Russ Brown's Jzero
Circa 1977 Text & pics by Craig Bumgarner

Rowing around the harbor in Back Creek in Solomons, Maryland (USA) in August of 1977*, I came across Russ Brown's proa Jzero. I was just starting constructiion of a CabinSib 32 trimaran across the creek and had talked often with Russ's father Jim Brown. Jim had told me about Russ & his proa, but I was surprised to see her in Solomons.

Being a boat nut and having an interest in multi-hulls, I visited Jzero often that summer. I was fascinated by this minimalistic craft that was clearly very fast. Knowing a little of its heritage, I suspected it was more seaworthy than it appeared at first glance. Never meet Russ, though I looked for him. I saw the boat under sail the morning he left Solomons, she looked beautiful to me.

I had sorta lost touch with the whole proa concept, but the recent Cruising World article featuring Jzerro led me to search the web for more information on Russ Brown and his proas. All this reminded me of his original Jzero and these pictures that have been gathering dust in my closet.

* Thanks go out to Mark Balough who dated these pictures definitively for me. He says that Russ went south in the fall of 1977. Mark sailed with Russ in the spring of '78 to Puerto Rico and Jzero never returned from the Caribbean, she is still there. I don't think the pictures could be any earlier than '77.

For more Proa Info, see Joseph Oster's Proa Web Site. Check out his Proa Links Page.

The thumbnail pictures below link to larger pictures (100K) by clicking. If you want the original scan which has had no touchup, click the "Original Scan, Large: 1.2MB" text. These are BIG files and you probably wouldn't have any need for them unless you want to do your own retouching or to make prints.

click images to see full size (~1.2MB each)

Anyone wishing to link to this page may do so. You might send me an email when you do as I would probably be interested in your site. You might want to have a look at our boatyard at

Photographs are copyrighted by Craig Bumgarner. Craig grants unlimited non-commerical usage rights without charge. In the highly unlikely event there might be interest from commercial users please contact Craig before use.

JZERRO on video
Pacific Proa Jzerro in Port Townsend - September 2012
Jzerro underballasted and hard on it
Proa Jzerro September, 2011
sailing 17.8 knots on auto-pilot!
720p HD *posted May, 2011
sailing 17.8 knots on auto-pilot! & sailing past lighthouse *posted July, 2008 (not HD)
Jzerro in Port Townsend 2015, at 18 knots (Ryan Finn)

Port Townsend Watercraft, Nesting Dinghies


by Russell Brown
Other Proa Pages
NOTE: The "Flying Proa" or "Pacific proa" has a small ama to windward,
opposite that of the "Atlantic proa" with heavier hull to windward.