11 – Team Grasshopper: Nate Rooks aboard “Grasshopper” (paparazzi steed)


Grasshopper was built as a back-of-a-napkin efficiency experiment from leftover parts by Russell Brown. A custom plywood/composite pod rides atop Tornado hulls, braced by leftover carbon mast sections. With an extra-long-shaft 15hp Honda 4-stroke hanging out the aft end of the pod, Grasshopper will do 15 knots at a gallon an hour through just about any conditions. I made a platform to span the built-in bench seats and repurposed some old tent poles and a rainfly, creating one heck of a camp-cruiser.

In a past life I spent my time trying to get 60ft-long carbon shells to go as fast as possible. After 15 years of that, I quit cold turkey with just one thing in mind – sailing and rowing a small (but unsinkable!) dinghy up the Inside Passage with my brother, Cooper. Bunny Whaler changed my life. We were close to the last winners of R2AK 2016, and our adventure on that little polished foam-filled bathtub changed my life. We also did the inaugural Barefoot Raid in Bunny. Riding those coattails, I built a rowboat for Seventy48 and raced twice, both times finishing in about 14 hours and 11th place. After slightly overdosing on those physical endeavors, I roped a friend into buying an experimental motorboat called GRASSHOPPER, which will be my steed for this Raid as I try to capture some of the stories, fun, and boats on video. I hope to return to human- and sail-powered boats soon, but Grasshopper’s a little too fun to worry about that right now.

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