Taking Destiny in Hand

Imagine a boat show that is not a “boatshow” put on by the industry but a grassroots effort by people with something in common to roll up their sleeves, get some boats together, take people for rides, and share the love. I have a friend who likes to end a conversation with the words, “Now go make something happen.” This is a story of people making something happen.

Multihull Expo Day is happening Saturday, and it’s a Northern California thing, but I do believe it raises the question, couldn’t such things happen elsewhere?

Cheers, painted by Bruce A. Alderson

The Bay Area Multihull Association, BAMA, is throwing this shindig, and it’s an experiment. They’ve never tried it before but, hey, multis worked for the America’s Cup. It must be time. Along with the opportunity to sail on some very interesting boats, Expo attendees will be walking amongst the legends. Dick Newick has said that he will attend, and Newick would be . . .

Dick Newick designed the little proa Cheers, which accomplished a lot in the 1968 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race. First, it created total consternation in the race organization, which was more comfortable with sailing “tanks.” Then, with Tom Follett skippering, it finished third behind two much larger monohulls. And with that, Cheers ignited the European (especially French) fascination with adventure sailing on multihulls that has grown and grown and grown. In Newick’s design career, he’s come to favor tris over proas, but he has never strayed from his insistence upon placing sailing qualities first. If you’re all about taking a condo to sea, don’t waste the man’s time. He has this to say: “For wider cabin soles we give up seagoing performance. Before giving up performance, it is desirable to go to sea in a good boat to experience the trade-off. The same can be said for daggerboards versus shallow keels. Windward ability is proportional to draft. Knowing the joy of going to windward at 10 knots comfortably can change your design priorities.”

Cheers was later declared a monument historique of France and today has been
by French doctors Vincent and Nélie Besin who are at the forefront of a classic multihull cult, and I mean that in the finest way. Would-be cultists with 18 minutes to spare (helps to know French, or just be patient through the talking-heads portion) will enjoy a video of the restoration and sailing of Cheers in the south of France. (Yes, Moxie’s 1980 transatlantic win was another Newick high point.)

Also, John Marples is expected, Marples being the engineering half of the design team, along with Jim Brown, that has produced the celebrated Searunner line of trimarans. Plenty of other interesting people are in the mix, per discussions on BAMA’s lively forum, including designer Jim Antrim, who has pretty-much done it all and whose trimarans hold sailing records from California to Japan and California to Hawaii.

Or maybe you’re into an off-the-beach quickie, like a WETA . . .

WETA photo by Darrel Slater

We’re talking Saturday, April 24, noon to 1800 at Coyote Point, south of San Francisco. Free hot dogs and chips while they last. Find details and driving directions at BAMA.


Just opened, the BAMA Racetrack, a scenic 10-nm central Bay course open to all Bay area boats.

The premise: Do it any time you want, as many times as you want. Just turn on your GPS receiver, choose any buoy but Alcatraz to start/finish, and sail a lap or several. Then upload your GPX file to BAMA. You will be scored, and you can replay your race against others or yourself in GPS Action Replay. The Racetrack is open from this weekend through Oct 30, and only your best lap will count for the season barn door and corrected honors. This is now an event in the BAMA Cup series.

The course:
YRA8-p, Alcatraz-s, Big Harding-p, Blackaller-p, Blossom Rock-p, RA8-p

And yes, that’s all local to Northern California, but again. Doesn’t it pose the question, could this work where you sail?


Going virally around the net, and shipped over to me by Los Angeles Yacht Club fleet captain Ric Sanders, this did not waste my time — Palindrome.

Suns New Jerseys