Historical multihulls

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Gary Baigent, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

  2. buzzman
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    buzzman Senior Member

    This is an excellent history, featuring a few yachts I was not previously aware of.

    Chevalier mentions the tri-hull 'pirogues' of INdonesia and the Melanesian islands.

    I recently came across a set of lines drwan form a modern-built boat seen on the beach of Slopeng, Indonesia, where the locals call the craft a 'jukung'.

    Apparently this design is virtually unchanged (other than more modern materials) from those of a thousand years ago.
     

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  3. buzzman
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    buzzman Senior Member

    Bit more history of multihulls in pre-European Pacific...

    both articles from the Journal Of Polynesian Studies (I think...forgot to ref it properly)
     

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  4. buzzman
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    buzzman Senior Member

    And this one for those who thought our indigenous people never had multis...
     

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  5. Manfred.pech
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    Manfred.pech Senior Member

    Thank you buzzman- great !
     
  6. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    Ah. The facts are seldom what our pseudo-historians and pseudo-scientists tell us they were.

    :)
     
  7. buzzman
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    buzzman Senior Member

    Yeah, its pretty clear from the sociological and archaeological research that the tris used by the Torres St islanders and Cape Yorkers were 'borrowed' from the Melanesian Papuans, rather than something they developed independently.

    Elsewhere in the country game was so plentiful and fishing relatively easy from the rocks and shallows that *fishing* craft were not essential for survival.

    Inland, as walkabouts often covered vast distances, carrying boats would have been a hassle so they clearly used local materials and made 'disposable' boats from bark or whatever was to hand.

    Similar to the way in which the pre-historic Chileans used totora reeds to make reed boats, so similar in design to the Egyptian papyrus reed boats they confused more than one archaeologist.

    Or like the Inuit using bone and skin for their kayaks.

    Basically it's just using what was at hand and making it work.

    So the Melanesians used logs, hollowed out and with lapstrake planks sewn on the gunnels, but being tippy they devised a single and later double outrigger for stability.

    And the 'modern' bancas of the Phillipines and Jukungs of Indonesia are redolent of this type of construction. Long and narrow so easy to propel by paddlers (or smaller outboards these days) and with just enough positive buoyancy in the outriggers to prevent tripping in all but the worst weather.

    A recent TV program here showed how ingeneous the Aboriginal people were with things like fish traps...again, somewhat negating the need for boats.

    But it's nice to know we had tris here thousands of years ago! :) :)
     
  8. oldsailor7
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    Came across this from another thread:-

    "I believe there are many sailors who choose monohulls for purely esthetic and historical reasons. They are traditional and pretty and healing is a part of the esthetic for them. I understand this. My first large yacht was a gracious old Pearson Alberg 35, with a cocktail glass stern and truly lovely lines. Many of today’s modern catamarans are just not that pretty – they lack a certain romance.

    As for myself, I could never again go back to a monohull. I like sailing fast. I like sailing flat. I like a big cockpit. I do not like rocking at anchor. I still well remember sailing on the outskirts of a monohull race near Newport, Rhode Island, a few summers back. I was close reaching on my 41 foot cat at 17 knots, passing monohulls as if they were standing still. Romantic? Perhaps not for everyone. But sure a lot of fun. As the Dalai Lama once said: “You cannot buy happiness. But you can buy exhilaration.”
    __________________
    traona.
     
  9. buzzman
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    buzzman Senior Member

    Here's an article on Malcolm Tennant from the Issue #106 of Oz Multihull World magazine archives.....

    Dunno if everyone has already read it, but *our* Gary B gets a mention.. :)
     

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  10. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Interesting piece with some great early info, but there are some issues.

    The claim "though catamarans threatened to change the course of yachting history both in 1876 and in 1898, to no avail, they failed to convert yacht clubs as rating rules were amended to prevent them" is not true. Several New York clubs ran races for cats, just like they ran races for sloops, schooners and cutters of particular LOAs. A predecessor to US Sailing ensured that cats received favourable treatment at the organisation's inaugural regatta.

    The NYYC, which was largely formed by a cat sailor, permitted cats in their races as long as they had accomodation (like all NYYC boats of the day) but the cruising cats just did not perform.

    2- The piece says "It may be surprising that Nathanael Herreshoff never mentioned Oceania pirogues". By pirogue they seem to mean cat, and Nat certainly did mention the 'savages' cats in his letters to his son, which are preserved at Mystic Seaport.
     
  11. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    A piroque is French for canoe, hence the Tongan catamaran is made up of two piroques.
    There may have been US East Coast groups and clubs that ran race catamarans but on the whole, as Nathaniel and L. Francis said, and they should have known, catamarans were looked on askance, not encouraged, in fact ostracized by the powerful clubs with influence.
    Same sort of thing in the Southern Antipodes in the 1950's and '60's and maybe a lot later too.
     
  12. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Where did Nat and Francis say that? Yes, decades later Francis wrote one or two lines saying that the cats were not allowed in major races. However, in his private writings Francis wrote that his father was happy with the way cats were treated in Amaryllis' day - they got their own class just like catboats, schooners, jib-and-main boats etc.

    The fact is that the cats were NOT ostracised, but simply treated and encouraged like all other boats. The first all-club regatta of the 1878 season featured cats as one of just 5 classes. The Empire YC ran cat races. The Commodore of the Brooklyn YC, a close rival of the NYYC, had a steam cat. The Commodore of the New Jersey YC owned and raced the cat Jessie. The NYYC - WHICH WAS FOUNDED BY SOMEONE WHO HAD A CAT - allowed Meigs' cat Neried to race. The New Orleans YC had cats.

    For example, the Union Regatta of 1878 decided that there would be a separate class for cats. They typeformed other classes, for example providing that "boats of the fourth class shall be cat-rigged and restricted to mainsail only." (NYT, April 10, 1878). Another example was the Atlantic Yacht Club, where at a meeting on 8 April 1878 it was said that the classes for 1878 would be Class A (schooners of 75 LWL); Class B (schooners under 75' LWL); Class C (Cabin sloops over 45' LWL); Class D (Cabin sloops 35-45' LWL); Class E (Cabin sloops under 35' LWL); Class F (Open sloops); Class G (Cat-rigged boats); and Class H (Cats). See NYT April 9 1878. The first regatta of an early incarnation of US sailing had more prizemoney to the cats than any other class, compared to the entry numbers, and they tried to find more cats.

    The cats were NOT ostracised. Yes, not everyone loved them - who the hell cares? Lots of multi fans here abuse monos. Why is it OK for multi fans to slag off monos and not vice versa?

    The other major discipline of sailing to arrive around that time was canoes. Canoes did NOT normally sail with the NYYC, Brooklyn YC or other clubs. They made their own clubs, just like windsurfers, kiters, many powerboaters and other emerging forms of boating did.
    So the reality is that the cats were treated better than the other emerging form of sailing around that time.

    The fact that a club does not race a particular type does not mean that the type is ostracized. Lots of cat clubs do not run races for monos, windsurfers or kites. That is not ostracizing anyone, it's perfectly normal sporting club procedure. Bike clubs, car clubs, canoe clubs, surfing clubs do just the same - why can't sailing clubs?

    If not running races for a different type of craft is ostracising them then how can you keep a good conscience when you are part of a movement that ostracises windsurfers, kites and monos?

    The Herreshoff cats, like modern multis, are great. But they did take over because they did not suit everyone. Herreshoff stopped making them not because they were ostracised but because he moved into other commercial areas.

    As one commentator said "it is my impression that their average speed is not as great as some single hulled boats with less wetted surface for their sail area and more useful room.... to make an all-round improved catamaran that is dry and safe seems very expensive indeed...these boats are far too expensive for the average person to build..." .....all catamarans are slow in light air". He also wrote that a cat with a cabin "will prove in every respect unsatisfactory"; that the Tarantella "does not come around as quickly as a single-hulled boat"..."when driven hard in rough water she is very wet". He also said that cats would not take over sailing, and that by the early 1900s fast multis were irrelevant as people had turned to powerboats, bicycles and cars for their speed fix.

    So who was this man who made all these comments? Nat Herreshoff himself, the creator of Amaryllis. His letters are on the Mystic Seaport site.

    I am NOT saying that the cats were not fantastic but they were not perfect and even Nat himself believed that the cats were treated properly!
     
  13. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    I know this is one of your major debating, correcting, topics, cats not being ostracized - but they were. It is common knowledge. And has to be recognised after all these years of thought, discussion and writing.
    Nat Herreschoff saw the writing on the wall, swung away because his business was boat design and he didn't want to be lumbered with "extreme" boats that would run him out of design work. And L. Francis's few lines as you say, were more than a handful of words and were written with much force and passion, meaning the joy of fast sailing being tempered or halted by conservatism - or words to that effect.
    Exactly the same happened here in NZ in the 1950's and 60's with multihull designs; Jim Young was an example; a free thinker who also found if he stayed with multihull design, he'd kill his business.
    And continuing with this mid 20th Century period and later, those who lived through it will tell you exactly the same story. That's how it was.
     
  14. buzzman
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    buzzman Senior Member

    I think we need to let it go, folks. Agree to disagree.

    There are a number of reasons (other than pure conservatism) why many sailors do not like multis: added cost of construction for waterline length, more costly to berth in marinas (so requiring a swing mooring with all the inherent issues of those), virtually unrecoverable if capsized, and so on....

    The modern trend to large "condomarans" is regretable by those who want to race multis, but is loved by those sailors who like their 'home comforts', which a big cat offers in spades over a similar length mono.

    Until some clever NA can figure out a way to make cats and tris self-recoverable in *all* conditions, that "risk factor" is probably the biggest that puts most people off multis.

    Sure, it's fine to counter that a capsized multi is a *raft*, as opposed to a holed mono, which is a *stone*, but as monos tend to roll over and back up again, this is something of a moot point.

    There are limitations to both multis and monos, and people's individual perception of what will be the 'best fit' for their individual circumstances or desires or perceptions (or all of the above) is largely what determines boat type selection.

    It's horses for courses.

    And because most people still tend to choose monos, the multi fraternity is still somewhat on the outer, culturally, and thus suffers the reprobations that anyone or anything on the 'outer' tends to suffer.

    It's that tendency towards xenophobia - fear of that which is 'different' that drives the condemnation and reprobation - and the multi faithful naturally respond defensively.....

    IMHO we would far better advised to simply raise an eyebrow, respond "Is that so?" to any obviously antagonistic remarks, and simply smile smugly to ourselves as we hammer past them, offering a nonchalant wave, rather than the perhaps more agreeable two-finger salute.

    We *ARE* the "dark side".....

    ....but the 'force' is with *US*.....mwah hah haaaa.....

    [manic laughter, fading off, disappearing into a worm hole in the space time continuum...]
     

  15. oldsailor7
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    Quote:-
    We *ARE* the "dark side".....

    ....but the 'force' is with *US*.....mwah hah haaaa.....

    [manic laughter, fading off, disappearing into a worm hole in the space time continuum...] ----- Quote

    I can relate to that. In the 1970s monos and multis raced together in Toronto, Canada.
    In one race we were sailing close on the wind under spinnaker alongside of a rock jetty. We had a mono sailor, Frank, (whom we knew, he was a friendly guy but very competitive), on our Port side. . We were passing him to windward, so in the belief that multis can't sail close to wind he proceeded to head us up. I quietly signalled to my girl crew, ----(experienced girl sailors have a "Killer Instinct",---- they like to win)----to sheet in a bit on the spinnaker sheet. We hardened up, Franks spinnaker collapsed and we shot out from between him and the rocks like a squeezed orange pip.
    "Hi Frank,----Bye Frank" we called.

    Yes, "The Force is With Us". :p
     
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