Proa Construction in Greece

31 August 2017     Editor    0 Comments.

Alex Calothis has submitted his progress on a proa build in Greece.

I grew up in Athens and learnt to sail on optimists when I was about 8, and I have loved sailing ever since.

My father built a 6m catamaran around that time, and it was very fast, but would not turn very easily - long narrow hulls with very little rocker. We often had to perform a three point turn to get her around!! Still, she was a lot of fun. Later he bought a charter yacht and worked as a yacht skipper for about 30 years. I’ve also worked as a skipper for a while.

I’ve had a dream for many years to build a boat, and my father introduced me to the idea of the proa - he was very interested in the early western proas that were built to break speed records. The layout just makes sense to me. This is the first boat I have built. I started about two years ago, but I am not in Greece much these days, maybe a month or two in the summer, so progress is slow. I’m enjoying the build process!


  • Vaka (main hull): LOA 7.5m. LWL 7m, Beam 0.7m (beam waterline is less - about 50cm)
  • Ama (outrigger): LOA 5m, LWL 4.8m, Beam 0.35m
  • Beam from hull centers: 3.5m.

The vaka was designed with Freeship, and the ama is a box section, but on set on edge, like a diamond. Construction is 8mm marine ply stitch & glue, sheathed in ‘glass. The akas (cross beams) are box sections out of 20mm spruce (I don’t think it’s proper spruce - I got it from the local wood shop). I can jump up and down on the one that I have finished and it doesn’t flex much at all. It is sheathed in a carbon fiber ‘sock’. I hope it’s strong enough. The akas will be lashed to the deck of the vaka, and there are solid oak beams that go all the way through the vaka below the gunwale to accept the lashings. I’m still working out the best way to connect the akas to the ama. The posts sticking up out of the ama are also solid oak.

I will try either a crab claw sail, with the mast stepped on a ‘bridge’ that will run from one aka to the other, perhaps 50cm to windward of the vaka, or two masts and a sloop rig, with each mast stepped directly onto the akas. Although I expect first trials will be conducted using a kitesurfing kite, because I’m impatient!

Rudders will hang from posts that you can see in the photos sticking out of the vaka to windward, and they will rotate a full 180 degrees so that the leading rudder can just trail when it is not in use.

I have made a solid spruce daggerboard, routed to an ogive section, and there is a daggerboard slot in the vaka, but I have not yet cut out the hole for it at the bottom of the hull, and to start with I will try the boat without it. I may or may not use this in the future.

Originally I designed a 10m vessel, and the hull that I am using as the vaka was actually designed as an ama for this 10m proa.

The hull is designed to take on water ballast, if I ever use it as the ama for a larger vessel, like CLC’s MADNESS, which provided inspiration for the design.

Thanks for the progress report Alex, and I must say this looks likes the most pleasant work shop I have ever seen! -Editor

 proas / boatbuilding 


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