Experimental Voyaging<sup>*</sup>

Ben Finney

in Voyage of Rediscovery

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 1994 | ISBN: 9780520080027
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520913059 | DOI:
Experimental Voyaging*

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This chapter suggests the case that it would have enabled canoes in Polynesia to sail much better than Andrew Sharp and other critics allowed. Long voyages to windward made by tacking directly against the wind may have been out of the question for Polynesian mariners, but it seemed to the author that their canoes sailed well enough to windward to have cut obliquely across the wind to destinations which would have been beyond their reach if they could only sail before the wind. The chapter discusses a way to test the ability of a Polynesian double canoe to sail long slants across and slightly into the trade winds: the legendary voyaging track between Hawai'i and Tahiti by the catamaran Rehu Moana. In 1967, after completing the Nālehia tests, an article outlining how a traditionally navigated voyaging canoe could be sailed from Hawai'i to Tahiti and back was published.

Keywords: canoes; Polynesia; Andrew Sharp; sail; Hawai'i; Tahiti; catamaran; Rehu Moana; Nālehia

Chapter.  11517 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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