Eight Bells: Ian Farrier
Published on December 11th, 2017
Ian Farrier, a visionary multihull designer best known for his folding trailerable trimarans, died at age 70 on December 10, 2017.
Ian Farrier first started sailing multihulls virtually by accident, being a twenty year old New Zealand engineering student and monohull sailor, looking for a keelboat to do some offshore cruising.
Nothing suitable was available, but then an unfinished 30-foot trimaran was advertised, and this was purchased after some research. After two years of hard work and rebuilding, his first multihull was launched in 1969.
It was not a perfect multihull, but it was reasonably fast and forgiving. However, some design limitations were apparent, and confidence was lacking for a long ocean voyage, so he jumped ship to a 38-foot keelboat bound for Tonga. The contrast in comfort, handling and safety aspects observed during this trip convinced him that a well-designed multihull was the way to go.
In 1972 he arrived in Brisbane, Australia, where the growing popularity of the monohull trailer sailer was noted while crewing on a local trimaran. A trailerable trimaran appeared to have many advantages over trailerable monohulls, so he decided to look at what could be done.
The Farrier Folding System™ was then invented, patented, and the prototype Trailertri 18 was built and launched in 1974. It worked beautifully and he then built five more Trailertris of various sizes, while trying out many different configurations.
In 1984 Ian and his family moved to Chula Vista (San Diego), where financial backing had been found to set up Corsair Marine. He then designed the F-27, built the prototype, and developed and established Corsair’s full production system and quality controls.
Almost immediately, this new design was a huge success. The sailing public loved the versatility of this new trimaran with its patented folding mechanism which allowed it to easily folded to a width that enabled it to be trailered behind a family car or fit a regular marina berth. Once extended to its full width for sailing, this new design proved itself as an awesome performance sailboat.
Farrier resigned from Corsair in 1991 and moved to Bellevue, WA to concentrate on new designs which Corsair was licensed to build. Farrier ended all relationship with Corsair in December 2000, working on his own as Farrier Marine to concentrate on his own projects.