madness madness

Given the popularity of the Madness study plans (surprise!) I'm assured I'm not the only person geeking for more accounts of what it's like sailing her. So I wonder if John might indulge in a little "proacrastination" (thanks for the term, John) for the benefit of those potentially proaplanning for possible proacreation.

How have you found the boat to behave in heavier conditions, especially with sloppy seas? Critics assert "that looks awfully wet," but I always say "the whole ocean is quite wet, after all." Is there anything you'd change in the shape to keep her drier? I ask since I've noticed A bit more flare in the sections of Russell Brown's proas near the ends and wondered if that was a seakeeping feature that might have been somewhat sacrificed for simplicity?

That said, it certainly looks like a drier boat than something like Newick's Atlantic proa Cheers, whose ends by contrast look so insubstantial...by the way, was that screaming yellow color choice just a coincidence or a conscious homage?

I love the way Madness looks: such a wonderfully simple, elemental form graced with very pretty sheerlines. My dad, who as a catamaran builder was convinced one of these things would need aluminum crossbeams, is now eagerly looking at those drawings of how you accomplished them in composite wood/epoxy/carbon. I think it's the first time he's really been taken aback by what you describe as the light construction possible with this architecture.

One other thing I'm curious about is the initial assembly. Is it actually done the same way, for example, as a little kayak, i.e two 30-odd foot pieces wired together to make the boat up to the chine...no strongback, just popping in pre-located bulkheads and forms when you open the two halves? 

Please know how much of a stir of enthusiasm and appreciation you all have caused with this boat: those of us who've worked from CLC plans in the past couldn't be more thrilled that you've decided to bring this kind of innovation to the amatuer builder.

 

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RE: madness madness

Thanks for the nice note!

>
>How have you found the boat to behave in heavier conditions, especially with sloppy seas? Critics assert "that looks awfully wet," but I always say "the whole ocean is quite wet, after all." Is there anything you'd change in the shape to keep her drier?
>>>

In heavy going, Madness proved to be startlingly dry.  The crew seating areas (the helmsman's seat by the mast and the crew seats out on the tramp) never take any spray at all.  I literally can't think of once in 20 outings when I got spritzed.  The ama is always wet;  standing out there is a fun place to enjoy the ride but you're going to get hosed down.  Madness is the spiritual successor to Russell's 1977 30-footer "Jzero," which was said to be a submarine.  Madness has about twice the volume of Jzero.  

>>>I ask since I've noticed A bit more flare in the sections of Russell Brown's proas near the ends and wondered if that was a seakeeping feature that might have been somewhat sacrificed for simplicity?>>

Not really.  Madness has very pronounced flare at the bow and it seems to work as intended.  Even in a short nasty chop and high boat speeds I've never seen water over the bow.  Still, Madness is just much too light to sail across the Atlantic.  Great coastal cruiser.

Russell's bigger proas, particularly his latest 37-footer, DO have even more pronounced flare, and a great deal more volume overall than Madness, of course.

>>>
That said, it certainly looks like a drier boat than something like Newick's Atlantic proa Cheers, whose ends by contrast look so insubstantial...by the way, was that screaming yellow color choice just a coincidence or a conscious homage?>>>

The yellow paint job is 100% an homage to the Dick Newick designs Cheers, Three Cheers, and Olympus Photo.  I've been lucky to communicate with Dick a good bit.  He has been very gracious.

Cheers (Atlantic Proa)

Olympus Photo

 

>>>>
One other thing I'm curious about is the initial assembly. Is it actually done the same way, for example, as a little kayak, i.e two 30-odd foot pieces wired together to make the boat up to the chine...no strongback, just popping in pre-located bulkheads and forms when you open the two halves? >>>

Yes.  It really is just big, thin sheets of plywood stitched together around bulkheads.  The scale of it requires a lot more choreography and preparation than a kayak, to be sure. I wouldn't advertise that Madness is "as easy as a kayak"!  There are good construction photos here and some construction video (including main hull assembly) here.

Thanks again for the kind words.  I'm looking out at the boat afloat at the dock as I write this, but alas it's gotten raw and cold so she'll likely be hauled in the next few weeks.

RE: madness madness

Thanks for the generous response, John! The fact that Madness has twice the volume of Jzero (and still looks as sharp as a knife) speaks to the evolution of the form: comparing pictures of the two it looks like a lot of that comes from freeboard, which must help account for the dryness.

Per transatlantic sailing...lol...I think I read you remarking somewhere that one thing you can't design into a boat is a crew with common sense. I think Madness looks perfectly suited for coastal exploration with a couple of small craft on the booms, and that would be my aim. Exciting sailing out in the open, followed by lazy afternoons or evenings paddling around the day's cozy anchorage.

Assembly seems like a perfect occasion for a kind of "barn raising party" getting a bunch of friends to help move those floopy pieces into place...

Maybe my most important questions have to do with that common sense: as purveyors of designs and construction projects, CLC can't always prevent people from biting off more than they can chew, from failing to take off their rose colored glasses, etc, etc. That said my interest in Madness was wholly coincidental to her introduction: I'd been looking for pacific proas pursuing a fascination with Russell Brown's boats. The reason for my fascination was as a solution to the problem of being a novice builder looking for a design just big enough to use for a vacation getaway.

By “novice builder” I mean I've built a pair of Wood Ducks. Not only did I love every uncomfortable, respirator-encumbered, nerve wracking day of work on those, but even before I was done I was thinking about building on what I'd learned about epoxy and fiberglass by moving on to something more complicated. So the next project will be a sailing canoe so I can focus on learning about shaping foils, building board cases, framing, and so on, without having to learn about fillet and taping and glassing at the same time. So a Madness (or something like it) isn't likely to even be commenced for at least another year, IF all goes well. Oh and the ace up my sleeve is a close relative with experience with cold-molded boat construction (and a barn!), who may be playing a major supporting role (he's a multihull fan from way back who likes your design). All this being said, do you have recommendations for a precocious novice like myself? Appropriate reading list (I have Gougeon Bros. On Boat Construction), words of warning and wisdom?

The other half of the common sense question is in the role of skipper. Another reason for the sailing canoe is to re-hone my skills at high performance craft. I've sailed a windmill, lasers, and planing dinghies, I love performance but believe it comes with a corresponding demand for attentiveness, especially when the boat is not hauling a ton or so of lead around underneath it. My impression of these proas is based on all the accounts I can find: it might lull the uninitiated into a sense of false security with its easy motion and high initial stability, then spank them by taking off like a rocket in a puff and burying the pod. In other words, while “tender” might not be accurate, it seems important to remember that in spite of the fact this thing is over thirty feet long and feels solid as a block of wood, the wind is in charge just as much as it is in a little racing boat. If you have any advice on this front, I'd love to hear it. I know the most common -and best- advice is to spend time on the boat you might want to build: so I may have to make a pilgrimage down there next summer to see the real thing. Closer to home (Massachusetts) I was amazed to find Russ Brown's Kauri innocently moored not forty miles from my house: I'm trying to track down the owner.

Thanks again for the interesting info, John: the more I discuss and learn about multihulls the more I feel that there's a special blend of populism and community to many of their modern proponents, including the greats: I'm not surprised Dick Newick was so gracious. I've been having a blast reading Jim Brown's book Searunner Construction (on loan from my dad): the obvious sense of fun and goodwill runs so counter to the ostentatiousness one tends to find in the "mass market yachting" community and even, to a lesser but equally distressing degree, in the "traditional/classic" world. 

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