Nice Malagasy outrigger canoe

I confess to an act of embezzlement against my employer, Forum One Communications. In passing through the kitchen a saw a stack of holiday cards and one caught my eye, for obvious reasons, so I pilfered it for my office wall:

Malagasy outrigger canoe

The card came from a client of ours, the MacArthur Foundation (of “genius grants” fame) and showcased a pretty interesting grantee of theirs, Blue Ventures, which does ecotourism / voluntourism expeditions to a number of places, including Southwest Madagascar. That area is, apparently, the home port for this boat.

A couple things grab me about the boat:

  1. The stern treatment is pretty interesting. I wonder if it is just flair or if it evolved form a purpose? Any ideas?
  2. In looking at some other pictures on the the Blue Ventures site, I think the canoes are dugouts with added planks, though I am not totally convinced. The one in this picture almost looks like it could be a bark canoe, which would be quite something.
  3. The man is standing on the starboard rail. How can he not be flipping the boat? If I did that with AL DEMANY CHIMAN I’d be soaking wet before I got the second foot off the floor boards. Is the wa’a simply canted away to port very strongly? Is the ama so heavy and far outboard that it provides sufficient righting moment? I can’t figure this out. The man looks like he is not at all concerned, though, as if its commonplace.

Thoughts, folks?

5 Comments for “Nice Malagasy outrigger canoe”


Traditional outrigger canoes usually have quite heavy solid wood amas and additional framework spanning the crossbeams. All of this gives them more initial stability than modern recreational outriggers. The need to easily disassemble and carry a canoe on roof racks has contributed to them being built much lighter.

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