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M. W. Schacht



19-Nov 2017


The Logic of Madness


John Harris of CLC has taken delivery of his screaming yellow 31’ proa ‘Madness’ from Sea Island Boatworks in Charleston, NC, and says he’s looking at about a month of fitting out before the maiden sail.

Madness was inspired by, and designed in direct consultation with, proa guru Russell Brown.  The design is a fusion of his 30-foot plywood Jzero design from the 1970’s, his more-refined cold molded 36-footer Jzerro, from 1993, and my own experiences with the proa Mbuli, which I designed and built in 2000.

John has put together a nice video explaining the method behind the Madness that includes a good overview on the what and why of proas.

Madness: 31-foot Pacific Proa


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Posted: 28/Aug/2011 | 5 Comments

Hydrofoil Proas

imageThis is Patrick Cudmore’s Seaflier, a solid wing, canted rig, hydrofoil proa built in 1984.

Neither hydrofoil sailboats nor canted rigs are particularly new, but Cudmore’s lightweight proa-configured craft with its cantilevered, articulating wingsall and inverted, elliptical arch, surface-piercing foils offers a glimpse of a future made possible by sophisticated design and strong but light composite plastics. -Keith Taylor, SAIL magazine

That was in 1984. Before that, Bernard Smith developed the Aerohydrofoil, a sailing hydrofoil based on the proa configuration. Proas and hydrofoils, they just go together. Combine the most efficient plan with the most efficient foils and you get record-breaking speed, from Crossbow to Yellow Pages Endeavor to Sailrocket.

And yet, all the modern big money hydrofoils are bilaterally symmetrical. What the hell happened?

Computers. I blame them. Hydrofoil sailboats require Fluid Dynamics software, which are based upon data gathered for airplane foils by NACA (now NASA) and there are no proa airplanes (Burt Rutan’s Boomerang not withstanding). No research done on optimizing foils that must operate within a reversing flow, no data, no software, no proas.

If an item does not occur in our records, it does not exist. -Star Wars

However, there is still, one hope in the sea of bilateral conformity. Boeing aeronautical engineer Tom Speer has created a foil section optimized for reversing flow. It may not be the Holy Grail of proa foil sections, but it puts us in the ball park.  Imagine bi-directional sails, together with bi-directional hydrofoils -  it becomes a simple package with a common simple theme running right the way through it. It has an elegance to it. Nothing would be an optimally efficient foil (hulls, sails and foils)  but the combined effect of it could be startling in action…

With this section, go forth, and conquer.

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Posted: 20/Aug/2011 | 3 Comments

Small Boat, Big Adventure


The satisfied smile belongs to proa sailor Chris Grill, who is currently having the time of his life cruising the Gulf Coast of Mexico:

I thought you and perhaps your readers might like to know that I am now sailing my boat - a 22-foot shunting proa
based on Gary Dierking’s T2 - along the Gulf Coast of Mexico… having the most wondrous adventure I could imagine. Rain, shine, storms, lagoons, rivers, beaches and bugs… I post reports about it when I can and carry a SPOT satellite tracker that is linked to on my blog so my progress can be seen daily. Tomorrow I continue up the west coast of the Yucatan. Wish me luck!

Follow along at Grillabongquixotic.wordpress.com

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Posted: 04/Aug/2011 | 1 Comments

Son of Amaryllis


Jan Gougeon has finally revealed his radical new catamaran, seen here at the launch party in Bay City, MI. The wood, foam and carbon composite 40 footer includes water ballast, pivoting crossbeams for trailering, and rumor has it may even be self-righting! More details will be coming soon from the builder, I’ll update the post as it trickles in.

Via Sailing Anarchy

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Posted: 19/Jul/2011 | 0 Comments

Le Proatype Putter by Loïck Peyron

imageThe creation of the Proatype Putter, by Fred Eagle.

“In 2006 I was head of the graphic design department for a custom golf equipment manufacturer in the US, working from home and looking at putters all day. every day. My house is on the waterfront and so I also look at boats out the window while I am working. every day. So, I guess it was bound to happen. My creative subconscious mind naturally twisting my daily visuals and attempting to create something new with the information. While I was practicing my short game in my yard one afternoon, It hit me hard. A future-forward club design that would marry the sport of golf with the sport of sailing. Land with Sea. Fuse the two legendary pastimes into a lethal precision sporting device. Great. Seeking advice from the only expert I knew in the field, I asked the French multihull specialist Loïck Peyron: Hey, what do you think about a multihull putter, mate? Hmmm ...A catamaran for the golf course? Yes. Ees good. Let’s do it dude.”

Le Proatype: The Power Of Positive Sinking™

Read the whole story at Fred Eagle. Thanks to John H. for the submission!

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Posted: 15/Jul/2011 | 0 Comments

Evergreen - a Fast Expedition Sailboat

evergreenThis year’s WoodenBoat Design Challenge III, “A Fast, Expedition Sailboat”, is a theme near and dear to my Proafile heart. Last winter, I was working up a design that fit the parameters pretty well, so when Canadian designer Laurie McGowan suggested we enter the contest, we chose EVERGREEN, a 6m (19’-8”) camp-cruiser cat. We had to really push to make the May 29 deadline but in the end we got the packet in the mail and had a great time doing it.

The winning entry came from John Marples and his neat 27’ folding trimaran (Congratulations, John!) and while it would have been nice to win, the contest drew 49 entries, a number that both amazed and gratified us that so many others are thinking “small, expedition, sail”.

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Posted: 22/Jun/2011 | 27 Comments

Pirates Speak German, Too

imageRay Aldridge, the designer of Slider (featured previously on Proafile) has alerted me that a firm in Germany appears to be trying to sell plans for the little 16 foot beachcruising catamaran - without authorization! They grabbed a pic from Ray’s site, slightly modified it, and put the plans on offer for a lot more than Ray is charging. They make no mention of Slider or the designer, implying the boat is their own design. I’ve posted the photo of Slider against the photo of the Segel-Katamaran 488 so you can make your own comparison.

I’m suitably outraged that this kind of piracy goes on even in the world of small boat plans, and that Tecpaper considers this kind of theft an ethical business practice. If you are a designer of small craft, you might want to take a look on their site to see if anything looks familiar.

The real thing: Slidercat.com

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Posted: 28/May/2011 | 3 Comments


Take the wayback machine to the 60’s and an interview with actor Gardner McKay (Daniel Boone) discussing racing aboard Pattycat, the CSK catamaran. Rudy Choy, Jack Swart and others in the background. Pattycat was owned and campaigned by Dr. John Pursell in Southern California and became known as something of a “giant killer”, outpacing the big CCA racing yachts of the day, though she wasn’t competitive for long against the quickly evolving racing cats (or “bamboo bombers” as Choy referred to them).

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Posted: 23/May/2011 | 0 Comments

A Rowing Yacht


Angus Rowboats have completed their latest project - a coastal cruising rowboat. 19’ stitch and glue ply, 175 lb. fully rigged, the boat features an enclosed bunk, a clever cockpit table and galley, and small floats that attach to the rowing outriggers to create a stable platform for lounging and cooking while at anchor.

To make a rowing boat that could have the comfort of a small cruising sailboat, yet offer the performance of a small sleek sea kayak (in all kinds of weather conditions), we really had to focus on miniaturization. The cabin had to be low, the boat light, and the camping accessories small and stow-able. The goal was to have a boat that could row well, yet be a comfortable home when anchored. It needed to be seaworthy enough to voyage in gale-force conditions, be unsinkable, and still be pretty. After taking the boat on her maiden camping voyage last week, we were pleased that it performed just as we’d hoped.

Via 1001 Boats

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Posted: 21/May/2011 | 1 Comments

Bruce Was Right

Back in the 70’s, Edmond Bruce was cobbling together wind tunnels and test tanks out of duct tape and bailing wire, conducting sailing experiments that were published in the Amateur Yacht Research Society newsletter. Think of him as the ‘Doc Brown’ of sailing and you won’t be too far off. The guy was a genius, one of those who could think “Fourth Dimensionally”.

His primary claim to fame is the invention of an inclined hydrofoil designed to counteract the heeling force of the sail, replacing lead ballast or even “live buoyancy to leeward” with the same kind of dynamic energy as the sail. He saw the sailboat as a yin-yang kind of thing, a delicate balancing act of dual forces that almost alchemically combined to permit transport when properly aligned.

Edmond inspired a lot of people back in the day, and one was Jean Louis Pelou who has kindly sent pix of his Bruce foil equipped proa Epicemar, originally built in 1980, and still sailing today. Epicemar is 40’ (12m) flying 270 sq. ft. (25 sq. m) of sail. The twin, 45 degree daggerboards counteract the force of the twin sails.

These days, all the cool kids sport lifting foils in their lee hulls, though they seldom call them Bruce foils anymore.

More pix after the jump.

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Posted: 06/May/2011 | 8 Comments

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