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The outrigger canoe (Filipino and Indonesian: bangka; Māori: waka ama; Hawaiian: wa a; ) is a type of canoe featuring one or more lateral support floats known as outriggers, which are fastened to one or both sides of the main hull. Smaller canoes often employ a single outrigger on the port side, while larger canoes may employ a single outrigger, double outrigger, or double hull configuration (see also catamaran). The sailing canoes are an important part of the Polynesian heritage and are actively raced and sailed in Hawaiimarker and Tahitimarker.

Using an outrigger or double hull configuration greatly increases the stability of the canoe, but introduces much less hydrodynamic inefficiency than making a single hull canoe wider. Compared to other types of canoes, outrigger canoes can be quite fast, yet are also capable of being paddled and sailed in rougher water. This paddling technique, however, differs greatly from kayaking or rowing. The paddle, or blade, used by the paddler is single sided, with either a straight or a double-bend shaft. Because there isn't a dual paddle arrangement, the paddler has to alternate sides often in order to maintain stamina and stability.

The outrigger float is called the ama in many Polynesian and Micronesian languages. The spars connecting the ama to the main hull (or the two hulls in a double hull canoe) are called iako in Hawaiian and kiato in Māori (with similar words in other Polynesian languages); in Micronesian languages, the term aka is used.

History

Outrigger canoes were originally developed by the Austronesian speaking peoples of the islands of Southeast Asia for sea travel, and were used to transport these peoples both eastward to Polynesia and New Zealandmarker and westward across the Indian Oceanmarker as far as Madagascarmarker during the Austronesian migration period. Even today, it is mostly among the Austronesian groups (Malay, Micronesian, Melanesian and Polynesian peoples) that outrigger canoes are used.

Outrigger fishing canoes are also used among certain non-Austronesian groups, like the Sinhala in Sri Lankamarker, where they are known as oruwa, as well as among some people groups in the Andaman and Nicobar Islandsmarker. The ethnological significance of this spread has been studied by James Hornell.

When Magellan's ships first encountered the Chamorros of the Mariana Islandsmarker in 1521, Antonio Pigafetta recorded that the Chamorros' sailboats far surpassed Magellan's in speed and maneuverability.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society has two double hull sailing canoes, Hōkūle a and Hawai iloa, and sails them between various islands in the Pacific using traditional Polynesian navigation methods without instruments.

The technology has persisted into the modern age. Outrigger canoes can be quite large fishing or transport vessels, and in the Philippinesmarker, outrigger canoes (called bangka, parao or balanghai) are often fitted with petrol engines. The links between seafaring and outrigger canoes in the Philippines extend through to political life, in which the smallest political unit in the country still called Barangay after the historical Balanghai outrigger proas used in the original migrations of the first Austronesian peoples across the archipelago and beyond.

Modern sport use

Outrigger canoe racing has become a popular canoeing sport, with numerous clubs located around the world. Outrigger Canoe Racing is the State sport of Hawaiimarker and an interscholastic high school sport. In Hawaii entire families participate in summer regattas with age groups from manini (children as young as 6 with an adult steersperson) and age 12 through age 60+.

Major races in Hawai'i include the Moloka i Hoe ( men's race from the island of Moloka imarker to O ahumarker across the Kaiwi Channel), Na Wahine O Ke Kai (same race for women) and the Queen Lili uokalani Race held near Konamarker on the Island of Hawai imarker.



Six person outrigger canoes (or OC6) are among the most common used for sport use; single person outrigger canoes (or OC1) are also very common. Two and four person outrigger canoes are also sometimes used, and two six person outrigger canoes are sometimes rigged together like a catamaran to form a twelve person double canoe.

Modern OC6 hulls and ama are commonly made from glass-reinforced plastic. However, some canoes are made of more traditional materials. In Ancient Hawai i, canoes were carved from the trunks of very old koa trees. These canoes, although rare, are still very much in use today. The iako are usually made of wood; the iako-ama and iako-hull connections are typically done with rope wrapped and tied in interlocking fashion to reduce the risk of the connection coming completely apart if the rope breaks.

Modern OC1 hulls and amas are commonly made from glass-reinforced plastic, carbon fiber reinforced plastic, and/or Kevlar to produce a strong but light canoe. OC1 are often made with rudders operated by foot pedals. More traditional designs do not have rudders. OC1 commonly use iako made of aluminium, with a mechanism for quickly assembling and disassembling the canoe (snap buttons, large wing nuts, etc.).

See also



References

  1. Gerhard Kapitän, Records of native craft in Sri Lanka—I: The single outrigger fishing canoe oruwa—Part 2.2: Rowed, paddled and poled oru, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, Vol. 18
  2. Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Land of a Thousand Atolls: A Study of Marine Life in the Maldive and Nicobar Islands, World Publishing Co., Cleveland and New York, 1964.


Further Reading

  • Gary Dierking (2007) Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes, McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-148791-7


External links



Hawai'i Association and Race Links

  • World of Boats at Eyemouthmarker ~ Outrigger Canoes:
* Tongan Pao Pao
* Fijian Proa
* Traditional Papuan Single Outrigger



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