[singlepic id=366 w=250 h=450 float=none]Double-hulled canoe, Drua
A small drua about to cavu, which involves lifting the sail from one end of the main hull, sliding it along to slot into the other end, thereby changing direction. Small double canoes continued to be made into the second half of the 20th century.
Photographed by Father J.B. Neyret, 1931-35
Fiji. Collected by J. Hornell. P.43887.HNL
Drua travelled long distances throughout Western Polynesia. During the early/mid 19th century, some of these measured over 30 metres in length and were capable of carrying well over 100 men. Refinements in the design and construction of these remarkable vessels incorporated specialist knowledge and skills developed throughout the Pacific region. The Fijian feature of having unequally sized hulls facilitated handling. Hulls were constructed of logs, bored and fitted with ribs and lashed together with coir binding.
The method of planking was introduced into the Lau region of Fiji in the second half of the 18th century by canoe-builders of Samoan origin. Performance was greatly improved by the adaptation of Micronesian rigging and a flexible sail plan, whereby the canoe became amphidromous and could move forward in either direction. A house and platform, typically reserved for chiefs and their retinue, was centrally positioned on top of the deck.