Thursday, September 25, 2008

An Soatau of Samoa



I recently acquired this 37 inch model of a Samoan soatau. The model came from Samoa in the 1920's and is carved from quite a heavy hardwood. It's almost identical to the Amatasi shown in this painting by Herb Kane from Hawaii, except for the absence of a fore and aft deck.

11 comments:

Enter Miles said...

Beautyfull model!
Peter

Chris said...

Nice model! What do you think of these Samoan canoe hull forms? They seem quite unlike most other pacific canoes but seem to have a reputation as good sailers. I love that painting but have always wondered if the deep forefoot makes them hard to steer in following seas?

Chris

Gary said...

I think the shape is very efficient but have also wondered about the stem digging in. From my experience it seems that the long overhanging stern acts as a counterweight to keep the bow up enough.

Anonymous said...

But what is the function of it in the first place? Longer waterline?--Wade

Chris said...

James Wharram has a couple of designs (melanesia, tahiti wayfarer) that use adaptations of this hull shape. He suggests that the combination of the deep forefoot and the steering paddle provides lateral plane to take the canoe to windward.

Chris

Tim said...

I have a similar model. However, the outrigger is not attached and some parts are missing. I beleive my father-in-law picked it up when stationed in American Samoa during WWII. Do you know of anyone that will make replacement parts and reassemble? Thanks

Anonymous said...

It is a beautiful model, but it is not an amatasi instead you have a soatau. Difference being your model does not have a cover on the bow and stern. Everything else looks the same but soataus were not used much in the open seas. unlike the Amatasi which would be used in interisland travel.

Gary.Dierking said...

Thanks for catching that. After a more careful reading of "Canoes of Oceania" I realized that you are correct.

Gary

Mick McCuddin said...

Talofa
I just came across your site and the picture of your model soatau. I have just completed a 34 ft. replica of a soatau and will be launching it next week. Mine is patterned after the description in "Canoes of Oceania" also. Soatau are also named after the number of iato (outrigger booms) used. A soatau with 5 iato is a "iatolima", etc. Mine is a iatotolu (3). Another difference between the amatasi and soatau is amatasi hulls were built up of pieces sewn together, while the soatau hull was carved out of a single piece of wood. Soatau sometimes had sails as well, and when they did, they utilized a balance beam on the side opposite the ama, called a suati. Mine is also rigged to sail and has a suati. The clipper bow is unique to Samoa and was(is) found on paopao, vaaalo, amatasi, and alia. The ama is uniquely long and extends nearly even with the bow. It is canted slightly toward the hull so as to counter the tendancy of the ama to drag the canoe to the ama side when underway. Nice model. I also build a model of a double hulled voyaging canoe called an alia. It is a 1/12 scale and accurate in every detail. Will try to see if I can upload a picture for you.
Take care. Mick McCuddin, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Gary.Dierking said...

I would definitely like some photos and details. I'd like to feature it on the blog. Send to gary.dierking (at) gmail.com

Anonymous said...

i don't think its stable it will fall over