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Thread: Bob's VERY ROUGH draft of a workshop Handout

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Pennsylavania USA and Ontario Canada

    Default Bob's VERY ROUGH draft of a workshop Handout

    Here is my very preliminary draft of Part I or a sailing canoe workshop handout. Other parts will follow over time.

    Preliminary rough draft of a handout for a sailing canoe demo/workshop.

    Bob Cavenagh, Carlisle PA, USA and Sand Lake, Elgin ON, Canada. August 2013

    (I am prepping some canoes for a demo/workshop to be given at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival in St Michaels MD, USA in October)

    The 2013 schedule will be posted soon.

    This is a very low key demo, intended primarily for day visitors rather than festival regulars, who will know a lot of the stuff I will present. My goal is to help novices convert an off-the shelf canoe into a sailing canoe.

    I've been doing lots of prep, so I hope that the handout will ultimately morph into a bit more substantial publication.)

    Part I. Overview of
    'Teach Your Canoe to Sail'

    Folks have been rigging canoes for sailing since the late 19th century. A few books and dozens—no doubt hundreds--of articles have been published with instructions. The 19th c. Canoe and Boatbuilding for Amateurs by W.P. Stephensis a classic, back again in print and also available online at The technology is somewhat dated but many sound principles are presented. Sail Your Canoe by John Bull was a booklet that helped restart canoe sailing in the UK. Now out of print, it was very useful in its day, but much has evolved since. Todd Bradshaw's Canoe Rig, the Essence and the Art is the current masterpiece—so much so that I keep 2 copies against a rainy day. As great as Bradshaw's book is, it is aimed primarily at wooden canoes, with lots of side notes for other materials. I will concentrate on those other materials—aluminum, fiberglass, plastics, etc., which have their own quirks.

    A lot of the instructions published in the past have tended to emphasize just three things: the sail, a leeboard or other device to present leeway, and a rudder or paddlefor steering. These things are essential, but there is more to the game, so here are the big topics to consider if you want to 'teach your canoe to sail':

    Bob's 5 essential elements for sailing canoe conversion.

    I have concluded that there are not three but five overarching issues to consider when doing a sailing conversion. The comfort and convenience of the sailor(s) has frequently received short shrift, and safety is often just an afterword. The rough sketch below shows all five elements and I reckon each is equal to the other four. They are also interrelated.

    (Very rough sketch....)

    We will take a detailed look at each of these topics:

    1. Under sails I include: sails, masts, other spars, thwarts, steps, and also standing and running rigging: halyards, sheets, vangs, etc.
    2. Leeway is prevented or limited by keels, centerboards, daggerboards—or much more likely for us, by one or two leeboards, foils that attach to the side of the canoe.
    3. Steering is perhaps best done by a rudder, but it is possible to use just a paddle.
    4. Safety is a topic I will show to be interconnected with every aspect of the conversion design.
    5. Comfort and convenience: If a sailor is uncomfortable for long periods, many things can go astray. We will look at many aspects of this important topic.

    Later, folks,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Washington State, USA, shores of Puget Sound


    I like it. Keep it coming when you can.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Southern Oregon


    Some random ideas: Sail could also include a kite. Concerning preventing leeway could be other hull, angling the hull ( think duck punt). keel, leeboard, trim (as in windsurfer) or hydrofoil. Leeway could be moot if only running as in the windsail. I am looking forward to more ideas from you.
    Dr. Joe
    Electric Hospital
    Coos Bay Or

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