100 canoes as Uto ni Yalo actions vision to speed up decarbonisation

The members who design and build the Uto Ni Yalo canoes.Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Uto ni Yalo Trust has embarked on an ambitious project to build 100 canoes by the end of the year.

Trust vice president Dwain Qalovaki said the first lot of 25 under the ‘100 Traditionally Designed Sailing Canoes Project’ would be completed by the end of the week.

“These six-metre sailing canoes are being built from plywood that has been fibre-glassed to ensure the flat-bottom vessels can safely navigate around shallow lagoons which are a prominent feature of Fiji,” Mr Qalovaki said.

“These canoes will use wind energy and paddling as propulsions.

“Towards the end of the year, we will distribute these canoes to communities that have some form of marine managed areas and that are looking to further their opportunities for ecotourism.”

He said the canoes were inspired by traditional Pacific boat building designs.

Joyce works on a canoe at the construction site. Picture: SUPPLIED/Dwain Qalovaki

“The cost of building four canoes is equivalent to one 23 foot fibreglass boat with a 40 horse-power engine.

“The aim of this project is to accelerate the decarbonisation of our national economy by supporting rural maritime communities.”

He said a unique feature of the canoes was with the design — airtight pockets would be built in with empty plastic bottles to provide buoyancy.

“All materials used for this project are sourced locally except for the sails, a few hinges, and ropes.”

He said an eight-member team was involved in building the 100 canoes.

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