Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes: Modern Construction Methods for Three Fast, Beautiful Boats

Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes: Modern Construction Methods for Three Fast, Beautiful Boats

by Gary Dierking

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Overview

Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes: Modern Construction Methods for Three Fast, Beautiful Boats by Gary Dierking

Build the fastest, most exotic sailboats around!

Popular in Hawaii and throughout the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, outrigger canoes combine the romance of the South Seas with a ruthless efficiency of design and breathtaking sailing performance. This is the first book to present complete plans and building instructions for three outrigger sailing canoes.

Based on traditional Hawaiian and Micronesian types, the designs are lightweight, easy to build, and screamingly fast. Author Gary Dierking shows you how to build these boats using stitch-and-glue and strip-planking construction, explains what tools and materials are required, how to rig and equip the boats, and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071487917
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 08/15/2007
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 421,673
Product dimensions: 10.72(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.36(d)

About the Author

Gary Dierking has been designing and building boats for more than 40 years. He runs his own boat shop and designs, builds, repairs, and modifies a wide variety of working and recreational vessels.

Read an Excerpt

BUILDING OUTRIGGER SAILING CaNoes

Modern Construction Methods for Three Fast, Beautiful Boats


By Gary Dierking

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2008 International Marine
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-148791-7


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The Ulua


"Ulua" is the Hawaiian term for the Giant Trevally fish found in deep, rocky water and off some beaches of the Pacific islands.

The Ulua canoe is based on Hawaiian outrigger canoe design. The channels between the Hawaiian islands are extremely rough and more often than not have strong trade winds blowing. This fact, along with the very small number of natural harbors, provided the breeding ground for a very special canoe. The ability to maintain control during high-surf landings was the most important factor in their design.

The Ulua design broadly resembles the classic Hawaiian canoe, with some differences. The round bottom, which is important in the surf, performs poorly when sailed to windward. I've added a pivoting leeboard for lateral resistance that can be retracted when paddling or when landing in surf. A steering oar or rudder can be used instead of the traditional paddle for steering. The Ulua hull has a little more "V" in the hull than a traditional Hawaiian model, and this improves its speed and windward sailing ability.

Watertight bulkheads in each end of the hull provide reserve buoyancy in the event of damage or capsize. Additional reserve buoyancy can be built in under the two seats in the form of foam blocks or hollow storage compartments. The ama can be either solid foam covered with fiberglass, or hollow and strip planked, with foam or plastic bottles inside for emergency flotation. The large ama is of sufficient size to support cargo stored on the iakos (outrigger booms) along with a crew member on the hiking seat.

A hiking seat enables the crew or helmsperson to shift their weight outboard of the narrow hull's gunwale to balance the force of the sail. It can consist of a slatted wooden seat or fabric stretched on a frame. The outboard edge is supported by a fore and aft pole resting on the iakos, while the inboard edge rests on the gunwale. At least one hiking seat must be fitted on the ama side of the hull, but an additional seat can be installed on the opposite side, sup ported by extended iakos.

The sailing rig shown is of a modern Hawaiian type. The availability of fiberglass windsurfing masts allows for a very simple lightweight plug-in rig that can be lowered entirely while at sea and stowed on the iakos. A brailing line folds the boom and sail up against the mast for quick furling and thus avoids dumping the sail onto the crew.

The Ulua can be paddled, sailed, surfed, or powered by a two-horsepower outboard motor. This canoe is capable of extended coastal expeditions and can be car topped to your favorite launching spot or carried on its side on a trailer with the ama up in the air.

The hull can be stretched to a greater length by increasing the spacing between the molds before the planking begins. You can safely increase the hull length by 150 percent without any changes to the structure.

While the Ulua is an excellent sailing canoe, the shape of the hull is optimized for its ability to turn quickly while tacking. For long-distance paddling, foot pedals, like those used in sea kayaks, can be connected with small lines to the sailing rudder. Steering with your feet allows for stronger paddling without using energy to keep the canoe on a straight course.


MATERIALS FOR BUILDING THE ULUA

Hull

• 60 planks of ¼" × ¾" × 18.5' (6mm × 19mm × 5700mm)

• Enough planks for the hull and end decks can be ripped from 5 pieces of timber, 5 ½" × ¾" × 18.5' (140mm × 19mm × 5.7m), assuming the use of a thin kerf circular saw blade.


Molds

• 2 sheets of ½" (12mm) or thicker plywood or particle board


Stems

• 2 pieces of 1" × 4" × 30" (25mm × 100mm × 750mm). These can be of cedar or any other softwood.


Gunwales

• 4 pieces of 3/8" × 1" × 18.5' (10mm × 40mm × 5700mm). Harder woods like mahogany or ash are more durable.


Bulkheads and Ring Frame

• 3 pieces of 16" × 18" × 3/16 or ¼" (400mm × 450mm × 4 or 6mm) plywood. Bulkheads can be strip composite.


Seats

• 2 pieces of ¾" × 10" × 18" (19mm × 250mm × 450mm). The seats can be of plywood or solid timber.


Iakos

• 10 pieces of 5/16" × 2" × 6'8" (8mm × 60mm × 2000mm)


Fore and Aft Decks

• 2 pieces of 18" × 3'8", 3/16" or ¼" (450mm × 1100mm, 4 or 6mm plywood

OR: 30 strips of 3/16" × ¾" × 44" (4 to 6mm × 19mm × 1100mm) plywood for strip decks


Epoxy Resin

• 3 1-gallon (4-liter) kits of resin and hardener

• Bag of glue powder

• Bag of fairing powder


Fiberglass

• 4 pieces of 6-ounce (200-gram) 18.5' × 26" (6000mm × 650mm) for hull

• 4 pieces of glass for top and bottom of strip deck, 18" × 44" (450mm × 1100mm)

• Miscellaneous strips for glassing in bulkheads

• 2 pieces of 10-ounce (330-gram), 16' × 16" (5000mm × 400mm) for ama, or:

• 4 pieces of 6-ounce (200-gram) fiberglass cloth


Ama

• 2 pieces of 4" × 8" × 12'8" (100mm × 200mm × 4000mm) blue Styrofoam (can use 2" [50mm] foam and glue layers together) ½ sheet; 1/8" or 3/16 (3mm or 4mm) plywood for shear web


APPROXIMATE TIME AND COST FOR BUILDING THE ULUA

The amount of time that it takes to complete a sailing Ulua is widely variable and reflects the personal standards and skill of the individual builder. Getting started can seem slow, with little to look at that resembles a canoe, but once planking commences, the hull will take shape rapidly. The average time to set up, plank, and fiberglass a bare hull is about 100 hours. The total time to complete a ready to sail Ulua is a minimum of 300 hours.

The minimum cost of materials is about U.S. $1,200. Half of this amount is for the epoxy resin and fiberglass. The sailing rig can be home made with a plastic tarp sail and a used Windsurfer mast for a very low cost, or you can have a sail maker provide a sail for a few hundred dollars more. Outrigger sailing canoes will perform exceptionally well without expensive materials or hardware.

CHAPTER 2

The T2


The T2 is based on the designs of Micronesian sailing canoes. The T2 hull mostly resembles canoes found in the Marshall Islands and nearby Kiribati and, at 18' (5.4m), would be used primarily for fishing and transportation within an atoll lagoon. The hull is a deep, rounded "V" with an asymmetric shape and is constructed with the strip-composite method. Each end of the hull is identical and the T2 is sailed with either end as the bow. The ama is always kept on the windward side and can be flown above the water to reduce drag.

The T2 can be sailed with either the classic Oceanic lateen rig or a modification of a rig developed by Euell Gibbons (widely known for his books on gathering wild foods) in the 1950s. The Oceanic lateen rig is very old but still very powerful. If you are an experienced sailor, you will have to develop some new instincts when handling it. It is very forgiving of incorrect sheeting angles and will maintain its power at a point where a more conventional rig would have stalled. The Gibbons rig shown in Figures 2-1, 2-4, and 2-11 is completely untraditional with its roots in windsurfing and will appeal to the sailor who is interested in high speed. My version of the Gibbons rig is still experimental, and you won't see many of them around, but it is worth the time and effort to build one if you enjoy developing new technology.

The T2 is a sport canoe for one or two people and is not designed to carry heavy loads. The cockpit has a floor above the waterline, which allows it to be self- draining. Watertight bulkheads in each end, combined with the sealed area below the cockpit, allow the T2 to be sailed in extreme conditions without any concern for how much water enters. Seating is provided on a platform over the windward side, supported by the iakos. Because you will always be sitting on the windward side, there is no need to change sides when changing direction during a shunt. A steering oar is the recommended way to steer and can be used to scull the canoe when becalmed. The fore and aft position of crew weight has a great effect on the steering and can be used to avoid use of the steering oar on all points of sail except for a broad reach or run.

The asymmetric, deep "V" hull shape requires no foils or leeboard for lateral resistance. The lack of underwater foils reduces the windward performance only marginally and can give you great confidence when you are sailing fast in shallow water. The asymmetric hull helps to counteract the forces of the long-boomed lateen sail and the ama drag that try to turn the canoe into the wind.

I've made a couple of modifications from traditional Micronesian design. Most shunting rigs require that the mast rake forward in the direction of travel in order to balance the sail force with the underwater shape. This rig requires running backstays to control the amount of mast rake. The T2 uses strong bungee cords to take up the slack in the backstays as the mast changes rake during the shunting. The bungee cords try to hold the mast at its vertical center point. Pulling the sail toward the bow stretches the bungee cord until a stopper ball on the backstay runs into the block attached to the stern. All of this means that the backstays are essentially selftending, and that to shunt, all you have to do is pull the sail to the opposite end of the hull.


MATERIALS FOR BUILDING THE T2

Hull

• 70 planks of ¼" × ¾ x 18.5' (6mm × 19mm × 5700mm)

• Enough planks for the hull; end decks can be ripped from 6 pieces of timber, 5 ½" × ¾ × 18.5' (140mm × 19mm × 5700mm), assuming the use of a thin kerf circular saw blade.

• 2 sheets of ½" (12mm) or thicker plywood or particle board


Stems

• 2 pieces of 1" × 4" × 38" (25mm × 100mm × 950mm) clear, soft timber ripped into thin slices


Gunwales

• Inwale: 2 pieces of ½" × 1" × 18.5' (12mm × 25mm × 5700mm)

• Outwale: 2 pieces of ¾" × 1" × 12.8' (19mm × 25mm × 3900mm)

• Gunwales are best made of timber that is heavier and more durable than cedar.


Bulkheads, End Decks, and Cockpit Floor

• All of these parts can be made from one sheet of ¼" (6mm) plywood.


Hiking Seat

• 4 pieces of ¾" × 5 ½" × 6' (19mm × 140mm × 1800mm). A soft, lightweight wood like cedar or redwood can be left bare for nonslip seating.


Iakos

• 10 pieces of 5/16" × 23/8 × 9' (8mm × 60mm × 2700mm) fir, spruce, or pine

• OR: 2 pieces of 2" to 2¼" (50 to 55mm) aluminum tubing with minimum 3/32 (2mm) wall thickness. Some alloys are stiffer than others; T6 is best.


Epoxy Resin

• 3 each, 1-gallon (4-liter) kits

• Bag of glue powder

• Bag of fairing powder


Fiberglass

• 4 pieces of 6-ounce (200-gram), 18.5' × 32" (6000mm × 800mm) for hull

• 4 pieces of glass for top and bottom of strip deck, 16" × 56" (400mm × 1400mm)

• Miscellaneous strips for glassing in bulkheads

• 2 pieces of 10-ounce (330 gram), 13' × 16" (3900mm × 400mm) for ama

OR: 4 pieces of 6-ounce (200-gram) fiberglass cloth


Ama

• 2 pieces of 4" × 8" × 12'8" (100mm × 200mm × 4000mm) blue Styrofoam (can use 2" [50mm] foam and glue layers together) sheet; 1/8" or 3/16" (3 or 4mm) plywood for shear web


APPROXIMATE TIME AND COST FOR BUILDING THE T2

The amount of time that it takes to complete a T2 is widely variable and reflects the personal standards and skill of the individual builder. The average time to set up, plank, and fiberglass a bare hull is about 100 hours. The total time to complete a ready-to-sail T2 is a minimum of 300 hours.

The minimum cost of materials is about U.S. $1,200. Half of this amount is for the epoxy resin and fiberglass. The ability to "scrounge" used or discarded building materials, hardware, or sails can greatly reduce the cost of the finished canoe.

CHAPTER 3

The Wa'apa


In the late 1800s, when sawn lumber began to appear in Hawaii and other Pacific islands, the local canoe builders immediately saw its use as an easier way to build canoes. While perhaps slightly less efficient than round-bottomed shapes, a flat-bottomed, dory-shaped hull has now become the standard working canoe seen in many places throughout the Pacific. The first models were simply built of three wide planks and came to be known as "three-board canoes," or "wa'apa" in Hawaiian.

I built a 16-footer in the 1970s that unbolted in the center for easier stowage onboard my cruising trimaran. It proved to be a useful dinghy and a fun sailer for exploring. This design is similar in shape to that one, but it allows for a center section to be added, which stretches the boat to 24'. The 24-footer seats four crew members and can be sailed as a tacking outrigger or a shunting proa. The tacking configuration uses hiking seats on both sides of the hull, whereas the shunting version carries them only on the ama (windward) side of the hull.

The Wa'apa can be built as a one piece hull if you choose, but one of its prime advantages is that no hull or ama section is longer than 8' (2.4m). It can be built, stored, and transported in a small space. The three-section main hull and a two-piece plywood ama require only six sheets of ¼" (6mm) plywood. The hull sides and ama can be built with 3/16" (4mm) plywood to save weight.

Waterline length is a wonderful thing, and it is cheap to build when hull beam and depth remain the same. This design is extremely versatile in that many different options can be included with the basic design. It can be sailed as a tacking outrigger, where the ama runs either on the windward or lee ward side, or as a shunting proa, where the ama is always kepton the windward side.


RIG CHOICE

Choosing between the two rigs is difficult and really is a matter of personal choice. The shunting proa has the potential for greater performance but requires a more complicated rig. The mast is stayed, requiring two backstays and a weather shroud. Steering is accomplished from either end with a long oar, a pair of dagger boards in the ends, or a pair of kick-up rudders. An endless tack line controls the butt of the yard and, when shunting, you simply pull the yard from one bow to the other without leaving your seat. The butt of the yard can slide along below the gun-wale of the hull's leeward side.

One of the characteristics of the lateen or crab-claw rig is that the butt of the yard wants to swing to windward during a shunt. Keepingthe butt below the gunwale prevents this annoying trait and avoids the necessity of installing a guiding track, or guiding the butt along by hand. The backstays that control the fore-and-aft rake of the mast can be controlled by a bungee cord that tries to hold the mast vertical. Pulling the butt of the yard to either bow will stretch the bungee cord. A pair of spiller lines or lazy jacks are rigged to depower the sail in squalls and to hold the boom, yard, and sail off of the deck when the sail is lowered with the halyard.

The tacking rig is very simple, with an unstayed windsurfing mast, no halyard, and a spiller/brailing line for brailing the sail up against the mast. This is especially convenient, as the sail is quickly stowed out of the way of paddlers. The whole rig is easily pulled out and stowed on the iakos. The rig shown in Figure 3-4 uses a straight boom with a loose footed sail. While not as visually attractive as a curved boom, this system allows you to reef the sail by simply rotating the mast and winding the sail up on it. The boom outhaul controlling the clew of the sail is led forward along the boom to an easily reached cleat.

Long, narrow-beamed canoes are very sensitive to weight distribution. The location of crew members or cargo weight has an effect on the fore-and-aft sailing balance of the canoe. Concentrating weight aft increases the lateral resistance of the hull in that area and will cause lee helm, or the tendency to turn away from the wind. Weight concentrated forward will have the opposite effect. Using a fixed rudder aft, or on the iako, instead of an oar, will also change the balance. For this reason, in Figure 3-4 I have shown two mast-step locations for the tacking rig. This will allow you to adjust for different loading conditions or steering setups.


THE HULL

The hull is a flat-bottomed dory shape, although a dory would have more flare in the sides. I'm opposed to extreme flare in the sides, as I feel it slows the hull considerably when sailing into waves.

Because each hull section is slightly shorter than a sheet of plywood, no scarf joints or butt blocks are necessary.

Each hull section is connected to the next with four 5/16" (8mm) stainless-steel bolts. Washers cut from inner tubes or wetsuit material are placed between the hull sections to keep water out of the bolt holes.

The hull sides and decks can be made from either ¼" (6mm) or 3/16" (4mm) plywood. Plywood with five plies is much better than three plies. The bottom panels should be ¼" (6mm) to avoid damage when the hull is resting on rocks. It is not necessary to fiberglass the entire hull if it is built from ¼" (6mm) plywood. The prototype was glassed only on the bottom, lapping 2" (50mm) up over the chine. The rest of the hull was painted with water-based acrylic house paint. Be sure to apply several primer coats and avoid paints that say they require no primer.

There are several possible options for the deck layout. The drawings in Figures 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 3-7, and 3-8 show all open hulls, with a watertight bulkhead at each end for emergency flotation. It is possible to completely deck over either of the two end sections, or even all three, with hatches strategically placed so that you can put your feet into the hatch when paddling. This is a good option if you are planning to use the canoe in very rough off-shore conditions.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from BUILDING OUTRIGGER SAILING CaNoes by Gary Dierking. Copyright © 2008 by International Marine. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface          

Acknowledgments          

Introduction Some Outrigger Basics          

Chapter 1. The Ulua          

Chapter 2. The T2          

Chapter 3. The Wa'apa          

Chapter 4. Sailing Rigs          

Chapter 5. Boatbuilding Basics          

Chapter 6. Building the Ulua and T2 Strip-Composite Hulls          

Chapter 7. Building the Wa'apa Plywood Hull          

Chapter 8. Amas          

Chapter 9. Cross Beams and Hull Connections          

Chapter 10. Steering, Leeboards, and Accessories          

Chapter 11. Spars, Spar Specifications, and Sails          

Chapter 12. Rigging, Tuning, and Sailing          

Glossary          

Resources          

Index          

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