Outrigger Canoe (same canoe, new ocean)

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darren

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This report is a long time coming...

When I was living in Hawaii (man, how did I give that up?) I bought a used solo outrigger canoe. It was a little beat up, but it fit me and the price was right (new ones go north of $3500). There was a bit of a learning curve, but I got to be an ok novice with it. Before I left Hawaii I finally got the nerve up to surf the canoe at a reef break off of Portlock on Oahu. I managed to ride about 5 thrilling waves without dying. It was one of the highlights of my time in Hawaii.

I shipped the canoe back East and waited eagarly for it's arrival. I had visions of being able to paddle it last fall. Those hopes were dashed when it arrived nearly broken in two. Moral: don't trust shippers when they say they know what they are doing (especially low bid shippers).

Some stats on the canoe:

Length: 22.5'
Weight (fully assembled): 26 lbs.

Yes, 26 lbs. It is carbon fiber. By todays standards it is now considered a heavy canoe. :eek:

I finally got the time to try to repair the canoe. So here is the report with some pix. It is a good thing my workshop is 32' long because the canoe took up most of it.

The crack, which was just aft of the seat, went almost all the way around the canoe. There was only 4" of circumference not cracked.

View of the crack from the side:

crack-side.jpg



My plan was to cut an access hole in the aft deck so I could fiberglass the inside of the crack. I cut the hole with a dremel and used my shop vac to suck up the dust:

cutting.jpg


Opening the hole gave some insight to the canoe's construction. I had no idea there was foam insulation providing vertical support. They had cut holes through the insulation to reduce weight:

hole.jpg


It was now ready for fiberglass (you can see the jigs I made to sit on saw horses and hold the canoe steady):

start-glass.jpg



I put two crossed layers of fiberglass on the inside and two more on the outside of the crack and glassed over the hatch cover I had cut out. I also did some epoxy repairs to a lot of other little dings and cracks on the whole boat and ama (outrigger).

It was probably overkill, but I certainly dont need to be surfing the canoe and have a wave crash on the rear deck and snap the canoe in half. I could have spent more time with layers of epoxy and sanding to make the repair pretty, but summer is burning so it looks good from far but far from good.

glass.jpg


glass-side.jpg


I decided that I had had enough of the animal print maroon / black finish so I painted it two tone with a blue hull and white deck:

painting.jpg


painted.jpg


Repaired, painted, and assembled:

canoe.jpg


On Sunday it was finally time to take her out on the water. Carmel agreed to paddle in support / salvage mode. I really didn't want to take it out solo. If it started sinking I wanted some chance of towing it back to shore so I could attempt to fix it again. Carmel also was nice enough to borrow her brother's waterproof camera and get some pix of me out on the maiden voyage.

da-canoe1.jpg



da-canoe2.jpg



HAAAAAAAA-WAIIAN!!!


(well, Portagee)


I have to say that the canoe seemed much more tippy than I remember it to be. I thought I was going over for sure several times. I'm sure I just need some more time on it to get used to it again, but at this point I can not believe I surfed that thing in Hawaii.

The tricky thing with the canoe is when the outrigger is on the upwind side - if the outrigger bounces up off of the chop the wind just grabs it flings it over your head and you huli (roll over) before you know it. Heading out I had the ama (outrigger) on the upwind side and I was pretty sure I was going to huli but I didn't. That was mainly due to me highly overcompensating by leaning into the outrigger side - way more than I probably needed to. It's all a matter of practice.

We went behind a rock penninsular and got out of the wind and played with the boat some more. Carmel tried the boat out and managed not to huli. That was followed up by lounging in the sun on the nice sand beach and an ice cold beer. For a second I thought I was back in Hawaii.

I then huli'ed the canoe on purpose and practiced the re-entry procedure. It is not straightforward. The canoe is leashed to your ankle in case you lose contact with it when you flip. Since the canoe is so light, any wind would blow the canoe away faster than you could possibly swim to get it back. The leash goes from the iako (outrigger arm - metal pole in my case) to your ankle. The catch is that you will never fall off on the outrigger side. You will always huli the boat and fall on the other side. You then flip the boat back over. Now the leash goes over the top of the boat and to your ankle. But you have to go under the boat and re-enter the boat from the outrigger side. So you have to hold onto the boat and your paddle, undo the leash from your ankle, duck your head under the boat and come up between the boat and the outrigger, pull the leash over to the proper side of the boat, reattach the leash to your ankle, hold the paddle and the rear iako (arm) with your left hand, grab the boat in front of the seat with you right hand, and haul your self out of the water and drop your butt in the seat, lean left (keep your weight on the outrigger), put your feet in the foot wells and sit up. So I huli'ed on purpose and reaquainted myself with the procedure.

On the return trip the wind had picked up and there was a small sea running. I was pretty glad that the outrigger was on the downwind side for this leg. The waves were big enough that I had several break over the boat and dump in my lap. I was happy that I had practiced the re-entry. But I managed not to huli and made it back.

So....same old boat, new ocean (for the boat). Pretty sweet to be finally back on the water on an outrigger. It is like a slice of Hawaii at home. Although unlike Hawaii I will most likely not be going out for a paddle in January.

Aloha

- darren
 

Paradox

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Looks like a great job on a very lightweight hull. :)

The blue and white makes it look much more Newenglandee

From the photos it looks like your weight is placed quite a ways forward on the hull with lots of flotation aft. Does this give more stability when surfing?

Say, where did you get the VftT sticker? :D
 
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Jay H

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Awesome, and I was going to compliment you on the VFTT sticker. :) I think it's time for a new avatar, I think you had your other SINK in your avatar when I first joined VFTT many years ago.

Glad you managed to repair that baby, must of been really pissed when it arrived damaged...

Nice paint job, I guess with the leash this might be moot. How is the visibility with the white deck, they always seem to get lost on the water, or the blue hull if the OC is upside down?

Jay
 

darren

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Paradox - I think you are seeing some distortion created by the wide angle lens that I used to fit the whole canoe into the shot - it makes the aft end look a little longer. The floatation is pretty balanced. The bow is wider than the aft end so has more floatation over length. When you surf it you need to lean back to help pull the bow out of the water. I learned that via OJT on my first wave. I caught the wave and was psyched until I saw the bow dive down under the water. I realized "oh crap I need to lean back". I did and was very relieved to see the bow come up and back on top of the water.

Jay - I was limited on color based on the all surface spray paint I used. They had white, black, grey, blue, and hunter green. So I went with the white and blue. White is good for the deck because it reduced the heat load. I figured blue would be good for the bottom because it will hide scratches better. The white seems very visible on the water, although I guess it would disappear in white caps.

Aloha

- darren
 

Gris

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hey

the Bill swell is coming better get ready!

if i were you I'd consider 'cheating' and somehow weighting either the rigger or the yak so that it wants to lean to the rigger... ;)
 

darren

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Carmel and I went out again last night after work for a sunset paddle. We did about 7 miles and due to a tide chart error (chart said high tide was at 7 and the tide was still coming in heavy 8???) and a SE wind that would not quit, we had quite a challenging paddle back to the truck. It was a real workout.

I felt a lot more comfortable on the canoe though. I never felt like I was going over. So that is good. I did have some problems with my left leg falling asleep though. I'm going to try adding some more padding to the seat.

Don't think I will be ready for hurricane swells by this weekend though.

Aloha

- darren
 

Jay H

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Re: left leg, looking at your pictures, your outrigger is on the left, so sounds to me, it's just a natural tendency, especially in rough seas to lean that way..

BTW, you need a much more colorful Hawaiin shirt when you go paddling that thing, that white shirt is just too plain. :)

..and maybe you need to mount a tiki lamp on it or some flaming torch..

Jay
 

Gris

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Bill

leading edge of the swell hit this morning. waves about chest high. forecast is long OH lines all weekend. pics this weekend... :)
 
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