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Dock Find: 1992 Piver Trimaran Multihull Sailboat

The auction ends soon for this donated oddball of a boat, known as a Piver Trimaran, a multihull creation from the mind of entrepreneur Arthur Piver. The company pioneered this novel design, and demonstrated its ability to perform cross-continental journeys via high-visibility competitive events. The founder also encouraged DIYers to buy boat “kits” for final assembly in their own garages and backyards, like any other Kelmark GT. This example is a donated vessel offered here on eBay with no reserve and bidding to $2,300 at the moment.

The auction is set to wrap up later today, so get your bids in soon if a Piver is on your list of boats to someday own. The history of the company behind this method of boat construction is almost entirely wrapped up in the founder, the aforementioned Arthur Piver. He started out building three-hulled plywood yachts and began sailing them extensively, venturing across the Atlantic Ocean and later wandering out to New Zealand via the Pacific in a different trimaran that he also built himself. This confidence in the boat’s abilities led him to sell his boat assembly plans to enterprising DIYers who wanted to build their own trimaran.

Unfortunately, it was this faith in self-built boats that led some in the community to question Piver’s concept. Just like a kit car, some of the boats were crudely finished, and certainly not over-engineered for open water passage. But those boats that were built to a high level time and again demonstrated the viability of the three-hulled design, with owners of “strong” boats heading out to warm Caribbean waters in vessels built using the plans Piver provided. The listing for this donated example is limited in background information, and understanding how the owner approached construction would be good info for the next caretaker to have.

Strangely, the Piver trimaran has a somewhat tragic history as it relates to boaters who struck out on extraordinary missions only to end in heartbreak. Piver was one of them, lost at sea after borrowing a customer’s boat to perform a qualification run for the prestigious “Observer Single Handed Trans Atlantic Race.” Other Piver boaters faced similar misfortune a short time later, with two attempts at cross-ocean ending in one wrecked boat and another that floated aimlessly after its captain disappeared, with the trimaran now a deteriorating wreck on Cayman Brac. A colorful history for a most unusual boat – should this one be restored and taken out into the vast, open ocean?


  1. ace10

    Trans-oceanic? Yes.
    Intercontinental? Sure.

    But not you’re not going “cross-continental” in a sailboat, unless it’s being towed.

    Like 17
  2. John Reed

    this boat appears to be a Piver Lodestar. 35′ in length and 18′ wide. lived on it a few years in the florida keys.
    these boats are basically plywood with a skin of fiberglass, they handle well, don’t tack upwind too well but they sail fast off of the wind if you don’t overload them.
    plywood + fiberglass has advantages and disadvantages: reasonably easy and cheap to repair with handheld power tools, but being wood; they rot. you can cut out a rotted section with a sawsall in 15 minutes and create 2 weeks worth of work. you have to break this boat up to make it sink as it carries no ballast. I sank mine on purpose when I ran from hurricane Andrew in the 90’s and the boat was perfectly fine once I pumped her and dried her out.
    The boat I owned was the QueeQueg; built by a man named Quenten Cultra in the late 60’s in the Midwest. he motored down the Mississippi, went thru the panama canal and proceeded to sail around the world. I bought it in the late 80’s and had to rebuild her. sailed her to Mississippi in the 90’s and sold her in the early 2000’s; she was destroyed in hurricane Katrina..RIP Queequeg.
    buy this boat and expect a lot of work excising the wood worm. but it is worth it

    Like 1
    • John

      Correction: I did NOT live on this particular boat! sorry for the typo!!!

      Like 1
  3. Doyler

    This feels like the Donald Crowhurst story.

    Like 5
    • Bill

      Exactly!!! He lied about his abilities, his progress in the race and eventually went crazy. This boat will make you crazy!!

      Like 3
    • Paolo

      I must be the only person never to have heard of Donald Crowhurst. Wow! In death he seems to have become the success that eluded him in life as the basis for a “Donald Crowhurst Industry” of stage, screen and literature. Crazy world!


      Like 5
  4. Alan Robbins

    Fiberglass over plywood stitch ‘n glue, no doubt abandoned at the marina when the PO realized the fiberglass has water intrusion and so the plywood core is slowly rotting away….

    Like 6
  5. RJ

    Break Out Another Thousand

    Like 6
  6. John

    if it has a running engine it might be worth the price of admission

    Like 1
  7. Honeybuns

    Where is this located?
    What country?
    If U.S., what marina, what State?
    Can it stayed docked where it is at?
    What is the dock fees?

    Like 0
  8. schooner

    While beauty is always in the eye of the beholder this thing is a floating Quonset Hut. As Mr. Robbins notes above…

    Like 2
  9. Mark Haigler

    As a life-long boater, I remember Piver’s boats when they were new. It is my opinion multi-hull boats are not suitable for ocean-crossing. They are fast sailboats but the compromises make the interior cramped and the light-weight construction make them venerable to various risks. As to restoring any old boat, often the cost involved exceeds what a well maintained boat can be purchased for. Like cars, boats have gotten much better over the years. There is no cheap way to get into boating.

    Like 4
    • Bobby Longshot

      Great points Mark.

      There is one way to get into boating that is not too expensive. Get a good deal on a used trailer and boat that is in pretty good shape, and learn to be proficient in performing maintenance, minor repairs, and upgrades. As long as you have a place to store it for free, such as your driveway or yard, then the costs can be kept in control.

      Boating is the best thing, ever.

      Like 1
  10. Bill Baker

    I owned a ’74 25′ Piver for several years. Was pro built in a yard in the North East. Overall, a pretty nice boat. Added a 10′ x 2′ keel to it. Made a world of difference in the way it tracked.

    Like 2
  11. hank rice

    I once owned a Piver 36′ ketch rig which was one of the high end ones, professionally built, in the Oakland Shipyards…like a “dixie cup in the wind. A strong enough boat, and i had no problems with it. The one main engineering flaw was the tendency to “pitch pole” in heavy seas which could be disastrous to say the least…This sloop, especially from the standpoint of windage, appears to be rather sloppily built and it’s use should be confined to inland waters ..the helm in the basement is interesting…

    Like 4
  12. alphasud Member

    When I logged in last night I had to check the URL. I thought I found Boat Finds! I mean where’s the engine? An old speed boat with a Hemi, yea I could see that but a sailboat?

    Like 0
  13. junkman Member

    A definite near coastal boat. I find the catamarans very comfortable for coastal excursions, depending on the length, the shorter the less favorable. Kind of like sailing a cinder block, bigger is better with these. That being said, I’ve seen too many news clips of these floating upside down in remote seas to make me want to leave sight of land on one.

    Like 3
  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Oct 13, 2020 , 4:00PM
    Winning bid:
    US $3,450.00
    [ 62 bids ]

    Like 2
  15. chrlsful

    14 comments, 1 hits the nail.

    It seems in every field the good points are also the bad. ANY multy-hull is inferior to the mono as once upside dwn – dwn side up is too difficult to achieve ∴ life’n limb R @ jepordy…

    650 mi out to sea we survived the huracan in our 30 ft yawl simply due to being itself (not cat, tri or any other).

    Like 1
  16. Fred Adrian

    Its a Piver Nimble it was built by Contour Craft LTD in England and sold by Cox Marine. Still has the original name plate on the main bulkhead.
    It was first registered in the USA in 1992. It was Sailed from England spent 8 years off the coast of California. It was Sailed to Hawaii 2 times and Asia once. Its Old Name Was Trisum and the second owner still owns a sailing School named after the boat. Trisum Sailing out of Texas. I bought the boat for 3500. from E-Bay. It does not leak and has no dry rot but needs a lot of work. My Family and I are very happy with the boat. it has a hole for an outboard motor which I will glass over and install an electric motor.
    The inside helm is weird, will relocate it outside on the back of the cabin.
    Of course the list goes on. But i will say I will not be Sailing it to Hawaii or England. Whoever did that on this boat is much braver than me.

    Like 4
    • Thomas mark Page

      Hi Fred, please give me a call about your Piver Nimble ASAP when u can. I have a Nugget and desperately need to get some expertise from you. 530-440-3893. Today is July 25th, 2021

      Like 0
  17. Roger Grimes

    My uncle Alex Grimes with his crewmate Roy Garside in 1963 sailed a Piver Nimble built by Contour Craft, from England to New Zealand. You can read the story at https://grimesinc.neocities.org/
    That’s something like 13,000 nautical miles with only an old sextant for navigation! The trimaran survived (with a few repairs) and was sold after reaching New Zealand.

    Like 1

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