Seaworthy Small Craft Sea Kayakers & Their Other Boats Sailing Dinghies For Exposed Waters Rowing Boats For Exposed Waters Rowing-Sailing Boats Sailing Canoes For Exposed Waters The Sea Kayak Sea Kayaks vs. These were the fishing and voyaging craft of Polynesian peoples right across the Pacific islands. To find out more about traditional canoeing, you could get a copy of The Hawaiian Canoe (Tommy Holmes, Editions Ltd, 1981 and 1993). Outrigger canoes are manufactured in fibreglass in sizes suitable mainly for one, three or six paddlers. Traditional canoes intended for sailing, fishing and paddling on the open sea are more substantial and heavier, with higher sides to shelter the paddlers from waves and spray. 5.1 metres is about the minimum length that will give good looks and reasonable performance in a two- to three-person recreational paddling canoe with overhanging ends like this orange one. The normal rules of kayak construction apply if you're building a small outrigger canoe, but you enter a new world if you want to build a 9-metre outrigger. To us, a beach cruiser must be light enough for its crew to carry up the beach, big enough to give them some protection from spray, sun and cold, and have a reasonably efficient sailing rig. On this page we'll just give some basics, with links to sites where you can find out the detail. Multihulls in general are much less popular than small monohull sailboats, except as total speed machines like Hobies, Darts, Hurricanes, Nacras, Prindles, Unicorns, C-Class and so on. To fit our definition of a boat which is both seaworthy and small, any multihull must be at least 4.85 metres (16 feet) long or it will give its crew a wet ride and be unable to cope with windy conditions. Catamarans have two long slim hulls, usually joined by two aluminium tubes (crossbeams) with a trampoline stretched between them for the crew to scramble around on. Trimarans have a central long slim hull, joined by crossbeams to two similar but often shorter hulls, one on each side. In the UK, Solway Dory make a 4.87 metre sailing trimaran called the Osprey (sketch on the right). Several big manufacturers offer 5 metre micro-multihulls with main hulls which look like kayaks but can't easily be paddled if the wind dies. A proa can be described as two-thirds of a trimaran or as a sailing outrigger canoe with a single ama. If a proa has its masts on the downwind hull, the ama may leave the water in a strong gust of wind. Some small proas do have a stern and a rudder, and they sail exactly like any sailing dinghy. A few multihulls are stabilised in motion not by the weight of the crew or the buoyancy of the ama but by one or two surface-piercing hydrofoils. A few racing sailors use hydrofoils not just to stabilise their boats but to lift them right out of the water. At first glance the Triak (red sketch) looks very similar to the SkiSail, with a main hull like a 5.7 metre racing kayak, stabilised by trimaran-type floats on the end of a fibreglass outrigger beam. The Triak really scores over the SkiSail because the crossbeam leaves space to use a kayak paddle.
There's nothing quite like entering a new harbour after a long voyage under sail, or sitting in the cockpit of your moored yacht in some quiet estuary, watching the sun set. It is a major undertaking to take even a trailer-sailer by road, so for weekend sailing, yachts are usually confined to a 75 kilometre radius from their home port.
And in case you think Dan was probably just suffering from indigestion that week, here's a quote from a British yachtsman. Yachtsmen are understandably reluctant to get too close to headlands, reefs and islands; or to enter narrow creeks edged by ancient oaks, or sandy estuaries with their sweeping tides. A yacht is usually more than 500 metres away from the coast, and on passage the land seen from the cockpit of a yacht is just a thin grey line. Sea kayakers are usually to be found within 50 metres of the coast, looking at cliffs, towers and reefs, seaweed, waves, birds and animals.
Ulua is a lovely sailing outrigger canoe from New Zealand (a nice fit, given that NZ is the southern tip of the Polynesian Triangle). Outrigger canoes were used by ancient Polynesians to cross the Pacific Ocean, and are used today for regattas around the world!
There are only a few Tahitian words that have found their way into everyday conversation by English-speakers, but some characteristic expressions are commonly used by foreigners living in French Polynesia, such as, aita pe’ape’a, which means things couldn't be better. They have a long, very slim main hull, traditionally made from a single tree, stabilised by an even slimmer outrigged hull (ama) parallel to the main hull but a metre or more off to the side.


This is beautifully illustrated, covers the history and culture of leisure, racing and surf use of Hawaiian canoes, and is well worth a read whether or not you want a canoe yourself. These boats (not illustrated) are like flatwater racing kayaks except that the paddler sits on them rather than in them. One-person outrigger canoes are often designated OC-1, three-person canoes are called OC-3, etc. For example, the six-person canoe above or the two-person Ulua, which is a handsome 5.4 metre beach cruiser by Gary Dierking. They make fast and seaworthy sailing boats if you add a mast and a small sail, and maybe a second outrigger to turn them into slim trimarans, steered with a side-mounted rudder, or with a paddle like the red boat shown below. Except on flat water, a long slim hull will break in half unless its construction is heavy, high-tech or both, and that makes it expensive. An OC-6 can sail at 20 knots with two of the crew struggling to steer and the others sitting on a trampoline rigged over the water between main hull and ama.
Any sailing multihull is faster than a monohull of similar length, but more complex and expensive, and usually too wide to travel on the roof of a vehicle unless dismantled. However if it is much longer than that or fitted with a big, powerful sailing rig, its crew won't be able to carry it up a beach on their own, and that is next to essential for a beach cruiser. Proas capsize more easily than catamarans or trimarans but if a small proa does turn over, it can be righted. In fact they don't have a stern, because both ends of the hulls are identical and the boat is just as happy to go forwards as backwards. Invented in America by Edmond Bruce in the mid-1960s, a Bruce foil looks very much like the daggerboard from a small sailing dinghy but it's set at an angle so it works like an underwater wing.
The Raptor 16 by John Slattebo was a successful design until it fell victim to the recession. That's fine if you race for a few hours and then head for the yacht club bar, but it gets a bit repetitive if you prefer cruising. That's me above, helming LeGrandBois from Exmouth over to France, and below you can see my left foot enjoying the sun in the Channel Islands. Nigel Irens has designed serious powerboats including Ilan Voyager, but he's really a sailor and designer of sailing yachts.
Some of the world's most famous yachtsmen and yacht designers spend more time in kayaks than they do sailing. It is a genuine consonant just like the others, however, it is represented by a straight apostrophe (') instead of with letters. The main hull of a traditional outrigger canoe has much higher sides than a sea kayak so the crew sits higher above the water and gets a fairly dry ride. The image above right is from a diagram in the book and shows a wide canoe made from a single tree, about 13 metres long with seats for six.
A one-person racing canoe may be 6.4 metres long but weigh as little as 12 kg thanks to the use of exotic materials such as vacuum-bagged carbon fibre in epoxy resin.
There is an active club racing scene in Hawaii, in Tahiti where they are called va'a, in New Zealand where they are called waka ama, and California. After transport to a new location it can take six hours to rig one for sailing, so they're practical for a canoe club which can store its boats next to the water.
It takes some thought to design a multihull which is hard to capsize but (since any small boat can be capsized by wind or by wave action) easy for the crew to right in difficult conditions.
The high-sided main hull would keep you fairly dry but comes nearly up to your armpits, and the boat weighs 113 kg.
If the mast is on the upwind hull as favored by a handful of 20th century designers, you have an Atlantic proa like the beautiful racing yacht Cheers designed by Dick Newick. They're not much used in commercially-made boats but a lot of people have experimented with them in fast multihull yachts.
The foil on the upwind side does the opposite, creating a force which sucks it down into the water. An elegant and attractive foil-stabilised boat was the SkiSail, designed by David Chinery (illustration at right). He was editor of The Yacht magazine and the Small Boat Journal, so they don't come much saltier. The list includes designer L Francis Herreshoff, who called his a double-paddle canoe, and Herreshoff's draftsman Norman L Skene, author of Skene's Elements of Yacht Design. The ama may be tiny because a skilled racer relies on balance, keeping the ama up in the air as much as possible.


Gary has an excellent and beautifully-illustrated website here, and he's the author of an excellent book, Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes : Modern Construction Methods for three fast, beautiful boats.
It will sometimes go partly airborne as it crosses a wave, before the bow crashes down into the trough on the other side. Last time we asked him he did not sell plans but if you ask him nicely he may e-mail you the dimensions.
There's a sweet video on YouTube of Lorraine Chase getting dunked when a Hobie 16 pitchpoles in perfect sailing weather and a flat sea. There are some commercially-available racing trimarans like the Weta, the Ninja and the old Supernova that have powerful sailing rigs and a trampoline so the crew can use their weight far out from the side of the boat, as a counterbalance to the force of the wind. It came third in the 1968 Observer Single-Handed Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) despite being nearly the smallest, lightest boat in the race. This means stopping, adjusting the sail to point the other way, and setting off in the opposite direction.
The result is that the boat sails along rock-solid upright, without any need for the sailor to move his or her weight around as a counterbalance.
This had a hull resembling a 5.4 metre racing ski with the stern removed to take a rudder, stabilised by small buoyant foils on the ends of a fibreglass outrigger, powered by a windsurfer rig. He says "the richer you are, the bigger your boat, the more it draws, and the fewer places it can take you.
Make sure you know when and when not to use “h”.  In addition, vowels are long when they have an accent mark (a, e, i, o and u). The outrigger arms get in the way of a paddle, and the boat is fitted with Hobie's pedal-operated Mirage flipper system instead.
The sail can be cut completely flat, with no camber, so it could be made of a single sheet of fabric with no seams.
On the other tack, the ama is on the upwind side and its weight plus the weight of the crew keeps the boat upright by acting as a counterbalance to the wind in the sail.
In fact most foil-stabilised boats have amas too, or at least some sort of buoyancy on the end of the crossbeam, because a foil only works if the boat is moving. Depending on how you use these subtleties of pronunciation, the meaning may vary, much to the amusement of the Polynesians! In strengthening winds at sea, you may find yourself looking at that tall mast, wishing for a hacksaw and fingering your VHF radio.
They may not have a trampoline, because the crew always sits in a cockpit in the central hull. All modern racing yachts have variants on the tall triangular mainsail known as the Bermudan rig.
For a very nice small example, see the Dragonfly design by Chris White (illustration at left). For a temporary Bruce foil stabiliser which can be strapped to any kayak, see the K-Wing at Sailing A Kayak. Examples: - “Te ua” means rain but “Te hua” means sex - “'Ori” means dance but “Ori” means meander, roam or aimlessly wander about - “Mama” means Mommy but “Mama” means “Open your mouth and spread your legs” - “Te u” means milk but “Te hu” means fart You have been warned!
Elsewhere we mentioned kayaks stabilised for sailing by the addition of buoyant floats on each side. When properly set, a crab claw rig is more effective except directly to windward, and even then it beats most other sail rigs.
No doubt he still sells the plans for home builders, but his website now covers only his big boats. One French designer has made prototypes of his Windyak, a mini trimaran which is basically a kayak with a sail and outrigged floats. It's based on research by AC Marchaj, author of The Aero-Hydrodynamics of Sailing, who carried out wind tunnel tests with an Overseas Development Agency research program managed by fisheries consultants MacAlister Elliott & Partners. This is appropriate for small lakes and other protected areas where these catamarans are most often sailed.



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