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The Great Bear
2006 Update: The second owner of the
Stories from and about the Invocation to the Great Bear:
Bolinas Invaded? Point Reyes Light (Thursday, November 26, 1970)
The Incredible Launch Of The Great Bear, Multihull Sailing (July/August, 1971)
Captain's Log (November, 1973)
From West to East via VHF/FM, Cruising World Magazine (May/June 1975)
A Trip in a Trimaran, The Stuart News, Martin County, Florida (Sunday, May 11, 1975)
I started out in my early twenties figuring that somebody builds sailboats. No magic, no hidden tricks, no special foundry or blast furnace required. Just a set of skills that can be learned and some materials bought at the lumber yard, the fiberglass and resin supplier, and the ship's chandlery.
I couldn't buy a sailboat. No money. But I could scrimp, save, and collect useful things while I built it myself. When I was done, I would be master of my own ship and able to travel anywhere in the world. Seductive yearnings.
So when I quit graduate school, the project satisfied a terrific creative need as well as a deep drive to be independent at age 25. It took three years and the profound cooperation of my patient wife, Dagmar. We did, though, travel a bit during those years: we ran the Baja in our Renault before there was a road; we visited the East Coast and Germany when American Airlines flew long-haul 747s with a piano bar in the stern.
I began as a novice boat builder. You have to start everything somewhere at sometime. I got a lot better as I went along. The plans were by Jim Brown, pace-setting multihull designer and, later, my friend: they were carefully crafted to be easy to follow and were reasonably forgiving of stupid errors. Thirty years after I sold the first Great Bear on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain with about 17,000 sea miles showing on her log, I bought a "derelict vessel" of about the same length at a Maine boatyard auction and rebuilt that Grampian seaworthy, naming her also The Great Bear.
For serious conversations from Jim Brown, go to Outrigmedia.com!
For a look at the Great Bear's Construction Manual [PDF - 42MB], download it here.
For a look at the Searunner Catalog [PDF - 18MB], download it here.
For a historical look at Art Piver's Pi-Craft Catalog [PDF - 4MB], download it here.