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Eureka! Pirogue-ing it with a bamboo outrigger to make a sailing canoe

I was out on the waters of the bay today a'paddling and a'poling. Not enough wind to experiment with sailing.    But the good ship and I got a chance to get to know one another.      

Our relationship is getting serious and we are going steady.

In my past few musings while upon the wet stuff I soon enough realized that I desperately needed to put an outrigger on the Pirogue.

But outriggers aren't self evident things.

I've been reviewing many styles of indigenous canoes seeking inspiration and some DIY tips.  Some cultures use two outriggers -- one on each side of the canoe -- such as the Indonesian Juking. Others sail with a single outrigger either on the lee side or to windward.

If sailed to leeward the outrigger is used as a float to prevent the canoe from tipping over in the force of the wind. But on a South Pacific proa the outrigger is employed as a counterweight to the force of the wind so it is sailed on the side the wind is coming from. It may have a ladder so that the crew can crawl out onto the arms and add their weight to the outrigger.

I decided I wanted to experiment with a single outrigger  and sail it to leeward.

But then I had the challenge of deciding how I'd create the outrigger arms. The complication is that with a single outrigger you need to curve the arms so that they run from the gunwales -- the top edge of the  sides of a canoe -- to the water line where you position your float.

I think you also need to allow  some flex -- not much -- just enough to protect your canoe's integrity from wind gusts or big waves. By lashing the outrigger to the canoe you allow for a bit of give.

It  is also necessary to be able to quickly dismantle the outrigger for portage.

While the base design seems simple enough, I had problems deciding on how and where I'd attach the outrigger to the canoe and what materials I'd use to build it.

So I kept up the Googling...and came across a design based on an ancient prehispanic boat excavated in Butuan, Philippines, carbon dated to around 320 AD.(see image above)

It was a revelation.

While the  hull is made from cut timber, what  attracted my attention were the ingenious outrigger arms: one straight bamboo cane which is used as a strut to bend another cane to the water line. 

I thought,"now that's something I can build in an afternoon. Just bend bamboo canes and strap the elements together."

So tomorrow I'm gonna harvest myself some bamboo.

For my float -- since it is no longer 320AD -- I'm planning to ram a bamboo cane inside an extended swim noodle. 

I think I'll get more floatation for less weight from a swim noodle.

If this rig doesn't work I'll just make myself a simple double outrigger setup like this:

      
   
Keep it simple and make it cheap is what I always say.  



 

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