22 February 2011

Outriggers at the Fiji National Museum, Suva

Last week work sent me to Suva, Fiji. At the end of the week I visited the National Museum to see their collection of canoes. On display was the last existing Drua, this one; a small one at 15m long was built in the early 1900’s.

The shells on the hulls indicate that the Drua belonged to a Chief and the area he was from. Even though the two ends are not identical they are still proas and shunt instead of tacking (the smaller hull is always kept to windward and the sail is moved from one end of the hull to the other when changing heading into the wind). Druas represent the height of Polynesian canoe building, some being over 30m in length and very fast.

The workmanship and details on the boat is incredible:

I find the look of the raised platform quite appealing and I’m wondering how feasible it would be to build two Ulua hulls and mount a platform between them in a similar fashion? Maybe a project to try some years in the future. My relationship with Cecile is far to important to embark on another boat building exercise so soon!

Other canoe designs:

A more “conventional outrigger”:

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