The Boat

13m2 in backyardOur boat, the Manu-o-ku, is a Wharram Hitia 17′ that we custom-built for the 2015 Race to Alaska in just over a month.  We have made quite a few modifications to the plans of James and Hanneke, most importantly using lighter materials and converting the lazzarettes to a sheltered place just large enough for a sleeping human.  The rig is a Hawaiian sprits’l (or “crab claw”) sail on a bipod mast, optimized with help from Kiko for single-handed light-air sailing.  We try to adhere to the keep-it-simple-stupid principle so we can repair our boat quickly and easily in the remote wilderness of B.C., if necessary.  In addition to taking paddles (in the spirit of the Sea Runners and First Nations canoeists who have plied the R2AK route for millenia), we’ve added a pedal drive on a fore-and-aft aluminum beam, building on the great R&D accomplished by Matt Johnson during his preparations to break the 24-hour distance world record in a pedal boat.

Another overarching design goal for us was enabling future mariners to build a human-powered sailboat economically and easily.  To that end, we’ve recycled a mast into our beams, turned 4 windsurfer masts into our spars, field tested a tarp sail that was glued with 3M77 (no sewing), used Amsteel standing rigging, and painted with Rustoleum.

Building Method: Ply/Glass/Epoxy Stitch and Glue
Length Overall: 17′ 5.18 m
Beam Overall: 10′ 1″ 3.07 m
Draft: 11′ 0.30 m
Weight: 295 lbs 134 kg
Loading capacity: 550 lbs 250 kg
Sail area: 160 sqft 14.9 sqm
Building Time Estimate: 250 hrs

See below for more information about our design decisions, construction process, and performance tests…

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