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Polynesian catamaran

Polynesian catamaran

Polynesians travelled huge distances with their specially designed boats.

History

Keywords

Polynesian catamaran, catamaran, Polynesia, sailboat, water transport, shipping, navigation, discovery, Pacific Ocean, island, Islands, explorer, watercraft, settlement, sail, antiquity, prehistory, history

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Questions

  • What holds together the two hulls of a Polynesian catamaran?
  • In which ocean is Polynesia located?
  • How many hulls does a typical Polynesian catamaran have?
  • Is it true that the two hulls of a catamaran are parallel to each other?
  • Which is not one of the characteristics of Polynesian catamarans?
  • Which of the following is NOT located in the Pacific Ocean?
  • Which island / archipelago is not part of Polynesia?
  • Is it true that Polynesian war catamarans did not have sails?
  • What was the average length of Polynesian catamarans?
  • Where did the first Polynesian people come from (according to the most accepted theory)?
  • When did the migration from Taiwan, during which the first settlers arrived in Polynesia, take place?
  • When did the first people settle in Polynesia?
  • What is a catamaran?
  • What was the maximum speed of Polynesian catamarans?
  • Why were the bow and the stern sections of Polynesian catamarans identical?
  • Where is the mast located on catamarans?

Scenes

Catamaran

Top view

Deck

Construction

  • kia hope (aft mast)
  • kia mua (forward mast)
  • pola (deck)
  • pueo (horn)
  • pa'a (sail)
  • 'ō'pea (spar)
  • cordage
  • wooden beams
  • manu hope (stern endpiece)
  • paleakana (safety rails)
  • kuamo'o (hull)
  • pale wai (splashguard)

Development of the catamaran

  • dugout boat (a canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk)
  • dugout boat with outrigger
  • two dugout boats tied together into a double canoe
  • catamaran

Map

  • Taiwan
  • The Philippines
  • Melanesian islands
  • Fiji
  • Samoa
  • Marquesas Islands
  • Hawaii
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Micronesia
  • Melanesia
  • Polynesia

Animation

  • kia hope (aft mast)
  • kia mua (forward mast)
  • pola (deck)
  • pueo (horn)
  • pa'a (sail)
  • 'ō'pea (spar)
  • cordage
  • wooden beams
  • manu hope (stern endpiece)
  • paleakana (safety rails)
  • kuamo'o (hull)
  • pale wai (splashguard)
  • Taiwan
  • The Philippines
  • Melanesian islands
  • Fiji
  • Samoa
  • Marquesas Islands
  • Hawaii
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Micronesia
  • Melanesia
  • Polynesia

Narration

Based on a 19th-century classification, the western region of the Pacific is divided into three parts: Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. About 4,000 years ago, a large-scale Austronesian migration began from the island of Taiwan. According to the most accepted theory currently, it was a late wave in this migration period in which Polynesia was first settled about 3,000 years ago.

Since the islands could only be reached by sea, the construction of sea vessels and navigation played a key role in the life of Polynesians. One of their typical vessel types was the catamaran.

Polynesian catamarans developed from dugout canoes; two parallel hulls of equal size were attached by wooden beams. The result was a fast and stable vessel with a shallow draught. Catamarans usually had both paddles and masts with sails. The masts were placed at an equal distance between the two hulls.

The fastest Polynesian catamarans could excel to a speed of up to 12 knots. Interestingly, the bow and stern were the same shape. This, together with the structure of the boat and the sails, made it possible to swap the ends of the vessel.

Catamarans were made in various sizes, depending on their usage. The longest ones were up to 40 m long and were used for transport and long-distance voyages. War catamarans were designed to be particularly fast, so they were narrow and had no sails.

These specially structured vessels have proven very efficient, as Polynesians have settled over a vast area, often travelling huge distances between the islands.

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