Marshallese Outriggers – Sailing Innovation Beyond It’s Years

A self steering canoe that can cross five miles of lagoon in just 15 minutes. Magnificent, right? There’s truly nothing like a Marshallese Outrigger.

Rewuit, as they would call a toy model of a Marshallese Outrigger are often raced in the capital of the Republic of Marshall Islands known as Majuro. These models are miniatures of the sleek sailboat design fashioned by the residents of these islands thousands of years ago. Living in a nation which is 99% made of water, it is by instinct that these people would want to make sea travel fast and efficient. Their unique sailboat design consists of an asymmetrical hull that allows the vessel to move directly in the direction of the wind. It’s kabaak or outrigger is a shock absorbing system that improves the glide and efficiency of this boat’s sailing.

In an ideal day for sailing, locals gather in a windward bay called Rewuit Corner to sail their model Marshallese Outrigger. With a proper set-up, these model sailboats can steer itself in a straight line relative to the wind. When waves hit or knock it, it swerves back and instantly goes back to the right way! When gusts of wind come, they zoom away in incredible speed and yet still stay on course. The special relationship of the sail and outrigger creates a balance that whichever the direction of the wind comes from, these Rewuits will always stay on a straight course.

Generations of Marshallese outriggers were made by hand and virtually with no use of tools. With its hull made of breadfruit logs tied together by coconut strings and powered by a sail of pandanus leaves, only broken pieces of coral and sharpened clam shells were used in sawing and gouging. Making these canoes also require communal effort. A small fishing canoe that can carry one to two persons takes 8 months to make. Mid size vessels that can carry as much as 10 people takes a year to make. Full voyage canoes carrying a maximum of 50 people takes several years to make.

As these were means of transport and livelihood before, model Marshallese Outriggers or Riwuits are now often raced as a means of keeping the tradition of making these state of the art sailboats. They are very much treasured by a community that prides in the structural design that is remarkably fast and efficient, but also solely known as the Marshallese Outrigger.

The Joys of Sailing Your Own Sailboat

Sailing is both a recreational as well as functional activity for millions of people around the world. Often, when we think of sailing, we think about the massive ships that cruise the oceans, the yachts that race in competitions, and about the money it takes just to own one, let alone having enough friends or family who might be interested in going out on the water on any given day.

But sailing is so much more than that. It is about connecting with nature and being surrounded, and powered, by the forces that encompass us on a daily basis. It’s often easy to forget that such wonderful things are all around us when we drive to and from work, text on our phones, or merely walk through the grocery store to find something to eat. The world is abundant with the basic necessities and the promise of reconnecting with it.

Sailing doesn’t have to be a process requiring five, six, or even a dozen people to be successful. Small sailboats require only one person to cruise around calm waterways, such as rivers and inland lakes. Of course, whenever you have help, and company, the entire day can open up so many more possibilities.

Imagine bobbing gently in the cool water, the air calm, waiting for it to take its next breath. The sail ripples gently but you’re in no hurry and there’s not another boat or person in sight. All you hear are the distant sound of life and nature moving about in its perfect symbiotic way. You don’t concern yourself with gas prices, work problems, or difficulties in a relationship. Out here it’s only about relaxation.

Then the wind begins to build. It tugs on the mainsail or the jib and slowly the boat beneath you cuts through the water. The boat leans up gently and your hand is on the rudder, steering straight ahead. Soon the wind is in your face, brushing past you and that’s the only sound you hear aside from the occasional splash of water against the hull.

You move across the lake, catching every puff of breeze in the sails and you begin to laugh in delight. If you’re alone, you are loving every minute of it. If you’re with someone, you two share a special bond, knowing that this day couldn’t be any better. Sailing helps people to reconnect with not only their inner child and the joys we once embraced on a daily basis, but also with the world around us.

Sure, it takes some skills that can be learned relatively easy before launching for your first voyage, and they can also be discovered through the natural course of trying. Sailing has been a part of human culture for thousands of years and while in its infancy, sailing was more about function than recreation, there’s a reason why millions still enjoy taking to the water to await the next breeze to guide them through the silky glass waterways.

The art of sailing is open to everyone and if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out.

Sailing Skipper Secrets – How to Heave-To in Five Easy Steps

Need to take a break below in the cabin, grab a nap, grab a snack, make some coffee, or perhaps cook up a scrumptious gourmet meal? As a sailing skipper, you need to learn how to sail a boat well, but you must also know the vital skill of heaving to–or stopping the boat.

This simple technique will ease the violent motion of pitching and rolling, allow your sailing crew time to rest, and lessen the strain on costly boat sails and sailing rigging. And you will know a skill that has been used by sailors like yourself for hundreds of years in light sailing winds or howling ocean gale. Follow these five easy-to-learn steps:

1. Balance the boat to reduce heeling and weather helm. Reef the mainsail or reduce the headsail as necessary. Then, get onto a close hauled course on port tack.

2. Tack the boat, but leave the headsail sheets alone. Allow the jib or Genoa to backwind as the bow passes through the wind.

3. Push the sailboat tiller downwind and lash it down to hold it in place. If using a wheel, turn the sailboat wheel toward the wind and set the wheel break to hold it in place.

4. Adjust the mainsheet. You want the boat to make a zig-zag motion so that the mainsail tries to drive the boat up into the wind, but the backed headsail pushes the bow downwind. Your small cruising boat should sideslip to leeward at 1 to 2 knots of boat speed. This also creates a slick to windward to help calm breaking seas.

5. Raise the tack of the backed headsail. Before taking off on a a coastal or offshore cruise, get your sailmaker to make a few 18″ wire rope pendants with eyes in each end. In heavy weather, raise the tack of the headsail with a pendant before you heave to. This keeps the foot of the sail out of the way of seas that break aboard the boat and reduces stress on the sailing rigging.

Every sailing skipper needs to learn what it takes to get his or her small sailboat to heave to. Use these five easy steps to maintain complete control over your small cruising boat in any sailing weather that comes your way.

7 Basic Steps in Raising the Mainsail of a Sailboat For a Smooth Sailing Experience

To properly raise a sailboat’s mainsail, one should be able to do the following: familiarize the parts of the sailboat; locate all the sail sheets; point the boat into the direction of the wind; release the vang sheet and other supporting parts; announce when the sail is already raised; hoist the mainsail; and; make a final check on the mainsail for creases and luffs.

It is important to master the task of raising the sailboat’s mainsail properly. Once the mainsail is properly raised, your sailboat’s speed capacity can be maximized. Below are the easy procedure of properly raising the mainsail for a smooth and fast sailing:

Familiarize the parts of the sailboat

Always make sure that you know or at least familiar with the sailboat’s rigging mechanism. Know the important parts of the mainsail to effectively locate where the shackle and clew can be found. This is to make sure that you can properly attached all the supporting parts together before releasing the mainsail.

Locate all the sail sheets

Find all the sheets of the mainsail. Ensure that the sheets are complete for every sail. Also, locate the boat rope and halyard to easily prepare the sail for hoisting and decreasing or increasing the luff.

Point the boat into the wind direction

Point the boat in a direction where the wind directly blows over the sailboat’s bow. Before releasing the sail check if the wind indicator located on the boat’s mainmast is pointing forward. By doing this, raising the sail will be easier since the boat’s movement is minimized.

Release the vang sheet and other supporting parts

Release the vang that hold’s down the boom closer to the deck. This will make raising the sail easier. Also release the cunningham which pulls the sail downward the mast.

Announce when the sail is already raised

Always let everyone know that you are raising the sail. This is to ensure safety and to avoid any accidents while raising the sail. Remind the people in the sailboat to move away from the boom while the sail is being raise.

Hoist the mainsail

Confirm if everybody is on their position before giving the signal of raising the mainsail. Use a crank to pull the haylard for larger sailboats, while a cleat can be used in pulling the halyard for smaller boats. Slowly hoist the mainsail and check the sail slugs every time it is hard to hoist the sail. Ensure that the haylard is not jammed with anything and slowly pull it downward until the luff is tightened.

Make a final check on the mainsail for creases and luffs

Keep on raising the sail until its tip reaches the mast. Check for creases and luffs and fix it to properly unroll the sail. When the mainsail is properly hoisted, the halyard can already be cleated off. You can now start the boat to sail away.

Always follow the directions carefully,especially when hoisting the mainsail. Following these simple procedures will help you get ready for a smooth sailing journey.