View Full Version : Hawaian outrigger sailing canoe plans

Tropical Trader
12-01-2000, 03:17 PM
I am looking for plans for Hawaian/polynesian proa outrigger canoes

12-01-2000, 03:23 PM

I think that the last WoodenBoat issue had an article on different polynesian sailing canoes and such. You might want to grab a copy and check out the article. It may name a person or company that would be a good source.


12-01-2000, 05:47 PM
I just got Chesapeake Light Crafts fall catalogue. http://www.clcboats.com/ In the back they list a kit for a as on of there future projects.

If you don't want wait check out James Wharram's Melanesia

12-04-2000, 11:57 PM
For the real scoop you need:

Canoes of Oceania

by A.C. Haddon and James Hornell.

Point your browser to:

This is the page from the Bishop Museum Shop. You might want to look at some of the other offerings from the shop.

Just remember that these things sail best when launched from a palm-studded beach and powered by tropical tradewinds (BG).

Doug Wilde

Todd Bradshaw
12-05-2000, 01:15 AM
I've been working on a couple designs for somewhat modernized, yet somewhat traditional-looking designs for an outrigger and a proa. It's kind of fun. The proa, in particular, is an interesting thing to try to design. A sailboat that looks and works the same going both forward and backward is quite a challenge. I'm still drawing sections and figuring volumes, but someday I expect them to be as common as Sunfish....yeah, right.

Did anybody else notice that both sailors on Melanesia are hiking and they are still barely keeping the ama above water. It would seem to me that a bit more buoyancy in the ama might be nice. Polynesian amas were generally just big sticks, but when I designed the amas for my boats I made them bigger. I guess I spent too many days standing on the last three inches of my Hobie Cat, tyring to keep the leeward bow from digging-in and sending us off into space.

This is the preliminary profile plan for the 20' outrigger. I'll probably replace the paddle steering with a rudder, as soon as I come-up with one that looks decent and isn't too hard to rig. It's also got a Claw-inspired lateen sail, though I may actually rig it with a regular claw-rig instead.

And here's the proa (Pacific type, ama always carried to windward). The dual daggerboards are an effort to promote self-steering by adjusting the boat's C.L.P while underway.

[This message has been edited by Todd Bradshaw (edited 12-05-2000).]

12-05-2000, 06:51 PM
Neat designs Tom. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

12-06-2000, 08:19 AM
Tom very nice drawings! what are the planed lengths and kind of construction?

Todd Bradshaw
12-06-2000, 02:55 PM
The proa is 25' LOA and would probably be cold molded. Since both sides are the same and each end is a mirror image of the other one, it might even be possible to use one mold to build both sides and join them.


The outrigger canoe (the first boat) is called "Bird of Paradise". It's 20' L.O.A. (4" waterline length is 15.78') 7.5' max beam, 30" main hull beam and 75 sq. ft. of sail area. I have always envisioned building it like a strip canoe. It would be fairly easy and cheap to build that way.

I've also been toying with a 16' solo version with a ketch-rig and the daggerboard mounted to the starboard side of the hull, like a leeboard. It's small enough that the sailor really needs to be in the center of the boat, which pretty well kills the idea of paddle steering. There is a chance that the boat could be steered just by sail trim - main vs. mizzen, letting it pivot on the leeboard, but the results and ease of tacking are hard to predict.

Trying to fit it with a rudder is probably smarter, but a nightmare to design. The stern profile doesn't lend itself to the task, especially when it has to kick-up for beaching. I may even try to develop some sort of leeboard-style rudder that ignores the stern profile - sort of a vertical steering oar with control lines routed to foot pedals. I'm still kicking it around. It may be easier to just re-design the whole profile with a rudder in mind.

16' L.O.A. solo version - waterline about 13' - sail area 41 sq. ft.

[This message has been edited by Todd Bradshaw (edited 12-06-2000).]

12-06-2000, 03:42 PM
What about steering by twin dagger (or lee) boards?

12-07-2000, 08:44 AM
Another possibility might be the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu, HI, USA. It seems to be a function of the Mormon Church's university in Hawaii. I don't know what they have or know but it might be a start. Polynesians, like every other non western European cultural group, seem to be trying to recover and preserve their past. A reaction , perhaps, to everybody's unease at the headlong rush to the future we're all getting sucked into.

Paul Schut
12-11-2000, 08:26 AM
I actually built one out of cedarstrip and epoxy, bit of glass cloth on the bottom. The idea was to have a modern version of an outrigger which could be sailed on the lakes and in tight creek situations on the Frisian waters. Something for relaxed cruising without messing about with motors so sailing and paddling performance had to be good. Main hull was a round bottom of 30cm radius with a raised cockpit (selfdraining) and a length of 6 metres. Waterline width was about 25-30 cm. The outrigger was 190 cm c-to-c and with a very sharp profile so it would counter drift when going upwind. With the outrigger clear of the water it would turn easily for close manouvering. Stern was plumb and fitted with a kick up rudder. To drive it it designed in two deep (60 cm) mast tubes, which can carry one windsurf sail each depending on the weather conditions.
In a blow this thing went like a rocket, especially with the outrigger just clear of the water and turned quite well on its main hull. The tricky part was keeping it all together, especially with the trim changes as the outrigger went in and out of the water with gusts. It paddled easily and was quick to rig. All up weight about 50 kgs. It was a fun excercise to do but a right bitch to handle. A centreboard would have been a good thing in retrospect. Also an outrigger hull with better planing ability would have been a bonus.To suit changing demands, I am now converting it into a rowing skiff (if I want speed I have a Finn)re-using the main hull. I can post some photo's if you want , the plans are pretty approximate, and lots was done by eye.

12-11-2000, 02:39 PM
I've love to see some pics of it.

Paul Schut
12-15-2000, 10:38 AM
Ill try and scan them next week, sorry its been a busy week and Im travelling most of the next one.

12-26-2000, 04:24 AM
I've built and sailed a Wharram Melanesia. Maybe my rig wasn't perfect, but I found it not very efficient, and would not point high enough to guarantee getting home with the wind in the wrong direction. It needs two, one to balance and one to steer, as someone must be occupied with the steering paddle all the time. I'm not that much of a purist, and I have thought of stitching a rudder on the stern post and fitting a leeboard to make it a practical proposition for solo work, or making a bigger proa out of the original plans.
Here in our part of the Philippines almost all sea-going boats under fifty feet (and there are plenty of them) have double outriggers of bamboo, and are very stable. I have made a 21 ft boat of this type, now used regularly for fishing by a group of local lads. But only those operators who cannot afford an engine ever use a sail, and then it's likely to be made of old rice sacks sewn together. Those craft in other parts of the country who really do rely on sail have wider outriggers than ours.

A lateen rig should suit proas pretty well as there's no problem with getting the sail on the other side of the mast.