Saturday, May 9, 2009

Isle of Pines Ndrua

In the mid 19th century, a 30 meter Tongan ndrua visited the Isle of Pines at the very Southern tip of New Caledonia. One of the crew settled there and passed on the techniques of building what is possibly the best and most famous Oceanic warship design.
As late as 1855 a fleet of 40 ndrua carrying 10,000 warriors set sail in an internal power struggle in Fiji. Those struggles go on to this day but without the elegance of the ndrua.

On the 16th of May, 2009, the 15 meter (50 ') Meryemana will be launched by builder and owner Phillippe Renaud at the Bay of Toro, New Caledonia. It will even have a traditional woven pandanus sail.
A ndrua uses a shunting rig and reverses direction on each tack. The hollow ama is larger than a normal outrigger canoe and is only slightly smaller than the main hull.


Tillerman said...

Ndrua? Well there's a new word to me.

A 30 meter warship that is still essentially a canoe? That must have been quite a sight. And to see 40 of them with 250 warriors on each! Wow!

I think the sight I would most like to see though would be how that shunting rig works and to see how they tack.

Just found your blog by the way. Fascinating subject!

Gary.Dierking said...

Shunting a ndrua this size requires quite a coordinated effort and several crew members. A couple of guys on the backstay and a couple more to walk the end of the yard to the other bow. Meanwhile the steering oar has to be moved or retracted if they have one at each end. Hopefully they'll put up some video of this operation.