Rob, get real. Your conclusions for points 1-3 and 8 are
oversimplified-soundbite oversimplifications or outright misinterpretations and
are not based on relevant quotes in context, which I've noted before. When I
first read your "sources" I just laughed. This is no way to cite actual
references and are not at all specific. They would be more accurate if you had
written: Source: Presumptions to support my theories based on something I read
or fantasized. At least most of this entire list is an intentional attempt to
deceive and, at best, hugely oversimplified. Even these replies will be
oversimplified, but who has time to keep up with the deluge of disinformation
Denny: 1) They are wet boats compared to harryproas. Source: Cruising World
SC: Completely untrue. I never wrote Jzerro was a wet boat. Doesn't mean you
can't get wet. It's a BOAT, Rob, and my rear has gotten wet on virtually every
boat I've sailed. When we did get wet it was because we were handling foul
weather. Pilot houses and dodgers existed well before HarryProas and can be fit
to ANY boat type. I never compared Jzerro's state of dryness to a HarryProa
except to note that in your videos, taken on flat waters with virtually no
whitecaps with the boat on a reach, your leeward hull is already scooping up a
good amount of water, which would be shed out and down from Jzerro's bow.
Anyone can compare the videos of your boat with claimed speed and Jzerro with
GPS speed shown, which has no water being thrown on deck.
Denny: 2) They need constant attention to ballast, trim and steering to keep
the ama (windward hull) from slamming in waves, unlike harrys which, quite
simply, don't. Source: Cruising World article
SC: Untrue. I never wrote or said this, and have corrected you more than once.
I did say that we chose to trim the boat and steer sometimes to get the best
performance out of her. We also let her lope along a much greater part of the
time under autopilot (clearly stated in article). I also discussed ama shape in
relation to having at times too much stability, and the greatest motion in the
boat from the ama taking off of a wave and then re-entering---not a regular or
Denny: 3) If Jzerro gybes with the mainsail up in a blow, the mast gets blown
away, unlike a harry where the rig weathercocks, and the boat slowly stops.
Source: Your quote. Same article.
SC: I also have answered this. The conditions at this very limited time were
boisterous, and I would be concerned on any boat. My conclusions at the time
were wrong, but I wrote the article log-style, accurately recording our greatest
worry. In the final analysis, Jzerro and other Brown proas have been caught
aback, sailed aback, laid ahull the wrong way, and gybed, all without losing
their rigs. The splayed fore/backstays act like swept-back shrouds on boats
with big mains and no backstays, like open-style designs sailed 'round the world
routinely. As for a boat with ballestron rig, even if it can rotate 180
degrees, if it is sheeted off when a gybe occurs, unless the sheet is freed in
time (impossible on autopilot as we were on at the time in question), it, too,
can still impose sufficient loads on the rig to dismast it.
I'll let Russell address 4 if he chooses, but I sailed Jzerro offshore, and I
confess to less skill than Russell.
Denny: 5) Beam to in big breaking seas, your boats will slip sideways and, if
heeled enough, the large flat pod will act like the lee hull of a 60's era
small float trimaran and cause the boat to capsize sideways. Source: Trimaran
SC: Oversimplified misleading disinformation: Not much detail about the
trimaran experience, but I sailed quite a lot on FT, a minimal-bouyancy
trimaran, Kauri, and Jzerro, and found that capsize does not necessarily follow
being beam to in big seas. We drove FT relentlessly with float under water
routinely in the 1979 Bermuda Race, and won. There is as substantive arguments
against full-bouyancy floats contributing to capsize (hulls lift and are subject
to forces from wind and breaking waves). In any case, never has Jzerro or any
Brown proa tripped over the pod. It has proven very effective for preventing
capsize in storm conditions.
Denny: 6) The beams of a Pacific proa need to be stronger than those of a harry
of similar overall weight and beam. If you dispute this, please tell us what
you expect to happen to the beams if the boat is caught aback in a strong enough
gust to lift the accommodation hull.
SC: Curious engineering: Designers I know design for maximum loads, plus a
factor of safety. Newick's approach is to be able to support entire boat weight
on the end of a single beam end. In other words, if the boats have equal
maximum beam, weight and maxium righting moment, they should have the same beams
strengths. A HarryProa type could reach maximum RM on normal sailing tacts,
Pacific proas should the ama be caught to leeward, that's all. I have no
worries about Brown's proas having enough strength in the cross arms to
withstand maximum load of the ama is caught to leeward. You have zero evidence
otherwise. After crossing oceans and surviving multiple gales, his boats have
suffered no beam failures.
7) 38' Cimba is near enough the same weight as the 50' Blind Date, with less
sail area and much less accommodation. Source: Wooden Boat magazine layout
SC: Also curious: Not sure how you build a 50 footer with much more
accommodation (and therefore cruising loads)and as you point out later, much
greater righting moment, but at the same weight as a 36-37 foot sporty cruiser
that employs pretty lightweight construction (more below) without either the
smaller boat being overbuilt, which it appears not to be, or yours being
underbuilt, but perhaps you do build with unobtanium.
Denny: 8) Sitting in the spray to leeward and having to carry anchors, chain
and equipment back and forth between the hulls in rough seas is less pleasant
than sitting in the sheltered cockpit in the windward hull of a harry along with
all the ballast which can be moved to leeward in quiet conditions, if required.
Source: Cruising World article
SC: Curious logic and intentional misrepresentation: I don't recall mentioning
HarryProas or comparing. And what you say might be a partially valid comparison
to Brown's boats if we did sit in spray and humped anchors and chains between
hulls a lot, but we didn't and you know we didn't. Any cockpit can be covered
to keep spray off of crew. Does Brown shift ballast ever? Sure. Did we?
Sure. As I recall, at some days out, we decided the ama was providing too much
stability and was riding too heavily for maximum comfort and speed, so we pulled
an anchor and rode out. No problem at all. Took all of two minutes. We could,
remotely from cockpit, add water ballast should we choose. (I don't recall ever
using it, but Russell may have added some for a bit while I was off watch).
Backwards logic is that if you move ballast to leeward in light conditions on a
Harry, do you go down to that wave-piercing wet hull in heavy conditions when
you need to move it back to windward? Seems to me a lot safer the other way
around as we did. Also, I like having mast and sail controls at hand as in
Jzerro, not way off on a hull being covered in spray and possibly solid water
with no secure cockpit, especially if one needs to free a snagged line, reef, or
deal with any other rig problem.
Denny: 9) Only 4 of your large proas have been built, despite a lot of effort
to sell the concept. This is nothing to do with you, apart from your quoted
negative comments above. It is everything to do with the excellent Pacific proa
web page and the attempts of Joe and Jim Antrim to sell boats based on yours.
SC: Self-contradictory disinformation: On the one hand, you criticize Russell
for NOT trying to sell plans and being very conservative about recommending
proas to people but now he's making "a lot of effort to sell the concept." Make
up your mind. How the self-evident success of his designs have inspired others
who might want to design similar proas lends only positive to them. What on
earth is your point here?
Denny: 10) Your boats are beautifully built but have some weak points, which I
have tried to correct on harryproas. Source: Comments from people who have
SC: Pure and utter nonsense: You continually misquote those who've sailed with
Russell on his boats and you have no experience on them. Among other things you
have lied about, including but not limited to Russ's crew at Arlie beach and
across the Tasman. Even if your proas address some compromises inherent in a
Brown proa, so what? His have strengths over your compromises. Oh, I forgot,
you're the only designer in history who creates boats without compromises.
Denny: 11) Jibs on proa forestays are a nightmare compared to a ballestron.
They either take time to remove and rehank, which has to be done on a very
narrow foredeck with no rails or they are furled with all the cost, weight and
windage aloft this entails. They are another source of drama if caught aback.
Source: last video at
SC: Overgeneralized, overstatement, but at least, finally, an actual reference:
I certainly stated that shunting Jzerro took a little time, but not long once I
got the routine down, in part because the sail area is very small and easy to
handle. I also wrote that it all happens without drama and in complete control.
In the video you cite, it takes Russell from 00:50 to 02:36--less than two
minutes--to get Kauri's jib unhanked, changed to the other end, raised and
retrimmed. The boat already has been accelerating under the main on the new
tack. No one is panicked, nor endangered. Generally, of course you can use two
sails or one and change ends as shown on Kauri. We used two on Jzerro, which
was quite fast; I'd say less than 30 seconds from tack to tack, and the spare,
which is nice to know you have, rests securely on the prior bow, ready for
re-use. In open waters, this may happen only once in days or weeks. The deck
is not narrower than trimarans I've sailed and can be easily broadened and fit
with more lifelines if one desired. Kauri and Jzerro have some lifelines at the
ends, although minimal, but this has nothing to do with boat type. Also, I
prefer the much wider choice in sail inventory than a fixed ballestron rig with
limitation of working sail (unless, of course, you opt for multiple sails with
all that cost, etc.) One thing I adore about Russ's boats is the number of sail
options available to suit every condition, from setting double headsails and no
mainsail running downwind to genoas, storm sails, spinnakers. Seems a personal
choice to me.
Denny: 12) Deep V hulls with rocker pitch more than rounded hulls with none.
Source: 3rd video, same page, sundry boat design texts.
SC: Where to start with this oversimplified mistruth? The video has no
comparison with a HarryProa video as it is of Kauri going upwind. I only see
HarryProas reaching in calm waters. Pitching is a very complex issue that has
as much to do with weight and its concentration and how the boat is handled as
it does hull shape. Hugo Myers developed models and tests that indicated the
opposite of what you claim. If you want to see how a full-ended boat with no
rocker can pitch badly, see Orma 60s go upwind against a big chop. That's one
reason designers have compromised in recent years, introduced a bit more rocker
and pinched the sterns of the amas. As the wave crest passes a full bow, it
kicks upward, which can be resisted by a full stern, but as it passes aft, it
also kicks the stern up and bow down, which can be resisted by a full bow. It's
a matter of balance that designers have sought for centuries. Concentration of
weights is very important, something a challenge to all multihulls with such a
percentage of weight in the beams. Some of the most pitch-resistant boats have
been monohulls with very full sterns and very narrow bows and weight very
concentrated aft of amidships, but these boats had their own host of problems
(wedges heeling out and lifting rudders free if knocked down; poor ultimate
righting moment, etc. There is no evidence the HarryProa choice is better or
worse than Brown's, and even if you ever prove it true, full ends and no rocker
do incorporate other compromises. Full bows can add to resistance and little
rocker usually slows the boat's ability to turn.
Denny: 14) The hole in the lee hull for the pod is in a highly loaded area, as
is the cockpit. Both require more strengthening/weight/cost of the hull than
the similar sized hole in the windward hull of a harryproa.
SC: Utter nonsense: The small companionway opening in Russell's boats are
flanked by huge deck surface areas directly between head/backstays that are more
than sufficient to carry all loads. He has never even had a hint of failure in
these areas and this is a non-issue. The cockpit is dropped between the beams.
It's side that carries the compression loads of the mast is more than
sufficient. No matter where you put the mast, it is going to exert loads, and
an unstayed stick places enormous twisting loads on the hull (and in a Harry's
case, the end of beams in that hull. Loads are loads, and to pretend they exist
only on Brown proas is simple folly. Quite the other way around: Normal
working loads on a boat with greater displacement, higher-volume hulls, and
greater righting moment are much, much greater. This is basic physics (force
equals mass times acceleration or deceleration). Also, not sure why HarryProas
have smaller companionways, but if they are, they're very tight indeed.
Denny: 15) The drag of the pod on the lee side of the lee hull is higher than if
it was on the lee side of the windward hull.
SC: Again, utter nonsense. You have zero evidence of this. It might be true if
the lee pod dragged all the time, but it rarely touches water. On the contrary,
if on the windward side, the pod would be routinely exposed to breaking waves,
especially in beam seas. When struck, the large area of pod and a hull to
support it in a windward proa must suffer significant slamming.
Denny: 16) A harry with the same accommodation as Jzerro would beat it in a
race. Source: The weights, sail areas, righting moments and lengths of the two
SC: Pure speculation based on nothing real. You will get sillier and sillier.
Weight, sail area, and righting moment are but a small piece of the overall
performance figure and balance between developing power and reducing resistance.
You supply no evidence that any Harry is remotely competitive. All I can say
is, in your dreams. And if it were true, why didn't you take the opportunity to
show us when Russ sailed all the way across the Pacific and remained in your
general backyard and raced Jzerro? I know, you have plenty of excuses.
Denny: 17) The leeward pod is weight in the worst possible place. Source: boat
SC: Baffling disinformation: Worst for what? Yes, it puts some weight to
leeward, but boat stability is based on center of weights and the pod is a very
small weight compared to the overall boat weight and the center of gravity is
well enough to windward to create more than enough righting moment. At the same
time, the pod provides superb accommodations volume and reserve buoyancy. To
say it's in the worst place is like saying to lee half of a monohull is in the
worst place because the weight would be better on the windward side. Can boats
have too much stability? Well, yes. In large craft, it can result in a high
metacenter, which produces more aggravated motion that can become dangerous. In
small craft, it just means usually a harsher motion, and unnecessary drag to
carry sail. From the available videos of Harrys, which are sailing in very
benign conditions on reaches, it appears to me that the masts are already pushed
close to their limits, or at least show enough mast bend to already be spilling
wind from the sails, but the windward hulls are still firmly planted in the sea.
Why would you need the weight of a pod to give the platform more power than it
Denny, finally: 18) Double diagonal construction is slower and more expensive
than strip planking, both of which are slower than infused flat panels.
SC: Say what? I spent five years building cold-molded hulls, and knew many who
built strip plank, etc. We always figured it was six of one half dozen of the
other in terms of difficulty and time. Much of any significant difference had
to do with the individual design and details---is the framework inherent in the
structure or is a mold required; can the surfaces be built with a more efficient
method like Constant Camber; etc. Both methods remain competitive on a
strength-per-weight basis and time to construct basis as cored fiberglass. All
are best if vacuum bagged, but this can sound more intimidating than it is. Jim
Brown and others have shown it can be learned quickly and practiced in places as
remote as the middle of a jungle. AS for infused panels, well the folks who
invented it at Tillotson Pearson, and the professional yards that use it
routinely, like Hinckley and Gold Coast, all talk about how difficult it is to
get right, flat panels or otherwise. You must be very careful to get full
infusion without pooling. Dry spots are a disaster. I know of none of these
folks who would recommend infusion for amateur building without training and
supervision. If folks are successful with it, good on them, but for a one-off,
I don't think I would bother to attack it any more than building a big oven and
Rob, I can understand why you might want to justify your fantasies, but trying
to build your career and sell boat plans based on nothing more than making stuff
up to belittle Russell Brown's work, which is just so amazingly successful in
the real world, is really quite pathetic and irritating at the same time.
I would gain a good deal from you and begin to gather up a tad of respect for
you if you would begin to be more candid about your own failures and learning
curve, and to cite real sources for information on your boats, particularly your
clients accounts of building and sailing them. I looked at Sailing Anarchy for
a reference to one of your boats crossing the Tasman, and found nothing, for
example. The only reference I saw, which you quoted, noted that the mast was
stayed en route, presumably to limit its flex, and the lee hull suffered from
flexing. You claim to having created the only commercially successful proa in
the world, but you also complain that you never have enough dough to stick
together and equip a boat to prove anything. That just doesn't fit together.
You live in Australia but are conspicuously absent even the local regattas. And
so why, I ask, should anyone take you seriously, and why do you presume to waste
everyone's time until you begin to limit your discussions to one topic that can
be rationally covered? Please, Rob, give all of us, including yourself, a
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Rob Denney <harryproa@...> wrote:
> Russ, you are famous, well respected and obviously upset. However, that is
> no excuse for malicious, unsubstantiated personal abuse in a public forum.
> If you have something to say about your boats, or harryproas, we would love
> to hear it and discuss it. However, if you are just here to vent 12 years
> of accumulated frustration, I will ignore you.
> 2 of your more outrageous comments do warrant a reply.
> 1) "For the record I will say that not one of Rob's many negative comments
> about my boats has been anywhere near factually correct and many are
> outright lies made just to squash interest in an opposing concept."
> That is a big (and potentially libellous) statement. Please explain how
> "all" of the following are "outright lies" or "slander". For those that
> were sourced from magazines, could you also tell us when you wrote to the
> editor and the journalist calling them "outright liars" and demanding a
> 1) They are wet boats compared to harryproas. Source: Cruising World
> 2) They need constant attention to ballast, trim and steering to keep the
> ama (windward hull) from slamming in waves, unlike harrys which, quite
> simply, don't. Source: Cruising World article
> 3) If Jzerro gybes with the mainsail up in a blow, the mast gets blown
> away, unlike a harry where the rig weathercocks, and the boat slowly stops.
> Source: Your quote. Same article.
> 4) You do not recommend your boats for people with less than your skill to
> sail offshore. Source: Your quote in Wooden Boat magazine.
> 5) Beam to in big breaking seas, your boats will slip sideways and, if
> heeled enough, the large flat pod will act like the lee hull of a 60's era
> small float trimaran and cause the boat to capsize sideways. Source:
> Trimaran experience.
> 6) The beams of a Pacific proa need to be stronger than those of a harry of
> similar overall weight and beam. If you dispute this, please tell us what
> you expect to happen to the beams if the boat is caught aback in a strong
> enough gust to lift the accommodation hull.
> 7) 38' Cimba is near enough the same weight as the 50' Blind Date, with less
> sail area and much less accommodation. Source: Wooden Boat magazine layout
> 8) Sitting in the spray to leeward and having to carry anchors, chain and
> equipment back and forth between the hulls in rough seas is less pleasant
> than sitting in the sheltered cockpit in the windward hull of a harry along
> with all the ballast which can be moved to leeward in quiet conditions, if
> required. Source: Cruising World article
> 9) Only 4 of your large proas have been built, despite a lot of effort to
> sell the concept. This is nothing to do with you, apart from your quoted
> negative comments above. It is everything to do with the excellent Pacific
> proa web page and the attempts of Joe and Jim Antrim to sell boats based on
> 10) Your boats are beautifully built but have some weak points, which I have
> tried to correct on harryproas. Source: Comments from people who have
> sailed them.
> 11) Jibs on proa forestays are a nightmare compared to a ballestron. They
> either take time to remove and rehank, which has to be done on a very narrow
> foredeck with no rails or they are furled with all the cost, weight and
> windage aloft this entails. They are another source of drama if caught
> aback. Source: last video at
> 12) Deep V hulls with rocker pitch more than rounded hulls with none.
> Source: 3rd video, same page, sundry boat design texts.
> 13) Sitting in a cockpit to leeward of the mast makes sail trimming far more
> uncomfortable than sitting in a cockpit on the windward hull. Source: Same
> 14) The hole in the lee hull for the pod is in a highly loaded area, as is
> the cockpit. Both require more strengthening/weight/cost of the hull than
> the similar sized hole in the windward hull of a harryproa.
> 15) The drag of the pod on the lee side of the lee hull is higher than if it
> was on the lee side of the windward hull.
> 16) A harry with the same accommodation as Jzerro would beat it in a race.
> Source: The weights, sail areas, righting moments and lengths of the two
> 17) The leeward pod is weight in the worst possible place. Source: boat
> design texts.
> 18) Double diagonal construction is slower and more expensive than strip
> planking, both of which are slower than infused flat panels.
> The source of all harryproa references is mine and my client's experience,
> all of which can be read about in the archives of this forum, on
> www.harryproa.com or in the yahoo harryproa forum. I am happy to discuss
> any of it that you think is incorrect, if you will support your comments
> with facts, figures, video etc.
> If you cannot prove "all" the above to be "outright lies" or "factually
> incorrect", then please apologise and delete your post.
> 2) "If what he says is true, his plan sales go up whenever he bashes my
> boats. Can that be true?"
> No it can't. Interest goes up when I talk about harryproas. The
> opportunity to do this comes when people compare them with yours and I point
> out the differences and what I have done to overcome your boats' "weak
> The rest of your post is unsubstantiated personal abuse, self
> aggrandaisement or irrelevant on a proa discussion forum, so I will not
> respond to it.
> Historic indeed, wonder how it will pan out. Hopefully I don't have to wade
> through all Steve's posts to justify remarks taken out of context.
> Me too.
> I still sail (and kite), but have been busy working on lighter, cheaper,
> easier building methods and teaching kids to sail at the local club, so not
> as much as I would like.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]