About : Design Of The Canoe

Design of the Canoe

New York Outrigger has a fleet of OC6 canoes. “OC” meaning Outrigger Canoe and “6” meaning that it sits six people. The canoes (the wa’a) are approximately forty five feet long. Historically of wood construction, the modern canoes are a composite of glass-reinforced plastic, carbon and epoxy. While modern fabrications of the traditional koa wood canoes often weigh over 1,000 pounds, the composite material boats can weigh 200 pounds or less. A long, thin stabilizer also made of fiberglass (the ama) is lashed to the port side of the main hull by wood struts (the ‘iakos). It is this outrigger assembly that gives the canoe its distinctive look and stability. Rated as ocean-going vessels, the ability for the outrigger canoe to maneuver through rough ocean waves is dependent on the ability and strength of the six paddlers powering it.

The boats seat six paddlers. Each paddler has a distinctive role but all work in unison to move the boat smoothly, quickly and efficiently. The person sitting in the first seat from the bow is called the stroke. The stroke sets the pace for the rest of the crew to follow. Seats two and four, sitting just in front of the wood ‘iakos that connect the ama to the canoe, have the responsibility of being aware of the surrounding conditions and keeping the outrigger canoe stable. Every other person paddles on alternating sides, (ie – if seats one, three and five are paddling on the left, seats two, four and six are paddling on the right to keep the boat balanced). Seat three calls changes to let everyone know when to switch sides. Seat five provides additional power needed to move the boat and aids the steersperson in complicated maneuvers. Seat six is the steersperson and captain of the crew. Just like the ancient Polynesians, a good crew requires strength, stamina, teamwork and skill to survive the rough ocean waters.

In addition to our fleet of OC6 canoes, New York Outrigger maintains a fleet of OC1 and OC2 canoes seating one and two people respectively.