Ulua

Length overall 17’9” (5400mm)
Hull width 8” (470mm)
Overall width 6’7” (2000mm)
Draft 8” (200mm) @ 400 lb (182 kg)
Hull weight 64 lb (29 kg)
Weight fully rigged 122 lb (55 kg)
Sailing rig type Tacking only
Sail area 65 sq ft (6.0 sq m))
Construction method Strip-planked composite
Ulua equipped with a tacking rig, leeboard, and rudder
Ulua equipped with a tacking rig, leeboard, and rudder.


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

Ulua canoe is based on Hawaiian outrigger canoe design. 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. ability to maintain control during high-surf landings was a the most important factor in their design.

Ulua equipped with a tacking rig, leeboard, and rudder — details
Ulua’s parts. Find all parts in glossary


Ulua design broadly resembles the classic Hawaiian canoe, with some differences. 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. 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. ama can be either solid foam covered with fiberglass, or hollow and strip-planked, with foam or plastic bottles inside for emergency flotation. 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. 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, supported by extended iakos.

sailing rig shown is of a modern Hawaiian type. 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.

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.

hull can be stretched to a greater length by increasing the spacing between the molds before the planning 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.




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