13th-June-2013, 01:22 AM
A Paddle-Sailing Set up - Wenonah Aurora
I’ve been lurking in the background of forums, facebook and websites (& pestering Dave S at Solway Dory) these past 3+years, picking up loads of info and ideas on canoe sailing, before finally ordering an SD Expedition Bermudan rig this year. So, many thanks to all for sharing opinions, ideas, discussions, blogs and photos with the rest of us; it’s been fascinating as you’ve innovated, theorised, pushed boundaries and tested ideas/ kit for canoe sailing.
Although I’d been planning a “mainstream” sailing conversion, the lengthy paddle-sailing thread on this forum (http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...sailing-thread) really chimed with me. I like the physical activity and the connectedness with the water that paddling offers compared to dinghy sailing …… but paddle-sailing my sea kayak’s square-metre sail somehow isn’t quite “sailing” enough for me. My background boat-wise is dinghy cruising (have a 43yr old Wayfarer) and sea kayaking (latterly with a sail), as well as open canoeing.
So I’ve set up our Wenonah Aurora for paddle-sailing, taking ideas from my dinghy cruising and sea kayak paddling/sailing as well as from the web, and thought I’d post up some info/images in case it’s of interest to others who - like me - come here for ideas and inspiration. The Wenonah Aurora is a general purpose 16’ royalex tandem tripping canoe with pointy ends, wide mid-section, high freeboard, flat bottom and minimal rocker. Ours is ex-Outward Bound Locheil. A couple of pictures of the sail-adapted canoe:
As with the sea kayak, I cleat off the mainsheet (with a modest sail area set for the gusts) as I paddle-sail with both hands on the paddle. So my aim is that paddling should be as unencumbered as possible by sailing clobber/clutter, and that the canoe can readily revert to open canoe mode for river paddling solo or tandem. To me, addressing the vulnerability of an open canoe on open water by making it less likely to swamp and buoyant enough for single-handed deep-water recovery, was every bit as important as the actual sailing kit.
I’ve confined the mainsheet arrangements entirely to the back of the canoe (as per our cruising Wayfarer) to keep the “cockpit air space” clear for paddling. The mainsheet cleating off behind my back is surprisingly accessible, although I’m going to add a wee wedge under the cleat to improve cleating. The mainsheet mount I knocked together (9mm ext. ply) simply slides off for de-rigging. My sea kayak has a bungee-link on the mainsheet to help kill the worst of the gusts, and I’ve adopted the bungee-ended mainsheet idea from this forum (used 7mm). In practice this didn’t work – I think because I was too mean to buy a proper pulleys, and there’s too much friction with the bungee going 360 degrees around one fairlead and the mainsheet 90 degrees through another. I’ve mounted my kayak’s Waterbuster battery pump to help get rid of water that comes on board.
I tried to boost safety in the absence of outriggers by using roller-reefing (as per Wayfarer genoa) for the mast below the thwart (again made from 9mm ext. ply), and to ease mast rotation by sanding the bottom of the mast, inserting a plastic cap and collar in the mast foot, and having a plastic collar in the thwart. This works well for reducing sail area but I still need to manually rotate the mast to let sail out as the pull from the boom outhaul is too high above the thwart to permit rotation. With hindsight I could have made it a double-roller below the thwart, with one rolling the rope in as the other is rolling it out so I could use the system both for reefing and letting out the sail (and there would be no major rope clutter on the floor when the sail is reefed). The kicker is anchored to the thwart instead of mast to save unhooking it when reefing – and I’ve adopted the plastic pipe boom-slider from this forum for the outhaul to prevent that sticking. Thanks also to this forum for the hint on avoiding cord wear by sanding the sharp edge where the two SD mast sections join.
I’ve got narrow pine-plank gunwale “decks” along the widest section of the hull, sealed against the canoe with foam gasket, to allow for modest gunwale-dipping in gusts/ lulls without risking terminal swamping – as per Shearwaters/the Wayfarer.
The leeboard thwart is also made from pine and the side “decks” are substantial enough to allow the thwart to be clamped rather than bolted. The rubber I used to ensure it clamped securely works well – but leaves rather a mess on the pine side-decks (I could of course always use something other than the old tractor inner tube I found on the beach a few years ago!). As well as pivoting the leeboard, I can slide the thwart forward/back if necessary to balance with the sail’s centre of effort.
Mounted on my weakest paddling side, the leeboard itself is made from a plywood daggerboard I got on eBay, and modelled on the S/D expedition variant. I‘ve shaped it/ mounted it lower in an effort to minimise interference with normal paddling when it’s raised, and I made a small buoyant spanner to allow for adjustments to the leeboard locknut on the go. It's probably worth mentioning that I wasted an enormous amount of time (and a fair bit of fibreglass matting/ tape/ resin) trying to make a heavy duty leeboard bracket out of GRP. If you are tempted to do likewise, don't bother as both my attempts failed my "non-destructive" testing. Just buy the quality Solway Dory metal product - as I had to in the end!
I have ample buoyancy to aid self-recovery (although I haven’t tested this yet!), starting with the expanded polystyrene side-slabs/ small end blocks I put in a year or so ago (all from layers of 2" B&Q black polystyrene sheets). I rammed further polystyrene up the mast and boom to help prevent inversion/ loss of spars if dropped. But the main addition is the pair of plywood “buoyancy wanigans” to mimic the sealed bulkheads and dry stowage of SD Shearwaters, sea kayaks and the Wayfarer.
These are made from 6mm exterior ply and have the very watertight (but expensive!) Kajaksport 10” hatches I have on my sea kayak’s bow. They have the advantage that they can be removed, slung over a shoulder, and carted over to the camp-spot with all their contents (like barrels). Lashed in with 5mm rope, they also provide a good mount for the mainsheet block and pump, and cordage to tie things to – and will support the planned spray-deck. When installed, they make for a heavy canoe, which is OK using a trolley, but a challenge getting the canoe 2m up onto the van’s roof on my own with them in place. I should have used 4 rather than 6mm ply - and of course I could put the ply boxes separately inside the van.
I made a replacement rear thwart (just pine again) and moved it back a bit to give me more cockpit space, and switched the mid-yoke around so the heavier end of the canoe is now behind me when carrying it stripped-down for river-work. I ditched the seats a few years ago for the flexibility/lightness of tethered DIY foam-block seats/saddles. In practice, this “seat” certainly allowed a huge range of sitting/ kneeling/ squatting options, and could be nudged out of the way if not needed ….. but I had to take care not to trap the mainsheet underneath it. With the addition of a blade “pocket” the seat could double as a paddle-float to aid re-entry - as per sea-kayaking.
I may well make a simple fabric spray deck to go over the “foredeck”, and also have the option of adding small plastic fairleads on the outside of the hull so I can clip on inflatable sponsons I bought years ago as “last-resort” safety kit for sea kayak solo tripping. These could give me additional stability if I swamp or capsize in really rough conditions. If the spar-buoyancy isn’t enough to prevent inversion, I’ve ideas for mast-head buoyancy, as per our cruising dinghy.
But does it all work?
So far I’ve only tried the set-up one long weekend in light wind conditions (mainly F0 to F2) in the Arisaig area. I’d enough wind to get a feel for the rig and stronger winds (to F3?) in Loch nam Uamh on the Monday gave me lumpier conditions and relatively fast sailing. I was either accompanied by my daughter in a sea kayak, or else solo, so didn’t “push the boat out” at all and reefed sooner rather than later. The sea kayak was of course considerably faster upwind, whether I pure-paddled or paddle-sail tacked.
The SD rig itself of course was excellent, and my roller-reefing on the mast worked pretty well – in fact I was reefing/letting out sail quite a bit as the conditions varied. I slid the leeboard thwart itself forwards when I was significantly reefed as I didn’t fancy grounding in shallow waters/on a submerged reef, particularly at speed, with the board pointing forwards.
It was satisfying messing around with the leeboard pivot and/or the position of its thwart to balance the rig - it was amazing to find such a small craft could settle into a balanced heading and, given a steady wind, you could pretty much adjust its settled heading with the mainsheet and leeboard, using the paddle largely for extra power - or support if needed. The sail balance seemed to require adjusting according to the point of sail as well as the degree of reefing, and also seemed to differ a bit on each tack.
Although I aimed for the lowest-possible profile top to the leeboard, I still found that it could get a bit in the way of the paddle-stroke if paddling leeboard-side (maybe due partly also to it being my weaker paddling side). When heeled away from the leeboard side I found the leeboard blade itself could get quite in the way when paddling. And I think I’ll rig a wee bit of cord so I can have the leeboard held securely up out of the water pointing forwards, to keep it out of the way when I’m paddling leeboard-side without the board down.
In the conditions I had most of the time (quite steady and maxing at F2), I preferred to have the sail reasonably balanced, and paddle with a normal j-stroke on my best/the non-leeboard side (whether windward or leeward), rather than having it set up to head up to windward - to be countered by the paddle-stroke - as per discussions in the paddle-sailing thread. Although I appreciate this set-up is less fail-safe should I get overpowered by a gust, I preferred the balanced-sail approach even in the better winds I had (up to F3). When going a good pace it became a bit frantic to counter any set-up tendency to luff-up with a power/sweep stroke, and I didn’t find holding a stern rudder very satisfying. So I relied on my paddle to steer me upwind when depowering was needed. I may well set up more defensively/ with a tendency to luff upwind for more challenging conditions.
When the wind was stronger and the waves decent-sized, for headings from a broad reach to a run I preferred either kneeling low, or even sitting down/squatting on the hull floor, and found I could still lean my upper body out to balance canoe and have the paddle ready for paddling/ support/ steering if needed. Closer reaching seemed to better suit sitting on the seat on windward side as I paddled, even in a stronger breeze, as the wave action was more predictable, I was going slower and I had a good side-force on the sail. I look forward to trying the set up in windier/choppier conditions – ideally after I’ve practiced my self-recovery!
As others have said, when paddle-sailing in light winds it certainly made a huge difference to raise the leeboard completely (…… and most definitely to remove the accumulating seaweed - this seemed more of an issue than with a dinghy centreboard!). I tried paddle-sailing with my sea kayak paddle but, as I had to use an upright stroke (the paddle’s rather short at c.217cm for the canoe’s beam), the boom/sail really got in the way. I can’t really justify a new, longer, kayak paddle so (very disappointingly) my kayak paddle will probably be reserved for when I accidentally lose my canoe paddle overboard - or else when I’ve fully rolled the sail/ removed the boom (either becalmed or having to head directly into the wind for a lengthy period).
I didn’t test self-recovery from capsize/swamping at the weekend, nor the spars’ buoyancy, and only tested the side decks’ effectiveness when I’d to lurch to retrieve my paddle – when the deck was indeed effective in preventing the water pouring in over the gunwale.
All in all, most of what I found in my weekend's paddle-sailing trials has already been highlighted somewhere by more experienced folks in that lengthy paddle-sailing thread. Only time will tell whether I’ll feel the need for outriggers (i think I might?), and I’ll also see how I get on in stronger/gustier winds before commenting on the practicality of paddle-sailing extended trips without a rudder. Indeed, I may well end up - as most folk seem to - with the full sailing canoe conversion complete with the rudder/tiller, outriggers - and a larger sail area!
And it was a beautiful location and stunning weather for trialling the set-up!
Here are a few images from the first, pretty calm, days around Arisaig (forgot the camera on my the windier trip on L nam Uamh):
You can just see me/ the canoe in the distance on this one taken by my daughter from the Gorten Sands campsite
And the view from the canoe itself later that evening trip
13th-June-2013, 04:50 AM
Thank you for this detailed and inspiring post. Very interesting indeed. I can see a number of things you've done there that I could imagine copying (if/when I have more time to muck around with these things). What a beautiful place to be testing the rig out as well!
13th-June-2013, 07:15 AM
What a great write up of your set up, and early forays into canoe sailing. Your ideas seem well thought out and well executed. How is your roller reefing drum attached to the mast? It obviously comes off to get the mast through the mast thwart.
I cannot quite see how your short leeboard thwart is held onto the boat. It seems as though there is only one bolt with the long plastic handle holding it to the long thwart.
It will be interesting to see whether the 2inch polystyrene side buoyancy is enough. It may be, as there is plenty of buoyancy in the ends. It does leave the cockpit area nice and open. Let us know how you get on.
Last edited by DaveS; 13th-June-2013 at 07:22 AM.
13th-June-2013, 07:47 AM
Great pictures - fascinating ! Looking forward to seeing your set-up in action - here's hoping for good paddle-sailing weather at Scourie.
13th-June-2013, 10:09 AM
Very detailed write up. After trying sailing (if you can call it that with a windpaddle) for the first time a couple of weeks ago at sea with the same Canoe, I am looking at purchasing the rig (expedition lugsail) and leeboard from SD. I think your set up is much more hard core than mine will be as I want to be able to still paddle tandem and store all of the sailing gear inside the Canoe. Keep us posted on developments.
When was the last time you did something for the first time
13th-June-2013, 10:38 AM
Wat a fantastic boat, trip and writeup!
Hats off to you!
Really enjoyed reading that and even learned some things I didnt know.
13th-June-2013, 03:48 PM
Great work, Rory. Very well thought out and neatly made. I look forward to hearing how the self rescue goes. Outriggers are good in many ways but if I can get away without them I will.
13th-June-2013, 08:01 PM
Looks very nice, and functional too!
13th-June-2013, 09:36 PM
Paddle Sailing Set up
14th-June-2013, 07:53 AM
The double thickness of foam on the sides seems about right. I had considered doing this with one of our open canoes but never got around to it as the etherfoam was a bit more expensive and heavier than bags. I am really impressed with the way that you have fitted out this canoe. What does the canoe weigh when all this buoyancy is in?
14th-June-2013, 10:33 AM
Rory - I hope your drilling the pair of holes thro the mast to fix the drum hasn't weakened it too much. At least they are a little way below the thwart level but still in a fairly high stress area. And your sail isn't as big as some of us use. I guess the caution I am advising for others looking on is that these unstayed masts have to withstand significant loads especially in that area, so it's best to minimise any potential weakening with holes for fittings etc.
Originally Posted by RoryD
On another note - the black polystyrene slabs look good; does that stuff break up as readily as the white stuff? What have you covered it with to protect it from damage?
14th-June-2013, 12:24 PM
Great stuff Rory, keep the updates coming as you get more miles under your belt.
14th-June-2013, 12:47 PM
The downside of 4” of side slab of course is that I can’t get my weight over far enough to heel the canoe very effectively when paddling solo (although probably further over than I might with air bags). Despite their colour, the side slabs are just B&Q’s expanded polystyrene and not ethafoam - so very cheap and light. I chose the flaked-grey variant for the sides as it seemed a bit more robust than the plain white I used for the end blocks, and for the looks as I wasn't originally going to cover them. I ended up covering them though so they don’t get pieces knocked off with use - with polythene from a double bivy bag I had. The two lengths are spot-glued together so they hold their curve even when taken off the canoe, and are jammed under the 3 thwarts and held using ties between the thwarts and narrow webbing embedded in McNett's Aquasure glue/sealant (my favourite DIY repair substance!). I can never get my head around the cost of proper canoe D-rings. Another picture from last year:
I've no idea of actual weights, Dave, but the canoe was very comfortably lifted/ carried solo with the polystyrene end and side buoyancy fitted (no seats of course). Since adding the beefy mast thwart and pine side decks she has become heavier, and is now considerably harder work to lift/carry solo - but probably not too different to the weight of our previous unadapted canoe (a plastic Pyranha Hunter). I wouldn’t even try to carry the canoe with the ply wanigans in situ - but can still (just) raise one end 2m to slide her onto the van roof.
I’m no engineer, Keith, but I cannot see two 5mm holes opposite each other affecting the mast’s strength for what I’m asking of it. And, as you say, I’m not having a huge sail area - and it's also got the pretty close dual-support from the braced mast thwart. I wouldn’t have been so keen on drilling had the reefing drum been located just above the thwart as I’d originally briefly considered. Also, Solway Dory seem to have no qualms drilling holes for the kicker anchor and sail tensioning cleat in what I’d have thought was a reasonably stressed area.
17th-June-2013, 01:37 PM
Sailing Set Up - second trial
My second trial of the sailing setup on Saturday afternoon was on Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park - under an hour from home. The picture is looking up to Cairn Gorm and the Northern Corries.
The breeze dropped as I got there but at times was good enough for decent sail, and I also did some wet practice. A few lessons learned and changes required:
i) The polystyrene in the mast/boom doesn't provide enough buoyancy to prevent the canoe going turtle if capsized - being on my own I didn’t venture into really deep water but the masthead sank to full depth. So - as mentioned in original posting - I’ll probably rig up some form of masthead buoyancy as recovery is a lot easier if it goes no further than onto its side in a capsize. We have masthead buoyancy on our Wayfarer dinghy, but the canoe’s roller-reefing mast will require a different solution (won't be beautiful!).
ii) The side buoyancy slabs (installed originally for paddling rather than sailing) do reduce the amount of water scooped up on righting but, as the rig's quite heavy, a lot of water is still scooped into the hull. They also help stabilise the hull once back upright after a capsize, but don’t give loads of support when I'm trying to get back in - when I noticed a fair mast "pendulum" effect. So - again as mentioned in the original posting - I’ll probably fix eyelets on the outside of the hull for my kayak's clip-on external sponsons, and/or put a paddle-blade pocket on the foam seat block so it can act as a paddle-float to aid my re-entry sea kayak style.
iii) The Attwood battery pump is of limited use in its bracket in the middle of the canoe behind my seat; only good when there's a massive quantity of water in the hull - when I'd use the bailer anyway. It's much more useful leashed to the mid-thwart so it can be slid across to pump out lesser amounts of water from either side of the heeled canoe as I sail along.
iii) Although I achieved a good sail/ leeboard balance in a decent breeze out west last weekend when the sail was reefed (and in light winds on full sail), even with the leeboard pivoted right back I’m getting strong weather helm when the breeze picks up with full sail. This is very difficult to counter with the paddle, so I’m thinking I’m going to have to move the mast thwart/foot forward to get a better rig balance for full sail in a decent breeze. This shouldn’t be surprising as I basically ignored the advice on spacing that Dave S gave me back in 2011. I was chancing my luck as I was keen when paddling tandem that the bow paddler in front of the mast thwart had better leg-space than the old seat afforded as the Aurora is very narrow/pointy at the ends. I've only a 23” max spacing between the mast and the leeboard bolt, but moving the mast forward by 4” to give 27" should make a big difference. What mast-to-leeboard-thwart spacings do other SD expedition bermudan rig users use?
iv) I bypassed the first fairlead for the bungee-extended mainsheet - on my ply mainsheet "block" - so the bungee's elasticity could come into play a bit. Although this also improved the angle through the the second fairlead a bit, the bungee still didn't slide through it due to friction. So I bought a couple of ex-Mirror dinghy mainsheet blocks/pulleys off eBay last night, and will replace both fairleads with these.
17th-June-2013, 02:07 PM
Would it not be easier to move the leeboard thwart further back than moving the mastfoot etc forward or would doing that compromise your paddling/sailing position? Regarding the masthead buoyancy, I always work on the basis that I'll ditch the rig while recovering from a capsize rather than keeping it in situ in my open canoe/Exped rig set up. I imagine the forces exerted on the mast thwart would be fairly substantial during righting the canoe with the rig in place. This has the advantage that it does away with the pendulum effect that you mention as well. I understand that having your roller reefing drum below the thwart makes ditching the rig difficult though. When we were at Ullswater a few weeks ago I did a series of capsize drills in my Shearwater (which is righted with the mast locked in place) and I noticed that the mast filled up with water while the canoe was inverted (it sprayed out through the rivets spectacularly on righting). I mentioned this to the others and Unk Tantor mentioned that he'd filled his previous mast with polystyrene beads to prevent this happening. It may not stop the canoe turtling but having a mast that isn't full of water when you right the boat helps reduce the pendulum effect so I'd say you're onto something with the polystyrene filled mast. Needless to say doing this is now on my list of future modifications.
17th-June-2013, 04:14 PM
Tie an empty plastic bottle to the top of the mast, or if theres a hole in the mast top, tape it into that.
17th-June-2013, 05:32 PM
Turtling in a canoe isnt such a problem as a wayfarer as they are not so stable upside down and can easily be righted using the leeboard as a lever (gently). I always favoured ditching the rig in an open canoe as it made re-entry more assured and took on much less water.
I use 2ft mast to leeboard spacing, when i am using a rudder. It could probably be nearer 3ft when steering with a paddle. Adjusting the trim of the canoe so it is more stern down will help, as will keeping the canoe level. When running downwind it is possible to heel the canoe so as to bring the rig over the centre of the canoe ( ie sail is out to the right, heel the canoe to the left) This balances the forces better.
17th-June-2013, 08:05 PM
Thanks for the suggestions/ your experience. I'm guilty of dinghy-thinking.
Originally Posted by Jurassic
"More assured re-entry" is what I'm after as a capsize shouldn't happen often, but I must be able to recover and get going again. Removing the rig does make sense, esp in rough seas when I could see a half-filled hull with a mast whipping around being quite liable to go over again before I got it more emptied and got aboard. But there must be a bit of a rig-tangle to sort out afterwards. Maybe I'll practice both approaches (first making sure the rig remains attached and floats!).
Originally Posted by DaveS
Yes; I initially thought along these lines as it certainly would be easier, but I decided against it as I'd also have to move the carrying-thwart back if I wanted the adjustable leeboard thwart to slide forward into position for reefed sailing - and that would make the canoe even less balanced for carrying on my shoulders. But maybe that's not such a big deal.
Originally Posted by Jurassic
Your advice is consistent Dave – I just ignored it! To get 36” I’d need to move both mast and carry-thwart, so I’ll probably try it at an intermediate distance first. Cheers, Rory
Originally Posted by DaveS
17th-June-2013, 09:15 PM
Wow, nice job Rory.
The roller reef system is something I had not considered and looks the part.
Currently on the SD rigs, the kicker prevents the mast from rotating and allowing the sail to unwind and your roller appears to do the same job allowing you to mount the kicker to the thwart I see. Cunning. I'd have to remember which way to wind the sail around the mast I guess! I do daft things like that from time to time! lol
I wonder if filling your mast with expanding foam would give it enough buoyancy, without adding too much weight and increasing the pendulum effect. If it has been suggested by someone else already, apologies.
Sorry to hear that the bungy main sheet was not that successful. This is something I still want to try, but as you say, maybe some pulleys will improve things.
Enjoyed the blog and look forward to reading about further adaptations.
22nd-June-2013, 07:08 AM
22nd-August-2013, 12:41 PM
3rd sailing trial
Not got out in the sailing canoe since June, until now, due to family holidays, competing demands on my evenings/ weekends and recent strong winds. But I’ve done most of the changes proposed earlier in this thread and have now sail-tested them (no capsize drill though).
Originally Posted by Carbon S
Moving mast thwart/foot forwards 6” (max distance to leeboard now 29") has indeed made the rig better balanced under full sail – I’d some lovely close-hauled paddle-sailing in a steady F2-3 or so. Putting a modest wedge under the mainsheet cleat has made cleating/releasing much easier and the two extra pulleys now allow the mainsheet’s bungy-extension to come into play. And having a bow-mounted burgee instead of mast-top is a great improvement (Googled to source a scots flag one like Tom’s!). I have added straps to my foam-block seat so it doubles as leeboard/ paddle float for capsize recoveries, and put eyelets on the hull for the emergency sponsons. Altho' I accept canoes are easy to right from being turtle, I don’t fancy damaging the mast if I capsize in shallow waters, so I did make mast-head buoyancy (old karrimat rolled around wooden curtain-rail that's slotted into mast-top). I also put together a 50cm optional mid-section for my sea kayak paddle (with the Lendal Paddlok join).
I am persisting without a rudder and find there’s a fair bit of adjusting the leeboard (varying angle and moving leeboard fwd/back) to keep the rig reasonably balanced on different points of sail/degrees of reefing. I can relate to the issue of paddling position raised by Chris in another thread as I find I’m sometimes kneeling, sometimes squatting and sometimes sitting. Still unsure if I’ll end up with outriggers as I’ve not yet tested her properly in gusty/ rough conditions (was glad to have our Wayfarer dinghy rather than canoe on a recent break on the west coast where winds were persistently F5 with a large swell!), but I aim to keep the canoe's sail area modest, she seems to stiffen up well as she heels and my paddle’s always handy for bracing.
Some images from Lochindorb - up on the Dava Moor 15mls from here. I didn’t put in until after 7pm, so by the end I was sailing practically in darkness – and, with the mist having rolled in from the moor, it was very atmospheric indeed with the ruined island castle. The loch is very shallow in places so I’ve properly knocked the paint off the bottom of the leeboard.
27th-August-2013, 07:32 AM
Thanks for the update Rory.
I finished fitting the Solway gear to the Aurora, and after 2 weeks in pemprokshire Canoe sailing, as a complete novice I have to say i am hooked. I did a combination of paddling in and out of the rocky coastline and some offshore sailing (no rudder or outriggers) I have to say what a cracking little sail (expedidition lugsail) and hull combination the Solway and Aurora is, she seems so predictable even in the more windier conditions. We had a steady 4 knts boat speed sailing past Green and Black scar, and I have A LOT to learn about trimming the sail / leeboard. I am trying to keep mine simple and usable as a tandem, but keep the updates coming as I am sure some of your mods may find the way onto my rig.
As a footnote I have never had so much attention to a boat, people just wanted to take pics and ask questions, on and off the water.
When was the last time you did something for the first time
27th-August-2013, 07:59 AM
Another sailing Aurora
Any pictures you could post for us, Steve ?
Originally Posted by Carbon S
28th-August-2013, 10:46 AM
28th-August-2013, 08:05 PM
Another paddle-sailing Aurora
No urgency of course, but it would be good to get an image or few of your canoe with the sailing rig at some point, as yours certainly fits under the thread's header "A Paddle Sailing Set-up - Wenonah Aurora" - and folks are always curious about others' set-ups.
I did enjoy the sea paddling video you posted earlier at http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...n-Pembrokshire, which gives a good flavour of that wonderful bit of coastline.
26th-May-2014, 11:38 PM
A Proper Test - OCSG Loch Lomond
The OCSG’s end-of-April meet at Loch Lomond gave me an opportunity to try out the canoe’s set-up and my paddle-sailing skills (or not) under quite demanding conditions. I’ve got no photos for this update as Imageshack is now a subscription-only service and I’ve not got round to opening up another image hosting account (any suggestions?). Those on Facebook can see some pictures on the OCSG Facebook page.
The Sunday gave some lovely paddle-sailing - and sailing-with-paddle - as the winds were relatively steady in both direction and strength.
The Saturday, though, was really gusty/ fluky and I ended up taking a swim! When I was tacking, heavily reefed, back up to the camp and trying to sail as close to the wind as possible, I found I’d keep losing drive from sail as I luffed up in response to a gust, or when the wind shifted. I'd consequently be nearly stationary when hit by the next gust and there would be a lot of heeling force before the power could be converted into forward motion! With both hands on the paddle, and the mainsheet cleated, I was unable to respond immediately to gusts by hiking far out or spilling wind - whereas with a rudder I’d have been able maintain momentum by hiking well out, steering to the gusts, and spilling wind as required. A particularly persistent/swirly strong gust blew us right over as the canoe was busy “auto luffing” into the wind - I didn’t even think to release the mainsheet as I was so fixated on testing the cleated off/ luffing up approach to paddle-sailing!
But that gave me a chance to try out a self-recovery for real – which I managed OK. The masthead buoyancy prevented the canoe going turtle, and it was easy to right. It came up with a fair bit of water in it as I didn’t bother putting my foam seat/float onto the leeboard, or inflating a sponson. After an initial failure to re-enter(it re-capsized), I partially bailed out and rolled the sail up/tightened the mainsheet to stop the sail & boom swinging round and unbalancing the canoe. I could then clamber successfully back on board – and it was reasonably stable with the side buoyancy slabs. I then bailed some more, set my battery pump going and sailed to the shore on a beam reach using my kayak paddle for support on the leeward side whilst leaning to windward.
I then got a chance to try out paddling the canoe directly into a sometimes-strong headwind. This worked remarkably well with my extended sea kayak paddle – particularly as I’d taken the mast down. When paddling across the wind for some short sections, I found the leedboard a great help – the hull sides almost acting as a sail.
So, all in all, a great learning experience (thanks OCSG) and, whilst I certainly established some of my/the set-up’s limitations, I also know I can get myself back underway after a capsize for real (altho’ the offshore winds meant little fetch/ waves). I found, however, that most of the OCSG are towards the dinghy (even racing dinghy?) end of the canoe sailing spectrum, with many very specialised sailing machines - and a canoe without a rudder and outriggers isn’t really compatible with them in more challenging conditions. Thankfully, though, Adam and his son were also there without rudder or outriggers – so thanks for the company.
I also came away with a few thoughts/ lessons learned:
- it may not be worth trying to paddle-sail very close to the wind in gusty conditions – ease off a bit
- in more challenging conditions it may be better to paddle upwind rather than paddle-sail tack
- accept that it may sometimes be prudent to release the mainsheet!
- balancing sail effort with leeboard position isn't really possible in gusty/variable conditions, so paddle is needed more for steerage
- Maybe carry a large container or two of water low in the hull up front to reduce tenderness (I did this with the Wayfarer dinghy when the family was very young)
- maybe lower the sail/boom a bit on the mast - and possibly do without the masthead float - to reduce wind resistance/ heeling effect when tacking heavily reefed?
- in stronger winds it may be worth experimenting some more with long kayak paddle placed to leeward, whilst leaning out to windward?
- an American on the OCSG Facebook page suggested using a wee “crutch” protruding from the rear thwart to hook the paddle under for single-handed leeward side steering at times - worth experimenting with.
- may be better to split/double-up the mast reefing drum so it works for unfurling as well as furling the sail?
- consider a rudder and outriggers so I can join the OCSG “sailors” on their trips - I could still paddle-sail at other times.
I'll maybe resurrect "The Paddle Sailing Thread" (my original inspiration) for any further comments I may have on my paddle-sailing progress (or lack of it). Would be good to hear of others' paddle-sailing experiences/ exploits too. Or how about a "no rudders or outriggers" OCSG or SotP meet!
27th-May-2014, 06:02 AM
Well done. Perhaps I missed it but how tall is the mast and how big is the sail?
27th-May-2014, 08:41 AM
This is a perennial problem for yachtsman, dinghy sailors and for those in specialised sailing canoes with rudders. As you heel in a gust, you "auto-luff" to make ground to windward whilst de-powering.... but you've got to avoid luffing more than necessary, and need to get back on track mighty quickly as you'll be decelerating at an alarming rate.
Originally Posted by RoryD
Beating upwind on the River Yare with out Mk.1 Pandora, we'd often have little room to get back on track and regain the momentum needed to tack... so with a gust mid-river we'd either have to spill wind (horribly inefficient when you're trying to get upwind) or just use the weather helm to go through the tack.
Paddle sailing, this shouldn't be an issue: as you luff-up, a few hard paddle strokes both maintain your momentum AND get you bearing away as gust passes. I've generally found this allows me to get far closer to the wind than buddies encumbered with a mainsheet and rudder, and therefore unable to deploy a paddle to maintain their momentum.
Is hiking out with a paddle any harder than hiking out without a paddle? It's certainly more reassuring as you've got the option of a low-brace to recover yourself to the boat if you find yourself hiked out too far!
Originally Posted by RoryD
Is "steering to the gusts" any different with a paddle / rudder? The biggest difference I see is in deceleration: with a rudder, you can only steer to the gusts by increasing the pressure (drag) through the tiller... whereas with a paddle, you can deploy power strokes or a "stern squeeze" (basically using your blade as an additional, super-efficient leeboard).
I'd concede that being cleated off DOES impact on your ability to spill wind by playing the mainsheet... but if you've got the option of luffing up (making ground to windward) or playing the mainsheet (making ground on your original bearing... the former is generally preferable... especially when you can use your paddle to ensure you don't slow down!
Of course, if you've got another boat to windward (or you are trying to hold a line before tacking behind a boat that has priority)... then luffing up might not be a good option. In that case, a releasable mainsheet can be pretty reassuring. An issue for most adventure sailing? Not really: more of a racing consideration.
Ps. We have, in the past, discussed systems that would automatically pay out a little slack in the event of extreme shock-loadings. The trick would be making sure your solution doesn't compromise your rig's response to moderate gusts, and doesn't suddenly leave you radically depowered
27th-May-2014, 08:57 PM
Paddle Sailing in Squally Conditions
Dr Joe; the sail is Solway Dory's "Expedition Bermudan" sail with an area, I believe, of a bit under the advertised 35sqft - and the mast is around 16’5” (plus my float!).
Thanks for commenting, Greg. I found that much of the paddle-sailing technique I can almost get to work in moderate/steady conditions wasn’t possible for me when sailing close-hauled in the squally/ fluky conditions of the Saturday. Sunday was much more rewarding. The empty canoe was so liable to being quickly overpowered when close-hauled in Saturday's conditions that I just didn’t manage to get it together. Adam’s canoe wasn’t so overpowered – but he wasn’t using a leeboard much of the time - and had his son as ballast!
With hindsight I was probably over-canvassed for the conditions and an empty canoe – but, given how tender the canoe is when empty, reefing for the squalls would have left me with hardly any sail up at all! It will be good to try it with some ballast so I can maybe achieve that initial speed/paddle more in such conditions - and then perhaps even manage to “negotiate” the squalls. I do have shock-cord in the mainsheet system and that may have taken the sting out of the initial hit by the squalls.
It would be great to paddle-sail in like company, and learn from others, but that’s a pretty unlikely prospect given the general lack of paddle-sailors – and the fact I’m already 3.5hrs north of L Lomond!
28th-May-2014, 10:03 AM
Rory, great to see your pictures and read your thoughts.
I'm one of those doggedly paddle-sailing a relatively narrow boat (Apache 16' with an SD expedition lugsail), and would be very happy to paddle sail in company. But I'm based a long way south from you, near Cambridge. (Would love to come up to Scotland some time, but current life situation with wife, kids, and multiple jobs make it more of an ambition than a soon-to-be-realised prospect.) Still, I'm very much enjoying your pictures and thoughts. The big discovery for me in paddle sailing was the benefit of being actively up on my knees and using the occasional draw strokes to keep the boat pointing where I want it to go (as opposed to my initial mistake which was to try steering with the paddle as a rudder or a means to alter the CLR). My setup has a fair bit of weather helm which means one can paddle along without bothering to J-stroke, and if a gust strikes one can just allow the boat to turn into the wind a bit. (Or if panicked can reach to release the cleated off sheet.)
I like your idea of a "no rudders or outriggers" OCSG or SotP meet!
All the best,
28th-May-2014, 10:23 AM
The biggest weakness of a sailing canoe is it's width and the ability to sail in strong winds. The narrowness of the canoe limits the strength of the wind a person can effectively hold the mast and sail upright. As this happens, the sailor is forced to reef down, reducing forward drive and penetration into the wind or through the tack.
Originally Posted by RoryD
13th-June-2014, 07:07 PM
Wow - this is all very inspiring stuff, especially as the locations you feature are all accessible to me living in the NE of Scotland. What a great, well thought out set up. I pick up my Wenonah Prospector in a little over a week and intend getting at least an Expedition Rig for downwind sailing after seeing the fun and benefits of a sail on the Great Glen last year. I'm already thinking about adding a dedicated sailing canoe down the line but what your detailed posts do is highlight just what versatile and fun boats Open Canoes are. Stunning pictures and an inspiring post. Many thanks!