Editor's Page

When I think of multihulls, I tend to think of the tropics. That’s an impulse illuminated by Anne Nygren in her story about the catamaran BAREBARE beginning on page 24. Anne, her husband, and a crew of knowledgeable and stalwart friends came together over several dark Norwegian winters to build this James Wharram–designed multihull, load it into a shipping container, and send it off to Tahiti. There, they met and rigged the boat and cruised it for several seasons in a tropical paradise as a sort of waterborne timeshare. Brilliant.

At the other end of the build-and-voyage spectrum lies Will Stirling, who describes (page 60) the construction of the cutter INTEGRITY. In this vessel he sought a traditionally styled British cutter that would be beautiful, comfortable, and well balanced, one in which he could voyage through the Northwest Passage. That’s a tall order. The first successful transit of this fabled stretch of the Arctic across the top of the North American continent was in 1906, by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, in a stout but diminutive 60' cutter named GJØA. Will further notes that by 2000 only 90 vessels had made the passage, but by now 400 vessels have done so, “taking advantage of Arctic warming and reduced sea ice.” That’s still a relatively small number. One might reasonably assume that most of these vessels have been rugged, comfortable, and well balanced—the very image of a voyaging craft.

But then consider Steven Callahan’s roundup of more than a half century of multihull development paralleling the strides in wood-composite construction since the end of World War II (page 48).  Steve notes that multihulls “were used to explore and settle the entire Pacific Basin beginning 5,000 years ago, reaching from the western Pacific to as far east as Easter Island 1,600 years ago. This makes them one of, if not the, quintessential voyaging craft.” But that’s the South Pacific. “What,” you might reasonably ask, “about the Northwest Passage?”

While pondering this, I recalled decades ago reading in National Geographic about two adventurers, Canadians named Jeff MacInnes and Mike Beedell, sailing a Hobie 18 catamaran through the Northwest Passage. Nothing says beach boat like a Hobie Cat, but the boat’s relative lightness allowed the duo to haul it onto ice floes and drag it across them. It allowed for easy, if not comfortable, camp cruising. The boat was simple and thus repairable. Was it the quintessential craft for the voyage? I suppose that depends on the experience one seeks. Consider Sébastien Roubinet, who crossed the Northwest Passage in 2007 in a custom 20' catamaran that had skis attached to the hull bottoms. He commenced this voyage in Alaska and sailed to Greenland, taking three months to complete the journey. A multihull, for his purpose, was indeed the quintessential voyaging craft.

I’m in awe of these exploits, and I prefer my beach sailing in the tropics or in the New England summer. INTEGRITY’s inviting woodstove, shown on page 62, to me represents quintessential comfort for an Arctic off-watch. BAREBARE, on the other hand, with her south Pacific heritage, shallow draft, open deck plan, and ability to be shipped halfway around the world in a container, is the ideal boat for her tropical adventures,

Matt Murphy

Editor of WoodenBoat Magazine

BAREBARE
Page 24

From Norway to Tahiti

by Anne Nygren

In February 2015, my husband, Leif Erik Irgens Ellingsen, and I were weather-bound in Cape Verde in our little ship, DVINA, a traditional gaff-rigged 43' jakt anchored by the barren island Sao Nicolau. It had been blowing a gale for almost a week. One of our three anchors had failed, and we did not dare go ashore. It had, in fact, been almost a week since we had last left DVINA, and life on board was getting dull. We were halfway into a yearlong cruise and having a fantastic time. The trip was fun, hard work, and full of adventures. We had met like-minded people and had fascinating experiences.

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The schooner ASTOR.
Page 32

The Fife Schooner ASTOR

by Randall Peffer · Photographs by Steve Jost

“We have a joke in my family,” says Richard Straman, who has been the owner, skipper, and maintainer-in-chief of the 74′ LOD schooner ASTOR, designed and built by William Fife III in 1923: “When we bought the old girl in 1987, we had a 14-page to-do list. We are still on page 1.”

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AMARYLLIS
Page 48

Evolutionary Revolutionaries

by Steven Callahan

Wood forms the skeleton of many modern multihulls—creatures more bird than fish. Largely unknown in Europe and the Americas until after World War II, often misunderstood, and sometimes maligned into this millennium, multihulls have evolved hand-in-hand with advances in wood-composite construction.

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INTEGRITY
Page 60

INTEGRITY

by Will Stirling

It is a common escape to have expedition ideas by the fireside, all the more so when a dram of whiskey is involved. One can happily hold forth about the trials of sailing to Jan Mayen Island, a Norwegian island at 70°59' north latitude northeast of Iceland, and summiting the island’s Beerenberg volcano, secure in the knowledge that one will probably never own a vessel suitable for voyaging there. If, on the other hand, one happens to have a perfectly capable boat, be either careful what you say or be sure to wear an edible hat.

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DOROTHY
Page 68

Aboard: DOROTHY

by Nic Compton

Canadian boating enthusiasts in Ladysmith, British Columbia, were overjoyed when the 30' wooden sloop DOROTHY was relaunched in May 2023 after an 11-year restoration. Built in 1897, she was billed as one of Canada’s oldest yachts and possibly the oldest still sailing.

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The author Tom Pamperin rowing.
Page 78

The Thames Skiff

by Tom Pamperin

When I contacted Tom Balm of Thames Skiff Hire to ask about renting a traditional camping skiff for a weeklong trip on the River Thames in England, he said I was in luck: although his fleet was often fully booked during the summer, there was a boat available in late July, after the finish of Swan Upping. I had no idea what Swan Upping was, but I immediately reserved a skiff for six days and started thinking about how I might convince my wife, Cathy, to join me.

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