Va’a Motu, a Tahitian Sailing Canoe
Gary Dierking has completed plans for his new Va’a Motu, a 20’ Tahitian-style sailing outrigger canoe. As usual for Gary Dierking’s work, the boat is a clever amalgam of traditional Pacific design and modern construction materials and methods. The canoe features a low, wave-piercing bow and a tall, upswept stern, wave-piercing ama, and a high aspect, fully battened marconi rig. Plans are US $135.00 plus $15.00 for international air mail postage, available now from Gary’s site.
The va’a motu (island canoe) was the highest development of the Tahitian outrigger sailing canoe. At the time of the first European contacts, the golden age of bold voyaging was over, but there were enough remaining artifacts for artists of the time to give us some idea of what their sailing canoes were like. The va’a motu was not the large ocean crossing vessel used for migration but rather the everyday tool used to provide protein from the sea and for commerce between nearby islands. The va’a motu has several interesting characteristics that differentiate it from other canoes in Oceania.