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Thread: Sailing Rig Options

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Gloucester
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    Default Sailing Rig Options

    Hi all,

    Someone I know who's a very skilled craftsman with anything wooden (among many other things he's built various strip, plywood, and wood and canvas boats and kayaks in the past) has offered to teach me how to make some stuff for my canoe over the next couple of months, as I was talking about how I wanted to put a sailing rig into my canoe, but have no DIY skills.

    Anyway, I was after some thoughts/opinions because I can't decide which way to go. I want something that sails well (and upwind), but that doesn't end up taking up too much storage space so it would never come out on long trips where I might be paddling for some days and sailing for others.

    I really like the look of the Solway Dory 30ft Lugsail rig, but think the length of the mast might prove hard to store when paddling, so the Solway Dory Expedition Rig looks like the other option. I really don't want to have to carry around a massive leeboard and rudder, so I've been wondering...

    1) Will the expedition rig sail upstream?
    2) Any ideas on stowing the lugsail mast? Would it be possible?
    3) I'm thinking of using a spare paddle as a leeboard. Would a standard square-ish bladed paddle be big enough? Would a pair be alright? Or would I need a big leeboard? The other alternative would be to make a leeboard that would fit under my centre seat (max length~30"), but would this be big enough?
    4) I'd like to make some kind of clamp that will hold the paddle about 45cm out from the side of the canoe so I can use it as a rudder. Will a paddle work well as a rudder? I assume it will for the expedition rig, but maybe not with the lugsail rig? Otherwise, any design ideas for anything that would store easily?

    I have seen the endless river and aiguille apline rigs, which have the advantage of being really compact and using a canoe pole, but will they sail into the wind? I have a sewing machine so could buy a pole and make something up, but I don't think I could do a better job than the commercial rigs.

    Any sage bits of wisdom (or unqualified advice) would be appreciated! (BTW, I'm also planning to make a wanigan or two while I'm at it... any other suggestions for useful wood-based craft projects let me know)

    Amelia

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi Amelia,

    I tend to think of canoe sailing rigs as a continuum, at one end of the continuum you have very light weight rigs (eg an umbrella), at the other end you have heavy rigs that enable you to sail fast upwind. Unfortunately, no matter what any body tells you, there is no such thing as a super lightweight rig that offers reasonable upwind performance.

    Expedition Rig. It's very good on a reach, and yes, you can sail upwind with it. It's good if you are sailing anywhere between a close reach and a run, but it is fairly inefficient if tacking straight up wind. By fairly inefficient I mean that you won't get there as fast tacking as a good paddler would paddling in a straight line. This rig was really designed for white water paddlers who value small packed size above high sailing performance. You don't have to use a leeboard (I didn't on my 5* for instace), but doing a hanging draw for any length of time gets tiring, so it is certainly not a bad idea to take one on a trip where you intend to sail for any length of time.

    The 30' Lug does fit in the bottom of a boat. Although this is slightly dependant on where your seats are. Your centre seat might get in the way, probably best to cut a garden cane to the same length as the mast and have a trial run before ordering one. Personally, If i was going to take a 30' lug, it would be because I was going on a flat water trip, so I would consider it worthwhile to take a 14' mizzen and leeboard too. If I was going solo i would definately take a rudder too. A 30' lug, with Mizen, leeboard and rudder would have your boat sailing about as fast upwind as a Mirror Dinghy.

    Paddle steering brackets. When i steer with a paddle, I find I achieve a lot of the steering by moving the paddle forwards and backwards to alter the centre of lateral resistance of the hull, for this reason I'm not sure I would get on with a paddle steering bracket. Tbh, the only reason I would leave my rudder at home would be if I was on a white water trip, ( I did once take a rudder on a Rannoch moor crossing, although I will admit that the extra weight wasn't really welcome on the portages and white water sections).

    Leeboard size, 34" by 10" would be about right for a throw over leeboard that you could tuck down the side of your stern air bag when you were not using it. You could get away with making one a few inches shorter though.

    Steve
    Last edited by Oceanic; 25th-September-2006 at 09:45 PM. Reason: Spelt Rannoch wrong.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Gloucester
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    Default

    Thanks Steve - very thorough and interesting. Definitely food for thought!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lochgilphead, West Argyll
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    Default

    Along the same lines as Steve's reply, I think that it really depends on why you want to sail your canoe & why.

    I mainly want to sail as an aid on trips, or just a change from paddling. A simple downwind sail would be lightest, but for a few more grammes of weight I use a lug-type rig similar to the Endless River one (one pole half is the mast & the other a gaff-like arrangement which spreads the upper sail).

    Mainly used downwind, but the rig will let me sail tack upwind if I have lots of time to spare . All steering is done with the paddle. I use a stern rudder downwind and hold the paddle further forward when sailing across the wind, like a leeboard - bit fiddly, but when you get it right it'll steer ok without a second paddle out back.

    Horses for courses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Loughborough
    Posts
    113

    Default Sailing a Canadian

    Hi Amelia,
    I put a Bermudan sail on my Old Town Canadian & ventured onto Rutland Water. Many of the sailors rigging their Toppers & Lazers smirked & made some unflattering comments. However when I shot past them OH how their chirpy expressions changed. To say she went like a rocket is an understatement...Unfortuneately my lee board sheared the three quarter inch bolts & I capsized & all my lashings broke & I had to rescue the bouyancy bags. 25 mins to swim 400 yards pulling HMS HOOD back into the creek.
    I've not repaired it yet. I think being a windsurfer definitely helped my sailing & I did manage over 2 hours of thrashing the pants off every craft except the catamarans.
    Unfortuneately I've no photos of my set up but I'll put something here when I've sussed the Leeboard problem.
    Cheers
    Rob F

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Glasgowish
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rob.fielding View Post
    Unfortuneately my lee board sheared the three quarter inch bolts & I capsized & all my lashings broke......
    Oh dear! - at least you lived to tell the tale!

    In case it helps, I bought one of these leeboard brackets from Solway Dory



    It's very nice - all machined aluminium, with a stainless bolt and a nice wee ratchety handle thing to hold the leeboard on. Cost was 15 plus 2.50 P&P. Money well spent IMHO!

    Blutack.
    The Canoeist's prayer: "Lord grant me the serenity to walk the portages I must, The courage to run the rapids I can, And the wisdom to know the difference".

    John Muir Trust - Wild Places for Nature & People.

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