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By Eric Dahlkamp - Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA


I recently returned for a short vacation to Oahu, after 28 years away. I left the islands in 1981 and hadn't returned since. I lived quite rurally on the windward side for many years. In order to visit all my old hang outs, my wife and I made a point of renting a nice place close to where I had lived so many years ago in Waikane.

Imagine my surprise upon arrival, when I reached my old neighborhood to see the 20' catamaran my friend and I had built 30 years ago! She was anchored offshore exactly where I had left her 28 years before! I woke early the next morning and wadded around her at high tide clicking photos and reliving memories. I never did find my old friend Ray Keevis, but he certainly had kept the boat up very nicely. I learned he recently moved to the Big Island – it seems after all these years I missed him by a matter of a few weeks! He loved to fish with her beyond the reef – those are his rod holders on the stern in the photos. The topsides looked like they had been freshly painted. How wonderful to see her as graceful as ever resting at her mooring. Good for you Ray!

We built her from two asymmetrical fiberglass Piver trimaran amas I had been given. The entire boat was dreamed up as we went along - one idea at a time - a great experience. Those were fun days, thinking up what to do, sailing a little model to test our theories and putting it all together. We used plywood to add bulkheads and height to the gunnels, and built the decks and topsides. The little canvas cockpit covers he is using are to keep the rain out - after all the windward side is wet! I can see the cockpits must be rather full of water anyway from the way the stern has settled. She has a 12' beam and nice sleeping/sitting room in the little cabins. The forward hatch is for storage in the forehull.

She sailed beautifully (at least I thought so), no board at all, and steered fairly close to the wind and was quite fast. We broke a mast once pushing her as hard as we could as we sailed close in up and down the shore in the advance winds from an approaching cyclone. That was exciting. The surface of the bay was nothing but froth from the blowing spray. We had to stand on the deck because the blowing water stung our bare legs so badly we couldn't sit down. Barrels and junk, even a live chicken, swept past us from the shore out to sea bouncing along the surface carried by the huge winds.

These photos tell it all - the dreaming of many years past materialized into a fine little one-of-a-kind ship which became quite well known on Kaneohe Bay, and is still looking great!

Eric Dahlkamp

 

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