Hull No: HMCo. #1232

1933 Catamaran

Length Over All: 33' 0"
Length Water Line: 30' 0"
Beam: 18' 4"
Rig: gaff sloop

You may think it a contraption at first glance, but although complicated, Amaryllis II was carefully engineered, using struts and ball joints along with wires under tension to keep the two hulls aligned while they danced independently over the waves. A truss under the mast supports its thrust.


AMARYLLIS II is a 1933 HMCo.-built replica of N.G.H.’s 1875 design of the same name. AMARYLLIS II was promoted to Chrysler Corp. executives by Captain Nat’s son Griswold while he was employed there as an automotive engineer. Like its predecessor, AMARYLLIS II proved its speed by setting what was then (in 1933) claimed to be a new record of 19.8 m.p.h.


The Bristol Phoenix reported on July 29, 1933: “The catamaran is purely a racing machine and is designed much like the ice boats which used to furnish so much entertainment in Bristol during the winter months. It has been ordered by a syndicate of men in Detroit and if the trial tests are successful it is believed that an order will be placed for possibly a large class of them. Because of its peculiar construction the catamaran is capable of a speed in excess of twenty miles an hour in smooth water. Considerable skill is needed in sailing them as once the windward hull lifts clear of the water it is no easy task to keep the craft right side up. This is the first time in many years that a really serious effort has been made to duplicate this design of a double hulled racing machine model and it will meet it is hoped this with success…”


It was hoped that this new boat would be the first of many twin-hulled sisters, priced within reach of the average yachtsman. Whether a profit on building additional boats was out of the question at the $4,000 price or whether there turned out to be no market at any price is unclear, but no more were ever built. Like Captain Nat’s catamaran business of the 1870s, this second generation of Herreshoff cats were never a commercial success – perhaps even in the 1930s, they were still too far ahead of their time.


After a racing fleet failed to materialize, AMARYLLIS II ended up in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. In 1980, AMARYLLIS II was first loaned and then donated to HMM, and she now hangs on display in our Hall of Boats.

More in the Hall of Boats