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.