Friday, January 9, 2015

Va'a Motu Racing in Tahiti

I'm glad to see that the fleet of Va'a Motu (island canoe) is still active and having plenty of fun with their huge gaff rigs.  Captain Cook observed the transit of Venus in this bay in 1769.


  1. I love the girl on the ama, a real polynesian vahine

  2. I am left thinking that the boat would have been so much better as a trimaran, and then she wouldn't have needed to climb way out there. The leeward ama would have righted the boat.

  3. gr8 video. the girl looks like she was having a super time. if it were an old va'a, the ama would be a lot heavier, (solid wood, not foam/epoxy) and there would not be any requirement for a daggerboard. the old ones used either the crab-claw sail, or, the tall half-claw sail that is more-commonly depicted. the lower-aspect crab claw sail is better, but it seems the taller type was more often depicted in european drawings. (i have one, it is smaller than theirs. i use the low-aspect crabclaw sail, because it takes more wind, safely, and everything about the rigging and ama, was done as the old ones were made. my ama is solid wood, and i do not use a daggerboard. it is steered with a paddle.) the reason why they used only one ama, makes it easier to store the boat on shore, (and to put upside-down to keep rainwater and debris out) and transport. they did have va'a with two ama, but they were rare, because it is a bit cumbersome. not many european accounts of them. they also have rigged them with square sail, and with the gaff-rig as you seen here, and a spritsail...but those types were probably from european introduction.