Thursday, December 28, 2017

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Off The Mold

Gary Gunder's 24' Ulua hull fresh off the mold.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ulua For Sale In NZ

Michael Coonrod has an Ulua for sale at Lake Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand.
The hull is made of Kahikatea and Red Cedar. The decks have Totara and Kahikatea. It's set up with a stub mast rig for windsurfer sails. The boom was made for windsurfer sails, and any windsurfer sail can be adapted to fit this rig. This is the high wind sail, but it has two others that could go with the boat if wanted as well. It can also be sold with a 2HP mercury. 
Contact Michael at:

Monday, October 23, 2017

Shop Boondoggles

Here is a series of videos showing the steps in constructing the Ulua hull.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Advanced Lashing Techniques

While my small outriggers don't require this degree of effort in lashing them together, it is still of great interest to see how larger vessels accomplish this task.  Lashings reduce the stress concentrations that would result from simply bolting things together.  The first time I took my Ulua surfing and watched it cartwheel though the surf after it threw me out, I have been sold on lashings.  If it had been bolted together I would have been gathering up pieces, but instead it was completely intact.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

What We Should Be Doing

For most of the last ten years we have taken a short flight up to Fiji where I have my Tamanu stored under a friends house.  A few hours to clean it up and put it back together and we're off for a couple weeks of exploring and trolling for those delicious Spanish Mackerel.   This year Rose has had surgery on her shoulder and won't be doing anything too active for a few more months.  So we'll be staying at home until next season when I'll be trialing a new lug sail made out of an old sail.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Double Lug Rigged Shunting Wa'apa

I recently received the following letter from John Lazenby of Washington state:

I thought I'd share what my Wa'apa looks like these days.

I've put a shunting dipping lug schooner rig on it. The sails are pretty well balanced, I think each COE is about 12-18 inches aft of the mast. Each sail has a continuous tack line that goes through two blocks, one ahead and one aft of the mast. Hauling the tack to the new tack point is generally enough to get the yard to dip over to the new side. The sails set beautifully and symmetrically on each tack. The total sail area is 160 square feet. On a recent outing (with mutli-day camping gear aboard) I was able point higher and sail faster than a Welsford Navigator, so the rig does fine working upwind. I couldn't really tell you how close I can sail to the wind, since I generally sail in pretty significant currents. It does seem to point better when the currents are favorable... I haven't come up with a great way of keeping the sails from blocking each other on a run, so it isn't the fastest boat going straight downwind although it does fine. I'm working on extra tack points to move the fore sail more toward the ama. The sails have two reef lines at 25 and 50%. Since I generally do multi-day cruises, I love knowing I can reef and do it early and often.

It started out life with the oceanic lateen shunting rig. A beautiful, fun rig to sail. I decided to try another rig in a powerful afternoon wind on a mountain lake. While shunting in high winds, the sail with both 20 foot spars would kite high into the air, occasionally swooping in to snap off an unsuspecting cleat or body part. At that moment a pair of smaller, reefable sails sounded more manageable. 

The photo shows the boat in full cruising mode. You can just see the inflatable kayak/safety ama on the leeward side. That is a fantastic combination. Anchoring is often more practical than pulling ashore here (Puget Sound) with tide swings that seem to generally be in the 15-20 foot range. So having the kayak as a tender is very convenient.

The main hull is fully decked. Each of the three sections is divided in two with a watertight rigid foam bulkhead. Each compartment has a somewhat watertight hatch. The center section hatches are stored inside their compartments most of the time, but get put in place in force 4 or 5 when the reefs go in.

I have a 30 inch wide trampoline and a park bench for comfort. I sleep on the trampoline and set up a lean-to tarp between the bench back and the masts.. The park bench makes for comfortable sailing in high winds or when I'm not worried about performance. The bench also provides a solid surface for setting up a stove.

I have an asymmetrical triangular cross section ama. The ama has about 1 person worth of buoyancy. It is a single piece, 16 feet long and has two removable hatches to air it out during storage. The leeward side is vertical. I have a foil whose top slides along a rod above the ama. The lift gets transferred to the straight, flat side of the ama. The foil needs to be a couple of feet behind center when working upwind, and can go all the way aft for downwind. The lines that pull it along the rod also release a brake that clamps onto the rod. When the sails are aback, the foil is free to pivot up, so the boat has relatively little lateral resistance aback, which makes me feel like there is less stress on the parts of the boat that weren't really designed for those forces. I have stays on the masts going out to the amas that have been converted to 1/8" dyneema since this photo was taken. They make me feel better about the forces on the masts while working upwind.

Shunting is pretty quick, but  also pretty busy when singlehanding (almost always singlehanding). Release the (continuous) sheets (aft first to get the old bow to start falling off). Release the (continuous) tack lines. Tighten the new forward tack line.  Shift the foil aft. TIghten the new aft tack line. Sheet the aft sail in part way (not all the way, it will stall). Sheet in the forward sail. Generally sheet in the two sails together, keeping the aft sail a little tighter, since you are also trying to swing the bow to windward. With camping gear, and a few days food and water aboard I can shunt about as fast as I can decelerate the boat and accelerate it on the new tack.

I transport the ama and masts on my car top. The rest of the boat gets stacked on an 8 foot utility trailer. I can set up or take down the boat in about 45 minutes for day sailing. It takes 1.5 hours if I need to inflate and attach the kayak and load up all my cruising gear. It often takes longer when I'm talking to people who are interested in the boat. My record is about 2.5 hours when I assembled it at the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters Palooza while talking to many interesting people.

The boat (just the two hulls, actually) is about 5 years old now. Still no name; I'm open to suggestions...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Storer's FAQ

Michael Storer has published an excellent FAQ covering many aspects of small boat construction and tuning.  Study it here!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tangaroa Class Still Going Strong

I crewed in a race on one of these in Rarotonga about ten years ago 
and I'm glad to see that they're still active.  Read the race results here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Outrigger Sailing Adventure Okinawa

Tom Burkard built his stretched Ulua five years ago and has given it hundreds of hours of sea time.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

How Tough Are Strip Composite Canoes?

This may be painful to watch but destruction testing is the ultimate answer to the question of how tough some fragile strips of cedar and fiberglass can be.  He did it so now you don't have to.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wa'apa in Brazil

 Daniel Eggert Barros from Itapema, a city in the state of Santa Catarina, southern Brazil built his Wa'apa from material contained in my book:  Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017


A canoe built in Tikopia, an island in the midst of Melanesia with a Polynesian population.  Note the sailing rig stowed on the crossbeams.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Le Ta Va'a

John Misky and friends in New Zealand are building a Samoan style sailing canoe.  He sawed, planed and sanded  a big block of foam to the shape he wanted and then took the sectional shapes off of it to make ply molds for strip planking.  Follow progress at his Facebook page.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shunting Basics

If you've got a shunter, read this manual by Janusz Ostrowski.

Monday, May 29, 2017

In The Rough

These double outriggers don't seem to mind a rough day in the tradewinds.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Wa'apa in Wellington

Marc Dutilloy's new double outrigger Wa'apa ready to launch in Wellington, NZ.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Island of Socotra

Denis Romanov built his junk rigged double outrigger on the island of Socotra, 380 km off the coast of Yemen.  Few suitable materials were available there but he created a practical and capable sailing canoe.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tropical Ulua

Chad Lerma's newly launched Ulua with family on board.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Another Ulua in Brazil

Tom Raiss on board his stretched Ulua in Brazil.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Proa ITI for Sale

New Zealand proa sailors may be interested in  ITI, a prototype 23 ft shunter that  has lived in the Whangarei harbor for the last decade and a bit more.
Outrigger sailing waka ITI (or Micronesian type flying proa) was originally built to be used as a fishing waka, and go trolling under sail on the Tutukaka coast, were he was built. But changing circumstances and the owners relocation brought about a change in those plans……moving from the coast to the upper reaches of the Whangarei harbor made getting out to sea much more difficult. So in order to spend the odd night aboard, a whare (deck house) was built to provide shelter and a lock-up place for gear.
Now, with older age and bad health starting to show in wear and tare of  joints, I need a waka  with a deck that I can stagger about on, if not a small monohull that does not require much moving about on deck.
ITI has a narrow and slightly sunken deck, which was intended to prevent the imagined fish caught along the Tutukaka coast from falling overboard, but which does restrict movement from end to end when shunting. There is the possibility in lifting the tack traveler to a height that will provide support from falling overboard and thus remedy this restriction, and at the same time it would be worthwhile to change the rig so that the mast does not need to be raked while shunting, which is what is needed now.  ITI, has a running stays system that allows the crabclaw sail to be carried over the sheets when shunting single handed and a fixed mast would eliminate this complication, as well as  allowing a bigger sail to be carried, but this would be a dipping lugsail rather than the Oceanic Lateen and would have some cost in outlay and labour, which in my case would be better spent on the 30ft Pahi proa that I am busy building. ITI is in need of some maintenance and would be better off in frequent use with an owner who has the time for this, as well as doing harbour and coastal sailing around Whangarei and the Northland east coast.
Any  enthusiast  willing to take him over at  price near $2000 NZ  may contact me via email at
Selling price mentioned above includes a 2hp Yamaha OB motor, although a set of female mould infibreglass, for the waka and the ama, are on offer as well, but at an adjustment to the abovementioned price.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Build a Paraw

I was very pleased to see construction plans available for a 20' (6M) Philippine paraw.   Visit Lorenzo Acompanado II's website to view or order his plans.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Canoe Racks

In Tahiti and the surrounding islands, the tidal range is very small, only about a foot and always at noon and midnight.  This makes it very convenient to store your outrigger on a platform just above the high tide level.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

500 Sails

500 Sails is an organization devoted to restoring the maritime traditions of the Marianas Islands.  The above photo shows the prototype 26' proa being built in Derek Kelsall's shop here in New Zealand.  Upon completion it and more building materials will be shipped to Saipan where many more will be built.  The KSS building method produces light weight foam/fiberglass composite hulls without a female mold. 
There is a Facebook page to follow their progress.

I built my own 45' version of this ancient design in Saipan back in 1983.  I used C-flex to construct the fiberglass hull.  It was designed to take six paddlers to train for OC6 competitions.  The hull was unfortunately destroyed by a falling ironwood tree during a typhoon some years later.

Friday, January 27, 2017


Janusz Ostrowski, a long time proa designer and sailor from Poland, has a new proa design in production.  Molded in ABS plastic, it is even recyclable. 
More info at:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


 If I could sail an outrigger like this girl, I'd be a happy man.  The modeling of the canoes is very good and the water is a great advancement from previous films.
While the canoe bodies and platforms are modeled on Fijian canoes, the sailing rig of the smaller canoe was the tacking type instead of the shunting rigs used by Fijians.  I guess we can call it "Oceanic Fusion".

Thursday, January 12, 2017


I spotted this Harry Proa moored at Taipa on a recent camping trip to Northland, New Zealand.

Saturday, January 7, 2017