Convert Your Canoe to Sail


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  • Pub No.: 7888
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by Clint McGirr

Few craft are simpler to rig or more adaptable to sailing than a canoe. They are also excellent for learning to sail. And fortunately, a canoe sailing rig is cheaply made. The, rig is easily assembled to the canoe and easily disassembled for storage or paddling. The only part permanently attached to the canoe is the mast step, a block of wood with a hole drilled in it to hold the mast butt. It is epoxied to the bottom of the canoe and in no way interferes with normal paddling. If your canoe has a beam of at least 30 in., you can convert it for safe sailing. Just keep the sail small so it doesn’t overpower the canoe. Compute a safe sail size by multiplying the canoe’s length by its width. This will give the approximate sail area. The rig here was designed for a canoe 16 ft. long and 2½ ft. wide. It contains 40 sq. ft. of sailcloth and is equilateral, each side measuring 9½ ft. It is a lateen rig.

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