Many of you have probably heard of this tale before, but for those of you who haven’t: back in 2003 Emmanuel and Maximilien Berque crossed the Atlantic in a 6.5m tacking outrigger. They carried no instruments, no clock, and battled headwinds, strong wind, and cloudy weather which hampered their ability to navigate by the stars. There’s a short trailer of it here:
The full ~1 hour documentation (with English subtitles) can be found on Dailymotion here. When you watch that, you begin to appreciate just how miserable the two were during the course of that voyage, especially with there being no escape from the saltwater and dampness in the boat. Not knowing where they are and how far they had left to go (on account of cloudy weather blocking the stars), also depressed their morale significantly. With an undertaking like this, it’s hard to say how much it comes down to the design and sailing skill on one hand, and just pure luck on the other. There’s some info on the boat on the Berque brother’s website, the overall stats are:
Final characteristics of Micromegas 3
– Main hull : 6m 50 x 0m 80
– Second hull: 5m 50 x 0m 35
– Total width : 3m 60
– Empty weight : 300 kg
– Rigging : Schooner lug
– Sail Surface : 21 m2
Despite the risk, hardships, and misery, they did make it across to tell the tale. Perhaps tacking outriggers (tacking proas) haven’t been getting the attention and the credit they deserve when it comes to simple low-cost multihulls, and when it comes to knots-per-dollar. After all, a proa and a tacker weigh and cost about the same!
“Project Cheers” by Tom Follett, Dick Newick, and Jim Morris was recently (finally!) republished by Port Townsend Watercraft! Cheers, the first modern proa, was designed and built specifically for the 1968 Observer Solo Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) and finished third overall, beating out several larger and significantly more expensive rivals.
I finished reading the book within 24 hours of getting it, and I have to say it’s not only a great read, but it’s full of really useful information and experiences about Cheers and sailing in a proa in general. I’d recommend the book to anyone who’s interested in proas! — Marco
We’ve got some good news: we’re relaunching the forum! As many of you have probably noticed, the Proaforum has sort of fallen asleep over the last few months, which I think is down to a couple of a reasons. We’ve done several things to make the experience better, and to provide new opportunities for creating and sharing content, to make things exciting again! Stay tuned!
Added a blog to the front page of the website, we will post annoucements, user-submitted articles, news and other cool stuff here — stay tuned for this one!
Restructured the categories in the forum to help make the discussion more concise and structured and to make it easier to find what you are looking for
Modified the appearance of the forum, to give it a lighter and more pleasant look
Removed the “Proa Sailor” ranking as we felt it created unnecessary divisions in the community
Sven and I hope you enjoy the updated site, and we really hope to bring you a lot of exciting stuff over the next few months! If you have ideas, feedback, or if you have an article you’d like to submit for the blog, feel free to discuss them on the discussion topic here or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org