Summary (English)

 

Because there is a large community about proas all over the world, I think it is appropriate to report about the boat and the experiences in english. Of course also questions and comments in english are welcome.

I became aware of the proa when reading a book about multihulls, named “Mehrrumpfboote” (multihulls)  written by Klaus D. Kurtz. The book started with a report of William Dampier, one of the earliest European circumnavigators. He described that already in 1686 proas sailed 1200sm within only four days.

I was and I am still fascinated from the principle of a flying proa that under wind load the ama is lifted and so the draft is reduced.  Because I have always been an enthusiastic boat builder I built the P5, a 5m proa designed by Othmar Karschulin. I made exciting experiences and trips with this boat and so I designed and built a second proa of 5,5m lenght.

However, the experience with these boats told me that the design (asymmetric hull, no daggerboard, crabclaw rig) is not appropriate for a modern cruising yacht. So our idea, Othmars and mine, was to combine the advantages of the typical proa characteristics with modern assets. Beside the innovative material it was the leepod (the bulge in the hull), the daggerboard and the rig that considers modern technologies and the mentioned requirements.

The composite construction allows the low displacement, the leepod provides good interior space (standing height 2m, double berth 1.95mx2m) and also protects from capsizing. The daggerboard enables us to point upwind well, and the rig to handle it very easily. After almost two seasons I am happy to say that our expectations have been met (except the protection from capsizing, which fortunately we did not have to test).

Beside the fact that a proa of this size is not a normal boat, the A-mast situated lengthwise is, at least to my knowledge, unique. The reason to build the mast in this way is to get a large cockpit without an annoying mast in the middle.

Because of its exotic nature, the boat earns a lot of public attention. The german newspapers „Die Welt“, „Welt am Sonntag“ and „Berliner Morgenpost“ publishes articles in March 2014.  This was at an stage, when the boat was still under construction. In May 2014, when the boat was just launched and Othmar and me did our first tests, we did this together with some reporters from the german sailing magazin „Yacht“. This magazin published the article in September in Nr. 19.  Recently an article was publishes on the webside „proafile.com“. Beside of these activities, the construction and the experiences were, of course, followed in Othmars „multihull.de“.

Also in daily life the boat attracts a lot of people. Almost always people stand in front of the boat and ask what this exotic thing may be and how all the features may work. One time a sailor asked us when we would be departing, because he wanted to follow us to see the boat in action and take some pictures.

When sailing I am always impressed by the course stability. I remember one trip when I did not touch the tiller for more than one hour. Furthermore it is incredible how quiet and calm is the boat’s motion while underway. On one of the photos you see a post card. I put it there at the beginning of the season and it did not fall over during the whole summer and under all weather conditions.

Right from the beginning of the project it was clear that shunting would mean some effort. You have to roll up the genoa, then to turn around the main, to lift the first rudder, to lower the second rudder, and to roll out the second genoa. At the moment this maneuver takes almost one minute. With two well skilled people I guess it might be possible to come down to 30 seconds, but still it is not comparable to tacking of a monohull. Especially when you take into consideration that the boat comes to a stop. So sailing in narrow waters will not be the preferred trip with this boat (which is no real surprise). That is a pity because there are some nice sounds around our home port Boltenhagen in the southern Baltic.

In light winds the speed is quite considerable. I measured 4.4 – 5.6 knots at 1.8 – 3.1 knots true wind. At 5-6 knots true wind the boat speed was between 6 and 9.3 knots. All this data were taken on a course close to the wind. But because of the relatively high speed this means 90 degrees to the true wind.

Specifications

 

  • LOA: 11.95 m
  • Beam: 6.9 m
  • Draft, board up: 0.45 m
  • Draft board down: 1.5 m
  • Sail Area: genoa 27.5 m², main 27.5 m²
  • Displacement: 2.2 t, load 0.6 t
  • Accommodations: two double berth 195×200 cm
  • Auxiliary: 15 hp outboard
  • Construction: composite

 

 

  6 comments for “Summary (English)

  1. Zach klaja
    9. Januar 2016 at 8:39

    Hi! Your proa is great! What is the build time and cost for her? Can she be home built? Thanks and look forward to hearing more.

    • Manfred Meier
      9. Januar 2016 at 17:08

      Hi,

      indeed first I planned to build the boat by myself completely. But fortunately Othmar convinced me to buy the hull and do just the completion by myself. „Fortunately“ because it took the boatbuilder 2.300h. For me this would have meant 8-10 years.
      Beside that I see no problem to build it at home. The boat is build of vacuum laminated foam plates. You do not need even special equipment like welding machines, just a vacuum cleaner. The more important precondition is that you have a suitable hall (big enough, nearby, electric, heated to work even in winter) and -as mentioned above – sufficient time. When comming to the end, you need equipment to handle the big and heavy parts (up to 2.200kg for the whole boat). Also you should have checked that you are not allergic to epoxy. A lot of people are.
      In addition to the mentioned boatbuilding time we (my wife, relatives, friends and myself) spent another 500h for the completion up to now. I guess there will be necessary 100h more.

      Hopefully this helps a little bit.
      Kind regards
      Manfred

  2. Gérard Cosquer
    19. Juni 2016 at 14:44

    Hello Manfred,
    By chance I found the web site concerning your recent proa and for several reasons :
    – her performance in the the low wind showind her good capability to reach to a small angle with the apparent wind (25 to 35° from my estimation)
    – some similarities with my proa concerning the shape and particularly the characteristics :
    Mine :
    LOA: 11.90 m,
    Beam: 6.8 m
    Draft, board up: 0.45 m
    Draft board down: 1 m
    Sail Area: Two main 27 m² each
    Load Displacement: 2.3 t, load 0.6 t
    Accommodations: two double berth 130×200 cm + two single
    Auxiliary: 8 hp High thrust outboard
    Construction: plywood and polyester stratification
    But also some differences :
    Mine is an atlantic version and foiler, rigged in shooner with two equal main sails
    She were co-designed by J.L. Pelou and myself and built by mysellf, launch in 1981
    (video : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkud3r_mov00d_sport)
    My prao is located in France South Britanny and at that place there is a small concentration of proas :
    „Des jours meilleurs“ 19m pacific proa http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2drsqj_prao-pacifique-des-jours-meilleurs-ete-2014_sport
    „Un air de famille“ 10 m pacific proa with crab claw sails http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x172l2a_mov004_sport
    „Askelig“ 10 m pacific proa with balestron http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xlvbgk_mov006_sport
    „Epicure“ 15 m proa (between pacific and atlantic version) designed by Daniel Charles
    And a 15m pacfic proa still under construction but yet launched and near to be finalized.

    Being always interested by proas experiences
    Best regards
    gérard

    • Manfred Meier
      20. Juni 2016 at 19:11

      Hello Gerard,

      thank you for your message.
      It is strange that the dimensions of our boats are so similar. That is even more strange, as the concepts are quite different.
      What do you mean with „and foiler“? Do your really have foiler under your small hull, so that it can fly?

      To be honest I was aware of all the other boats, thanks to Othmars phantastic webside „multihull.de“. But there your boat „Epicemar“ ist not listed and I had no information about it up to now. It looks quite pretty and obviously it is fast and – after more than thirty years in service – it is most likely absolut reliable.
      Looking at the data of your fleet in South Brittany I am really surprised about the little drafts. Your is 1m only and even the big Des Jours Meilleurs has 1.5m only. As you know already, MAREINOA has a draft of 1.5m and I am thinking about increasing it to 2m. What angle to the true wind can you realise?

      Which angle to the apparent wind I can achieve? Well from my estimation it is like a normal monohull, so not really impressible. My ideal is the legendary Jzerro and to reach their incredible performance, there is a long way to go.

      Sailing such an extreme boat I am keen on experience with other boats. And may be I can contribute to some questions, you may have.
      So let us keep in touch.

      Kind regards to you and the other proaistas
      Manfred

      • Gérard Cosquer
        21. Juni 2016 at 16:33

        Hello Manfred,
        Thank you for your quick reply.
        To answer your questions :
        I did use the term „foiler“ to mean that (as you can se on the video) the two draft have a 45° angle and by that ther is a dynamic stabilisation of the small hull. That’s also why the length of the small hull is only 7 m, which is not usual for atlantic proa. (generally small hulls have an equal length with the mains). In fact, and from my computation it will be necessary to reach a 18 to 20 knots to see the small hull flying. I did not reach that speed, may be because it is not possible with that boat or due to the fact that I did not get the combined conditions for that at the same time : flat sea 20 knots and a crew more than 2 (usually I sail alone or with one person), or
        Concerning the angle I may reach with the true wind, it is between 50° and 60° depending of the sea conditions and the wind level, but in any case the angle with the apparent wind is around 35°. In fact to sail windward is not so easy : if we are too fast means that we are far from the wind, if we are too close to the wind, the speed is not very good, (specially with low wind) and as the boat is light, she stops and I have to line the back sail to front. I did compute that for my boat I dont have to sail at a speed over the half speed of the apparent wind if I want to sail the closer I can with the wind. (With 18 apparent wind knots I could reach 8 knots speed at 35° of the apparent wind and 57° with the true wind.
        I did compute the angle with the apparent wind with the element you gave in the above article and I found with and 90° angle with true wind:
        4.4 – knots at 1.8 true wind give an apparent wind angle 22°
        5.6 knots at 3.1 knots true wind give an apparent wind angle 29°
        At 6 knots true wind the boat speed was between 9.3 knots give 32°
        which are very good performance and show the sharpness of the sails and good draft.
        That is why I ask you the question, but suddenly I have a doubt about langage, for me the true wind is the wind that you have being static and the apparent wind is the combination of the boat speed wind and the true wind, if you consider the same, the number abov are right, other wis I may recompute.
        I agree with you, our draft are short compared to yours. The real influence of that will concern the windward performances which will be probably better with your ship. There are also some local conditions in archipellago, rivers with some shallow waters.
        Or may be we are preferring the crossward conditions (windward : 2 time the distance, 3 times the pain).
        Otherwise I noticed and confirm the same agreement and stability that you mentionned in your above article concerning sailing such boats. I was feeling always secure, even in poor conditions (30 knots wind and 3m high waves).
        Find at that adress :
        http://praopetrel.canalblog.com/archives/2015/12/20/33096138.html
        some images of the proa (Sambalaba) under construction where we can see the windward side. On the other side, the pod is consequent but here I cannot send image.

        Kind regards
        Gérard

        • Manfred Meier
          23. Juni 2016 at 20:16

          Hello Gérard,

          thank you for your answer and for your extensive calculations. It took me a while to understand your mathematics but in the end I think I`ve got it. Yes, your and my understand of the true and apparent wind is the same and, yes, I think your calculations are right. Nevertheless the results seem unrealistic to my point of view (unfortunately). To me the figures are too good. The reason may be that I do have just a wind velocity indicator that has to be used by hand. So, beside the fact that it is not very accurate by itself, I measured the wind velocity in 3m above the sea and in front of the rigg. So the real wind speed was probably much higher.
          I realised the same problems with going windward at low wind speeds. With more wind I also measured an angle of about 60° to the true wind. From that I would conclude that our boats have the same sailing performance.
          Final I prefer, like you, going down wind. But unfortunately the baltic is a small and contorted sea and, in the end, I always have to come back to my home base.
          So all the best and have a nice sailing season
          Manfred

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