FAQs » Pacific Proa
What is a Pacific Proa?
A sailboat with one big hull and one little hull. The small hull (or "ama") is kept to windward at all times. This is the architecture used for thousands of years by the ocean-going peoples of the South Pacific. The reasons that proas were attractive to the South Pacific cultures are the same reasons that proas are attractive today: it's the most speed you can get for the least amount of time and materials.
Madness is a heavily Westernized and modernized version of the beach proas from Micronesia. It is built of plywood, epoxy, and fiberglass and weighs about 1400 pounds. Three have been built, of which this is the first.
Madness was designed by John C. Harris at Chesapeake Light Craft, with lots of input from Russell Brown. Brown refined the concept of the Westernized Pacific proa and his accumulated tens of thousands of sea miles in proas. The Harris design simplifies construction, but in most respects is very similar to Russell Brown's archetype: wood-epoxy composite hulls, sloop rig, and "pod" to leeward to prevent capsizes and create interior accommodations.
The purpose of this boat is to:
A) Demonstrate the qualities of modernized Pacific proas
B) Serve as a technology demonstator for Chesapeake Light Craft
C) Offer a viable and cost-effective multihull choice for amateur boatbuilders working from plans or kits