The Pacific Proa
I've spent some time considering which vessel (including it's builders and sailors) to honour as the last one in this blog, and chose for one of the oldest and most unpretending vessels on the face of the earth, the Proa. Yet it helped populate the thousands of islands in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean and is (yes, it's alive and kicking) the refined ancestor of the fastest sailing ships of our time, the catamaran and trimaran.
Yet it is, in it's complex simplicity, just a dug-out canoe with an outrigged smaller canoe or log, and a so-called crab-claw rig, it's sail made of woven pandanus-leaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandanus). It is able to sail fore- and backward with the same ease and speed, always has the same side to windward and tacks by shunting the single sail (see the video on SailTube).
The main canoe is a-symmetrical, with a slightly concave lee-side to counteract drift, and a convex windward side.
If you want better, enlightening in-depth information, please visit Harmen Hielkema's blog, from which I took the above picture: http://harmenhielkema.blogspot.com/2008/04/takapu-proa-dissertation.html.
You can also go there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proa.