes are the result of a feature—the need to dismantle the boat for trailering—that almost no one likes.

It's a straightforward build if you've got a few stitch-and-glue boats under your belt, but various schemes for folding crossbeams would push the cost and complexity beyond my comfort zone. Thanks to the high parts-count, it's already an expensive kit.  

I think that if you can keep the Outrigger Junior rigged on the beach during the sailing season, it's one of the best multihulls out there. 

If you've been watching the ShopCam, for the last month we've been building the prototype for a lightweight 20-foot trimaran. It has folding crossbeams.

RE: Multihulls & the OJ

   Thank you all for the impressions and thoughts - yes the "OJ" is the Outrigger Junior, sorry to speak in CLC-ese.  

I've read the smallboats monthly article many times, and CLC's articles on the boat.  I guess I was just hoping there was more out there!  

Laszlo - I see what you're saying; I had a hard time stomaching the cost and then shipping thousands of miles, though trampolines, speed and complexity aren't daunting to me.  

Also thanks for the recommendations for the "builders club"; I didn't know that existed and I do see several people on there who own OJs.  

RE: Multihulls & the OJ

Thankyou JFTee for posting your query, and to you both John and Laszlo for adding copious history of this design that Google didn't reveal.

Had I learned of CLC 'round about the time this project was gestating I think I would have been very interested. And still young enough to believe it'd be something worth pursuing to mitigate a long-felt absence of experience.

Fortunately the Waterlust project came along in time, and by then I'd become a fan.

JFTee please come back here, bring us along as you work out the details.... 

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