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Powerful Sailing Rigs and Fuselage Construction

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I want to build a racing/expedition proa for use in the Texas 200 and/or Everglades Challenge using Kudzu style fuselage construction to keep the weight as far down as possible; I also want to cartop it or tow it behind a foldable bicycle so that puts a pretty hard weight limit on it.  There are very few sailing skin-on-frame boats at all, and only one existing proa, so I'm having trouble finding resources on how exactly the boat should be reinforced to handle the dramatically increased stresses of sailing at relatively high speeds.  I know it's possible because this boat exists:




...but I've tried every avenue I can think of to talk to the guy who built that boat, and can't get ahold of him.



I specifically want to base my boat on the plans for Gary Dierking's Ulua, which I've seen built skin on frame before, but not in a sailing configuration:




I'd stretch the vaka to 24', the aka to about the same for high righting moment, and the ama to 16', and add a Dutch style leeboard for windward performance, but I'm really at a loss as to what modifications the hull itself needs for sailing.


I'm kind of rambling now, but I've been thinking about this for literal years at this point and I want to make it happen this year.  Does anyone have any advice about sailing a fuselage boat?


Thank you in advance for anything you could tell me!

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Oh, I should have added that I've thought up at least one solution that might work, and I'd like to hear some opinions on it.


Most of the forces from the rig will be acting on one of the gunwales and the "keel"/stem/stern assembly.  As someone who has also built a few bows, my first instinct is to use thin (3mm or 6mm) okoume marine ply, a flexible bowyer's epoxy, and some light (2oz) fiberglass cloth to build up those members of the frame out of a fiberglass/okoume sandwich, similarly to how you'd do it with an exceptionally heavy bow, then clean them up and attach them to the boat as normal.  That way they remain flexible, but much stiffer than before, and the composite is less likely to crack under the strain of a hard bend as the hull digs into a wave at 15kt than solid milled wood is.


My other thought was to use riven wood instead of milled, but that would involve finding a tree and splitting out my frame components myself, then processing them down to the correct dimensions without violating any growth rings.  It would be much more "traditional" approach, but also much more labor intensive and probably less consistent than the composite method.

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Check out Dave Gentry's site (gentrycustomboats.com). He has designs for several SOF boats with sails including a decked sailing canoe, a melon seed skiff, and an outrigger canoe. Fair winds!

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I have no recommendations on constructing an Ulua out of skin on frame, but I did build one as designed with cedar strips.  Fun project.  Boat doesn't tack real well, but that's apparently typical with proas.


When I was building mine I emailed Gary several times with questions and he was very responsive and helpful.  gary.dierking@gmail.com 



Ulua 1st sail.jpg

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