PROCYON project........a Bold experiment
Just the other day I saw reference again to the that unique vessel PROCYON on SailingScuttlebutt. This is 16-18 years after the project started....kind of old in this modern sailboat age!!
I don't think a lot of people realize what a ground breaking design this was. With this in mind, and some other sporatic references to this vessel on the web, I thought it might be interesting to start a subject thread on this vessel specifically, and that might bring together some of the scattered information that might be found.
Olaf Harken of Harken products has to be given the ultimate praise for having conceived of the idea, and then putting the group of people together go forward with such a bold new combination of new ideas. I was fortunate enough to know Olaf personally, and to be very interested in his project, as it involved considerable alterations to the ‘conventional’ sailing rig, a subject I have dealt with for a long time. (my mast aft, single-masted ketch concept)
From a few of their notes and materials I was able to gather on the subject;
THE PROCYON PROJECT
The PROCYON project was born out of a need to modernize sailing boats to meet the demands of today’s life-styles and help revitalize a slumping industry. The name comes from a bright star in the Spring sky that hovers over the sailing constellations.
The project was conceived four years ago and a set of criteria was established that the design must meet. The criteria are:
1) To increase the speed and performance of a typical cruising yacht between ten and twenty percent.
2) To increase the comfort of the typical yacht through less heeling and better creature comforts above and below.
3) To be able to rig the boat and have it ready to be underway in five minutes.
4) To be able to sail the boat under arduous conditions with a crew of two or three people.
5) To have a design that was futuristic but not outlandish.
6) To be cost effective.
A design and production team was formed that includes some of the top people and companies in the industry; in fact, only some America’s Cup efforts have rivaled the size and expertise of the PROCYON Group. This team has achieved the design criteria and is now building a yacht that will incorporate these concepts. It is a huge effort. In order to dramatize the concepts, a sixty-five foot boat is being built, even though they are perfectly viable on smaller boats.
The cost of this project is between 1.3 and 1 .4 million dollars, including all of the design and engineering work. It is being borne by our primary sponsor, Amoco Chemical Company, members of the design and production group, material contributors and some needed sponsors and shareholders still being sought.
The yacht will be named Amoco Procyon and will be owned by Procyon, Inc., which is comprised of members of the design and production team and additional individual or corporate members.
Amoco Procyon is scheduled to be launched in January or February of 1991 and will go on an extensive promotional and racing tour during the 1991 season, starting at the Miami International Boat Show. The boat will demonstrate the latest in technology in many areas including sailing for the physically disabled, recycling and solar energy. It will provide an exceptional platform for corporations to show off their products, and can be utilized for public relations, entertainment and other promotional purposes.
I'll leave you with one memorable picture right now. I have some more illustrations if I can get them to scan decently.
Innovations & Special Features
Amoco Procyon has a number of unique and, in some cases, patented features that influence its performance and handling characteristics. It also incorporates technology that currently exists in unique ways.
• A ULDB (ultra light displacement boat) hull that has a wider beam will give this boat great speed and, with her stabilizing factors and increased sail area, should be about 16 percent faster than a comparable 70-foot ULDB upwind. On reaches, she should be 5 percent to 10 percent faster and just as fast on a run.
• Patent pending Bi-Pod mast.
• No internal structure or mast going through the deck.
• Mast is hinged at deck with support arms attached to it so that entire mast can be lowered to go under a bridge.
• Roller furling mainsail is supported between the mast pods to give the mainsail a clean entry and roll up to desired sail area.
• Weight savings over a comparable mast is approximately 20% - 25% which amounts to about 250 pounds for the Amoco Procyon mast and has a significant effect on stability.
• No complex rigging required except a forestay with a furling system, a center mainsail furling system and a backstay.
• Unique new style boom is light and strong and does not require a vang because it is part of the boom.
• Mast and boom will be made out of carbon fiber for additional strength and weight savings.
• Patented mainsail and jib battens roll up to allow a roach on the sails... never before done.
• Self tacking jib for easy sail handling.
CANTING WING KEEL
• Keel cants to windward as much as 25 degrees to substantially increase stability and reduce heeling. Allows a much bigger and more powerful sailplan for increased speed.
• Large wings which extend about four feet from the center prevent leeway. The increased drag is substantially overcome by the increased efficiency of the reduced heeling moment.
• Keel automatically cants to windward upon tacking with electronic controls operating a simple hydraulic arm in a bulkhead. The significant amount of power required is stored up with a hydraulic accumulator system. Manual and semi-automatic operation is also possible.
• Safety systems automatically release keel to vertical position in the event of a false tack. Manual override is also provided
• Dual steering stations are located in the center of the boat for full visibility with dashboard in front.
• Torlon® ball bearings, rudder bearings, and ball bearing sheaves and wheels will provide easy and sensitive steering.
• A high-fashion interior design will give a spacious look with excellent seagoing accommodations.
• Air mattresses under regular foam mattress will allow beds to level out ten degrees for comfortable sleeping underway.
• Railings and handholds are being considered for safety in a rolling, pitching seaway.
• Unique Amoco fabrics that are highly resistant to dirt, weather and abuse will be used for wall and overhead coverings. Special Amoco carpet material will be used below deck.
• All controls to operate the mainsail, jib and engine will be within reach of the helmsman.
• Hydraulic winches and a hydraulic jib and furling system will be used for easy handling.
• Most lines will be hidden for safety and to give the yacht a clean look.
• Handicap systems are being designed so that paraplegics can operate most functions and can move around below decks.
• Solar panels will be used to trickle charge batteries.
• A garbage recycling separator and mechanical compacting system will be installed.
• Water ballast may be used when desired to optimize performance and stability on long passages. Two tons of water will be moved to storage tanks at the gunwales.
• Futuristic topside styling retains basic traditional sailing yacht lines with a few twists such as a radar arch or bridge which will also house the canopy, plus, wrap-around windshields for steering stations.
140 H.P. engine will drive her about 11 knots - three knots faster than normal for a yacht of her size.
• A special folding Gori propeller will be used for minimum resistance and maximum torque.
• Solar ventilators from Nicro will turn air over frequently
Professional BoatBuilder wrote
by Dick Cadwalader, senior editor
With sales ratios running 20:1, power against sail, ways to breathe life into the sailboat market are on the niinds of all who rely on the sport as a means of putting bread on their tables.
Recently, the sailing arm of The New York Times publishing group (Sailing World, Cruising World, and Sailing Scene) mustered some 200 builders, designers, equipment manufacturers, niembers of the marine press, and advertising professionals for a seminar that sought to identify the causes of and cures for sailing’s present doldrums. This event spanned a day and a half in Miami, Florida, just prior to the trade clays of the boat show there.
Many good minds jousted with the complexities of “the sailboat question,” approaching it from their own areas of expertise. As a result, the solutions that emerged fell into several categories, most notably marketing, education, and design.
The numerous presentations of the seminar served well as a rallying platform. Participants were charged with a desire to help win sailing’s battle for greater market share, and it will be interesting to see what concrete action materializes in coming months. In the interim, let’s examine the options proposed by the group, using the design, marketing, and education concepts as points of departure.
A Boat for the Future
Attempts to configure the sailboat hulls, rigs, and interiors of the future can quickly land a designer on either side of the visionary/crackpot spectrum. As often as not, such efforts only bring a designer well-deserved credit long after he could really use it..
With all modesty, Olaf Harken of Harken Inc., designer Britton Chance, spar manufacturer Eric Hall, and interior design and styling specialist Diane Atwood have ventured forward with a concept boat that they feel addresses many of the interests of a future boat-buying public. . The 65’ monohulled sloop is named Amoco Procyon and in one bite, the group has brought together a number of extant (but underutilized) innovations to create what is, in total, a radical as well as appealing prototype, one they hope will move into construction within the year.
Amoco Procyon is an improvement on her contemporary sisters in many ways. All sail is designed to be handled without difficulty. The main and jib are both mounted on lulf-style furlers, with the mainsheets out on a wishbone boom. A bipod mast of carbon fiber supports the rig, and it is mounted on double tabernacles to permit lowering for passage through structures with air-draft restrictions, such as bridges and high-power lines.
Perhaps her most serious departure from the norm is an articulated wing keel that can be pivoted to windward some 25° in the transverse plane to yield a higher sail-canying capability with a minimum of heel. This is a feature David Hubbard and Eric Goetz used successfully on the fast and narrow monohull Red Heiring, built in the late ‘70s for Van Allen Clark. (The idea of the articulated keel is at least 50 years old. L. Francis Herreshoff, a mentor of sorts to a younger Brit Chance, detailed his version of the keel and its advantages in a monograph entitled “The Sailing Machine” in his book The Common Sense of Yacht Design.)
In a nutshell, the Amoco Procyon represents a very positive step toward confronting the limitations of present craft while supplying future sailors with advantages that many believe will be attractive to buyers—notably, speed, comfort (minimal heel), ease of handling, access to more harbors, and progressive interior styling. The construction of this boat, which is already impressive on paper, is to be shared by several firms. Windship Trident Ship-works (Tampa, Florida) will mold the Amoco Procyon’s hull and deck, using materials supplied by the project’s principal sponsor, Amoco Chemical Company (Chicago, Illinois). Catalina Yachts (Woodland Hills, California) is slated to fabricate the interior and provide the finish work on the boat’s major components.
Regardless of the success of the prototype, the design concepts embodied in the Amoco Procyon are readily translated into much smaller, affordable boats, where they may be even more appropriate
Boom Design alteration
Note that most of the early photos and illustration depict a wishbone style boom. She ended up with quite another style boom in the final derivation.
(Unique new style boom is light and strong and does not require a vang because it is part of the boom.)
What happened to Amoco Procyon?
Gestenaval S.L., Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Yes a boat full of innovation, but the market has seen and made its decision. The question that should be asked is why something’s get taken up and others not. For example would a designer/builder bother to go with a patented Bi-pod mast (did they get it?) when they can get a single stick anywhere, as time is money and nowadays supposed innovation costs.
Besides what's the world about without some INNOVATION. If everyone just followed some leader how much fun would that be. And without creativity things get stale.
Brian I whole heartily agree with you the more innovation the better, my point was more the uptake of those ideas, what kills a great idea in the market place? My point of the mast was an example of maybe the “pat pending”( sometime used as a marketing tool) stop people thinking about and adding to the original concept.
Winged Canting Keel
I learned about this great boat when doing research on my own version of a winged canting keel. And that aspect of the design is being used by several designers just in the last couple of years with Andy Dovel using it on Atomic and several other race winning canting keel boats, Julian Bethwaite using it on his new 79er, the Backman 29 using it and the kFOIL uses a retractable version of a winged canting keel. Lots of advantages in terms of getting rid of a forward rudder or a daggerboard or boards for extra lateral resistance in a canting keel boat.
As of April 2, the PROCYON lies in Tampa Bay and is up for sale per this ad.
"In 1991 this unique sailing vessel was considered by Sail Magazine as one of the top 100 sailing yachts of the century. Most of the concepts came from Olaf and Peter Harken. Concepts such as a bipod mast, canting keel, and water ballast system were unique. The goal was a strong but light boat that would perform well as a cruising vessel and display the many Harken products that are abundantly on this vessel. The vessel was manufactured by the Windship Trident facility in Tampa, Florida.
In the recent year she was completely refit on the interior with an absolutely gorgeous teak interior. The aft stateroom was reconfigured as well as several other areas. The original interior left much to be desired and thus the new interior look is a true welcome, as well as a new exterior paint job.
The original cost to manufacture "Procyon" was close to $2,000,000. She is now a true bargin to anyone who desires a unique, one-of-a-kind state-of-the-art performance cruiser at $895,000.
Ad Last Revised: 10/12/05"
When new sail materials, or keel wings, etc give 3% to 5% increase in speed, I agree that a design that gives 15% increase is outlandish.
Perhaps there were development factors that contributed to the cost. We should be looking into ways to get the cost of the standing rigging down. QA 15% increase in speed is not to be dismissed so easily.
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