A Flying Proa
R. M. MUNROE - The Rudder, June 1898
SAY, you freak designers, builders, and chaps who
appear quite unhappy unless soaking wet and hanging on
to the weather edge of a skimming dish by your
eyelids, just round up here a few minutes, while the
water runs out of your breeches, and let's have a
little chin about a freak that is a freak, pure and
simple. I propose to do all the talking, and don't you
interrupt; and mind, if there is any designing-board
chappie among you who dares smile in that superior
manner peculiar to them, let him take warning, for the
laugh that is last, etc., will surely swamp him, for
our freak is scientific from way back; can point,
fetch and carry; is a sea-going craft, and fastest of
the fast. No, you can't rule her out of the class; she
was in it centuries before your time you have
overlooked her, that's all.
Now, don't say, "Oh, yes, Catamaran! Herreshoff,
Fearon and others, exploited that years ago; nothing
in it but speed, expense and novelty." Catamarans -
but not proas - certainly were trotted out and found
wanting, because the double hull is theoretically and
practically wrong, and never would have shown any
exceptionable speed had it not been for the genius of
Uncle Nat and a most generous outlay of money. We
don't object to the genius, but when coupled with
expense most of us do; besides, it is the least
material producing the greatest result that proves
sound designing, and although our proa resembles a
straddle bug and her modeler a savage she gets there
safely, and is an excellent exponent of the foregoing
axiom, which is more than can be said of the boats
which competed in the trial races off Oyster Bay last
Let us look in the dictionary:
"Proa, an outrigger boat used in the Malay
Archipelago, about 30 feet long and 3 feet beam,
which attain the highest known speed under sail."
This and one or two very imperfect models, with the
evidence of an old sailor friend who had seen them in
howling gales a hundred miles or more from any land,
and sailing round him in more moderate weather when
his hooker was doing a good thirteen, led us to
investigate. To make a guess at the evolution of this
odd-looking craft, it would seem that our savage when
he first undertook to propel his dugout by means of
sails found himself more in the water than out, owing
to lack of beam, and as he could not control the
growth of trees he proceeded to "hike out" not on
planks, for he did not have them, but on poles,
naturally bamboo. This undoubtedly worked while the
wind was steady, but not having the skill or energy of
our modern canoeists capsizes to windward were the
rule until remedied by a float at the end of the
poles, and the proa was complete.
Click on the images to see the
Let us analyze this seemingly crude
affair, and see if it does not embody the fundamental
principles of small-boat sail propulsion for speed.
The fulcrum or hull is fashioned to make the very
least end resistance and unhampered by beam, except to
the extent of providing buoyancy necessary to carry
the weights of crew and vertical sail pressure.
Instead of the lever or mast continuing down into the
water in the form of ballast to a distance of say 8
feet, implying friction galore (which would be
necessary to attain the same power given by the
10-foot spread of the proa outrigger), it goes out
over the sides in the springing poles and ends in the
float or smaller counterpart of the main boat, with
friction on all but one point of sailing of next to
The rig should strike our mechanical experts as
being as near perfection as can be to meet the
greatest stress and strains with the least possible
material. The mast a slender pole just strong enough
to support the weight induced by pressure of sail, the
light rigging with its generous spread taking nearly
all the lateral strains; the sail in one piece,
lateen, for which yard and boom can be of the smallest
girth and stand perfectly. There you are! Beat it if
you can for simplicity and perfect adaptation!
Here, again, I suppose you will chip in and ask:
"How can any such hayrick as that ever be handled in
narrow work or seaway without a crew of nautical
acrobats?" Well, we must confess to much misgivings as
to the management of the cutter; so much so, that my
first one laid for some time unrigged, hardly daring
to risk my hard-earned reputation. A quiet moonlight
trial suggested itself; but at last we braced up,
paddled it clear of everything within possible reach
and hoisted sail - a wild clutch at the nearest rope
was all that saved part of the crew from being left
behind. Away we went.
Sailing is no name for it - flying is better. Out
into the bay she skipped, boys yelling with delight on
the uplifted outrigger, spray from the lee bow and
steering oar riven into vapor by the speed blowing to
leeward. It was grand! But that northeast course could
not be held forever; so we cautiously began trimming
in; and if you wind-jammers could have seen where that
trim ended, with the boat still footing in shape, your
eyeballs would have hung outside. Then came the
reversal for the return trip - trying moment - with
the piazza gang looking on. "Let go, and clew up!" we
sang out (Bully Waterman was never in it). Kept her
off a bit; dropped the steering oar and ran for the
other stern, owing to the halyards being bent too high
on the yard, and the brails fouling everything got
balled up, and chaos reigned with the old man rending
the air on the poop. Soon cleared, however, and with
tack bowsed down on the southwest bow off we went
again on our wild career. A short run and we squared
her for home.
Nothing seemed to happen if the outrigger boat did
dig into a following sea; she steered beautifully.
Luffing up off the wharf the sail was run down just at
the right moment, and we paddled in. Our skepticism
had vanished and a new pleasure resurrected. Since
this trial trip we have sailed and sailed with all
sorts and conditions of crew of both sexes, acro and
other bats, AB's and pantry boys; and excepting an
extra plank added to the freeboard on the lee side, so
as to stand bigger knockdowns, not a material
alteration has been made, a reef taken in, or an
In submitting the accompanying design for a proa I
wish to state distinctly that it is not to be
considered at all in the light of even a half-way
possible production. In fact it does not embody
several of the good points of the native boat, as they
would entail expense which if once started would end
in the well-known way, and tend to spoil the sport. It
is quite certain that a fine modeled
pianoforte-finished proa would sail round my cheap
flatbottomed construction, but the latter is more than
a match as she stands for any of our clippers, and
The simplicity of the plan calls for no detailed
description. A dropboard if thought convenient can be
substituted for the fin-keel, but must be made to fit
very closely, as the high speed forces the water up in
volume. The boat might be partly decked with combings,
but our experience leads me to believe that nothing
short of excessive freeboard and deck would be of much
use, and would not compensate for its weight; besides,
we are out for exercise and skill, and bailing is part
of the fun.
A possible improvement would be a battened trysail
with apex at masthead and boom on the foot; the tack
could then be used for clew, and vice-versa, when
tacking ship, and thus avoid the passing; but it would
entail roping on both sides of the sail to take the
strain of the luff, which would have to be set up with
a purchase. This roping would often bag the sail, to
which a proa is very sensitive.
A few hints on handling, and the story is ended. If
sail is hoisted for drying, take the extra tack rope -
which should be kept triced along the boom - and haul
the tack close to the mast; she will then lay head to
the wind. Keep the outrigger boat clear of the water
as much as possible.
Care must be taken not to luff too much and get
caught aback, or keep off so as to jibe; in either
case promptly let go the halyards. In all cases of
doubt and narrow work with headwind take in sail, and
paddle or row, as the simple rig and low hull catches
but little wind and is quite manageable. If blowing
heavy, giving the boom a tendency to cockbill, unhook
the regular tack-rope and pass the extra one to the
shroud, hauling the boom more thwartship; in light
wind and before it do the same.
In tacking, if the crew consists of two, the
outrigger man lets go the sheet, which should be
endless, and jumps for the tack which he unhooks; the
steersman keeps the boat off a point or so if by the
wind, drops his oar inboard and mans the clew lines or
brails, standing on the weather side. When the sail is
well up the tack is passed on the lee side inside of
the sheets and reset on the other end. In coming aft
the tack man brings in the slack of the forward sheet,
drops it and trims in the after sheet, the clew lines
having been let go in the meantime by the steersman,
who picks up the other oar. If there is an extra man
he attends to clew lines and sheets.
This manoeuvre, if well done, need not take much
more time than trimming of head sheets. In reefing,
the halyards will have to be bent lower down on the
yard, which should be marked so that when up-ended it
clears the gunwale. If she does not steer well close
hauled, or does not foot well, shift the tack-rope
hook on bottom and alter halyard on yard, so as to
throw the sail forward or aft as needed, and the
difficulty is at once removed.
Specifications for Flying Proa
Designed by R. M. MUNROE - The
HULL of white pine, cypress or cedar, sides flared
enough to raise the ends six in. from a straight line
fore and aft on top; in one length if possible, 16 in.
wide x 1/2 in. thick. If in two lengths the joint
should be a square butt with a 2 ft. batten of the
same stuff on inside and well riveted.
Click on the images to see the
Bottom of same material 3/4 in. thick, put on
athwartship in pieces not over 6 in. wide; deck of
white pine 3/8 in. thick. Timbers 1/2 x 3/8 in.
hackmatack, spaced 12 in. and not less than 5 copper
rivets in each; bilge pieces 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 in., full
length if possible, of oak. Rebated stem pieces need
not be used; lap the sides at ends and fasten to apron
pieces. (Fig. 8.)
Centerboard Case. -
Bed pieces 2 x 3 x 9 ft. hackmatack; head
blocks 1 x 1-1/2 in. hackmatack; center blocks 1 x
6 in. hackmatack. Centerboards 7/8 x 3 ft. x 3 ft.
6 in. oak, doweled with 5/16 in. iron and battened
Keelsons 1 x 11/2 in. hackmatack;
Bulkheads 3/4 in. spruce or pine;
Outrigger bolt cleat 2 x 1-1/4 in. oak, well
fastened (Fig. 4);
full length 11 ft. 10 in. Inboard end 5 x
1-1/2 in; outboard end 4 x 1-1/4 in. sawed with 4
in. sweep; spruce, ash or yellow pine.
Thwarts of spruce 7/8 x 8 in., except center one,
which is 10 in. wide.
The steering thwart pieces should be of hard wood.
All thwarts project on the weather side to support the
washboard. Six inches of the mast thwart crosses the
centerboard case and is securely fastened to it; this
6 in. space is also filled in to bottom of case and
through, fastened same as head blocks.
Float of white pine free from checks and made
lighter by boring it full of 2-in. holes from top side
and plugging same with sound corks driven in tight
with white lead. The oak blocks are fastened to float
with eight 2-in. brass screws (Fig. 5).
Tack traveler to fit slide can be had of T. J.
Simpson, New York. Seats secured to outriggers with 4
in. bolts, countersunk heads.
Headstays 1/4 in. bronze wire rope, eye
spliced to fit mast end and brass thimble at stems,
to which they should be attached with heavy marlin
lanyards rove through an eyeplate fastened on the
weather side of bow, so as to clear the tack
Same size and arrangement and with
lanyards to brass eye bolt, nut and washer on
outriggers. Shrouds should be set up a trifle
slack. Bridle on yard same stuff and long enough
(16 ft. 6 in.) to allow of perfect freedom in
passing the tack. Bridle should have very little
slack. Halyard rope 1/2 in. attached to bridle with
hardwood thimble or bullseye.
Halyard and brail blocks hung from mast with 6 in.
rope pendants, so as to twist freely (Fig. 10);
Brail ropes 3/8 in., one part each side of sail
through thumb cleat on underside of boom, and both
parts from block to pin in thwart.
Sheet rope 1/2 in. in one piece, leading or side of
mast through blocks around tack end of yard and each
end fastened to same place on boom.
Tack traveler rope 1/2 in. in one piece, leading
through check blocks spliced into eyes on
Boom must be attached to yard with a 3/8 in. bolt
having a 5/16 in. eye driven into end of boom with
ferrule, this to work in a clevis band on yard, which
must. not slip round, so as to keep boom and eye in
end of yard in the same plane, and not jam the latter
lowering and raising sail. A little soap or hard
grease is sometimes necessary to easy working of
Sail of double-bighted yacht-drilling without leech
rope. Two steering oars, one 8 feet for light and one
10 feet for strong breeze; the 10 foot oar should be
steamed and bent, as shown in drawing; then experiment
the degree of bend until oar loses tendency to twist
in the hands.
Lateral pressure or balance of sail is easily
adjusted by altering position of crew and traveler on
slide, which may be extended beyond stem if necessary;
emersion of the two centerboards will also effect it.
Care must be taken not to get caught aback, and if so
instantly let go the halyards or brail up. At all
times keep the float out of water as much as possible
and carry as little weight as windward work will admit
of. Lightness of construction and just enough weight
of the outrigger to prevent a capsize are the
essentials of speed in a proa.
Excerpt from The Commodore's
by Vincent Gilpin and Ralph Munroe
- From The Commodore's Story, pp.
- Historical Association of Southern Florida,
Miami, Florida, 1985
- ©1930 by Vincent Gilpin
I have postponed mention of one very interesting
sideline in the Commodore's drawing room -- namely,
the "flying proas." He had long been interested in
these remarkable little craft with their outriggers
and odd lateen sails, which used to range the South
Pacific in all weathers, and were said to outsail
large ships, in a stiff breeze, when they were running
ten or twelve knots -- a speed at least double that
possible to any small sailboat. Their general
principles were obvious from the few ancient drawings
published in old voyages -- a long, easy-lined hull,
with no stability, supported by an outrigger to
windward which had sufficient buoyancy to hold the
hull upright when not sailing.
In 1898 the Commodore decided to build one, and
after consulting all available data, most of which
were in early volumes of exploration, he drew a
simple, flat-bottomed canoe-like affair -- a sort of
elongated double-ended sharpie -- 29 feet long and 3
feet wide. On it were mounted springy
outrigger-planks, 10 feet long, holding a white pine
log float. On a well-stayed mast amidships was set a
high, narrow lateen sail, laced to yard and boom, of
such construction that its tack and clew could be
easily and quickly exchanged, making either end of the
boat the bow at will -- for, of course, the outrigger
must be kept to windward, and in changing tacks it was
necessary to sail the boat in the opposite direction.
Lateral resistance was supplied by two deep
dagger-centerboards amidships, and she was steered
with an oar.
The results were extremely interesting. They set
sail on the trial trip with the greatest curiosity,
fully prepared to swim, and expecting behavior as
sensationally "different" as the appearance of the
queer craft. The only surprise, however, proved to be
the comfort and stability she showed. They sheeted
home and moved off with a strangely matter-of-fact
air; as they felt her out, a slight puff lifted the
outrigger clear of the water and they expected an
instant "flop," but it did not come. She was strangely
stable thus balanced between sail and outrigger, and
when close-hauled they soon found it possible, by a
judicious combination of careful steering and quick
shifting in and out on the outrigger planks by the
crew, to ride her like a bicycle, keeping the
outrigger clear of the water for some minutes at a
time. Meanwhile they began to realize how close she
was pointing, and how amazingly she was footing at the
same time. She would keep going far beyond ordinary
windward speed of small craft, and the farther they
tested her, the more amazed they were!
Coming about was a queer upheaval of precedent.
Instead of luffing, they bore sharp off, slacking away
the sheet. One man jumped to the tack-lanyard, cast it
off, and ran to the opposite end of the boat, passing
the tack to leeward of the hull and immediately
bowsing it down in its new position at what had been
the stern, but was now to be the bow. Meanwhile the
steersman had carried his oar in the other direction,
and as the sheet was trimmed in (at the new "stern")
the boat gathered way, headed up and was off on the
new tack. It was amazing and fascinating business, and
the way the strange machine crabbed to windward was
certainly far beyond the performance of any other
small boats. They found themselves across the Bay in
no time, and the next question was, what would she do
They headed off cautiously, and with this much
practice found it fairly easy to keep her outrigger
out of water with wind on the beam; the resulting
speed, with her large sail and shell-like hull, may be
imagined, and was certainly exhilarating. Slowly they
edged her off, with ever increasing speed and growing
delight, and then suddenly came the final revelation
of what manner of beast they were riding.
With the growing wind on the quarter, outrigger in
air and spray flying, they were traveling at a very
high speed for a small boat. Then suddenly, with a
little extra puff, the fore part of the boat lifted
under them and, skimming the surface like a skipping
stone, leaped into a surprising burst of speed. The
sea beneath swept by like a cataract, vague and
foam-streaked, the tugging steering oar cut a clear
open cleft in the water and threw up on either side a
long rainbow of spray, while the boat itself rested so
lightly on the water that she made little, if any,
disturbance in her flight. They stole hurried,
ecstatic glances at each other. How fast were they
going? What sort of creature was this proa? And what
on earth was she doing?
The facts are that the proa, though it had the
limitations of an ordinary boat when sailed close to
the wind quite literally took wings after slacking off
even a small portion of the sheet. Except when
close-hauled by the wind, the outrigger proved
entirely unnecessary and no excess of wind had any
other effect in her except to make her go faster and
faster with her bow literally soaring in air. Her
limit was never reached even in the hardest summer
squalls, and it is probable that the only limit that
would ever handicap her would be the limit of the
Remember, this was in the days before hydroplanes;
but the proa didn't know that planing hadn't been
discovered, and that is just what she was doing. Her
speed? Well, they afterwards took her over a measured
half-mile at the rate of eighteen miles an hour, while
on other occasions when they couldn't time her, she
went considerably faster. When you think that four or
five miles is fair speed for a canoe, and that this
proa was nothing but an enlarged canoe, with a few
inches of freeboard, you may guess at the effect of a
three-minute rate in her, especially in the days when
the most powerful racing motor-boat could do little
These gay craft inspired a sonnet from the pen of
John R. Strong:
<we'll pass on the sonnet>
The Commodore afterward built several proas, for
the boys' schools and others, some of them a little
faster, but none more generally successful than this
first experiment. Of late years there has been a proa
club, fostered by the yacht club, with some good
racing, and altogether the reconstruction of ancient
South Sea design produced a lot of good fun and
brought out a number of interesting points.
They of course anticipated capsizes in the
beginning, and wondered what could be done with a
swamped proa. As a matter of fact it occurred but
seldom, and then gave comparatively little trouble. It
was quite possible to lower the sail, right her, bale
out and start afresh; of course there was no ballast,
and even when filled with water, she would keep
several people afloat. When thus filled, provided
there was a fresh wind, it was only necessary to sheet
the sail home and she would start with a leap, and
sail herself out from under the water in her, leaving
only a little to be scooped out later, under way! She
was lots of fun.
The Fast Sailing, Racing Proa
Designed by Ralph M. Munroe
- The Rudder Sail Boat Plan Book, pp. 36-37
- The Rudder Publishing Co., New York, ©1948
Developed in the islands of the South Pacific
uncounted years ago, the Proa (Maylay : boat) is
without doubt one of the fastest sailing hulls ever
devised. It is a freak, an out-and-out nightmare, but
for speed you can't beat it. The only possible
comparison would be with the catamaran, but that
employs two hulls to the proa's one.
The proa is extremely narrow, double-ended, flat
bottomed and with her one mast stepped amidships. She
does not tack. The bow end on one board is the stern
on the other. The forward corner of the sail (the
sail's tack) is always secured to the bow (the end
that happens to be in front). Thus the sail itself is
tacked when coming about, not the boat.
Two separate center-boards are used, both on the
centerline and in line with each other, although only
one board may be used.
Dimensions are approximately 30 feet overall and 2
feet 6 inches beam. Draft, with the board up, is
negligible. Sail area is about 240 square feet.
When changing tacks, or wearing ship--that is,
transferring the proa from one tack to the other--the
procedure seems outlandish to anyone accustomed to the
usual rig. Two men are necessary. The "crew" lets go
the sheet, which should be endless, and then runs
forward to unhook the tack (again, the forward corner
of the sail). The helmsman keeps the boat a point or
two off the wind, then ships his steering oar and mans
the brails (topping-lifts or lazy jacks). He takes in
on these, canting the outboard end of the boom up the
When the sail is well up, its tack is passed aft
(the crew brings it back) on the lee side of the mast.
This turns the sail end for end and lee side to
windward. The crew hurries on aft and hooks the sail's
tack to the end of the boat that was the stern until
now, but thus becomes the bow. While the crew was
doing all this the helmsman has jumped thirty feet
from the end of the where he was steering to the other
end and starts to steer from there. His end, of
course, is always the stern. After the sheet is
trimmed in the proa scoots off the other way.
Confusing is hardly the word for a printed
description of this maneuver, which is much simpler
than it sounds if both crew and helmsman know what
they are doing. The late Ralph M. Munroe built a proa
and sailed her on the waters of Biscayne Bay, Florida,
and another was sailed at Martha's Vineyard,
Following are the specifications of the boat
constructed by Munroe. They are not intended as full
particulars or building instructions, but will give a
prospective builder something to go on with.
- Length overall 30 ft.
- Beam 2 ft. 6 in.
- Draft of hull about 5 in.
- Draft with board down 2 ft.
- Sail area 240 sq. ft.
Half inch planking, flared enough to raise
the ends up 6 inches from a straight line fore and
aft, on top. Bottom planking put on athwartships in
pieces not over 6 inches wide. Decking (the one
strip of it along the lee side) 3/8 inch. Frames
1/2 by 3/4 inch, spaced on 12 inch centers. Chine
pieces 1-1/2 by 1-1/2 inches, using some strong
wood such as oak. The stems at bow and stern need
not be rabbeted, merely lap the sides at the ends.
See Fig 8.
1 inch by 1-1/2 inches, bulkheads 3/4
inch. Thwarts 7/8 inch by 8 inches, except center
one, which is 10 inches wide. All thwarts project
on the weather side to support the wash board. A 6
inch width of the mast thwart crosses the
center-board case and is fastened to it. This 6
inch space is filled to the bottom of the case and
through bolted, same as the trunk and head pieces.
Center-board and Center-board Trunk--
Center-board 7/8 inch by 3 feet by 3 feet
6 inches, doweled with 5/16 inch iron rod. Trunk
bed pieces 2 inches by 3 inches by 9 feet, center
blocks 1 inch by 6 inches.
Outrigger and Outrigger Float--
Outrigger bolt cleat 2 inches by 1-1/4
inches, well fastened as shown in Figure 4. Full
length of outrigger is 11 feet 10 inches, sawed
with a 4 inch arc, as shown in the drawing. Inboard
end 5 inches by 1-1/2 inches, outboard end 4 inches
by 1-1/4 inches. The outrigger float is of white
pine for lightness, free from checks and made
lighter by boring with holes and plugging them with
corks and white lead. Alternative construction
would be to build it up, like a hollow mast.
Halliard and brail blocks are hung from
mast with 6 inch pendants, so as to twist freely.
The boom must be attached to the yard as shown in
Figure 1. The boom is supplied with an eye in its
end which engages in a band on the spar. This band
must not turn on the spar, otherwise the
"gooseneck" will jam when sail is set or lowered.
The balance of the proa can be altered by adjusting
the position of the crew, and if two center-boards are
used they may be adjusted also. The skipper must take
great care not to be caught aback; if this does
happen, he should instantly either let go the halliard
or brail up the sail.
The craft sails fastest with the float out of water
as much of the time as possible and as little weight
as the weather will allow. Lightness of construction
and just enough weight on the outrigger to prevent a
capsize are the essentials of speed in a proa.
Mary and Her Little Lamb
By H.G. - The Rudder, October 1898
PROAS, or flying proas as they are called, are
justly famous for speed, and as Mr. Munroe remarks in
his article on them in our June issue, it is a wonder
more yachtsmen thirsting for speed and new sensations
have not tried this style of craft.
For speed, if that is all that is wanted, there is
no known type of sailing craft that can compare with
A friend of this magazine returning from a
seventeen-month's voyage around eastern seas related a
tale of having picked up a proa three hundred miles
off the Stewart Islands, situated four hundred and
fifty miles northeast of New Caledonia, the French
penal settlement, with a half-starved crew of natives
on it. They in a thousand-ton bark took the proa in
tow, and bore up for Thursday Island of that group to
land the natives and also get some fresh fruit. He
being second mate went ashore to barter for the
provisions, and there bought in exchange for two
copies of The Rudder and an old shirt from one of the
petty chiefs two fine models of the proas used by
these people, carved out of cabbage wood, and lashed
together with cocoanut fibre, just as the larger ones
are built, with two little cabbage wood paddles such
as they steer with and presented t them to The Rudder
on his return home.
When he regained his bark he said the sea around
her was black with native boats, all wanting to come
alongside and when they had filled away and were
romping off under all sail -- a good eight knots --
the proas would dash ahead with ease, circling around,
backing and filling their apparently clumsy sails with
the skill born of long usage. But to come back to the
U.S. and our subject, "Mary and Her Little Lamb," we
quote what Mr. Roosevelt says about her:
"I have owned and sailed about every kind
of a boat from a canoe up to a schooner yacht, but
give me a proa for both comfort and sport. It is
iceboat sailing on the water. Proas have their
idiosyncrasies, however, and no sailorman can sail
one until he has forgotten most of what he has
learned regarding the ordinary type of boat.
Although the Mary and Lamb, as I call my proa, has
not a single speed line in her design, this being
sacrificed to attain light draught and utility,
under certain conditions she goes like a whirlwind.
When the ordinary boat is staggering under two
reefs my proa wakes up and shows such a desire to
get there that it is truly exhilarating.
When I made up my mind to build a boat of this
type I knew she would be fast and seaworthy but I
was afraid she would be difficult to handle - so my
principal efforts were in the direction of a sail
plan and rig which one, certainly two men could
easily work. I got out a working model , and after
trying a revolving split mast and several other
gears finally hit upon the arrangement shown and
this works, as in moderate weather I can handle the
Of course the boat is large and her sail and
spars are heavy, so it is better to have two men,
and if it blows you must have two.
The masts of the main boat are stepped on the
windward side, so as to get a shroud to leeward,
and are loose in the upper step. The pressure on
the sail is taken by the shrouds or guys leading to
end of outrigger boom and little boat. I put two
guys merely for safety, because a break there would
mean total collapse.
In tacking the sail swings around the forward
end, passing under the outrigger guys or shrouds,
and is manipulated by a double endless sheet, so as
to trim back towards either end, which for the time
being constitutes the stern.
There is a rudder at both ends; the forward
rudder trails loosely under the boat until you want
to use it on the other tack. The photos enclosed
will give a good idea of the boat, both at anchor
and under sail.
Her dimensions are as follows:
Mary, the larger hull:
over all, 50 feet;
water line, 32 feet;
beam at water line,
3 feet 6 inches;
depth, 3 feet 3 inches;
draught, 6 inches.
- Lamb, the smaller hull:
over all, 18 feet;
beam at deck,
beam at bottom,
depth, 2 feet 6 inches.
Two lee boards are fitted to the larger hull,
one at each end, 15 feet from the ends.
The larger hull is left open, and the outrigger
built up high enough for a man to walk under it,
and so pass safely from one end to the other. The
smaller hull is decked over and fitted with a small
hatchway. The space between the two hulls is
twenty-two feet, and a cradle and gearing is so
arranged over and around the smaller hull or lamb,
as to give it plenty of room for play and still
keep her parallel with the larger boat.
The sail has a yard forty-five feet long, boom,
forty-two feet, and the hoist to the halyard blocks
is twenty-two feet."
In conclusion, Mr. Roosevelt said his experience
has been similar to Mr. Munroe, who wrote an article
on proas in our June issue, and remarked that it was a
mystery to him why more proas had not been built in
the United States.