Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sailing Canoes of the Marshall Islands Ailuk atoll

 Kathy aboard s/v LightSpeed tosses some baseball caps to the crew of a passing sailing canoe Ailuk atoll, Marshall Islands. s/v Blue Bie in the background.  Photo:  Mark s/v Radiance
  Photo:  Mark s/v Radiance
 Photo:  Mark s/v Radiance
 Dave working with the boat builders on Ailuk to create a bill of materials for 5 new Sailing Canoes.

Halyard to hoist the sail on a small canoe.
This is the how the sail connects to the masts and boom.  Hand stitching!
More lashings.
Even more lashings.  It's no wonder it takes some time to build a canoe as there is lots of detailed lashing work everywhere!

Ama or outrigger connection
Outrigger is attached with lashings.

Lots of ingenious uses of available materials.  Stainless wire using a electrical clam connected to some scavenged line from the beach (old fishing net).
Multi part lashing.  By using a modern line like Dynema aka Spectra all these lines could be greatly simplified and the wire and the additional fittings could be eliminated.

Lashing connect the outrigger
Lashing hold nearly everything together.

Cargo and crew deck.
Side stay
This is a Gudgeon.  Its the connection point on the sailing canoe for the rudder's pintels.
This is what the inside of a sailing canoe looks like.  Just enough room for a few bags of copra.
Inside the canoe looking toward the end.
Hatch detail
Hatch lid

Rudder pintle looks to be custom made out of some bits of stainless steel

Sails stored in the shade of a large tree.  Substituting modern UV resistant materials would greatly extend the service life of these sails.  Some of these are made out of tarps or other cloth that wont' last long in the sun.

Hand stitching in a white tarp.  Lots of work for something that won't last but a year in the sun... if they're lucky!    There are lots of great and affordable materials better suited for sails.  Just ask any yacht that visit the Marshall Islands how long their sails last. 10-15-20 years.   This could be a good partnership between the yachting community and canoe builders to share technology to ensure all the hard work that goes into sailmaking is rewarded with a long service life for the sails.
Kathy spreads her arms to show just how wide these outrigger canoes really are.
About 2.5 of Kathy's arm span so probally 12-13 feet wide.

Canoe builders tools leave lots to be desired.  Any canoe grant should include a provision for proper tools.  Preferably, those of traditional design and of excellent quality.
Master canoe builder of Ailuk