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Sailing Canoe Chapter X: Maiden Voyage

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The canoe sails great! I put it in the ocean at Kalama Park in Kihei, Maui, by Wailea Canoe Club. The canoe is light, fast, and easy to steer. Here's my report on sailing it.
I'll post the remaining chapters of building the canoe soon.

Continues from
Chapter 1: Make the Deck, Keel, and Cockpits
Chapter 2: Make Ribs
Chapter 3: Lash the Frame
Chapter 4: Carve outrigger and Break tools
Chapter 5: Hull Frame Finishing
Chapter 6: Morton's Oar
Chapter 7: Hull Skin
Chapter 8: Keel and Rub Strips
Chapter 9: Dipaakak
Chapter 10: Independent Suspension

Please support the WAM canoe project as they preserve and foster canoe knowledge in the Marshall Islands.
 
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Step 1: Load It Up!

Picture of Load It Up!
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My neighbor Dave was junking a mercedes and gave me the roof rack. After some fiddling I got it properly clamped onto the roof of the escort. I slit some orange pool noodles and tied them onto the crossbars with string for padding. I tied the canoe on top with rope and innertubes, and hit the road. I had two days before my flight out and I hadn't visited my pals on the other side of the island yet. So I drove around the island to get there.

The car doesn't seem to care that there's a canoe on top. I was worried that I'd get blown off the road, but there's no sign of that. The car's handling seems unaffected by the canoe on top.

There were other problems. I stopped a bunch of times due to the car overheating.
Locals told me "Take out the thermostat." They're right. It's never cold enough on the island to need one. The radiator fan wasn't coming on when it needed to. I finally hotwired the fan to stay on.

People are really interested in the boat. It's invisible to some people, and some are just desperate to know what it's made out of right now. It's like a canoe people detector.
The paniolo (cowboy) where my friends were staying liked the canoe. He said about the outrigger log: "that'll make it stable. looks good and heavy." And then he went on about how good the boat would be for fishing there for the "really big, I mean really big" fish out in the strait, and which direction to troll etc. and what kind of handline to troll the lure with. He said "boats don't come by here, that's why there are so many fish". In a month my friends hadn't seen any boats.

Dante tells me I should troll "king king" lures with white feathers and red heads. Daisy chain three of them in a row so it looks like a school of little fish.
ex_mo4 years ago
 Imagining you out in this today.  Hope you make it to Molokini!  But you have all week to do that :)
Looking forward to a 2010 report on the canoe.
tell me somthing, do i have to rid in the canoe or can i sit on the aka, like a N'drua. Is controlling the sail hard to mannage in the cock pit? oh! i bet i could sit on the akas (if a read that right, the intersections) if i had a good outrigger
TimAnderson (author)  Jumpin Jehosaphat4 years ago
Wade is right about how this thing handles. If you put your weight over this ama it sinks. But not too fast to move back toward the hull. Your ama size is matched to your sail size. On a boat, everything affects everything. If you increase one thing about your boat, you probably have to increase something else, and some other features get reduced.
Hi, I'm not Tim, but I can answer this question since I have sailed on a few outriggers. The ama on this canoe would not allow you to sit on it. The solid log ama probably has only a few tens of pounds of displacement minus its weight. I sailed my first outrigger for a while with a low-bouyancy ama (about 50 pounds flotation force). Once you are used to the idea, it is comfortable. In a canoe of that size, you usually sail with your feet in or on the main hull and treat the ama more like a self-tending ballast weight than a "hull." If you lean too far to the ama, it slowly sinks, but slowly enough for you to react and re-balance. It is "nonwestern" in concept, but interesting. The ride tends to be smooth, too, because the low-buoyancy ama does not tend to "snap" roll the boat as it passes through waves. Best to get used to it on calm water first if you never tried it. As for the sail handling, when I used a similar rig, I found it quite doable. There is more to think about though when you shunt, unlike a western Marconi rigged boat. Sail handling can be a challenge in rough water and high wind. But the shunting craft offers a benefit -- it is never caught in "irons." I hope this helps. Perhaps Tim will tell you more when he has a break from adventures.
Canoes offer plenty of opportunity for friends and families to spend times together in the great outdoors. It is exciting to canoe in a wild river but also dangerous. It can be boring for some to canoe in a slow flowing river with low waters but is ideal for family canoeing. http://fiberglass-canoe.info
Leon Close5 years ago
Hey Tim, is that the same sail from your Alaska canoe trip? If so that's a pretty long-lived blue tarp sail. Is it just the normal, horrible cheap stuff?
TimAnderson (author)  Leon Close5 years ago
yes indeed, that's the same sail. I got new sticks (used windsurfer masts) on Maui. It's the normal light bluetarp. It's lasted really well, even though it was stored outside for a while in Boston. Probably it would have fallen apart in the SF bay area. The sun here wrecks stuff amazingly fast.
The sun is bitey here too, on my skin in particular.

I got some heavier tarp fabric for my new sail, it's 230g/m2 and seems pretty nice so hopefully it should last a while.

It's raining to much to go sailing here, so i'm thinking about building a rain/sun shelter for my canoe. I remember you writing about these in one of your trip logs. Any chance of a rough description?
TimAnderson (author)  Leon Close5 years ago
Here's the hoop-tent I put on my canoe for camping on the water in Florida. It's a bit like a little covered wagon or a tiny Chinese sampan. Someone had glued blocks of ethafoam inside the gunwales of the canoe for flotation. I just stabbed the ends of the hoops into the foam.
http://www.make-digital.com/make/vol03/?pg=38
Look at the following pages for more photos of the canoe with different setups.
Usually I sail in foulies and don't use a roof til it's time to sleep.
When it's raining there are a lot more places to camp on shore, so I usually end up sleeping under a tarp roof on shore instead of on the boat.
That's a pretty good looking setup. I think clothing probably is better while actually sailing though, uness the wind is light and the water flat. I'd never thought of it before really but those mono-canoes have heaps of room inside, probably more comfortable than a proa in winter. When I have my proa working I might have to have another look at my own fat fibreglass canoe. Thanks for sharing.
most people don't know that some of the best sailing is in the rain!
Not the rain we had here last week. There was major flooding, the worst in 20 years or something like that. I went sailing on the weekend though, check it out.
looks like it needs a ratcheting main sheet system and a port-side wing. That way you could actually go upwind. The ratcheting main block, plus some other blocks, might require a mast strengthening, but would definitely improve speed and maneuverability when flying upwind. I live on the SF bay, and it gets a bit rough no matter where you are. What with all of the wind shifts you need a place to throw your weight when the wind shifts on you. Since the outrigger hull doesn't look like it would float if it was slammed into the water, a small extension off the port side (maybe even retractable) might be in order so that you can flatten if the need arises. It is a VERY nice boat, though.
riki5 years ago
Your friends are dead wrong-NEVER take the T-stat out of your car! You will shorten the life of your engine and pollute much more by running too cool all the time. You might have had a bad one or need one for a hotter climate but you should always have one.
TimAnderson (author)  riki5 years ago
I worried about that, but this particular car has a very undersized radiator. The engine always overheats unless the radiator fan is blowing. The automatic switch that turns on the radiator fan does the actual temperature regulation function on this car. As far as I can tell, the thermostat opens after less than a minute and stays open.
Looks like you know what you are doing so I retract my comment in your case. Try to make sure your temp comes up as fast as possible and stays at operating levels-those issues are supposed to be done by the T stat. Often a new stat or one that opens sooner (for hot climates) will do the trick.
omnibot5 years ago
Wow, that is a beut.
Ponchobrown5 years ago
heh I made something similar to this over the summer, the hull was plywood and had a pvc pipe outrigger wrapped in pool noodles. I think the skin on frame is probably better though to keep it a lot lighter. I also used a different sail plan called a gibbons rig or something. ill try to post some pics some time
TimAnderson (author)  Ponchobrown5 years ago
Great! post pictures!
yeah... i'm voting for this
scafool5 years ago
It looks really good! Next stop Japan? Have a merry Xmas Tim.
Looks like fun! Now I wish I lived near the ocean.
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