New stuff for outrigger canoe Short Dragon
October 15, 2013 -- Modifications to Short Dragon are winding down -- I had hoped -- but because of the tendency to
capsize with the taller main mast and bigger sail (compared to the original standing lug), I had to build a 'hasty safety
ama.' This was done by cutting down (ouch!) the curved box-beam amas I made specially for the Everglades Challenge
(2011) used to carry the twin inflatable amas. These worked very well, but my bias is toward wooden stuff, stuff I need
not re-inflate, and for which I need not worry a random thug will slash if a switch blade as the boat sits in the driveway of
my semi-urban house.
I include a photo of this rough safety ama below -- it worked well, but the attachments were a little crude, and the time to
set up was irksome. I could, though, sail the boat pretty much as a trimaran, since I could stay in the cockpit. The
safety ama is carried ~14 inches over flat water, so in reality, in rough coastal water, the boat was a trimaran much of the
time on the port tack.
So I set about to build a wooden safety ama that would telescope inward for trailering, and might be a bit easier to set up.
The new ama was to be a Deep-V type like my permanent single-outrigger ama -- an aesthetic match. I sized it a little
smaller -- 11 feet long, 12 inches wide max, 12 inches deep max. I estimated the volume was enough to be workable,
though I might have to sit on the port side-seat on the crossbeams while on the port tack. As yet, no sea trials (October
15, 2013) but I hope to get out again before ice at the ramp precludes launching as December and January come by. The
construction photos for the new ama are shown below. It is pretty light.
I built the safety ama out of wood scavenged from the crude but noble (in his service) Victor T proa, shown on the
website here. The pieces to that proa weathered outside for the last few years until I cut it up. I saved a few section of
the marine fir plywood topsides, big enough to be useful for something. The condition was still very good. For this
project I trimmed them, butt-strap scarfed them, and cut the deep-V ama profile. I tried to sand down to bare wood, but,
to the credit of exterior latex, I must say that old paint remained stubborn. I gave up and just painted it all over as the ama
came together. It looks OK as a low-res photo, but up close it is evident that the wood was all salvage wood abd not
finished to decent quality. What the Hell! It is an interim piece of work, because the Gary Dierking 20 foot outrigger
Tamanu project will coming into being next year. Short Dragon need only give service a couple or three years depending
on my ambition.
My other project, the car-top outrigger, is next after this safety ama is rigged. I meant the car-topper for Everglades
Challenge 2014, but it looks now as if it won't be ready for that :-(
Roughing up the safety ama from scavenged wood of Victor T.
Safety ama, first coat of paint.
Short Dragon with the new-ish rig, which I soon found will
capsize to starboard in a disappointing minor gust if I am
not on that side seat. Even on the side-seat, that 'shroud
outrigger' is catching too much water as gusts knock us
down enough to drag it. Thus, the addition of the hasty
inflatable outrigger to starboard. Bantam Lake 2012
Short Dragon at New Haven,
September 2013, with the inflatable
safety ama. It works quite well but its
gawkiness and mismatch somewhat
disturbs my sensibilities.