Nautical Lore – Modern | Oral narratives of modern seafaring watercraft with multihull pioneer Jim Brown

Oral narratives of modern seafaring watercraft, their concepts, creators and crews. This ongoing series of “capers” tells of epic voyages, castaway survivors, swashbuckling characters, family cruises, cultural setbacks, technical breakthroughs, racing triumphs, and the “seasteading” lifestyle. Revealed within these stories are many details of design, construction, operation and seamanship. Since World War Two, the emergence of truly modern, lightweight vessels – recreational and commercial, multihull and monohull, power and sail – constitutes a sea change in marine architecture that may well persist for generations to come. Because modern seafaring has advanced so fast, and yet history often neglects its oral heritage, now is the time for us to gather and share this legacy. See more at
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Nautical Lore – Modern | Oral narratives of modern seafaring watercraft with multihull pioneer Jim Brown




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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 28, 2017


In this audio version of Chapter 3 of Among the Multihulls, I attempt to go a little deeper into the "deep history" of how the modern trimaran came into being.

It sets the scene for the explosive advent inf the 1960s by describing the ebullience and confidence that brought the seafaring multihull into the main stream.

*NB (Note well, an Important Note, take notice): Some bad language.

Dec 21, 2017


Well yes, I made a promise to myself, that night at Old Providence Island over sixty years ago. I would fasten myself to a life with boats and sailing. And I suppose it would appear that I have kept it, but I'm not suggesting it 's for everyone.

For me, the stimuli were so strong, the fulfillment so co complete, the identity so clear, that nowadays I am telling those old stories again and again -- sometimes with a surprise ending. This is such a telling.

Dec 14, 2017
(An Audio Afterword)
Here begins a series of Capers stemming from my book AMONG THE MULTIHULLS. They also stem from a text Afterword called THE NEXT LAST CHAPTER, which is posted on Now, just two years later, I am adding further commentary to update and re-focus the text version, hoping to reach those who would rather listen to the latest skinny than read the history.  I've been surprised by how much new material has resulted, and I hope this approach gives us all -- me included -- a new vantage from which to appraise the modern multihull.
Dec 7, 2017
"Put yourself out there," is the theme of this caper, with three examples of how it's done. Danny Mydlack, our new media consultant, put himself in here by taking the initiative to contact us and make two trips down from Baltimore for gathering footage for our upcoming video "tractor."
Doug Jayne has put himself out there for years by building eight large cattlemarans in Constant Camber, selling some and operating others. Danny and I were able to attend the launching of number eight.
My father, Ralph Brown, was pretty much forced, -- by the 1930s depression -- to put himself in the line of fire. Listen in to get the story.
Nov 30, 2017


 Wishing that I had collected more voice recordings when my subjects were alive, this caper is offered while the subject IS alive, miraculously.  My particular friend Bruce Matlack tells of just one of many youthful exploits from back when he was trying to get to Tahiti without his own boat.

He eventually made it, in his twenties. Now he is contemplating going again in his 60s, in his own boat, SCRIMSHAW.  

Also here is a report on the status of The Outrig Project, now at a crucial juncture.

Nov 16, 2017
This is what happen when two or more old  boat nuts find themselves in a secure anchorage with old friends, a lobster in the pot, and "...A little more than enough to drink, for thirst is a dangerous thing."  (Jerome K. Jerome)
Nov 9, 2017
Here's a guy who sailed in multihulls as an infant, and now owns DELPHYS, a 34' Searunner trimaran which has been called, by John Marples (one of her designers), "The most developed Searunner in the world."  And her usage? Well, with her owner/builder crew of Mark Johnson and his wife Mariam, the boat has visited  some twenty countries.
To learn what Mark would do -- if indeed he had it all to do over again -- listen-on!
Nov 2, 2017


After doing several interview capers, we have here the results of some interesting comparisons, resulting from hurricane damage, between good old sheet plywood construction, and "cold molded" or Constant Camber (CC) construction.

Design differences between the Searunner 34 and the CC 35 are discussed, as are the challenges of getting good wood for these boats today. And, oh yes, the virtues of epoxy!

In the end, if you want to go NOW, buy a good, used monohull. There are lots of them around begging to go cruising.

Oct 26, 2017


While I'm away appraising the hurricane damage to Scrimshaw, I hope you will enjoy the conclusion of my telephone conversation with Lee Bullock, which exemplifies the committed lifestyle of those many individuals who invested substantial portions of their lives to creating the modern multihull.

Then, please offer your critique of my seemingly fanciful predictions of the possible conformation of the NEXT modern monohull. Something new -- under the sun??

Oct 19, 2017


Jo Hudson speaks of "thrilling" incidents recalled, in 2004, from his first seafaring voyage (in the mid-1960s) in his owner-built 30' Piver Nimble trimaran, from California to Australia. These Capers are the only examples of Jo's recorded voice telling his own stories.

He is very matter-of-fact, not so effusive as I am, but he sailed a lot farther than I did, mostly in boats that I designed and he built or re-built. This is a glimpse at the client's side of a 55 year-long designer/client relationship, the ending of which has left me feeling like a single-hander. Please know that Jo died of gradual heart failure and final pneumonia, without pain, in his wife Sherry's arms, while being liberally kissed by his "family" (their dogs).

Oct 12, 2017


Responding to Jo Hudson's passing, I feel obliged to share with you something of our 55-year, 9-multihull connection.  This Caper tells of how we first men (for the second time), and continues with a glimpse of the "can-do" commitment and enthusiasm that typified the early California trimaran happening.

Eventually, I will attempt to describe my late friend himself, his person, his warts and his quest for beauty and adventure.  I have now outlived about all of my early multihull contemporaries, and it makes me feel the need to share their stories with you.

Oct 5, 2017


This recorded telephone conversation reveals more of the boundless enthusiast, willingness to risk, and lifestyle commitment that typified the advent of the early modern multihull.

It also contains, at the end, a sad announcement.​

Sep 28, 2017
"There's a hurricane coming! What do I do with my boat?"
There are several answers to that question, including "Maybe nothing." But that's only if you're out at sea. The more common calamity happens when your boat is in a crowded harbor or marina, or hauled out on land. Then, there are lots of things you can to to protect your boat, unless of course you are in the crosshairs of a really big one.  Even then, don't rely on your insurance company. Get her ready yourself. Here are some suggestions, especially for multihulls.​
Sep 22, 2017


Jim discusses his most recent capers in both Michigan and Maine. First, he talks about the memorial service he attended on behalf of his old friend Meade Gougeon, immediately followed by his travel to the rugged, northeast coast of North America.

Sep 7, 2017


This Caper is a small collection of remarks made to me about how Meade Gougeon, and the whole WEST System phenomenon, has influenced their lives.  It reveals a lot about how "appropriate technology" can make a difference in unexpected ways.

Aug 31, 2017


This issue is a collection of my own personal recollections of a long friendship with Meade, founder of WEST System epoxy products. We are also posting a link on the show notes page for this podcast episode at OutRigMedia to the full manuscript of an article I wrote for WoodenBoat about Meade.

In another audio we will collect a number of comments made by others of Meade's friends.  We have lost a pillar in the marine community, and a loss is a loss.  However, Meade and his brothers have shown -- by example -- how boats, and life, are done well.

Jim’s Woodenboat article about Meade (link):

Aug 24, 2017
After all the techy, deep sea stuff we've offered lately, here's something for even an old duffer (like me) or a new angler (like me), or a futuristic sailor / winger / foiler / pedaler ... to think aout.
With all the new technologies coming to the fore these days, it seems obvious that there will be combinations emerging, and I see pedal power as being almost ready for combining with sailing in a new way. Why don't we, at the OutRig Capercast, make that combination?
Developer's website:
See the first developer ad video here:
Aug 17, 2017
People have been contending with multihull capsize for millennia. It now appears that modern design and materials make it possible to almost eliminate the propensity for multihulls to be "more stable when upside down than right side up." The difference is in buoyant "wing" masts and/or masthead floats, all strong enough to withstand capsize even at hydrofoiling speed, thereby arresting the 180 degree "turned turtle" capsize at the 90 degree "knockdown" position. This position improves the survival chances of the crew, and makes possible re-righting the vessel either with or without the participation of the crew -- depending on vessel design. Hear all about it.
Aug 10, 2017


Here's yet more about the Hybrid Wing, its history, and that of other fully-rotating but unstayed, "free standing" rigs.

The problem with unstayed rigs in multihulls, and the problem with foiling, are both discussed. How to resolve these shortcomings is suggested, leaving some questions unanswered.

In the next session, I promise to offer my latest thinking on multihull capsize as it relates to wings and foils, and how that all relates to proas, and to pedal power. Do all these things relate? You bet they do, and it’s all coming around on the guitar right now.

Aug 3, 2017


Here is the conclusion, for now, of my infatuation with the Hybrid Wing. There is a lot more to learn about this thing, but I have now had the opportunity to actually sail in a Wing-equipped catamaran, and I hope my description explains why I'll never get over this thing.

I feel certain it is headed for long term historical -- if not hysterical -- significance.  Listen in to learn why I sing hymns to this revelation.

Jul 27, 2017


Now I've actually been there, folks. Under a 62' Hybrid Wing rig, on a 40' "beach cat" racing catamaran, with Randy Smyth and Tommy Gonzales with Scott Brown taking pictures.

It's a transcendent experience for an old shellback to sail effortlessly at speeds in the high twenties, and without hydrofoils yet. I'll tell you about it in this (and the next) Capercast. Welcome aboard.

Jul 20, 2017

There are some BIG experiments happening with multihulls right now.  In this amazing capercast, Jim talks about the convergence of multihull developments that are coming together in a very unique way within the creation of a new type of sailing-fishing boat conceived by entrepreneur Tim Mann.

Tim and his wife own and operate Friendly Aquaponics in Hawaii.  (See link below).  But prior to that, he built and sailed his own cruising multihulls for a number of years and found a way to sustain his cruising lifestyle by fishing.  This inspired Tim to develop some very unique ideas about practical, economical and sustainable fishing ... which he is about to personally try out in a special boatbuilding project.

But it doesn't end there.

Jim takes things even farther, by taking about a possible convergence between a modern proa, the self-rescuing multihull capsize technique (developed years ago by Jan Gougeon) and the new hybrid wing mast (under current development and testing by Randy Smythe and his partners at FAST FORWARD COMPOSITES in Bristol, RI)

Jul 13, 2017
Here's another old story, this one about a shark. And about feeding time at the "lion house." And about what to do with fish cleanings if you just might be swimming around the boat the next day. Okay?
Jul 6, 2017


I'm digging pretty deep here to bring you the kind of story that one withholds until old age. When one looks back and tries to figure "How I Got This Way." 

It's those early exposures to certain feelings, special friends and meaningful mentors, or, in this case, a village in the palms filled with people with whom we could not communicate but didn't need to, much.  And found it hard to leave... Harder to return to normalcy.  It's just another old sea story.  It may not change the listener, but it changed the teller, and he's glad.

Jun 29, 2017


An old shipwreck ​story from my schooner bumming days, it is told here to reach across the years with some perspective of  classic seafaring in deep, heavy monohulls relative to the contemporary -- even futuristic -- lightweight vessels.

My digital assistant, CRISTI (Can't Read It So Tell It) knows that I can edit her out when she interrupts the Caper, but privately she  really beat me up over this one because it runs 43 minutes. Of course you always have the pause button, or just click on the X, but if you get through this monologue, you may take away some notion of how far we've come with marine architecture in the last 50 or 60 years.

And now we're getting pretty close to the  "perfect boat," one that cannot sink, and is also self-recovering from capsize. Foil-borne, too? Foil-assisted? We'll see. But the Hybrid Wing is, in my view, destined to become endemic -- if for no other reason than its buoyancy can prevent multihulls from turning turtle. What's your view?

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