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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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?

Jun 22, 2017


Explains some of the challenges faced by competitors in this endurance test from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska in which my son Russell is currently competing.

Using his participation as a legitimate excuse, I tempt several of my seasoned traveler friends to join me at Victoria, BC to form a cheering section for Russell's send-off.  At this writing he is still under way, but details of the race including videos can be found at

I ask listeners to offer their thoughts on a proposed Outrig Design Contest for a vessel intended for single handing in this and other endurance Capers. Please respond to

Jun 15, 2017

More Seafaring Literature from Jim...

In this episode, Jim talks about several great adventures that took place at sea.  He also explains why pitchpoling in monohulls can be different than in multihulls.

Jim gives some special recognition to couples in this podcast.  And he notes several amazing female sailors among them.  

Several classic resources for cruisers are mentioned.  They include how-to information, including boat construction, voyage planning, rigging details, seamanship and celestial navigation.

Jim also talks about why being "able to go" cruising is often more important to many seafarers than actually going.

Jun 8, 2017

This nautical lore podcast speaks of legendary sailors and the books (and in some cases, other media) featuring them.   Jim also talks briefly about this year’s “Race to Alaska” event, in which Jim’s son Russell Brown will compete.

There are some great yarns all throughout this episode.  These include stores about Joshua Slocum, Irving McClure Johnson, Sterling Hayden and Tristan Jones. 

And Jim reveals why a lot of the supposedly historically accurate reproduction boats that have been built in the modern era are rather poor sailing vessels when compared to the boats they’re supposedly “re-creating.”

A plethora of adventure stories awaits listeners in this capercast.

Jun 1, 2017

40: BLIND SAILOR? (Part 2)

In this portion of our telephone ramble, John Patterson and I speak of the safety of small boats at sea, dragging drogues, sailor's burn out, avoiding collision, contending with disability and more.

May 25, 2017

39: BLIND SAILOR?  (Far from it)

Speaking by cell phone from the Island of Culebra, John Patterson tells of his life-long quest of seafaring, but he begins by designing and building his own boats.

Starting with childhood experiences on the water, John shares many nuggets of wisdom and attitude that have allowed him to accumulate the skills and Judgement needed to actually live, full time for the last 16 years and despite a daunting disability, the sailor's life.



May 18, 2017

THE 300-NUT CANOE (And Other Considerations)

This Caper takes us to a salvaged 57-foot catamaran, upside down and abandoned in the Caribbean last November, but recently discovered adrift off North Carolina, still habitable and salvageable. This is then compared to a small aluminum skiff drifting for months with crew aboard who are “returned “from the dead.”

Also, issues of demographic centralization and global sea level rise, are related to good times and bad luck. Tell us what you think.

May 11, 2017

Small Boat Fun in Cedar Key

In this capercast Jim shares about his trip to the yearly small boat gathering in Cedar Key, Florida.  He tells a couple great stories, along with some details about interesting developments in the boating marketplace.

He begins, however, with a fascinating report about a sailor who has (supposedly) crossed the Tasman Sea in a 17-foot Windrider trimaran.  (Can anyone help Jim confirm this)?

Listen in on the fun and information exchange that happens at boat gatherings such as this.  And also get inspired to be a part of it, if you're not already!

May 4, 2017


This is a "field" interview with the principals of Fast Forward Composites, in Bristol RI. These are the guys who are researching and building the Hybrid Wing and the latest "Italic T" hydrofoils, all coming together now in a 40' prototype catamaran, and bringing them together in a 53' catamaran yacht. I think of this technology as historically significant, perhaps the first complete example of the future's Hybrid Ship.
Apr 27, 2017


This caper features Jim sharing about his trip to New England this week, where he got a glimpse of the most cutting-edge boatbuilding technology on display from his hosts.  

It's a far cry from backyard boatbuilding, and Jim offers many details on how what is going on at the building shop he visited will likely reach many in the sailing world sooner rather than later.

Jim finishes off this podcast by also talking about his encounter with Amaryllis, the catamaran designed by Nathanael Herreshoff that, which launched in 1876.

So there you have it ... a Jim Brown capercast that touches the 19th century on into the 21st.

Apr 20, 2017


This Caper is based on a conversation with Randy Smyth recorded aboard Scrimshaw. On the day after Randy finished first in the Everglades Challenge Race, March 2017, we spoke over piles of pancakes, formulated by Bruce Matlack to include berries, nuts and seeds to sustain the endurance sailor, and served by Carla Laney to include jam, agave and maple syrup.

This combination resulted in a slightly less than PhD level revelation of the world's most efficient -- yet practical means of  propelling waterborne vehicles using the unlimited energy produced by the movements of Earth's atmosphere relative to its hydrosphere, wherein the only pollution is monkeyshines.

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