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Polynesian Boat Design

When Captain Cook arrived in Tahiti, Tahitians sailed out to greet them in double-hull boats that could sail circles around the H.M. Endeavour. Captain Cook’s artist made drawings of these boats and anthropologist quickly decided that this was the type of boat the Polynesians used to populate the Pacific Ocean. The Liki Tiki, the boat I built in Tahiti, was based on this theory. When I took Liki Tiki to sea, I realized it would never stay afloat during a storm. Reasons:

The theory of Polynesians populating the Pacific Ocean in double hull boats is wrong. They used outrigger canoes. With outriggers, the amount of strain on the lashings is limited to the amount of floatation in the outrigger. When the floatation reaches its maximum resistance, the outrigger goes under water. When forces that pushed the outrigger under water are eased, the outrigger comes back to the surface. What could be simpler?

The Liki Tiki Too was designed with this theory in mind. The logical hindsight of the theory arrived from a surprising source, the Indians in the Darien Jungle of Panama explained it to me after Liki Tiki failed. I did not think of it myself. Liki Tiki Too was designed with double outriggers and after 5,000 miles the system proved to be right.

A Note on Intelligence

My research on Liki Tiki came from the Bishop Museum in Honolulu and books written by people who had Ph.D. titles. I found their information on Polynesian ocean voyaging boats to be wrong. When I built Liki Tiki Too, I relied on information from the Indians in the Darien Jungle of Panama. Their information proved to be right. From this experience I have asked myself, "What is intelligence and who has it?"

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