Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vanuatu Outrigger Sailing Races

Here are a couple of sailing outriggers from Lelepa Island racing in a cultural festival held recently in Vanuatu. I did not know that sprit rigs were in use there. Note the low attachment point of the sprit which prevents any chance of reefing the sail by lowering the sprit. The alternative is to remove the sprit altogether and fold the top half of the sail down and around the mast.
Thanks to Francis Hickey for taking the photos and Don Miller for sending them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NZ Proa Congress 2009

Here's some video clips of shunting and tacking outrigger canoes romping off Arkle's Beach in the North Island of New Zealand.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Real Thing

I spent a few days in Suva, the capitol of Fiji, and hunted down any sailing outriggers I could find. The first is the "Laisenia" found stored at the Arts Council. The Laisenia is a thamakau and is smaller than the larger ndrua battleships.

The Laisenia appeared to still be restorable. Many of the smaller poles and spars were rotted but the hull appeared to be mostly sound.

Note the extra intermediate diagonal struts connecting the ama to a fore and aft pole lashed to the main crossbeams.

The bows of Fijian canoes are slightly different at each end although the canoe uses a shunting rig and sails in either direction.

This is another thamakau mounted on the wall of the Fiji Museum. It looked to be 25-30 feet long. Note the rail along the leeward side to allow the yard to slide smoothly along it during a shunt.

This a a small ndrua, maybe 40 feet or so. The ama on a ndrua is larger than a thamakau and is actually a small hollow hull. The high platform amidships prevents the rig from falling over if the sail is set aback. The steering oars are quite large and provide the only lateral resistance in a very round bottomed hull.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tamanu video

This video was shot from the beach showing the sprit rig in light wind and the small sail in 25 knots of wind.
The best sailing videos are shot from a chase boat but unfortunately I didn't have one. Shooting from onboard with any conventional lens gives a narrow field of view and misses the best times because your hands are full when things really get going.
For these reasons I have just ordered a Go-Pro Hi definition waterproof head cam that can be mounted on the canoe. A 170 degree field of view should make a remarkable improvement. Stay tuned.