Back to the Future. A collaboration with Jim Shanahan.
Tepukai are singularly amazing proas from the Santa Cruz Islands that take the usual South Pacific parsimony with building materials to the nth degree. The boats stretch out over the water’s surface like a gigantic water spider, covering the most area with the minimum mass. Tepukai employ slender, submersible wave-piercing hulls, centrally located mass for low pitching moments, and excellent bridge deck clearance - all very M3K (millennium three thousand).
Jim Shanahan approached me with an idea for a tepuke inspired beach cruiser, and Pookie is the result. The boat stretches itself out to a 28’ LOA x 15’ beam, without weighing much more than a Hobie Cat. In the Oceanic tradition, the boat is made mostly of woven materials: Polyester, Nylon, carbon fiber, Kevlar and Spectra.
The basic configuration is a carbon fiber space frame which supports inflatable tube hulls, trampoline deck, shelter and rig. When folded and deflated, the contraption fits inside a 4’ x 8’ x 14’ box - a sailing version of George Jetson’s flying car in a briefcase.
A boat with such an extreme mass/surface area ratio would have a great deal of trouble carrying way through a tack, so the proa configuration makes particular sense in this case, solving the problem by redefining the question.
The rig is a cross between sailboard and crab claw - a pivoting mast allowing the foot to be hauled forward so the CE is centered. The leeway is handled by a pivoting “windboard“ - the opposite of a leeboard. Again, no rudders. Why is that? Maybe because somehow a proa already knows the course.