Thursday, 26 December 2013

Julie took a photo of me returning from a rowing trip on the HokiangaHarbour.

This image was taken by Julie this afternoon (Boxing Day 2013)
I rowed across the harbour to one of the ancient Maori Pa sites within sight of our house.
I'll post some images from the trip shortly.

Modifications and additions to Paddle's rowing set up.

After several test outings I've refined the rowing geometry to suit me. I've tilted my handlebar rowing frame aft a little to orient the row locks further from my seat. This gives me a full boat length between sweeps of the oars and lots more power. I've also built two foot rests that fit under the aft seat gunnel tubes. They are tapered to fit in a way that allows for adjustment to suit different sized rowers. They are screwed into place through the tubes. 

Paddle has revealed himself to be a particularly good rowboat. 

I'll continue with the modifications to include a simillar sailing rig set up to Lookfar. The additions are not in conflict with each other in any way as the lee boards fit forward of the rowing frame and the mast cassette is located in the front thwart.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Paddle takes me on a rowing trip up the Omanaia River.

"Paddle to The Sea" with his rowing frame and modified thwart lashed into place ready to row.

Over the last few weeks I've been refining an accessory to my Coleman Canoe that I called "Paddle to the sea"

I recently purchased a length of 50mm, (2 inch to you Americans) stainless steel exhaust tubing. I had it bent by a local automotive exhaust specialist on their tube bender. I provided a profile which I roughed out in scrap plywood with a jig saw to fit in the hull, slightly aft of the centre support beam tube.

As with Lookfar, I modified the crossbeam tube by removing it, cutting two aluminium gussets to fit in the same bolting pattern as the tube to gunwhale connection. I rotate the tube so the folded tube crimps point upward and bolt them to my fabricated, 3mm aluminium plate gussets. This allows me to drop the cross tube 75 mm (3 inches) below the gunwhale. 

I then fabricated a plywood thwart seat the same as with Lookfar, which when inverted, looks somewhat like the tail plane assembly of a light aircraft. I lashed this seat on to the centre cross beam (see the photographs).


plastic rowlocks like these are low cost but are noisy and very flexible, I chose them because they were inexpensive however I plan to replace them with metal ones before I try again.
Here you see a detail of my lashing and a glimpse of my gusset which supports the canoe's central cross tube.

A view beneath the assembly showing the method I used to locate the vertical spine of the thwart seat assembly onto the keel tube.
The rowing frame which resembles an oversize handlebar for a motorbike, was lashed in to place when I modified the cross beam. The outrigger tube lashed behind  the cross beam and the lower part of the outrigger tube in front of the vertical support post tube. This cants the outrigger tube aft giving me the ideal offset for ergonomic rowing and perfect lashing opportunities to best support the whole assembly against the significant lever forces induced by vigorous rowing.

I've used a pair of 2.4 meter, 8 foot oars.

I found the ideal ergonomic row lock positions in and old boat handling manual from my late father's library. 1500 mm (four foot four inches) between row locks, (for eight foot oars), 300 mm, (one foot) outboard of the gunwhales, row lock position, 160mm, (seven inches) above rowing thwart seat, and 300 mm (one foot) aft of the thwart seat.

Seems to work OK, rows like a real one.
The apex of the triangle on the thwart seat points forward.
The handle bar similarity is emphasized in this image.

This really is one of the most versatile and enjoyable canoes I've ever owned, the possibilities are very exciting.

I find I can cover about half a boat length per oar stroke making this a very comfortable rowboat with plenty of power. I can accommodate two passengers as well as room for gear.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Paddle to the Sea.

Paddle to the Sea. illustration by Holling Clancy Holling. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston 1941
'You, Little Traveller! You made the journey, the Long Journey. You know the things I have yet you know. You, Little Traveller! You were given a name, a true name in my father's lodge. Good medicine, Little Traveller! You are truly a Paddle Person, a Paddle-to-the-Sea!'

I reflect on the nature of Journey. I was strongly, profoundly influenced by the writing and illustrations of this man Holling Clancy Holling and his wife Lucille.

The nature of The Journey has emerged for me throughout my life to reveal the metaphor so lovingly woven into the fabric of this timeless story. I think of my Children that I have released into the world, the way in which their achievements come back to me like miracles to show me that one man alone cannot know and do everything.

Paddle to the Sea. illustration by Holling Clancy Holling. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston 1941
These two images of Paddle to the Sea are from the book by the same name by Holling Clancy Holling.

I acquired a second Coleman canoe that will be named "Paddle to the Sea" in honour of the legacy left to me by Holling and Lucile.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

New use for Toroa's old sail.

I've been restoring a full scale model of an Asian elephant that I built many years ago (1992). To find out why go to
Don't worry the sail will get a new life once the elephant project is completed.

I had a dream last night that I lashed my two Ramex Coleman canoes together to make a small, double hull, Hawaiian style sailing canoe. Guess I'd better make it happen!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

I just found these old image files. Toroa off Milford Beach, Auckland

 Toroa off Milford, Auckland. Coloured pencil on paper 500mm X 650mm.
I gifted this image of me and Toroa to my oldest son Robert on his 21st birthday eight years ago.

Takapu sitting on the mud at Ngataringa Bay Auckland. Water colour on paper.
 This painting of Toroa is on the wall of my office at work to remind me of my connections.

Micronesian Canoe, Coloured pencil on paper.
This canoe caught my attention because of the hull and kiato structural relationship, part Marshallese, part Kiribati.

Gary Dierking's Te Wa. Water colour on paper.
 I painted this image after a stay with Gary and Rose, it hangs on their dining room wall.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Lookfar makes a summer trip

 A 3 meter high tide at 4 pm, a moderate southwesterly breeze, two more days of a three week family holiday left, time to go yachting.

I set off straight down the harbour from our waterside home on port tack into a rising 15 knot breeze. Bright sunshine sparkling off a short sharp chop with spray flicking over the windward rail. I love this little sailboat!

We sailed into the narrows between towering tree covered headlands, the wind funneling through, threatening to knock us over, I enjoy these conditions, reading the traces the wind leaves on the water so you can react in time with the sheet or the helm, deflecting the excess power, surging forward over a brisk incoming current.

Ease sheet, reach for an apple, a swig of water, my cell phone, snap some pictures fore and aft, sheet home, surge forward again.
View from Lookfar back toward Rawene. Our home is at the far left of the houses spread over the low point in the distance.

View forward from Lookfar toward the harbour mouth.

With the wind still rising I decided to go ashore at an appealing spot where native trees spill down and blend  with mangroves on the shore line. Two black back gulls circle with threatening calls and gestures, this is their place not mine.
Large concretions, spherical boulders line the beach like forgotten, over sized cannon balls.

Top the mainsail and tie off Lookfar on a mangrove sapling.
Lookfar tied off to a mangrove sapling, sail braided up.

Lookfar and native bush backdrop.

I stretch out in the semi shade of a large puriri tree and take in the beauty of my surroundings. Snap a couple of pics of the canoe, finish a chocolate bar.

I promised Julie I would return at the top of the tide in time for her swim. Julie is responsible for these pictures of our return 2 hour later. Fantastic little outing!

Lookfar on a broad reach for home
Nearly there, spill some wind.
Ease myself out.
Time to pack up.

Toroa by Harmen Hielkema & Mike Toy.

Header Photo: Toroa at Rawene by Julie Holton.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my father Roelof Hielkema who instilled in me the willingness to learn.
These pages are intended to inform and add to the growing body of knowledge concerning the Canoe Culture of the Pacific, past, present & future, from the Tupuna, the Ancestors of the Pacific cultures to the people of the world.

These pages contain Images and text relating to our two proas, Toroa & Takapu, some history relating to our experiments & experiences.

The dissertation that I posted on this blog in April 2008 "Takapu The Proa" was written by me in 1997 in response to an assignment that I was set whilst studying for my design degree. The dissertation covers many issues that a proa enthusiast may benefit from reading about.

Waka define culture as culture defines waka

Waka reflect the individuality and uniqueness of a society which in turn is governed by the geography, geology, topography, climate, location, resources, isolation, origin, flora, fauna, flotsam, jetsam, etc.

Waka are our link to the past, they have shaped our present and define our future.

Waka are the vessels of knowledge, physical and mental development, freedom of bondage to the land, key to our inquisitiveness, expressions of our ingenuity and courage, our love of shape and form, the seat of our power.

Waka are the source of our material culture, from which all processes are derived.

Waka are who and what we are.