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
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.