The Pacific 16 - reviving the outrigger sailing canoe

September 06, 2014

The latest launch from the Makai Project shop is merging ancient Polynesian tradition with modern technology and design for something we like to call the Pacific 16. In partnership with multi-hull building legend, Michael Bell of Offshore Catamarans, this versatile 16’ sailing canoe is the perfect way to connect with the deep blue.Completely demountable, the Pacific 16 sailing canoe has been designed to construct/breakdown in minutes, while every component—main hull, ama, mast and crossbeams, as well as rigging—fits on top of standard car roof racks, i.e. No trailer, no boat slip, no boat ramp, no problems.

This outrigger canoe can be built and launched anywhere, from the beach to the riverbank, and every body of water in-between. Completely customizable, the Pacific 16 can be built to suite your personal wants and needs. Looking for a double-hulled cruiser? You got it. Want a trimaran, why not? Using a combinations of hulls and amas (the smaller hull), rigging and propulsion source, the Pacific 16 can be built up into five distinct vessels: Paddle Surf Outrigger Canoe, Motored Outrigger Canoe; Sailing Outrigger Canoe, Catamaran (two main hulls), Trimaran (two amas, one main hull), allowing for the boat to grow with your skill level and boating needs.

The Revival

The Pacific 16 is part of the outrigger canoe revival, borrowing and enhancing on techniques from the ancient Polynesians. We intend to bring that revival to the east coast, offering a very simple way to experience what it’s like to enjoy the water while only hearing the sound water splitting the hull.

This outrigger is a modern take on the ancient Samoan tacking outrigger canoe. It consists of two hulls, the main larger canoe and the smaller outrigger (called an ama). This style of canoe dates back over a thousand years. T hese sailing canoes were used to explore the Pacific at a time where only paddling existed; this revolution is akin to the invention of the wheel in Asia and Europe.


Originally, the canoes were built from island materials such as plaited leaf sails, island woods, and organic webbing. The Pacific 16’s hulls are built from glass-reinforced and carbon fiber-reinforced polymers, and the sail is made from Dacron/Polytarp.


The Pacific 16 supports a varied number of setups, some lighter, some heavier, but can be adjusted to suit your style. Looking for a lighter, more casual setup? Go for a polynesian/sunfish style. Looking for a more aggressive ride? Go with a larger sail offering more surface area for the wind without a boom. The kit includes one rigging option. Michael Bell, will work with you in order to find the right fit for you.


  • Ultra-light Composite Construction
  • Total Dimensions: 16’ long x 12’ wide
  • Main hull: 16’ L x 23” H x 27” W (two dry lockers)
  • Ama: 14’ L x 15” H x 8” W
  • Crossbeams: 12’ aluminum tubing
  • Mast: 12’
  • Rigging: Options Vary
  • 7' x 7' trampoline/net
  • 3 aluminum benches: 8'
  • Under 200 lbs Total Weight with Rigging
  • 600lbs capacity
  • Outboard Motor Capability
  • 100% Demountable
  • All components fit on Standard Roof Racks
  • Build-up/Break-down within 45 minutes

Be part of the revival

You can find more about how you can take part by checkout out the Makai Project here.