Sailing Rigs of an Outrigger Canoe

Traditional sailing outriggers can be divided into two groups—those that tack and those that shunt. Shunting rigs predominate in Micronesia and are also seen in Melanesia, Polynesia, and the Indian Ocean. Shunting canoes are unique in that both ends of the hull are identical and can act as the bow or stern. ama is always kept on the windward side, where it acts as floating ballast.

To change direction, the sail has to be moved or pivoted to the other end of the hull, while the canoe drifts broadside with its ama (outrigger float) toward the wind. steering device must also change ends. This is not as complex as it sounds and can be accomplished in less than ten seconds in a well-set-up canoe. Because the canoe is never purposely aimed directly into the wind, there is no possibility of stalling the sail and getting caught “in irons” as you might in a tracking vessel. tacking rig is the same as you see in any other part of the world. It is used predominantly in Polynesia and Indonesia. ones I’ve shown on the plans are as simple as can be devised with unstayed masts and a single sail. A tacking reused on a single outrigger canoe means that on one tack the ama will be to windward, and on the other tack it will be to leeward. Modern light-weight amas have sufficient buoyancy to stay afloat when pressed down to leeward. In traditionally built tacking canoes, crew members have to move their weight out onto a balance board extending from the opposite side of the canoe to keep a solid-log ama from submerging.




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