Celebrating 50 Year Birthday Of The Triana Marque
Celebrating 50 Year Birthday Of The Triana Marque – On 25 August the Classic Offshore Powerboat Club will celebrate the 50 year birthday of the Triana marque from the Sonny Levi stable at Cowes Yacht Haven.
We thank Charles Lawrence for this potted history of the popular breed of cruisers from its pioneering days of 1961 right up to the GRP days of the 1970s.
It seems astonishing that it’s 50 years since the Trianas were first produced.
Fairey Marine were producing Huntsmen and Huntresses as fast as they could, but despite there being many offerings from other boatbuilders for offshore cruisers, it is the Trianas that are seen as their principal competition.
The Triana evolution is straightforward, as direct descendents of Trident from 1962.
Sonny Levi’s appearance in his Ferrari created quite a stir
Sonny Levi’s appearance in his Ferrari red ‘A Speranziella in the rough first Cowes-Torquay race in August 1961 created quite a stir.
Neck and neck for the lead with Tommy Sopwith’s Thunderbolt until struck with fuel starvation in the final stages, he eventually finished in sixth place.
However, for the next race in 1962 no less than five entries were designed by Sonny: ‘A Speranziella once again, Spumante (a diesel powered sister to ‘A Speranziella), Gianni Agnelli’s triple Maserati powered Ultima Dea, and the tiny but similar Settimo Velo and Trident.
The first four were built in Italy, and arrived aboard the cargo ship Altair, but Trident was built in Cowes, by R & W Clark, for none other than Don Shead, who had raced a Mudie designed Force 8 cruiser, Blue Marlin, the previous year.
Perhaps the Levi support teams were too stretched, for sadly none of his boats completed the 1962 race, and Settimo Velo, due to be driven by Sonny, wasn’t even able to start, and so Sonny hitched a ride to watch the race aboard the start boat Brave Borderer.
The original Trident, with its triple Volvo outdrive installation, was considered by Don Shead to be the smallest possible practical boat for ‘lunch in Cherbourg’, did not fare well in the 1962 race, slamming on the way to the Nab Tower forced her to retire with water rising in the bilge.
Trident was 23 feet long overall with a deep vee hull of 25 degree deadrise.
She had a flush but slightly convex ‘turtle’ deck topped only by a windscreen to the cockpit.
balance the boat with the right engine
After the race the centre line engine was removed, and the remaining pair repositioned closer together, improving the balance of the boat, but the weight saving of engine and fuel, together with the reduced drag without the third leg, compensated for the loss of a third of the power, and so her performance was not compromised.
R & W Clark built several other Tridents, (including Viva Tridante owned by Raceboat International publisher David Sewell and raced in the 1963 CTC by Derek Smith) culminating in 1964 with Poseidon of Medina, a Trident hull stretched to twenty five feet and moulded in glass fibre by Tylers of Tonbridge.
Built for Tom Threlfall, she had a low coachroof, and was really the prototype of the Triana 25, put into production by Trident Marine in 1968.
It’s not known how many Triana 25s were built, but by 1970 production had passed from Trident Marine to a new company called Triana Boats, based in Poole, who replaced the 25 with the Tropica in 1971, as a plusher update.
The Tropica had a new deck moulding which improved the visual balance of the coachroof and windows, and a new windscreen.
The Tropicas also had more powerful 170hp Volvo outdrives as standard, which could give a top speed of about 35 knots. These engines, being six cylinder, were longer and required a larger engine box and sunpad in the cockpit.