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Ian Farrier, 1947-2017

by Norris Comer

Legendary Multihull Designer Passes Away at 70

Ian Farrier, the multihull design legend and Pacific Northwest resident, passed away at age 70 on December 10, 2017. Farrier is best known for his foldable trimarans that have made their mark around the world from his native New Zealand to the far Arctic. His performance and adventure designs also laid the groundwork for Corsair Marine International, a successful company that continues to produce designs according to Farrier’s multihull philosophy. On a personal level, I will be racing on a Farrier-inspired Corsair design (a Corsair 970 Sport) as a part of Team Wright Yachts in the upcoming R2AK adventure extravaganza (see page 78 for the full announcement). We have no additional details to report with regards to the cause of death at this time.

Farrier F28 QII Photo by DanLogan

A Farrier F-28R Q-II sails in the low fall sun in Seward Bay, Alaska. The F-28R, launched in 1997, was just one of many in a long line of series production trimarans from Farrier’s drafting table, from the 1970s Trailertri series to the F-22 of 2013. (Photo: Dan Logan)


The story goes that Farrier fell into multihulls in his early twenties as a young engineering student on the hunt for a proper offshore keelboat for a cruise to Tonga. While interested in the limited multihull options of the day, Farrier ultimately opted for a 38’ monohull keelboat for his adventure. The trip was eye-opening for him. From his engineering and boating perspective, his multihull experiences were safer, were more comfortable, and had better handling characteristics.

After being exposed to the “trailer sailor” craze of the early 1970s, Farrier resolved to bring multihulls into the fold. He went to work, and the Farrier Folding System™ was invented and patented. The prototype Trailertri 18 was launched in 1974.

In 1984, Farrier and his family moved to San Diego, where he received financial backing to help set up Corsair Marine. Farrier promptly designed his iconic Farrier 27 (F-27) and built the prototype. He also developed and established Corsair’s full production system and quality controls. The F-27 was, by most accounts, an overnight success. The folding system, that made the boat trailerable and easy to fit into a normal-sized slip, added an unprecedented level of versatility to the multihull sphere while still offering the benefits of performance and stability that multihull sailors love.

After resigning from Corsair in 1991, Farrier joined the Pacific Northwest maritime community and moved to Bellevue, Washington. He formally ended all relationships with Corsair in December 2000 and continued to work on his own successful projects as Farrier Marine (check it out at f-boat.com).

We salute Ian Farrier for his contributions to the boating world as both a sailor and designer, and we extend our condolences to his family and friends. He is in our thoughts as we prepare for our R2AK adventure aboard a Corsair 970 Sport, a boat with roots to Farrier’s genius.

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