Monday, April 28, 2008

PVC amas

Many outrigger canoe builders have used PVC drainage pipe as a quick and easy way to build an ama. While not an ideal material, it does float and is cheap and available almost everywhere.
During my construction project in Fiji last year, I found that my ama options were limited; the bamboo wasn't large enough, I couldn't get any Hibiscus (hau, fau, vau) that was the right shape and I didn't want to take the time to build a plywood ama. I could get 6" [150mm] PVC drain pipe and that's what I used.

Shaping the ends was the easy part. The bow was shaped with a cane knife from a section of fence post and the stern just needed a plywood disc siliconed into place.
Connecting the ama to the crossbeams is the difficult part and I decided to use an old traditional method that uses several struts at each crossbeam. This method has the advantage of keeping the crossbeam ends well above the water and reducing drag when passing through waves. I didn't want the struts to penetrate the PVC pipe, thinking that this was a potential problem area.

I decided to have the struts fit into holes in a short section of timber 2x4 that was screwed and siliconed to the top of the PVC pipe. The key component of this system is the big lashing that leads straight from the crossbeam to the top of the ama (around and under the section of 2x4). Once I tightened that lashing, everything became amazingly stiff and I found that no amount of wave action caused me any concern.
The lashings were cheap poly rope (which I hate, but I couldn't get anything else) covered with innertube strips to protect the cheap line from the sun.
Ideally an ama would have some rocker to make it more adaptable to different load conditions of the canoe, but mine was pretty straight. If you find a really warped one in the pile, grab it; you might even get a discount.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Canoe models by Francis Pimmel

It is rare to find models of Oceanic canoes of such beauty, accuracy and attention to detail. Francis Pimmel's website will have you drooling with admiration and envy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Harmen Hielkema's proa Toroa

Harmen Hielkema's 20' proa Toroa is an elegant blend of the old and the new. The crabclaw sail and asymmetric deep vee hull are ancient features. Combine them with modern light weight construction, dagger rudders and single line pull shunting, and you have something that performs with the best.
Visit Harmen's Blog to read the whole story.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chuck Shipman interview

In the year 2000, Tim Anderson visited Chuck Shipman on the North shore of Oahu in Hawaii. The visit resulted in a great interview covering many things about Hawaiian and Micronesian canoe design and history.
The above photo illustrates Tim's method of "taking the lines" off a proa from Kapingamarangi, a Polynesian atoll in the Southern area of Micronesia.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Post Apocalyptic Proa

This illustration by Michael Schacht is one of my all time favorite examples of proa art. Several years ago, Rhisiart Gwilym and Michael Schacht decided to enter a short story contest - Rhisart did the writing and Michael did the illustrations. The story would be a distillation of ideas from the novel he was working on - a post apocalyptic tale of how life might be after the Great War - if things turned out well. It was a vision of a semi-nomadic tribal culture which had returned to the old shamanic traditions of ancient Albion, and it also involved bee-keeping and proas and mysterious silent, black triangular flying craft of enormous size.
Be sure to visit Michael's ProaFile blog.