Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Safety Ama

I've been cursed by a week of dead calm and cold weather, so no more sailing yet.  It was, however, a perfect opportunity to build the safety ama, an optional strap-on smaller ama that can prevent a capsize in those moments of inattention or a jammed sheet line.  It is still possible to capsize 180 degrees even with this extra ama, but it is held in place with just two quick release straps that can be released in the water to aid in righting the canoe.

I had enough foam left over from the main ama and shaped it without any central web/stringer.  It is also meant to be used as a primary ama on any smaller canoe that I may develop in the future, so the angled struts may look a little off when used as a safety ama.  It weighs about seven pounds.

A fiberglass dowel is glued into the bottom of the kiato and fits into a matching hole in the ama strut.  This prevents the ama from slipping out of the lashing.  The lashing is webbing with a spring loaded grip.  A good coating of fish oil keeps these going for many seasons.


  1. Good idea, the quick-release straps. I saw a photo of Randy Smyth righting his trimaran, Sissor, by releasing one of his foam-glass amas.

  2. PS -- Gary, about high off the water will the safety ama ride?

  3. I'd love to see a close-up of the quick releases.

  4. See new photo of safety ama lashing. I expect the safety ama to ride about 16-18" above the water.