We raised the standing lug mizzen mid-December, 2017.  These photos were taken trying out the reef points.

The bow thruster and new zinc in the yard 2017.

Windless, compressor, and generator/welder.

Engine, fuel transfer pump, shore power and inverters, fuel filters, sidescan sonar, and diesel water heater.

Main Salon and gimbaled serving table.

Main Salon

Dr. Gast continued work on the Phuma, employing local custom cabinet maker Steve Applegate to build the wooden spars and the main salon cabinetry.  The main salon, aft of the pilot house is substantially finished in bright elm, the center piece being a massive gimbaled serving table with tableware storage underneath.  Numerous opening ports make the main salon a bright, comfortable location.  Aft of the salon, the galley is equipped with a Dickinson diesel stove and stainless sink.  All wood cabinetry was coated with clear epoxy prior to finishing. 

J.P.Hartog N.A. updated plans of P.C.Bolger’s design #410, Phuma.

Background, Design, and Construction

Phuma is the inspiration of Professor Emeritus of Oceanography Dr. James Gast.  Dr. Gast was one of the founding faculty of the oceanography department at Humboldt State University and devoted over 30 years to teaching oceanography as well as captaining the University’s research vessels.  He is a firm believer that students need practical hands-on experience as part of a complete education.  Phuma is the culmination of his experience as a professor and research vessel captain.  It has been a good undertaking; unfortunately old age precludes Dr. Gast from finishing the vessel.

Dr. Gast worked with boat designer Philip C. Bolger in the early 1980’s on the preliminary design of Phuma producing Design #410 a 96.5’ length, 16’ beam, and 3.5’ draft leeboard motorsailer.  Their goal was to design a vessel capable of a longer oceanographic cruise with a dozen students with easily handled sails, an easily driven hull, and the ability to access and traverse shallow bays and estuaries.  Although there were subsequent changes to the Design #410, Dr. Gast was in contact with Mr. Bolger until Mr. Bolger passed away.  Mr. Bolger’s preliminary design was redrawn in 1982 with the scantlings, details, and stability curves by Naval Architect  J.P. Hartog at 116.5’ length overall, 16’ beam, 3.5’ draft, and 126.65 tons.  Dr. Gast commenced construction in Samoa, California, near the Samoa Cookhouse.  Peter Gast, Dr. Gast’s brother, a shipbuilder and machinist from Massachusetts where he worked for Eddy and Duff among others, did much of the construction spending five years on the project.  During construction, several modification were made subsequent  to consultation with Mr. Bolger and Mr. Hartog including the addition three stations amidships increasing the Length Overall to 128’, the replacement of the forward centerboard with a bow thruster, and other mechanical and hydraulic innovations.  The bottom was plated wit 3/8” steel, the sides with 5/16” steel, and cabin with 1/4” steel plate.  All surfaces were sealed and painted with Devoe Marine coatings.  Phuma was launched into Humboldt Bay in 1991.


Phuma was hauled at Zerlang Marine Services in January 2017.  There was some galvanic corrosion and the bottom needed new paint.  We were trying to hold off until a buyer wanted her hauled for inspection, but could not wait on the needed maintenance.  The bottom was sand blasted to bare steel, all corrosion pits repaired, three barrier coats and bottom paint applied.  New zincs were installed.  A Certified Welders Report is available that details the plate repair.

The Phuma was hauled, bottom sand-blasted to bare steel, all plate inspected and repaired, bottom sealed with three barrier coats, new anti-fouling paint in January 2017 Zerlang's Marine Services.

The helm!  The steering and speed are all controlled from this box.

The skeg, rudder, and propeller are mounted on a steel column that can be hydraulically raised and lowered, increasing the depth about 4’.  This provides additional lateral resistance as well as providing clean water for the propeller, increasing efficiency, while not sacrificing the shallow water capabilities.  The hydraulically driven propeller, mounted on the trailing edge of the rudder, is turned by a hydraulic motor mounted inside the rudder providing outboard motor-like maneuverability.  Combined with the bow thruster, the vessel can be maneuvered in very tight quarters.  The steering and motor controls are housed in a control box on an electrical cord enabling the helmsman to maneuver the vessel from anywhere in or on the pilot house, or on the forward bridge deck.  This is very useful when performing cabled in water oceanographic sampling and docking.  Manual steering components are included, but not installed.  On deck a hydraulic Tico Marine 80 crane (currently inoperable due to rusted fittings) provides lifting for oceanographic operations and general provisioning.

Ground Tackle
Two stockless type anchors hang in hawse pipes on 20 shots of stud link chain.  The anchors are retrieved by a large hydraulically driven windless.

The view aft from the foredeck while airing out the PFDs.  The mainsail boom is on the deck.

Sailing Rig

The wooden spars for the standing lug mizzen and dipping lug main sails were made out of clear kiln dried quarter sawn spruce special ordered from Tacoma, Washington.  The epoxied hollow, jointed construction makes for light strong spars.  Rumor had it that the guitar industry had supply problems that year due to the volume of high quality, clear spruce required for the spars.  The lug rig was chosen for its simplicity allowing for a minimum of standing and running rigging.  The vessel has the mizzen standing lug and mizzen staysail.  The masts are made of very strong and rust resistant Corten steel and are designed to be folded down with the help of removable hydraulic rams that attach to the fittings on the masts and steps.  The rams are in good condition, but the portable hydraulic pump is inoperable.

Engine Room, Steering, and Hydraulics


The vessel is driven by a 285hp Detroit diesel 6V-92 with a Twindisk transmission powering a Rexroth AA4V hydraulic pump.  The skeg, rudder, propeller, deck crane, and windless are all hydraulically powered by the freshwater cooled 6V-92.  The engine only has 68 hours!  Also in the engine room are the gel cell batteries, four Hart inverters, redundant fuel filters, Debug fuel decontaminator, pre-luber and transfer pump, Airmar echo sounder, Sidescan sonar, diesel water heater (new, not installed), and day tank for the galley stove. 

Accommodations and Interior

The unfinished accommodations include the captain’s cabin accessed through and underneath the pilot house, two crew/student cabins designed to berth 8 each with separate deck access doors, and the forward wet lab and shop.  Seven new, uninstalled Raritan Marine heads are part of the designed accommodations.  In the shop an almost unused Bobcat Deutz Diesel Miller welder/8000 watt generator powers the Rogers 3hp Quincy compressor (provides air for the Kahlenberg T3A multi-tone horn), and drill press.  Five water-tight bulkheads separate the compartments.  About 8000 gallon tankage of each diesel and water is built into 8 separate tanks in the floor honey combing.  The water tanks have special potable water coatings.  The exterior floor honey combing is filled with approximately 40 tons (I can only find notes for 12 tons, not 40, which seems more reasonable) of lead in 25lb interlocking bars with a few compartments filled with loose lead of random source.