The forums opened on Nov. 1, 2011, and operated until Aug. 31, 2014. There are 400 topics on all aspects of proa and outrigger canoe design, history, construction and sailing, which remain online as an archive.
(Given the slight re-focus that’s happening with the website, here’s an early ‘western’ multihull that people may find interesting. It’s not a proa, but still ...)
This is the “Duster”, a sailing catamaran that’s recently come to the attention of the internet. After some initial uncertainty as to its vintage, the craft is now known to date from 1894, as in that year it’d participated in sailing regattas run at Sausalito, California by the San Francisco Yacht Club.
Unfortunately, beyond its name, not much more is known. Although the “Duster” is very similar to the catamarans designed by NG Herreshoff, it’s probably not by him. There are certain points of difference with Herreshoff’s craft, such as the smaller hull size (perhaps 16-18 ft vs 25 ft), there being a single centreboard instead of two hull-mounted daggerboards. In the third photo, if you zoom in on the centrepod, you may be able to pick out it’s curved underside, there in order to provide a housing for the centreboard, and perhaps for the foot of the mast as well.
What impresses me about the photos is the light spidery quality that’s inherent in the design. Given the design ethos of the era, to see such a radical sailboat in operation must’ve been quite something!