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Double Canoes:
Some time ago, I helped create the first outrigger camp for kids on the East Coast (it was a GREAT month-long experience especially when you consider we had an entire island to ourselves!). The only catch was we had to get from the mainland to our island, about 3 miles away, on our own twice a week. Not just with kids, who had never even seen a canoe (let alone paddled one), but with the weekly supplies we needed. The answer was to lash our two canoes into one double-hulled canoe. This rigging allowed us to pack literally EVERY cubic inch of hull space with supplies, equipment and people INCLUDING atop the iako. You might expect this would almost swamp the craft but the draft of the hulls was negligible. The iako were not overly stressed because the primary function of iako is simply to keep the hulls upright. The weight of passengers and cargo was supported by hull displacement. The craft was perfectly stable and the maneuverability was not so different than that of a single hulled outrigger.

For new clubs, training can be done with a single OC-6 and if you have a little more money, a coach can "hitch" a ride on an OC-1 placed between the iako and the ama and hull (of course he could sit just behind the steersman, though this could make for an unstable ride or on/near the wae though this could be uncomfortable). With a few more dollars (and members), get a second OC-6. There is no real need for specialized strait iako (though this would be preferable especially if training on slightly rougher water). The double-hulled rigging is extremely stable and is the best configuration for training (especially for unifying paddling styles and training steersmen).

The Hulls:
The double hulled configuration is absolutely ideal for training purposes especially where novices are concerned. Do they need to be identical? Not really, though this would be ideal. No real "toeing-in" is necessary with different hull designs. On the other hand, if you want to see how compatible they are, you need a patch of glassy water. Have everyone take a few strokes and gunnel the paddles. If the canoe continues on a strait course, it's fine.

The Iako:
Again, specialized strait iako are preferred (particularly in anything but very flat water). These are iako with essentially the same construction as iako used for single hulled configuration, but they are laminated giving greater strength. If these are not available, you could use four 2"x4" pieces of wood (two forward, two aft like I did) or two 4"x4" pieces of wood. The wood should be clean, that is, absolutely NO knots. Knots may be harder than the surrounding wood, but it is actually a weak point!

Iako Length:
The length of the iako depends on you. I find allowing for enough room between the hulls for a paddler to do to paddle is enough. For me, that is about 4 feet overall iako length (about 1 foot over each hull and about two feet between the hulls).

Distance Between Hulls:
It has been suggested in the past that greater distance between the hulls gives greater stability. Though this is true, I find it is unnecessary to have iako that are more than 4-5 feet in length. The reason is the double-hulled configuration is so inherently stable. I have taken a double-hulled canoe out onto open ocean (about sea-state 3) using 2"x4"s with no problem.

It has also been suggested that more distance between the hulls helps to prevent a luma'i (capsize). This may also be true, though I suggest if you are out in seas heavy enough to capsize a double-hulled outrigger you shouldn't be out there in a double canoe in the first place! Be that as it may, should the double-hull capsize, it would be easier to right a double-hull that is lashed closer together rather than farther apart.

Then there is the practical reason for lashing the hulls closer together. When training new paddlers with their strokes, an experienced paddler can easily show technique up-close-and- personal, even reaching across to position the novices paddle if necessary. If it's time to reshuffle the paddlers into different seats, having the hulls closer together makes this much easier too. Teaching new steersmen is also much easier for the same reasons stated above. The only time I can think where spacing the hulls farther apart is an advantage, is when demonstrating water changes or having both hulls paddle on the inside.

Start with your standard lashing at each wae. If you have the specialized iako I mentioned above, you're done. If you are using the wood dimensions mentioned above, I would also use a "round-lashing." This is basically a lashing that ties the two pieces of wood to each other (assuming that's the route you choose). There are several styles of this kind of round lashing and when I get around to drawing a diagram and mailing it to Danno, we'll have it posted for you. The reason for a round lashing is precautionary. It helps distribute the stress/tourqe the iako may have to endure. It incidentally, not only keeps the "pieces" and hulls together in the unlikely event the iako should break, but if someone needs to walk across them it keeps the surface from being slippery.

Handling and Maneuverability:
Handling a double in slightly rolling seas is fairly easy. Taking a swell from the front/back or port/starboard is a piece of cake since the canoe is experiences no unusual stresses. It's taking a swell from the corners that can be worrisome. As a swell passes, the hulls do not naturally move in unison. There is a kind of torquing/twisting that happens (however slight. The danger is not just to the iako, but to the lash- points of the hulls themselves at the wae. Prudence dictates that the steersman/men should be aware of this at all times!

Maneuverability is also fairly easy. One steersman is all that is needed though is some odd situations it is conceivable that two could be better. If paddling and steering alone in the left #6, you notice that you take more steering strokes on the right. This is because there is more drag on the right hull so a stroke on the left will swing you right faster. Steering is like wise effected. A deeper/longer poke on the right will have a more profound effect than on the left.

Righting a Double-Hull:
In the highly unlikely event a double should capsize, the crew should line-up on the outside of one hull. Then simultaneously, mount the hull and force it under the other while reaching for the far gunnel (be sure everyone stays on the outside of the hulls, not between). When the canoe is righted, you can start bailing.

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