Outrigger Canoe


The purpose of rigging is to tie together the three

main parts of the canoe–the hull (the main part of the
canoe), the iako (the two wooden booms that connect
the hull and the ama) and the ama (the wooden float
that lies parallel to the hull and floats in the water).
“We use cotton cord string to tie everything together,”
says Walter Guild, Board member, paddler,
former Head Coach and longtime member of the Canoe
Racing Committee who spent many years in
charge of the racing equipment.
“We use cotton because \-\Then it gets \-vet, it shrinks
and binds everything together tightly:
All cord used for rigging is pre-stretched around a
fixed object before it’s used to rig a canoe.
It takes about 50-feet of cord to tie each ama to the
iako, and about 60-feet of cord to tie each iako to the hull.
Rigging a canoe takes at least two people.
Leveling the Hull
The first step in rigging a canoe is to level the hull.
The crew places a carpenter’s level across the hull to
make sure it’s level.
This is necessary so that the canoe will float properly
when it’s in the water.
The next step is to tie the iakos to the boat with
rubber strips to hold them in place.

Then, the ama is placed in the cradles and given a
visual check to make sure it is properly aligned.
First the Ama
One person holds the ama, while the other begins
the tieing process. The cord is wrapped around the
peg on the iako in a figure eight. It crosses either in
Iront of the peg or in back of it.
Every time it crosses, it locks the cord under it in
place. Should a string break, it can’t unravel because
It’S locked in by the cord on top.
The cord is pulled as tightly as possible.
The cord is then wrapped around the previous lashing
between the iako and ama to cinch it in place and
then is tied off.
A string is tied from one iako to the other to keep
them from moving. The newer ama have holes in
them so that a string isn’t necessary.
The ama is always tied the same way.

Ama Placement
Once the ama is tied, the distance between the hull
and ama is adjusted depending on the water conditions
and the size of the crew using the boat.
The distance between the hull and the ama varies
from 66 to 70 inches from the outside gunnel of the
canoe to the center of the ama.
“The farther out the ama is, the more stable the
canoe is,” Guild said. ··ft has a catamaran effect. The
closer in the ama is, it acts as a single hull sort of
boat. It’s less stable, but gives a higher performance.
“The rigging really depends on the water and wind
conditions. We usually make allowances for the crew
in how we wedge the hull. We usually rig the Leilani
light for the kids, and the Kaoloa heavier for the open

Iako to the Hull
It takes two people to tie the iako to the hull.
The process s tarts by finding the mid point in the
cord and looping it around the wae (the wooden block
inside the hull which spreads the gunnels apart and
on which the iako sits).
There are different sets of holes in the gunnel so
that the wae can be moved forward or back depending
on the ama that is used.
‘ Once we find the best place for the iako, we usually
leave it there,’ Guild said.
Each person then takes one piece of the cord and
begins lashing the iako to the hull, always pulling the
cord as tightly as possible. (See photos on page 4.)
The cord is wrapped through the gunnels and
around the iako and wae, in a figure eight pattern.
The wrap is finished by again securing the cord to the
wae, and then all of the cords are cinched together
and tied off.



Once the rigging is complete, water is poured on
the cord so that the tightening process can begin.
It takes 30-45 minutes to rig each canoe on race day.
-Marilyn Kali

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