An Interview With Multihull Pioneer - Jim Brown
Jim Brown in his schooner bumming days aboard the schooner, Janeen

October 26, 2020

An Interview With Multihull Pioneer - Jim Brown

Jim Brown got his start designing and building sailing trimarans from friend and mentor, Arthur Piver, near Sausilito, CA in the late 1950's. Jim's foray into his career as 'trimaran test pilot' is well documented in his entertaining book, 'Among The Multihulls: Volume I'. In this Dream 10X podcast episode, however, we learn more about the story of Jim's early childhood leading up to the story in this book. I think this as-of-yet untold story of his early youth is just as fantastic and entertaining as his book!

The real skill in pioneering, as in business and life, is survival. Jim Brown, Among The Multihulls: Volume I, Pg 46

Finding Your Passion

One thing I wish I could ‘teach’ my own kids is how to find your passion in life and how to follow it. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that is something that can be taught, but it can certainly be felt and even witnessed in other people’s lives. One case in point is the life of Jim Brown. It’s not hard to look back over Jim’s life to see how his simple pursuit of his singular passion for boats and the ocean took him on extraordinary life adventures. When he essentially flunked-out of college mostly due to his poor eyesight, he decided to continue pursuing his passion for boats by heading off to Miami to jump on the schooner Janeen, which in turn led to events that positively impacted the arc of his professional and personal life.

In other words, he didn’t know what his life held for him when he dropped out of college, but he knew he had an interest in boats and the ocean so he jumped in (or on a schooner) with ‘boat’ feet not knowing where things would lead him.

One of my favorite movie quotes is from the movie ‘Cast Away:’

And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?Chuck Noland, Cast Away

It would seem that finding your life’s passion can be rather simple. Take action and keep moving in some direction - any direction. You never know what the tide will bring!

Continuous Learning

Jim exemplifies the idea of continuous learning throughout life. Since he was a college drop-out, it is evident to see that his genius and knowledge is not a product of an institution of ‘higher’ education. In fact, it would seem to me that Jim had an adequate knowledge toolkit available to him since childhood: a burning curiosity about things, an ability to teach himself answers to his own curiosities, and simple naivety in not knowing that he could not do things others might have said were impossible. Jim’s child-like curiosity and naivety in all things nautical have allowed him to constantly innovate in his profession throughout his fascinating career, and have afforded him the relative luxury of hanging-out in metaphorical littoral zones between modern western ‘civilization’ and the ‘wilder,’ less civilized, parts of the world.

A Closer Look Into Jim’s Life Adventures

The following video contains a slide-show narrated by Jim Brown himself, which he did just for us at Dream 10X!

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Dialogue & Discussion