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If you research fast sailing canoes on the web, the name Gary Dierking is going to come up. It’s inevitable.


Because Gary is not only an authority on these types of watercraft, he wrote a popular book that can be found on Amazon and a host of other places on how to build them.

As a matter of fact, I own a copy of Gary’s “Building Outrigger Canoes: Modern Construction Methods for Three Fast, Beautiful Boats.” And it’s a wealth of information.

Most of Gary’s canoes are Proas (sailing canoes with a single outrigger), but a couple of his models would be of interest to many small “do-it-yourself” small trimaran enthusiasts — the “Wa’apa” and the “Tamanu.”

(My interview with Gary about these boats is a featured chapter in Small Trimarans: An Introduction).

What is a Wa’apa? As Gary puts it, it’s very simply a “3-board-canoe” that originated in Hawaii and other Pacific islands around the late 1800’s, when sewn lumber became available. It’s supposedly a fairly easy-to-build type of trimaran.

The Tamanu is even more designed for “extreme” conditions. It truly has coastal ocean capabilities because of it’s added decking and self-bailing footwells.

As you can see from the video below, the Wa’apa glides along very nicely in the water. The footage was apparently taken during Watertribe’s Everglades Challenge race. And it sure looks like fun.