VIRUSThe VIRUS PLUS - multihull sailing dinghy - FAQ

Scan down these frequently asked questions to learn more about the Virus Plus. Ready to go.

Proa or Trimaran? Which is better for me?

If safety is your major concern then plump for the trimaran. This is a very forgiving boat because the unsinkable float on the leeward side will hold the boat almost level, whilst you sort yourself out with the seating arrangements on the windward side. To give you an idea of the reduction in risk of capsizing that this float provides let me tell you that in order to conform to regulations the manufacturers had to demonstrate that the Virus Plus could be righted from a capsize - but they had such extreme difficulty capsizing the trimaran that eventually they had to resort to half filling one float with water before it could be immersed enough for the boat to capsize! Could it then be righted with the float half full of water? Yes of course. Easy-peasy!

Another advantage of the trimaran is that with the addition of a Family Pack you can quickly convert it to a Kataram or a Proa.

trimaran AND proa - click to ZOOM
If excitement or affordability are your main criteria then choose the Proa. It is a lot of fun seeing how high you can get the float off the water when the float is on the windward side. You can capsize a Proa if you want. Children love capsize drills. Give them wet suits and they'd spend all day capsizing for fun. And of course being lighter the Proa is also a little faster than the Trimaran. And at the end of the day it is cheaper because there is less boat to buy. That said, we sell almost ten times as many trimarans as proas. Proa fun

How fast is it?

The top speed of the VirusPlus is about 12 knots. Here you see Trimaran with a 10m2 sail running with a 20 knot wind! The more powerful 14m2 sail will not have a higher top speed. It will merely reach the top speed when the wind is not so strong. If you want to go faster have a look at the sleek new MAGNUM 21. Top speed!

Will it turn?

You may have heard that catamarans can be difficult to tack and gybe. Not so the Virus Plus. Whether in trimaran mode or proa the boat is nimble and maneuverable. Check out the video clips on the trimaran and proa pages.

Which sail will suit me best?

There are three different sails.
8 sq m Lugsail
Only used on the Proa, this is the smallest and least powerful sail.
The head of the sail is attached to a pole called a yard.
It is an unusual rig that is fun and challenging to sail with.
It has a safety advantage as there is no boom with this kind of sail so you do not have to beware of being knocked out during gybing.
10 sq m Gunter Sail or Houari
This is the most popular sail sold with the Virus Plus.
It fits snuggly onto a pole called a gaff that has a hook on the end of it for attachment to the mast.
It can be used on either the trimaran or the proa.
In the photographs you can distinguish the 10m2 sail from the 14m2 by the boom.
The boom of the 10m2 sail has what looks like a black rowlock in the end of it to locate it in the mast and that is exactly what it is, a rowlock.
14 sq m Gunter Sail or Houari
This is the biggest and therefore most powerful sail, it can nevertheless be used on either the trimaran or the proa.
However, above force 4 or 5 it should be reefed in to reduce its power.
It also fits snuggly onto a gaff.
The boom has a hole in its end that fits onto the gooseneck on the mast.
14 sq m Marconi rig
A more modern type of rig where the bolt rope of the main sail slides up a slot in the mast. This makes hoisting the main sail and also taking a reef or shaking it out much easier especially when these tasks are done on the water. The drawback is that the mast is therefore all in one piece and not quite so easy to handle. But still this is not a big mast by multihull standards.

Can it be sailed single handed?

Whilst this sailing dinghy is designed to be sailed by 2-3 people, nevertheless you can sail it alone. Once you have chosen your course you can set the jib by using the jamming cleats. The tiller has the usual universally jointed extension, which allows you to sit further forward. So, indulge yourself, go faster by reducing the all-up weight; throw your crew overboard! launch & go

How easy is it to rig?

Ease of rigging was one of main design criteria for the Virus Plus. The mast is in two parts, main mast and gaff, making it easy to erect. The total mast height obtained this way means that you can hoist sails that are big and powerful enough to get up a good speed. But the mainmast is not as unwieldy as it would be if it were in one piece. I recently watched in amazement as up to five people attempted to fix the mast on a catamaran. It is problems like this that turn people off sailing. It takes as little as an hour to rig the Virus Plus from the trailer to the water and only half an hour to de-rig back to the trailer. With practice you will get quicker and without trailing it, you will be quicker still, thus maximizing your time on the water. Assembly instructions. Hoisting the mainsail

Surely the trimaran is too wide to trail.

Taking the Virus Plus with you adds a whole new dimension to holidays and weekend trips to lakes and to the seaside. The trailer is no wider than a Ford Focus because the floats pack neatly onto the top of the dory so it is never any trouble to trail or park. Easy to trail

Can one person manage to get the boat on and off the trailer?

Yes I have done it myself. You simply take off all the bits and pieces. The dory that then remains on the trolley is surprisingly managable. In fact the combined trailer and launching trolley is very well designed with rollers to make separation of the two easy. And it is just as easy to put them back together.

How many people can it accommodate?

It can accommodate a small family, 2 adults and 2 children or alternatively 3 adults. There is no centre board to get in the way. Instead there is a dagger board so there is plenty of room in the cockpit for kids or food or both. --- SETTING SAIL ---
Dad takes the helm & Mum 
the jib while their son
holds up the daggerboard

What about stowage space?

There is easily enough room in the cockpit to take a coolbox with you for your picnic. A friend of mine who regularly races a monohull dinghy and is more used to sailing at 45 degrees to the horizon did not believe this possible till I insisted on taking one with me and she saw it for herself!

Then there is a hatch for access to the forward buoyancy compartment into which you could easily pack camping equipment, for example.

What is the specification?

Composite Fibreglass/Polyester iso
4.90m (16ft)
Overall Width
Proa: 2.5m
Trimaran: 3.0m
Minimum: 0.15m
Daggerboard down: 0.60m
Homologation CE
Category "C"

Do I have to buy all combinations of the boat at once?

No you don't if you don't want to. There is a range of different packages to suit all pockets.

Is an outboard motor included?

Only if you want one. We recommend that the boat is always sailed with a motor attached if you are going offshore as this can get you out of trouble if the wind drops. For sailing on a lake an oar would probably suffice. It depends upon the size of the lake!

Can I use my existing outboard motor?

We generally supply a 3.5HP Tohatsu with a long shaft. If you have a short shaft motor already then a special mounting can be supplied so that you can mount it on your boat.
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