Outrigger Sailing Canoes

New horizons,
Another ocean going craft that answered the call for indiginous people to face rough open water in search of sustinence and new lands was the outrigger sailing canoe.  The native settlers of oceana (the vast sprinkling of islands throughout the pacific)  made acurrate and planned voyages of thousands of miles before european sailors ever dared to venture from the sight of land.  Trade, communication, and even matrimony were upheld over long distances by these fearless pacific voyagers.  They had no difficulty in navigating this expanse of ocean without chart, compass, watch, or sextant.  The canoes ranged in size from small single handed fishing canoes,  to 100 foot long voyaging proas, complete with accomodation for cooking, storage, sleeping, and even livestock! These canoes were made from dugout logs, and planks,  sewn and caulked with natural materials.  Pacific outriggers existed in a surprising array of wild shapes and configurations.

 I have always been facinated by the idea of surf launchable coastal voyaging craft.  Kayaks have for many years filled that need for me, yet in the past few years, living on an exposed coastline I watch strong onshore wind arise daily all summer long.  This creates a sea state that makes kayaking more exciting, but going anywhere alot more work.  I look out and see windsurfers,  kiteboarders, and noone else.  Whatever happened to the days of the beach catamaran?  and why not use this predictable wind phenomenon to travel down the coastline,  ticking off perhaps a hundred miles in a day and then camping for the night.  From this platform one can fish, picnic, or just cruise around at much better speeds than can be achived in a monohull vessel.

Adapting the hawaaiian outrigger sailing canoe for skin on frame construction has been a powerful and revelatory experionce for me.  My new canoe  Fog and Thunder  is  beautiful.  At 20 feet long and less than 150 lbs fully rigged it has renewed my faith in the endless adaptability if skin on frame technology.  Building it mostly from scraps I spent less than 500 dollars to build it in less than a months time; this serves to support my adamant belief that one does not need a yachtsmans budget or years of time to build perfectly servicable offshore sailing vessels.

Ahh but I am yet a babe in the woods in this new and exciting territory.  We are currently testing Fog and Thunder in all variety of conditions with different rigs and setups.  I doubt I will have anything authoritative to say on the subject for many years to come.  My initial analysis of the skin on frame outrigger sailing canoe is simply,  FUN!

Generous thanks to Susan Tone at Windermere Real Estate in Manzanita for her generous support of the Hawaiian Canoe Project.  Due to her contribution we now have a spray deck to keep the ocean out.   We highly reccomend her as our local realator to those who may be searching for properties in our area.