Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hollow Beams

Hollow crossbeams (iako, kiato, aka) are a good way to save weight without losing strength or stiffness.  In the first photo, a 5/8" (16mm) board has been clamped to locater blocks screwed to the workbench.  Spacer blocking is glued to the interior surface at regular intervals and importantly where the beam crosses the gunwales of the canoe.

The top member of the beam is another 5/8" thick board and is glued and clamped to the spacer blocks.

Solid blocking at the ama end of the beam is longer to take an inserted dowel later.

1/4" (6mm) or 3/16" (4mm) plywood is glued and nailed (or stapled) to both sides of the beam.  After the glue under the first layer of  plywood has cured, remove the clamps and put plywood on the other side.  I can't remember how much springback there was, but is was not much.

A hardwood dowel (old shovel handle) is glued into the end of the beam for a Wa'apa style connection.  The end of the beam will later be finished with several wraps of fiberglass to prevent splitting.
These are the beams I've been using for several years on my Wa'apa canoe.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wa'apa missing

Stephen Sleight's 16' Wa'apa has taken from the beach in Maui and he's like to have it back.  Contact me if you have any information.
Meanwhile Stephen has built a smaller 12' version of a Wa'apa or Tamanu out of two sheets of plywood.

Stephen built an 18' T2 several years ago and now needs to sell it.  Contact me if you are interested.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Big Weekend in Savusavu, Fiji

 This past weekend, Savusavu in Fiji hosted the Fiji National Outrigger paddling Regatta.  Fiberglass OC6 canoes were racing but I was more interested in the sailing canoes that came from Rabi Island.  Rabi Island is populated with people from Banaba in Kiribati and their canoes are built in the Kiribati style.

 The 75' Uto-ni-Yalo, recently returned from a cruise through New Zealand and most of Polynesia was also in town for the week.
Savusavu is one of my favorite South Sea towns.  A well protected anchorage, wonderful people, good food and plenty of cold beer. Thanks to Leanne Hunter for the photographs.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Eric Lyon's "Seaweed"

Eric Lyon designed and built the 32' "Seaweed" for cruising in British Columbia.  The box section hull can sleep two adults inside.  Curved crossbeams lead to a diamond box section ama filled with foam.  Eric is still deciding about the sailing rig.  Most likely a tacking lug rig will be used, or a cambered Chinese lug if I can talk him into it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Junk Rig Tests

I finally got out with the junk rig again.  I'd cut off the Gurney flap because I just couldn't see it being a benefit on a fast easily driven hull.  Maybe the high lift/high drag device would be of benefit to a slower heavier hull.  In any case I did max out at 10.2 knots of boat speed in a 10-15 knot wind.  
I even reefed on the way home just to see if it is as easy as advertised, and it is.  I eased the sheet, went forward and lowered the sail down two battens and it was done.  The upper sections of the sail are cut flatter than the lower sections, so you are all set for whatever the wind gods throw at you.

There is one detail that you don't want to forget when sailing any small craft.  Be sure that there is some way to prevent the mast from coming out of its step in the event of a capsize.  A partial dislodging of the mast can cause all kinds of damage to the mast collar, the hull or to the mast itself.  In the photo above I have hose-clamped a section of bamboo around the mast just below the deck and collar.  A down haul line from the boom to the deck will also do the job.  I have  done mine this way to allow the mast to still rotate.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


My wife Rose and I have just returned from 12 days aboard a friend's catamaran cruising the Yasawa Islands in Fiji. Rose is an avid fisher-person and hooked up with this five foot barracuda. It was delicious.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Proalific Builder

Gunnar Jentzsch of Laguna Bacalar, Mexico began by building one 24' Wa'apa with a shunting rig.

Then he decided to try the tacking rig

So why not build a second hull and have room for more friends.

Ah, but single outriggers are so much fun, I'd better build a 27' stretched Ulua.

Beautiful inlays.

Where will it all end?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cambered Junk rig on a Wa'apa

I've just had my first test sail using a 100 sq ft cambered junk sail on my 24' Wa'apa.  I have to give credit to Mike Mulcahy and his Duckworks article, and to Arne Kverneland of the Yahoo Junk Rig forum for inspiration. 
I've gradually realized that I've been deterred from some expeditions because of the limited reefing capabilities of traditional Oceanic sails.  The Chinese junk rig is famous for being the quickest and easiest to reef, but it has also gained a poor reputation for windward ability in modern adaptations.  Modern stiff sail fabrics can be blamed for much of this problem.  The junk sail is traditionally cut as a flat panel and this worked well with old style stretchy fabric which would form an airfoil shape when the wind started blowing.  When polyester fabric was used in a flat cut sail, no shape was produced and neither was much lift.
My heavy duty polytarp cambered junk sail is made up of individual barrel shaped panels that are sewn together at the batten locations.  The battens are two pieces screwed together through the fabric and are intentionally very stiff.  The bottom batten is also the boom and the yard at the top is a stiffer spar.
The leech along the bottom three panels has a 5" extension called a Gurney flap.  There is some argument about the effectiveness of this device, but I will stay with it for a while and cut it off if it does more harm than good.  So far it doesn't seem to hurt the otherwise excellent performance.  I don't have any GPS tacking angle data yet due to a battery problem, but will get that the next time I'm out.  It's winter here and sailing days are few and far between.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

T2 progress

Andrew Bennett in Oregon is making progress on his 18' (5.4 M) T2 sailing proa.  The planking is red cedar and the keel is mahogany.  Note the asymmetric hull shape.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ulua in Austria

 Peter Mitteregger in Austria sent me these photos of his newly launched Ulua.

Monday, August 2, 2010

O Tahiti Nui Freedom

The 50' "O Tahiti Nui Freedom" outrigger canoe left Tahiti July 27 and is headed for China.  It's been a long time since a tacking single outrigger has made a long ocean passage.  The canoe will make many stops on the way to Shanghai and has already arrived in Rarotonga.
Follow along at their website

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tamanu sailing in Fiji

Here's a short video of my Tamanu canoe sailing in Fiji during last May. I made some progress with the reefing system on the sprit rig. Instead of the traditional thumb cleat on the mast to hold the snotter, I now hang the base of the sprit on a loop of parrel beads that are held by a light spectra line to the head of the sail. To reef, I just lower the halyard and the sprit comes down with it. Retie the tack and clew and you're away.
You won't see it on the video where I'm using a small red triangular sail.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Return to Paradise

I've realized that something important has been missing from this blog; pretty girls sitting in outrigger canoes.  These Tahitian girls are using a canoe very similar to my Wa'apa but with the characteristic Tahitian ama and iatos.
Rose and I are leaving soon for another month in Fiji. The weather here in New Zealand is cooling down for the coming winter and I'm looking forward to some warm water.  My yellow Tamanu canoe is stowed under a pole house where we'll be staying.  A day of putting it all  back together and we should be back out on the water looking for big fish to hook and new beaches to explore.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tim Anderson in the Channel Islands

Tim Anderson has returned to the Channel Islands in California to continue another one of his outrigger canoe cruises/missions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The OutRig Project

Jim Brown, the legendary multihull designer, has probably had more influence on my life's work and path than anyone. The photo above is of my own Searunner 37 "Bird of Dawning" sailing off Hawaii in the 1970's.  He has now created a website to document the history of modern mulihull sailing craft.  Watch the first two videos to get an idea of what's coming next.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jacob Bencke's Ulua construction photos

Jacob Bencke took many construction photos during his Ulua project. See more photos Here.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fiji Race

Four camakaus raced in the first of an annual race held in Suva, Fiji on the 23 rd of January. Thanks to Michael Koch of Savusavu for the photos.
The blue tarp sail won most of the races.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ulua with a masthead cam

Click Here to View The Video Titled: Ulua sailing canoe with masthead cam
I built a special mount out of PVC pipe and an FCS surfboard fin socket that slips over the top of the mast. The Go-Pro camera comes with a fitting to insert into these inexpensive sockets for surfboard fins.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Proa races in Suva, Fiji

Do try to be in Suva for the camakau (pronounced tham- ah-kau) races on Saturday the 23 rd of January. Canoes from Fulaga and Moce will battle it out in this the first of an annual event. Please send photos if you are there.
More details at the Fiji Times.
Photo from the Fiji Times.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ulua with onboard Go-Pro cam

Click Here to View The Video Titled: Ulua outrigger sailing canoe

This is the first video I've taken with my new Go-Pro video cam mounted on the foredeck of my Ulua. Click on the image to watch the video.