Sunday, December 27, 2015

Know Where You Are

For most of human history, the stars told us where we were in space and time. 
 Have we forgotten how to look up?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Summer Sailing in Sweden

Joergen Agardtson and friends have been sailing his Wa'apa for the last three summers. 

It looks like he's using chine runners instead of a leeboard.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Stewart Jackson found that if you live in Australia it is wise to always check your bilge before hopping into your Ulua.  That's a carpet python in the photo above.

With some gentle persuasion, it was convinced to find another place for a nap.

Stuart reefs the sail by rolling it around the mast.  This has worked well
 and he is promising a video of the process.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Visit to the Southern Outer Islands of Pohnpei

 Takuya Nagaoka recently visited some of the southern islands near Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia.  Thankfully he took some great canoe photos.  Above you can see the very best way to store an outrigger canoe or any boat for that matter.  Out of the sun and rain, and above the ground for good ventilation.  This photo was taken on Kapingamarangi, one of the Polynesian settled islands in Micronesia.

 The same canoe house at Kapingamarangi.

A canoe at Nukuoro.

A Pohnpeian style sailing canoe at Sapwuahfik.  Note the small shark in the canoe.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ready For The Season

My Va'a Motu freshly painted and ready for the NZ sailing season.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Polynesian Va'a Motu Project

Visit the Facebook page for the story of this va'a motu project.  This is not my design and it is considerably bigger.   There are several changes from the traditional including the latest wave piercing ama bow.  I think it was built on the island of Fakarava in the Tuamotu group of French Polynesia.

This last photo would make a good desktop background.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tamanu from Brazil

Hjalmar Turesson just launched his new Tamanu in Brazil.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

South African Wa'apa

Somon Britz in Durban, South Africa is building a 0ne piece 16" Wa'apa. 

The amas are foam filled PVC pipe with shaped and glassed ends.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ama Attachment Methods

One of the most fascinating parts of the outrigger canoe is the multiple ways that have been devised to connect the ama to the crossbeam.  It must be strong enough to slam into wave faces, be twisted in confused seas and still produce the smallest possible drag.
Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck) did extensive research on this in the 1930's. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jzerro Changes Hands

Russell Brown's Jzerro has a new owner and a new adventure ahead.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Some Skills Worth Aquiring

One of the subjects that I should have included in my book on outrigger sailing canoes was knot tying, especially since the canoe is tied together with string.  The bowline, the reef knot, the sheet bend, multiple half hitches and a figure eight knot will get you by, but there are many others that serve useful specialized purposes.  Bob Holtzman just published his new Field Guide to Knots with eighty knots included.  Knowing the right knot for the job could save your life and I'm not kidding.

Making short pieces of timber or plywood into long pieces is a basic skill in wooden boat building, but one which can strike fear into the heart of a novice.  Do yourself a favor and learn from a master. 
Scarfing Basics by Russell Brown.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Those Adventurists Again

These African sailing outriggers use angled planks for amas.  The ama generates the needed stability and lateral resistance through dynamic forces occurring from its forward motion through the water.  The faster you go, the greater the force generated.  "Go fast or swim."

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sails That Make You Smile

 I've got to say that these hand painted sails from the Philippines may not be as fast as a new set of black 3di sails, but they sure look better.  Visit the Iloili Paraw Regatta.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Springtime Down Under

Spring and sailing weather are not far away, so it is time to overhaul the fleet.  The Va'a Motu is in the shop first for a fresh coat of paint.  The freshly painted main ama, crossbeams and hiking seats are on the work table and the safety ama is hanging from the ceiling.
A dash of Penetrol in the enamel really makes a brush job look like a spray job.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ulua Launch Alert

Steve Luke Jackson recently launched his 22' stretched Ulua in Nikiski, Alaska.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Wa'a Auku'u a Coastal Voyaging Canoe

From Thomas Loomis:
I modified and built two Tamanu hulls and put  them together to make a coastal voyaging canoe here on the big island of Hawaii. We've been using a Torqeedo 1003 and 45watt solar panel as auxiliary power. It moves the wa'a amazingly well. We use the canoe as part of our youth after school marine education program. We teach coastal stewardship, sustainability, sailing, and science. We've even had the chance to record humpback whale songs this past winter during the annual winter migration return. She is a great little canoe that sails really well. One day we plan to build an even bigger one.
Thanks for the designs!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Florida T2 For Sale

This two year old T2 located in central Florida is for sale for US$4500.  Contact me (gary.dierking at and I will put you in contact with the owner.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Coconut Composites

Another use for dried coconut husk fiber.  Traditionally used to make sennit, the handmade rope of the tropics used for lashing, it also works well in combination with epoxy resin.  It is stretchier than fiberglass but available everywhere in the tropics for free.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


A skin on frame shunter.  More info and photos here and at the Proa File blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Canoa Caieria I

Follow Ernesto Cassol building his Ulua in Brazil. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

T2, But Not As We Know It.

Dr Blake Ketchum in Pennsylvania is taking any unusual approach in building his T2 proa.  In an effort to save weight, the veed bottom of the hull will be SOF (skin on frame) and the sides and cockpit floor will be strip composite or ply.  This also solves a problem that SOF hulls can have with torsional stiffness when under sail.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Little Double Outrigger That Could

The Farrier F25C Elsie Piddock won the race to Alaska in 5 days and 55 minutes.
Photo by Nick Reid.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

North to Alaska

The second leg of the R2AK is one hour old and you can track the entries live here.  The Soggy Beavers (OC6 outrigger canoe) are ahead now but Team Pure and Wild are not far behind.  There's a long way to go yet in the most interesting race I've seen in many years.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Best in Show

Paul Soban's 18' T2 proa won "best in show" at the recent OkoumeFest at a beach near Annapolis, Maryland.  I featured this proa a few years ago at a show in Mystic Seaport.

Paul's careful attention to detail and overall execution won the day.  Photos of the other entries can be seen here.