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Thread: Mast thwarts and outriggers - the latest from Woodworms laboratory

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    seaford, east sussex

    Default Mast thwarts and outriggers - the latest from Woodworms laboratory

    Ted (Woodworm) got bored over the last few days and decided to refine his original mast thwart design as the old one had a tendency for the mast foot to twist backwards when on a downwind run. He had made a temporary strut attached to the seat with a bungy cord, but wanted something a little more "Finished".

    The old one

    This is the new one

    With a section which engages with the seat to stop any for and aft movement of the foot, which is not fixed to the canoe.

    The thwart has a plastic tube running down through it to allow the aluminium mast to roller-reef

    The thwart is attached to the canoe using a pair of stainless steel bolts through the reinforcing inside the gunwales with a ring nut on top for easy removal. The mast foot is not attached to the hull.

    The seat-piece just slots into the thwart for easy stowage.

    The grey clips on the top of the thwart are plastic covered steel clamps to hold the bars of the single outrigger in place. (outrigger photos taken using old thwart)

    A pair of luggage straps looped under the canoe and round each outrigger pole secures them to the hull. testing at cuckmere bends to get the optimum distance between float and canoe, and the outrigger bolts left long temporarily to allow adjustment to level the canoe. this was still very much R&D at this stage.

    The outrigger is a piece of ply to form a longitudinal vertical spine with layers of closed cell foam glued up each side and carved to form the finished profile. The outrigger was then given several coats of paint to seal it, then a fibreglass outer layer for protection and a bit of weight when Ted is on the opposite reach and the outrigger is flying.

    The outrigger underside is slightly concave along its length to give maximum buoyancy and (hopefully) produce a slight planing effect at speed. Ted had thought about a V shaped float but it would have to be almost submerged to attain maximum buoyancy and would then have too much drag through the water

    Still waiting for a chance to try out the refined mast thwart, but the outrigger worked just fine at castle semple a week ago.

    Ted is looking forward to giving the new set up a good try out. Watch this space!

    Last edited by twosugars; 9th-August-2014 at 10:36 AM. Reason: spellink
    "I intend to live forever. So far, so good..."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Bangor, Co Down.


    That has really inspired me to have a go at something similar. Nice bit of workmanship too. Well done.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Poole Dorset UK


    Thats looking really good!

  4. #4


    That's a great idea there, no need for a foot

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    south Cumbria


    Keep an eye on the seat to see if it bends when under strain from stronger winds. There's a fair bit of force involved with larger rigs in such conditions.

    Also - in a couple of the pics the sail seems to have quite a twist in it; not a big issue in lighter winds but can make things get less controllable in more lively conditions. Has the rig got an effective kicking strap to hold the boom down when you want to?

  6. #6


    Thanks very much for posting this. This is EXACTLY what I have in mind for my Penobscot 17.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Eagles Nest Lakes, Ely, Northeastern Minnesota, USA


    Well done, Sir!

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