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Thread: Paddling outrigger canoe

  1. #1
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    Default Paddling outrigger canoe

    Hello everyone,

    I am thinking of building an outrigger canoe for 2 to 3 (average to small) persons, for paddling in the sea at calm to moderate conditions. It will not be used for sprint racing, sailing or surfing. Just cruising along the shore in the Greek islands.

    I am experienced sea kayaker and I have built 3 plywood boats so far. A 17ft Greenland kayak, a 12ft canoe and an 8ft dinghy. The problem is they are all solo boats and I would like to spend some time at the sea with my family, so a bigger boat is needed. My wife doesn't have kayaking experience, a typical canoe is only good for lakes so an outrigger paddling canoe (like the ones in Hawaii or New Zealand) seems as a good alternative. After all if they are used in the Pacific, they can handle the Mediterranean. We don't have huge waves here, but short ones very close to each other.

    My problem is I can't find plans for paddling canoes. There is a ton of information about sailing, but not for paddling. I have searched (as far as I could) the outrigger and proas thread but its size is huge and not helpful at all. I have also red Gary Dierking's book. A real treasure, with information and plans for 3 boats, but as the author states himself, they are sailing boats with below average paddling abilities.

    So any suggestion or recomendation would be helpfull.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    James Wharram's Melanesia - paddle, sail or both....
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Selway Fisher

    EW
    16' KOA HAWAIIAN FISHING CANOE
    This design is a modern interpretation of the traditional Koa fishing canoes which were 'dugouts' and made from a single log. The hull has a narrow flat bottom with 4 planks per side - the top hull panel has some tumblehome in it to emulate the log shape. Plank lengths fit within 2 standard 8' (2440mm) lengths of plywood. The hull is symmetrical about the centre frame and details are given to make the hull in 2 bolt able halves. This also means that the hull can be extended by fitting a section in the middle of the hull - potentially, using standard plywood sheets an 8' section could be inserted making the canoe 23'4" long.
    Details are given for the Ama and beams used with the 18' Waka Ama.
    Construction is simple stitch and tape and the beams are tied to the hulls.
    16' Koa Particulars
    LOA 15'4" 4.67m
    Beam OA incl. ama 5'11" 1.8m
    Beam (main hull internal width) 1' 7 1/4"" 0.49m
    Hull Mid Depth 17 1/4" 0.44m
    Approx. Dry Weight 130 lbs 59kg
    Approx. Capacity 850lbs 385kg
    Hull Shape
    Narrow flat bottom plank plus 4 planks per side
    Construction Method Stitch and tape
    Plywood Requirements 6-7 sheets of 5 or 6mm
    Guidance Use Load carrying and racing
    Drawing/Design Package 4 x A1 drawings + 6 x A4 instruction sheets
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    18' WAKA AMA HAWAIIAN CANOE
    This is an outrigger canoe of classic Hawaiian design. Classes of these craft are very popular, especially in places like New Zealand where they are raced in various lengths—this example being one of the shortest. They are noted for their stability and carrying capacity in use both off shore and inland and are sometimes seen carrying a simple sail—a very versatile craft—the main hull can be built in 2 halves. Construction is simple stitch and tape and the beams are tied to the hulls
    18' Waka Ama Particulars
    LOA 18' 5.49m
    Beam OA incl. ama 5'11" 1.8m
    Beam (main hull internal width) 1' 6 1/2" 0.47m
    Hull Mid Depth 17 1/4" 0.44m
    Approx. Dry Weight 140 lbs 64kg
    Approx. Capacity 950lbs 431kg
    Hull Shape
    Narrow flat bottom plank plus 3 planks per side
    Construction Method Stitch and tape
    Plywood Requirements 6-7 sheets of 5 or 6mm
    Guidance Use Load carrying and racing
    Drawing/Design Package 4 x A1 drawings + 6 x A4 instruction sheets
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    The Ulua canoe in my book has been stretched up to 11meters and every length in between. It paddles very well with a more rockered ama as shown in this photo.


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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    James Wharram's Melanesia - paddle, sail or both....
    Melanesia seems to have precious little freeboard with any more than 1 aboard. Lovely lines though.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Dierking View Post
    The Ulua canoe in my book has been stretched up to 11meters and every length in between. It paddles very well with a more rockered ama as shown in this photo.

    For Mediterranean waters you would do well to go with a stretched ulua - starting with one of + - 8M LOA for two persons

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Thank you all for your suggestions.

    If I may share my thoughts.

    The Melanesia hull is a simple pirogue with a shallow v bottom. I could modify the bottom of the wa'apa from Gary Dierking's book to a shallow v, instead of flat, if I decide to go this way. Simple, fast build, but I am skeptical about its paddling performance. I keep it as "Option A".

    Selway Fisher's designs have nice, round bottom hulls, minimal rocker and they should have good tracking, but they are too heavy I think. This is logical if one considers they need 6-7 sheets plywood. At 140 lb it weights almost as I do (I am 69kg, 152lb) Good for a sailing boat but not for paddling. Not to mention cartoping.

    The Ulua on the other hand is beautiful and it was my first choice, but from what I have read it doesn't track very well when paddled. An elongated version would have less rocker and it could perform better. I am not very fond of strip build either.


    As I compared all of the above boats I had this idea. What if I build a fuselage type, skin on frame version of the Ulua (Tom Yost style) using some of the molds as crosframes? It has been done before but I didn't find any reviews of it. At the same time, I could reduce the rocker by removing a few cm from the keel line at the 2-3 middle frames, while leaving the end frames as they are, to keep the bow and stern unchanged. This would be lightweight, have little rocker for good tracking, need few materials that I could easily find. What do you think of that? This would be "Option B".


    The Ama will be in any case "banana shaped" foam core fiberglass epoxy or a simple 10ft long 4 inch wide, PVC pipe heated with a heat gun to a curve. How much buoyancy it needs to have? The PVC pipe will have about 50lbs according to its volume.


    @Lugalong Thank you very much for your suggestion but 8 m is impossible to handle outside of the water. I was thinking something close to 6 m or less.
    Last edited by ghostdog; 12-13-2021 at 08:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    The United Nations food and agriculture organisation sponsored a set of small fishing oriented outrigger designs.

    I think the KIR7 might fit the bill, it's available free on the internet, if you can't find a copy I could send you one.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    It would seem to me that if something like the Ulua "doesn't track well" it is far more likely that it has to do with something being wrong with the paddlers, than with the hull design. Anything with that sort of shape should handle very nicely in the hands of someone who is a decent paddler.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    It would seem to me that if something like the Ulua "doesn't track well" it is far more likely that it has to do with something being wrong with the paddlers, than with the hull design. Anything with that sort of shape should handle very nicely in the hands of someone who is a decent paddler.

    I don't question the design. As I said it was my first choice. It was the author's recommendation in the book, for a rudder for long distance paddling that gave me second thoughts. That and a couple of posts in the proa and outrigger thread (probably by sailors and not paddlers).


    The KIR7 btw is not a bad idea.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Here are 69 Tamanus starting the Eco Challenge in Fiji 2019. Four people in each canoe and no tracking problems. The Tamanu is flat bottomed and 6M long.


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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdog View Post
    Thank you all for your suggestions.

    If I may share my thoughts.

    The Melanesia hull is a simple pirogue with a shallow v bottom. I could modify the bottom of the wa'apa from Gary Dierking's book to a shallow v, instead of flat, if I decide to go this way. Simple, fast build, but I am skeptical about its paddling performance. I keep it as "Option A".

    Selway Fisher's designs have nice, round bottom hulls, minimal rocker and they should have good tracking, but they are too heavy I think. This is logical if one considers they need 6-7 sheets plywood. At 140 lb it weights almost as I do (I am 69kg, 152lb) Good for a sailing boat but not for paddling. Not to mention cartoping.

    The Ulua on the other hand is beautiful and it was my first choice, but from what I have read it doesn't track very well when paddled. An elongated version would have less rocker and it could perform better. I am not very fond of strip build either.


    As I compared all of the above boats I had this idea. What if I build a fuselage type, skin on frame version of the Ulua (Tom Yost style) using some of the molds as crosframes? It has been done before but I didn't find any reviews of it. At the same time, I could reduce the rocker by removing a few cm from the keel line at the 2-3 middle frames, while leaving the end frames as they are, to keep the bow and stern unchanged. This would be lightweight, have little rocker for good tracking, need few materials that I could easily find. What do you think of that? This would be "Option B".


    The Ama will be in any case "banana shaped" foam core fiberglass epoxy or a simple 10ft long 4 inch wide, PVC pipe heated with a heat gun to a curve. How much buoyancy it needs to have? The PVC pipe will have about 50lbs according to its volume.


    @Lugalong Thank you very much for your suggestion but 8 m is impossible to handle outside of the water. I was thinking something close to 6 m or less.
    A little more than 7M LOA is the length of a competitive W2 ( two person waka ama) in NZ... one that can keep up with the W6's in the open Pacific Ocean. The shape here {of a WahutuW2 does have a flattish bottom and is a bit beamy (near 18" for the waka alone) in order to supply the required volume. Tracking is taken care of by a rudder, as would be the case with any 2 person outrigger canoe with limited length. Dispensing with the rudder calls for extra hull length to effect tracking, and ultimately to include a 3rd person as a steerer - such as is the practice in Tahiti/French Polynesia.
    W2's were all but killed off here in NZ when the Tahitian V3's were implemented as a National class.Then the V3 class near went flop as well.
    Main problem I see for you is the reluctance to embrace strip build... possibly a ply bottom and topsides with strip build at the turn of the bilge as a compromise?

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    My point is that a good paddler can even make a slalom boat track decently. Canoes which track really well due to hull shape nearly always have that characteristic as just a byproduct of the hull's main design criteria, which is speed. Nobody designs canoes with the main design criteria being good tracking. When you are talking about paddle-powered hulls the difference in speed between a reasonably efficient one and a really fast one is actually fairly small. You can see it if you are marathon racing, but it is far less obvious at shorter distances or head-to-head.

    You may or may not also be aware that the hull tapers which tend to generate high speeds and the best tracking generally sacrifice lift in the process, which can be a pretty serious liability in open water. If we're looking at boats in the 15'-20' range with waterline beams under 24" you can be pretty sure that tracking won't be a serious problem for any of them, and fooling around blindly with the amount of rocker in the designs is probably a mistake.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Outrigger canoes are something completely unknown in this part of the world. I discovered waka amas a little time ago and I don't yet understand their dynamics. I try to find information from the internet but most of the sites are either advertising activities for tourists, or are about the racing events. I guess you will have the same problem if you search for greek sites .

    Strip build is something I would like to try some day, (I really admire strip build boats) but not on this boat. This is my fourth build (and my fifth boat) and I want a quick build for something to experiment with. Also suitable knot free lumber is difficult to find here, at reasonable prices. Good ply on the other hand (locally produced or Russian as an alternative) is available and inexpensive.

    Perhaps I am overthinking it. A boat with 1:10 or more, beam to length ratio is supposed to track well. Even with a (narrow) flat bottom like the wa'apa. The fact that it will not be paddled solo is even better, because the second paddler will correct any tendency of the boat to leave it's original course (if any). Ultimate speed is not a requirement. As long as with two paddlers, it can follow a group of solo sea kayaks for a few hours, I will be happy.

    Todd, btw it was the "Bird of Paradise" from your book that got me interested in outrigger canoes in the first place. Then I got Gary's book and here is the result.
    Gary, in the middle of the picture you sent, one of the boats is clearly showing it's bottom. (I searched for the Eco Challenge. Impressive!).

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    If two or three of the crew lean over to paddle from the same side...over you go. But believe it or not I think that team was the winner after 10 days.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    I dropped my car off for a bit of mechanical work this morning and as I was walking to the bus stop to get on with my day I crossed a bridge and saw this small fleet.I know they are made of other stuff but they had exceptionally lean hulls with very rounded sections.I suspect that without the outriggers,they would have been rather unstable.
    Last edited by John Meachen; 12-14-2021 at 04:59 PM. Reason: image file didn't upload

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    I dropped my car off for a bit of mechanical work this morning and as I was walking to the bus stop to get on with my day I crossed a bridge and saw this small fleet.I know they are made of other stuff but they had exceptionally lean hulls with very rounded sections.I suspect that without the outriggers,they would have been rather unstable.
    Picture???
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    Picture???

    Failed to upload seven times-not sure if its the last Firefox update or something else.Same problem even with a different laptop.
    Last edited by John Meachen; 12-26-2021 at 03:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdog View Post
    I don't question the design. As I said it was my first choice. It was the author's recommendation in the book, for a rudder for long distance paddling that gave me second thoughts.
    Some boats need a rudder!
    Some boats dont need a rudder!
    All boats track better with a rudder!

    My buddies (3) and i paddle a 21 ' decked and rudderless canoe.
    When one of two of those buddies (elite) is in charge she dances...
    When me and my 3rd buddy are aboard she becomes a willful barge in any kind of wind.
    I built another one with a (tiny) rudder and she always behaves herself.
    They are built for river marathon race paddling, but are now used recreationally on river and estuary.
    Last edited by Wayne Poulsen; 12-15-2021 at 01:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    Failed to upload seven times-not sure if its the last Firefox update or something else.Same problem even with a different laptop.
    If it's out on the web, fire me a link and I'll see what I can do.

    If it's one of your own in Google photos then my preferred approach in Linux is to screenshot it at a suitable size, save, then attach in the usual manner.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Well, rudders in paddling boats is something I never liked. Paddling in my opinion is the expression of simplicity. Rudders are an extra complication. Our ancestors managed to keep a straight course for thousands of years without them. Modern paddling boats are recreations of the ancient ones, using the technology we have now. Putting rudders on them to keep them go straight seems like we are doing something wrong. Either we can't design them as they did, or we can't paddle them as they did.

    Sailing is completely different of course.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Lots of serious sea kayaking folks like a skeg,. Often retractable.

    One of the things that makes directional control difficult is a second paddler, takes time to learn to work together.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    Lots of serious sea kayaking folks like a skeg,. Often retractable.

    One of the things that makes directional control difficult is a second paddler, takes time to learn to work together.

    I also have a retractable skeg in my kayak but I only find it useful in quartering winds at the stern.

    As for the second paddler I have heard they call tandem kayaks "divorce machines".

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdog View Post
    I also have a retractable skeg in my kayak but I only find it useful in quartering winds at the stern.

    As for the second paddler I have heard they call tandem kayaks "divorce machines".
    Kayaking is one thing - where a double paddle allows blade drag on one side and power on the other to effect steering, but an outrigger canoe requires pre-emptive control of of yaw and the single/canoe paddle blade cannot swap sides as fast { as the kayak double), adding to the complication of a combination ama and displacement hull configuration. Trim also effects steering and the paddlers need to be accommodated either between or forward, if not aft of the connecting booms (Kiato/iato/iako}. So it gets complicated, and a two paddle outrigger canoe makes it more complicated, because their paddle steering in synchrony makes them both steerers, where a sole steerer has better control in other outrigger classes ( solo, 3's 6's etc,}
    A rudder takes care of all the complications and allows a reasonably competent paddler to take charge and happily combine with a complete novice, if not use the canoe solo.
    Purist paddling without a rudder has been sorted into classes of solo, 3's (one steerer seated aft) or more ( also with a steerer aft}.

    W2's or OC2's are pretty much in aa class of their own, that has little connect to tradition.
    Tahitian paddlers joke about them.
    Last edited by Lugalong; 12-15-2021 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Some magazine from NZ had free plans for one. I’ve always been tempted to build one as I love to fish in silence without an engine. What would worry me is not being able to stand and cast.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Lugalong View Post
    Kayaking is one thing - where a double paddle allows blade drag on one side and power on the other to effect steering, but an outrigger canoe requires pre-emptive control of of yaw and the single/canoe paddle blade cannot swap sides as fast { as the kayak double), adding to the complication of a combination ama and displacement hull configuration. Trim also effects steering and the paddlers need to be accommodated either between or forward, if not aft of the connecting booms (Kiato/iato/iako}. So it gets complicated, and a two paddle outrigger canoe makes it more complicated, because their paddle steering in synchrony makes them both steerers, where a sole steerer has better control in other outrigger classes ( solo, 3's 6's etc,}
    A rudder takes care of all the complications and allows a reasonably competent paddler to take charge and happily combine with a complete novice, if not use the canoe solo.
    Purist paddling without a rudder has been sorted into classes of solo, 3's (one steerer seated aft) or more ( also with a steerer aft}.

    W2's or OC2's are pretty much in aa class of their own, that has little connect to tradition.
    Tahitian paddlers joke about them.

    Wow, this is good information! Something I didn't know and haven't thought about. Two paddlers can create equal steering force. The laws of physics.
    Actually there are a lot I don't know about outriggers. This will be an experimental boat, so it better be a simple and inexpensive one.

    So my options are, build a simple rudder or shout orders at my wife all the time how to paddle. The first option seems less dangerous. Thanks for the warning!
    Last edited by ghostdog; 12-16-2021 at 09:11 AM.

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    Exclamation Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdog View Post
    Wow, this is good information! Something I didn't know and haven't thought about. Two paddlers can create equal steering force. The laws of physics.
    Actually there are a lot I don't know about outriggers. This will be an experimental boat, so it better be a simple and inexpensive one.

    So my options are, build a simple rudder or shout orders at my wife all the time how to paddle. The first option seems less dangerous. Thanks for the warning!
    Once the canoe is moving forward the bow paddler will have less influence on the steering than the stern paddler because they will be seated closer to the pivot point.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Dart is my own design for this application., and is a "two sheet" design.
    The float is supposed to be a handy log or better yet, 10 feet of 4" plastic pipe.

    I'll begin construction this winter, just as soon as I get done with Trinket.

    SAM_8926.jpg

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Etdbob View Post
    Dart is my own design for this application., and is a "two sheet" design.
    The float is supposed to be a handy log or better yet, 10 feet of 4" plastic pipe.

    I'll begin construction this winter, just as soon as I get done with Trinket.
    It looks pretty. Would you like to share more details about it?

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Darts dimensions and assembly is as follows -

    Cut two sheets of ply into six 16" "planks".
    Cut three 4" wide strips for butt blocks off the end of one 16" wide "plank"

    Now butt block the ply pieces together for two 16' and one 15' The butt blocks must be a little short to allow for internal chines and wales.
    The 16' planks are cut on the ends at 60 degrees. The 15' is saved for the flat bottom.

    Assembly is standard nail and glue with internal chine logs, bent around three temp molds.
    A temp center mold is 15" wide at the bottom, 23" wide at the top, and about 15-1/4 tall. This mold is placed aft of the center side butt blocks, so it's 2" aft of center.

    The fore and aft temp molds are 11" wide on bottom and 18" wide on top, and the same 15-1/4 tall. They are placed 4 feet fore and aft of center.

    I made quite a few cardboard models to get these temp frame sizes right!

    There is a very slight twist to the side planks but nothing that will complicate assy.

    And that's about it. For an ama I was thinking of 10 feet of 4" light pvc drain pipe, because I have it laying around and the "Shed" outrigger has used this successfully. The model uses a stick of mahogany I had in my scrap pile for a float, and I was thinking of maybe using a small cedar log instead of plastic pipe, as I've got plenty of cedar trees.

    This boat should only run about 150 bucks.

    She is just a flat bottomed three plank canoe, but she is designed to be as inexpensive and easily built as possible, and as big as possible given two sheets of ply. I don't think the simple shape will harm such a narrow boat. She should easily exceed hull speed.

    This design was inspired by the canoe featured in the Shed magazine, and the Wharram Melanesia.

    The Shed canoe -

    https://the-shed.nz/2018-11-19-make-...trigger-canoe/


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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Nice and simple. Thanks for sharing.

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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    In case you build one, here is the easiest way to get it down to the beach. (Wa'apa 16')


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    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdog View Post
    Wow, this is good information! Something I didn't know and haven't thought about. Two paddlers can create equal steering force. The laws of physics.
    Actually there are a lot I don't know about outriggers. This will be an experimental boat, so it better be a simple and inexpensive one.

    So my options are, build a simple rudder or shout orders at my wife all the time how to paddle. The first option seems less dangerous. Thanks for the warning!
    I taught canoeing for years and finally came up with the analogy of paddling a canoe is much like a twin engine airplane. If the power applied to both engines then the plane has the best opportunity to travel forward in a straight line. If you can convince a pair of paddlers to comprehend and practice applying equal power then they to can travel in a forward direction with little angry communications. My partner and I would do a dry land clinic, first I would suggest that the paddlers pretend that we were in a canoe. Secondly I would suggest the analogy of the two engines. We would then demonstrate. Lastly we would have them replicate what we did on land. It is much easier to correct issues with matching paddling power on land rather than in the water, plus we would walk around and illustrate and communicate the techniques with all the pairs. It was the best training aid I ever found for getting paddlers started. Hope this helps someone out.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Coromandel, NZ
    Posts
    328

    Default Re: Paddling outrigger canoe

    Here is a group of photos I took of the paddling work canoes of Aitutaki and Rarotonga.
    https://outriggersailingcanoes.blogs...utaki-and.html

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