Introduction: Tornado Catamaran Building Instructions From 1979

Picture of Tornado Catamaran Building Instructions From 1979

The Tornado is the catamaran raced in the olympics.
It was originally designed so that it could be home-built by individuals.
Each hull is made from two pieces of plywood glued together in a vee shape position,
then forced into a jig that bends them into a gracefully curved hull.
The technique is called "tortured plywood".

These are the detailed building instructions from Houlton Boat Company 1979
If you are Jerry Houlton I'd love to hear from you

Step 1: Tornado Catamaran Olympic Trials 1967 AYRS Report

Picture of Tornado Catamaran Olympic Trials 1967 AYRS Report

Here's the 1967 AYRS (Amateur Yacht Research Society) report on how the Tornado, a "tortured plywood" boat, became the Olympic catamaran.
It was a major leap forward in performance, outsailing the other contenders by a wide margin.
After 40 years, many believe that the design is perfect for a two-man cat to be sailed in somewhat rough water.
The boats built today have a rig that's larger and lighter, and the hulls are usually made from carbon and honeycomb, but the shape of the hulls hasn't changed at all.
It's the standard by which 20 foot catamarans must be judged, and you can build your own from plywood.


TornadoCat63 (author)2010-08-12

My Adobe Reader version (free downloaded) doesn't have a plug-in to open *.pdf files in my web browser (Google Chrome). I don't know how to get this plug-in. For this reason, despite I'm a registered member on, I can't download the Tornadobuild79.pdf file or any other related or useful file. Will anybody suggest me how to solve my problem ? Thanks for your attention. Regards. M.Volo

GYNot (author)TornadoCat632010-08-15

Two things to try, first you might try uninstalling and then reinstalling adobe reader, that could solve the browser plugin problem. However, if you want to download the file you should be able to right click on the link and choose "save llink as..." and that will let you save the file to the file system and the browser won't try to open it. I assume you're using windows? One of those two solutions should work for you.

Ironman 54 (author)2010-07-18

Wow, this is really impressive. im thinking about talking with my dad about doing this for a project. Thanks!

sooth (author)2009-11-24

you can use these for trimaran floats as well, (google russell brown small trimarans.)

all_thumbs (author)2009-07-06

The usage rules for quite explicily states that the publication of copyrighted material isn't allowed. Apart from that, I find that treating this site as a file-sharing site, isn't quite in the right spirit. Please document something you have done yourself instead of upload stolen material.

daudpota (author)2008-10-06

I downloaded the tornadobuild79.pdf file. It lacks in pics and graphics for illustration of the building process. It will really help if this file is updated. Can anyone do it please?

TimAnderson (author)daudpota2009-02-15

see the comment above for links to the source for that information

spamme (author)2008-12-26

Here is the complete set of plans, you can either download the .zip'ed file
or browse them online (just click the pics to enlarge)

TimAnderson (author)spamme2008-12-26

Thanks! that's really great. The internet is a good thing after all!

Ferrite (author)2008-08-05

I am considering making this. I love boats and was considering making a fiberglass catamaran, but it is nice to have a detailed set of plans for a good sturdy boat that I am sure would be better than anything that I could come up with.

Ebola Zaïre (author)2007-11-18

this is cool, my friend has a tornado

About This Instructable



Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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