Nightmare Mini 40 Build

I have been building a couple of Nightmare MKVII mini 40 trimarans to a set of plans graciously provided to me for free from Ernst Zemann. The entire build of two identical boats (one in glass and one in carbon fiber) is documented in the build log in The glass boat was finished about a month ago and has been sailing ever since. There are some video clips of it sailing on youtube. The carbon fiber boat is now in the final stages of finishing and should be done in a couple of weeks. There is considerable interest in building these trimarans worldwide and I believe Ernst has sent out well over 100 plansets to many countries. The build is reasonably easy to do with only a minimal amount of skills, so I encourage anyone who is interested in building and sailing one of these fun boats to give it a try. The build log is very detailed with lots of photos, but if you get lost along the way don’t hestitate to contact me. Here are some photos on the finished glass boat and almost complete cf boat.

Your Location ?


Sorry I should have updated my profile. I live in Ajax Ontario Canada (a suburb of Toronto). I am not currently a member of any model yacht club although I am considering joining one. I have been racing full size catmarans, Hobie 16/17/18/Formula, Tornado for many years (now retired from the racing scene), was a 4-time Canadian National Champion on Hobie 17, attended many world championship events where I was always in the top 15 and even did an Olympic campign bid on a Tornado. I’ve been building models since I was a kid, mostly planes and cars. I decided to try my hand at some more sophisticated boats and my first build was a USOM. It was an ORCO II design with a custom skiff deck layout similar to more modern IOM’s. I was really happy with the results so I decided to go back to my sailing roots and build a multihull. The first boat I built was a one-off glass over balsa mini 40 boat based a Traplet plan of the Snapdragon. I also got the Freightrain plans but never built that. Although I liked the result I decided to build another boat which was significantly different than the Snapdragon to see what performance improvements I could get. After a lot of research I decided on the Nightmare MKVII design. It started as a one-off but instead I used the finished balsa hulls as male moulds. This was something new for me and I learned a great deal along the way. The first boat was finished and sailing about a month ago and I am very happy with the result. The sister cf version is almost ready and should be sailing shortly. I get all my rigging from Brian at Midwest Model Yachting and all my sails from Rod at Rod Carr Sails. You’ve probably crossed paths with these guys. Great products and great service.


Good area for sailing. “Cougar” lives up that way and I’ve been trying for “years” to get him to consider a multi - no luck. Also, you might want to look around, as Magnus Clarke lives up that way and he was crew on the “C” Class Canadian cat that took back the C Class trophy from the US boat. He was active in monohull building and was my man, who plotted a series of designs for me via CAD, and provided hard copy so I could reproduce. I have a series of photos of a wing sail he was fooling with during the C Class build/training, but not sure if it was ever finished.

His family owns one of the big department stores there in Toronto, but he left and is out at another company, whose name I can’t recall at the moment. Together you guys out to be able to form a base for some multihull activity up that way. Clyde Jones (from Clevelans) is probably the closest Formula48 owner that I can think of and I think he assembled one of Ernst’s “NIGHMARE” designs - a “Mark-something-or another” and might be close enough to throw together a regatta series.

If time/location was right, I might make it there, (Detroit area perhaps?) as I sill have family back there. Just need to get my boat out and get it finished. Worked hard/fast and then interest fell off, so it was bagged and stored in attic of garage. Maybe time to haul out and continue?

I raced a series of boats while in Michigan - Laser, Force 5 and a friends Swan 45 on Lake Huron, and many years 1978 - 1994 as par of Michigan Catamaran Racing Association. Prindle, Supercat, NACRA and finally my beloved 18 Square Meter. Sold it in 2005 and am looking for an older, non-competitive A Class just for local day sialing out here.

Good luck with builds, and stay in touch via the forum if you get a club started out there.

I never had any business contact with Clyde Jones.
I assume that Ian Sammis built that boat for him, as he bought the plugs/moulds from Mark Baldacchino, one or two years after I had sold them to Mark.

Therefore this must have been an “original”
“Nightmare Mk.I”.

Both Mark and Ian now live in the area of San Diego/California - only about 80 miles apart and are in contact. Also both are thinking of re-starting the rc-trimaran game to sail together and allready received the last updated “Nightmare Mk.VII” and “Nightmare Mk.VIII” plans from me.

By the way - the only thing that was “wrong” with the legendary blue/yellow “Nightmare Mk.I” of Mark Baldacchino where the too loose crossbar/float connections Mark designed for himself.

  • And the whole rig/centerboard system was about 50-100 mm too far forward due to the scaling factor for this size of racing trimaran.
    The mastbase needs to be at 500-550 mm from the stern - and the centerboard right behind the mastbase, instead of 600mm from the stern.
    Then the boat is much lesser nervous to sail in broad reach/downwind courses and keeps up it´s great upwind performance as well.

Free selfbuilding plans for the 65cm Trimarans and Mini40/formula 48 trimarans (“Nightamre Mk.VII” and "Nightmare Mk.VIII) can still be optained from: or from Phanchita (Sirit) at

Quite possible - it was well over 5 years ago!

Thanks Dick

Unfortunately I’ve never run across any of these folks. I got into this hobby for the enjoyment of building and then sailing the results. I wasn’t intending on getting into racing since I know that once I started that I’d be in with both feet and wouldn’t be satisfied until I had had the best boat and improved my skills to top calibre. But who knows how things will play out. I’ve built three boats now so all I really need to find are two friends who are interested in having fun sailing these against each other. I will update this forum as I finish the final cf Nightmare boat and take it on its maiden voyage. I have Siri’s plans for a 65M and I think that will be my next project as the mini 40 boats are too difficult (and expensive) for my 5 year old son to operate. The 65M would be more suitable and then he can come out and sail with his dad. I am also intrigued with the thought of building a foiler tri similar to the L’Hydrotere, probably in the mini 40 size range. There has been a lot of internet traffic on this both past and present. Lots of heated debate from all camps. The German guys seem to have been able to come up with some good working models that uses simple fixed foils on the floats and under the rudder. More to contemplate before I put pen to paper and some balsa on frames.


I bought a Nightmare “Kit” from Ian Sammis, saw how well made the components were and inquired about a finished boat. A few months later Ian was making a move to the west coast and decided to sell #13. I purchased #13 and found out about the UPS problems with delivering unusual packages. Months of repairs later #13 was on the water. I have found the tri to be extremely fast (I cannot run that fast). Seems to be somewhat touchy with wind conditions, likes 10-20 mph with relatively flat water. Doesn’t tack very well compared to a lead sled, but the broad reach is way faster than a monohull around the course. The northeast Ohio area has mostly Soling 1M, ODOM, US One Meter, and CR-914 fleets so the tri only gets exercise maybe once a year. Clyde

Hi Clyde -

thanks for monitoring and posting. It seems interest (well talk) is growing again here in the US and about time I blow off the dust and pull mine out of garage storage for completion. Maybe (???) we can get a few on the water so will try again. Not sure if the old address I have for you (etc. Worldnet etc.) is still active? If not then drop me a PM so I can get a current email address for you.

Perhaps we can get enough interest up so they can come out to play more often.

Regards, Dick

Hello Clyde,
I wasn´t aware that Ian Sammis has built 13 “Nightmare Mk.I” Trimarans from my original plugs/moulds.
Do you have any more informations, where the others went to?

Could you also give me (us) more informations about those “UPS problems” you are referring to?

Has the boat been heavily damaged during the transport?

As stated before, I´m still (again) in contact with Ian Sammis at San Diego/California and I would love to restart that “American-Trimaran-Challenge” together with him and Marc Baldacchino!

And of course, Dick L. is also welcomed to organize any multihull events.

Then I even may start building again instead of just giving out free selfbuilding plans. A lot had went wrong in the past, but we can change that, can´t we?

Ernst, the #13 nightmare is just a registration number. Ian and I both share an interest in “prime numbers” so we try to register with those numbers. The UPS debacle resulted in destruction of the boom vang and the mast. Our delivery man at work told me that during the normal sequence of events to file a claim the damaged item and packaging is sent in for evaluation. Then 6 months later you receive the item back with a statement that the packaging was not strong enough. I had the same problem with a Soling 1M packaged(at great expense) by a UPS store. The keel was broken out of the hull and insufficient packaging was claimed. Great care must be taken to ensure that our items arrive intact. On the physics of the crossbeams, the connection and alignment is critical. In one of my floats the connection pulled out and a more robust connection has been worked out, the other float is still intact. Clyde

Dear Clyde,
thank you very much for these clarifications.

When I sent my models to the USA - I know it´s a long time ago, since I did that - it cost me a lot of money and time to build save chipboard boxes with foam inlets, twoparted masts to fit into - and also the freight costs increased a lot because of the much higher weight.

But at least plugs, moulds and kits arrived save there - even at Hawaii -…-

Also my original crossbar connections where of a different system and much stronger. Never had any problems there like Mark and Ian had - and obviously you as well.
Again - much more work, but they should have listened to me -…-

I think, I asked for too little for my boats in these days.
Another Austrian fellow (SKAUT) sold his USED ready-to-sail trimaran of 2007 including sailwinch and servo, but without rc-set for 1400,- Euros -…-

Hi guys I live in the Detroit area and sail out of the Detroit Model Yacht Club. 4 of us have been talking and now the talking has turned into wanting to build 4 big multi’s this winter. Can I get a set of plans from you for the Nightmare MKVII mini 40 trimarans? We plan on building all 4 from carbon.

You can try this series of links. Both plans AND kit components are available.

Go here if you want to purchase a kit. $595 +/- depending on options is one heck of a good price - unless you enjoy building from the ground up.

Once done, contact me as I have once again resurrected the F-48 Class registration info. Maybe this time we can get enough for a Class Owners Association. Couldn’t get it off the ground in 2001-2004

Thanks for the link. I am going to print them up to scale in the morning on my plotter and then really start thinking and tinkering.

Please stay in touch here on this forum it is the only 'Active" U.S. multihull discussion site that I am aware of and knowing when boats are completed and where they live is a big help in providing both contact and sailing information and boat promotion.

Good luck