© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC. The so-called carousel tripoles are constructed and characterized in the framework of two-layer quasi-geostrophic contour dynamics, and their stability is examined. Such a tripole is a steadily rotating doubly symmetric ensemble of three collinear vortices, or more specifically, uniform-potential-vorticity patches, with the central, core vortex, located in the upper layer, and the two remaining, satellite vortices, in the lower layer, or vice versa. The carousel tripole solutions are obtained with the use of a numerical iterative procedure. A tripole with zero total potential vorticity can be generally identified by a point in the plane spanned by two parameters, namely, the typical size of the patches relative to the Rossby deformation radius, and some shape parameter. We consider two kinds of the parameter plane by taking as the second parameter either the distance d between the centroids of the core and one of the satellites (termed also separation) or, alternatively, the minimal distance h between the core centroid and the satellite contour, measured along the symmetry axis that passes through the centroids of the core and satellites. Accordingly, to capture the stationary tripoles, we use two alternative numerical procedures, which are based on fixing the first or the second pair of parameters. This is done because the areas of convergence of the two procedures differ somewhat from each other. The areas of convergence are plotted in the parameter planes, and in each of the planes, two branches of solutions are found bifurcating from some segments of the lines bounding the convergence areas. Stability is tested in numerical simulations with the numerical noise taken as a perturbation factor. Stability/instability of a tripole is determined by examining the oscillations in the perimeter of one of the vortex satellites. For each tripole size, both stable and unstable solutions exist. The stability bounds coincide with the bifurcation lines, so that one branch of the solutions is stable while the other is not. As a whole, tripoles with considerable separation behave stably.