The Sea Trials of Minimus II
Small Craft Advisor|January - February 2021
Since our first article about Minimus II, our minimalist, four-masted voyaging catamaran (SCA #117), we’ve taken her offshore for initial sea trials. On our second outing, we spent two days and a night offshore from the coast of Oregon.
David Omick

We were really pleased with the results and based on our experience so far, she’s shaping up to be a good little voyaging boat for warm waters. She floats on her lines, even when loaded with about the same weight as for a passage. Compared with our original Minimus, a Cape Dory 25, she moves quickly, even in light airs.

The real standout though is her self-steering ability on all points of sail, which is what we hoped to achieve with the unusual four-masted junk rig. This is particularly interesting as a partial adaptation may have applications for conventionally rigged boats, including monohulls. More on that farther on.

Although we keep her on a trailer, she’s not a typical trailer sailer. Launching a boat that’s largely lashed together and has all the cordage necessary for four junk-rig sails is not a quick task. Given that we designed her for voyaging, not daysailing, however, we don’t see that as a major downside.

Once launched, she seems to become a magnet for dock walkers. They’re fascinated with her Polynesian appearance and of course the unusual rig. We enjoyed chatting with folks but soon discovered the need to budget more time for talking.

Her accommodations are minimal but adequate, with comfortable sitting headroom in the cabins. We sleep head to head in one hull, on bunks that are about 24 wide. The other hull is the galley. The galley and sleeping accommodations can be easily changed from one hull to the other if desired.

Underway, the junk sails are a joy to handle—not surprising given that even the mainsails are about the size of dinghy sails. The ability to handle the sails from a large, stable deck platform gives a wonderful feeling of security. Another benefit to the multi-masted rig is that we can easily step the masts ourselves. We’re confident that, depending on conditions, we could even do it at sea if we needed to make repairs.

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