Review: Corsair Pulse 600

By: Kevin Green, Photography by: Kevin Green & Corsair Marine

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  • Trade-A-Boat

Small trimarans like the Corsair Pulse 600 are ideal boats for Australia’s shoal waters. This multihull sailboat has a shallow draft, large deck space and performance, plus the fact that it’s a trailerable trimaran makes it very convenient.

Mooring a trimaran of course is the challenge, unless a safe swing mooring is available, but this isn’t a problem for the Corsair Pulse 600, a trailerable trimaran with a unique folding system. Another attraction is stability, as a trimaran’s wide beam and weight centred in the main hull means these smaller designs are more stable than similar trailerable trimarans; an important consideration for going offshore.

 

Corsair sailboat

Originally an American company that had the talented Kiwi designer Ian Farrier since its inception in 1985, Corsair boats changed ownership before continuing under Australian owner Seawind. Sharing Seawind’s Vietnam premises, Corsair Marine is managed by several of the original staff, a bunch of people I enjoyed meeting with when spending some time at their factory in Ho Chi Minh City.

The newly launched 19-foot Corsair Pulse 600 joins a well-established range that numbers more than 2000 Corsair boats, sailing hulls from 24 to 37 feet. In cruising mode Corsair boats have crossed oceans and even gone among the icefields, so these folding, small, trailerable trimarans have proved their toughness. 

Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran

The world launch of the Corsair Pulse 600 at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show earlier this year brought trailersailing back to Australia, something I’m personally keen to promote as a budget way of getting people on the water. Shape-wise this baby of the Corsair fleet is more angular than its older siblings, with reverse bows and high-volume boxy amas (floats) reflecting the involvement of young French designer Francois Perus. He has several designs for multihull sailboats to his credit including the new German-built Slyder 47 cruiser that I enjoyed looking around in Europe earlier this year.

Looking at the first Australian Corsair Pulse 600 with Seawind manager Brent Vaughan, I could see that all the key ingredients from the Corsair brand are there: the sturdy, bolted folding system for the amas; the rotating mast and hefty dagger board for windward performance; along with a beefy rudder. And at only 19ft it didn’t seem too imposing sitting on its Australian-made Oceanic trailer which can be towed legally by most family saloons.

Trailerable trimaran Corsair Pulse 600

We began sorting out the trimaran Pulse’s mast for hoisting. This proved fairly easy using the supplied tabernacle to lift the spar into place with one of the two halyard winches, while alloy struts support it and shrouds are tensioned by the folded amas. The bag of North carbon sails was emptied and the square-top main already wrapped around the alloy boom to allow quick hoisting onto the mast, while the genoa was furled on and finally the Code O on its bowsprit Ronstan roller furler. We were ready for the water.

After reversing the trailer into Sydney’s Blackwattle Bay the Pulse glided off to float quite happily with the rig up and the amas retracted, which is ideal for tight launching ramps. We unfolded the aluminium crossbeams and  bolted them down to lock the extended amas, before firing up the Yamaha to put the Pulse alongside the marina for final preparations. If we hadn’t had a jammed mast bolt and twisted furler, the whole operation would have taken less than an hour, so ideal for weekending.

 

Layout and design

Layout of Corsair Pulse 600 small trimaran

The open deck layout of the Corsair Pulse 600 is ideally suited for our warmer climate, with wide side trampolines leading to the amas and the main hull’s self-draining cockpit which is deep enough to make you feel safe when it gets bumpy on coastal hops. The cuddy cab unclips to allow gear to be easily stored in the deep bilge locker below where a watertight hatch keeps things dry. However it is also the base for the deck-stepped rotating mast and could be removed to reduce volume in transit.

Inside, the cuddy – an area of about 1.5m² – is protected by a rather flimsy two-piece acrylic glass door. Around it are the sail controls with jammers for the genoa, headsail furling line blocks, while the mast base controls are also right to hand so the foredeckie has easy control. This leaves the mainsheet control for a dedicated trimmer aft who has plenty of room in the long cockpit to share with the helmsman. Control of the main is good as the track runs along the transom crossbeam so the steerer or trimmer can operate it.

A sturdy fibreglass tiller with two long extensions allows steering from the trampolines as well, so the ergonomics felt fine to me. Foils are also good with a large foam-cored daggerboard that slides down the centre of the cockpit, but as a daggerboard it doesn’t flip up on impact so this one is sacrificial and designed to break on impact. Putting a lifting keel here would take too much room, so watch your depth on the Pulse. The other key foil is the similarly operated rudder that slides through its alloy housing and locks.

Interior cabin of Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran

The amas look to have a lot of volume for a 19-footer but are well-made with inspection hatches topside and on their transoms. Corsairs are built with foam-cored fibreglass and can have up to 12 watertight bulkheads, including three in each hull providing positive buoyancy even when swamped and all compartments flooded. However for cruising I’d probably cut bigger hatch covers topside to store light gear inside.

The amas hold the shrouds which use Dyneema lines for weight reduction but proved fiddly to untie and adjust when I wanted to tweak the rig, so I’d consider a Ronstan adjuster on each. The rig itself has a simple alloy boom that rotates to easily reef the sail – particularly good for cruising mode when shortening sail alone and then for throwing a boom tent over at night. With the mainsail stored on the boom it leaves plenty space to strap a few dry bags with gear around the deck.

There is a simple aluminium rotating mast, a system designed to create a foil shape at the leading edge (luff) of the main that can be adjusted according to your point of sail. The downside of this design is calibrating instruments like Windex’s to sit on top of it. Companies like B&G and NKE make instruments for these masts but none were fitted to our boat meaning no performance data for our sail.

 

On the water

Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran on the water

There were four of us aboard for our sail, an ideal test for the Corsair Pulse 600 in cruising mode, while in race mode on a windy day three is fine. Motoring out through the narrow Glebe Island Bridge we steered off the wind and the Pulse leapt forward under mainsail. Hoisting it had gone smoothly, a two-person job with the boom rotating as the luff was fed into the mast track.

With our downwind momentum taking us quickly towards Balmain, on the front of the cockpit I released the genoa’s furling lining to allow the sail to pop out in the 12kt breeze. Then with the daggerboard flush on the cockpit sole Brent steered us to windward, the Pulse pointing nice and high while holding its speed.

When it was time to tack I grabbed the lazy genoa sheet and unjammed the working sheet as we spun round, but we’d not set the angle of the jammers correctly so it stuck slightly. However the Pulse went through the wind quickly and I took a turn at the helm. Outboard seating is comfortable with pads along each topside and the rounded gunwales easy on the legs.

Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran sailboat

Mainsail handling was also easy thanks to large 8:1 purchase blocks which gave me plenty of confidence to fly the Code 0 for the downwind run home. It had sat awkwardly like a large python along the foredeck and down the sidedecks, so now was hoisted and its top-down furler used while the genoa was rolled. Immediately a loud hiss came from the main hull and the windward ama lifted clear as the conditions turned gusty, so we sped off downwind running deeper in each gust for a thrilling ride towards the Glebe Island Bridge. This was when the high-volume amas became useful by keeping their leading edges above the water, greatly reducing the chance of a nose plant.

With enough separation created by the bowsprit, gybing the Code 0 went well several times as we zigzagged towards the narrow gap in the bridge to play chicken with any oncoming traffic, which sure enough appeared as I was making my final run through. The Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran sailboat was spun round as a motorboat loomed large before turning again and gliding through to add a final thrill to what is undoubtedly a thrilling boat and definitely one to get your pulse racing. 

 

HIGHS

• Trimaran design

• Ama volume

• General layout

 

LOWS

• Exposed outboard engine position

• Flimsy cockpit door

 

Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran specs

Corsair Pulse 600 price: $50,000

Priced from, sans trailer

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Carbon reinforced fibreglass

TYPE Trailerable trimaran trailersailer

LENGTH 6m overall

BEAM 4.5m; 2.45m folded

DRAFT 0.22m; 1.2m daggerboard down

WEIGHT 450kg (light ship); 750kg BMT

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Yamaha 2C outboard motor

TYPE One-cylinder two-stroke outboard motor

RATED HP 2

 

SAILS

SAIL AREA 19.1m² mainsail; 7.1m2 jib; 25.4m² spinnaker; 9.1m² screecher

 

SUPPLIED BY

Multihull Central

Lot 4 Chapman Road,

Annandale, NSW, 2038

Phone (02) 9810 5014

Email info@multihullcentral.com

Web multihullcentral.com

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #472, on sale November 26, 2015. Why not subscribe today?

 


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