The Tridarka Raider has been designed in a collaboration between Chief (aka Steve
Isaac of WaterTribe, Inc.), and Wizard (aka Matt Layden) to fulfill Chief's wish
list for the ultimate fast, light coastal camp-cruiser to compete in events such
as the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, Ultimate Florida Challenge, and the Dry
Tortugas Challenge as well as for long unsupported solo expeditions. The intent
is to create a safe, stable and forgiving platform that will allow a singlehanded
or shorthanded crew to make fast coastal passages in any reasonable weather without
major exhaustion, exposure or worry.
The Tridarka Raider is intended to be:
- Unusually safe for its type ('foolproof' doesn't sound
like the right word, but one tries)
- Reasonably fast and weatherly with one or two crew in a
wide variety of wind and sea states
- Relatively undemanding of attention and muscle, helping
the crew stay rested and alert
- Adaptaptable to inland/river travel: shallow, easy to drop
rig and reduce beam on the water
- Comfortable and capacious as a long-range camp cruiser
- Able to cruise or race with a crewmember for trips of a
week or so in less comfort. Light enough to be beach
launched & retrieved singlehanded
- Demountable so individual parts can be hand-carried some
distance over rough terrain (like a 40-mile portage or the
upper St. Marys River)
- Easily trailerable on a light rig behind a 4-cylinder car.
The Tridarka Raider is NOT intended to be:
- A super-high performance inshore day racer
- A floating vacation home with kitchen, bath and beds for the
whole family (although a small family along with their dog
could take a vacation camp-cruise)
- Used for long offshore passages beyond range of reliable
- A constant adrenaline ride that leaves you worn out after a
The target of 350 lbs rigged weight is possible with careful and weight- conscious
construction, but it will not be easy or cheap. The indicated construction (all
skin parts of 4mm okume plywood sheathed with high-tech fabrics and epoxy inside
& out) is the most reasonable way to make a durable boat anywhere close to this
weight. Foam cored composite would need to have very thin skins and would be too
fragile for this boat's mission. Canoe-style composite skinned strip planking would
be great but is felt to be too laborious, and too hard to get a nice finish, for
the time frame of this project.
Using 6mm (1/4") okume plywood throughout, and omitting the composite skins, would
be much less labor and somewhat less expensive. It would be at least as structurally
rigid and nearly as impact resistant as the specified construction, but would be
heavier by the time you add in seam taping, fiberglassing the outside and epoxy
coating the inside, and wouldn't be as resistant to abrasion and consequent water
soakage. Some builders may prefer this method if weight is not a big factor for
their use; they have my blessing to develop their own spec and detailing for it
It will be critical to mind weight in every phase of the construction and outfitting.
Using just enough epoxy, squeegeeing off excess, minimizing or omitting fill coats
on interior surfaces and minimizing filler and paint on the outside will all be
necessary. Please trust that the spec is strong enough; it is meant for rough use.
Try to avoid the temptation to add extra structure or extra layers of reinforcing
'just to make sure' (the designed structure is meant to be flexible in many areas;
don't try to resist it). Good quality materials are assumed in the spec. Using knotty
shop-grade wood for akas or deck beams is asking for trouble. Less expensive plywood
will be heavier, there's no way around it.
Similarly, resist the temptation to add a lot of extra internal fittings, deck hardware
and rigging. Keep it simple to keep it light, it won't kill you to luff up for a
few seconds while you walk forward to adjust the outhaul or boom vang; every line
doesn't need to be led aft to the helm station.
Throughout these pages the fairly common Anglicized versions of
traditional Polynesian terms are used for some major parts. These include:
- Vaka - Main hull, canoe (waka, wa'a, etc.)
- Aka - Crossbeam, outrigger boom (same as iako, iato, etc.)
- Ama - Float, outrigger hull
- Manu - Raised stemhead, figurehead
Other Polynesian part names that are less common in western usage aren't used, with
no particular attempt at consistency, sorry if this is confusing.
Standard US English nautical terminology is used otherwise; yes it is obscure and
can be confusing to the newbie just like jargon in any other field. But like other
jargon the words are used for a reason: ('Words mean things,' dang, where did I
hear that?) they all have very precise meanings which should be respected. One word
serves where it would otherwise take a paragraph. Invest in a nautical dictionary,
or just google unfamiliar words if it's a problem.