Canoe Sails

Canoes, Kayaks, Pedal power

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Graham Knight
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Location: Shepperton, England

Canoe Sails

Post by Graham Knight »

On Sunday I bought myself an open (Canadian) canoe, built from a Selway Fisher Prospector plan, it was ridiculously cheap and I've already been out on the river having fun with it.
Now I want some more fun and I'm going to try sailing it, there's a rig shown on the Selway Fisher website but I want something simpler, I'm thinking a small (35sq ft or so) boomless sprit sail should work OK.
Just wondered if anyone here has done this, and how did you get on? I'll make a cheap polytarp sail to start with and see how it goes, if it works OK I'll order some ripstop nylon and make a proper one.
Graham in Shepperton, England

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auto5pilot
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Location: Cincinnati OH

tarp sail - invented by a non-sailor

Post by auto5pilot »

I have a sail rigged (after considerable thinking) from a poly-tarp. I think I have a picture at http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoView.j ... 6288710106
I'm not sure if you can get there withoutme entering your e-mail address or something.
Anyway - the tarp is from the end of an outdoor tarp enclosure. So it is sort of shaped like a home-plate. I fold it in half over the mast . I have a line that runs through the mast and down to a cleat for the uphaul. Another line runs from the corner at the back edge through a pulley on the end of the spirit boom and down through a pulley at the mast to another cleat on the other side of the mast. The spirit is connected to the mast with a joint that only pilots up and down. The mast is allowed to turn so the spirit can be rigidly fixed. I believe that is illegal for real sailboats, but I'm making this stuff up as best I can - and I just go with what I think will work.
If you can't get to that picture (and really want to see it) - let me know and I'll try to get it to you some other way.

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Graham Knight
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Post by Graham Knight »

The link works fine thanx! Your sail is very similar to what I have in mind, except mine will have a higher peak, higher than the mast top, and the sprit will be much longer extending from the peak almost to the tack. A brailing line will allow the whole sail to fold up with a single pull on the line, handy when sailing single handed.
Since my earlier post I've discovered THIS which is exactly what I'm looking for, the size is perfect so I can just take all my dimensions straight from the drawing.
Graham in Shepperton, England

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Graham Knight
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Post by Graham Knight »

Well I've been out sailing my canoe last night, great fun! I decided to keep things simple at first and just made a small spinnaker from ripstop nylon, I made a 9' mast from DF which will work for the spritsail too when I make it, steering is with a paddle. I was amazed at how fast I can go! Downwind only of course for the moment but it really shifts.
A little more work is required to use the spritsail, apart from making the sail itself a leeboard is needed and a removable thwart to mount it, and I'll have to make a proper rudder as the paddle will be too much work with the sail to control as well.
I'll try to get some photos soon and post them here. Anyone who already has a canoe really should try this, it's maximum fun for minimum cost and effort, and it's nice to let the wind do the work and have a rest from paddling now and then.

Oh by the way, what's the "home-plate" that you referred to earlier auto5pilot?
Graham in Shepperton, England

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auto5pilot
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home plate

Post by auto5pilot »

I was just trying to describe the shape of the tarp. It is like a rectangle with a triangle on top - they way a house looks from the gable end. I fold it in half at the peak and that is what my sail looks like.

I knocked the boat over for the first time last week. I did it when I tried to re-board in deep water. I don't think I could self-rescue in deep water without a bilge pump. It really took a long time to get the water out even at the dock with a 12 oz cup.

basilkies
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Post by basilkies »

I bet you could find you an old sail that some windsurfer wants to get rid of for free that would work a lot more efficiently. Just the same it looks like a lot of fun playing around making sails like that.

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Graham Knight
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Post by Graham Knight »

Windsurfer sails are very efficient and work very well... on windsurfers! They don't adapt well to small boats, for a canoe you need a simple lightweight rig that can be de-powered, collapsed and stowed easily and quickly, very difficult to do with a windsurfer rig.
A simple lug or sprit sail made from proofed ripstop nylon (as used for kites) works really well, it weighs next to nothing and the spars are short and light enough to stow easily.
Graham in Shepperton, England

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No Peekin'
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Post by No Peekin' »

Graham check out this site http://members.aol.com/polysail/HTML/index.htm

It seems a reasonable way to make a sail.
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Graham Knight
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Location: Shepperton, England

Post by Graham Knight »

Thanx, I've been aware of that site for some time. In fact I used their design for my lugsail (made mine in proofed ripstop nylon though) and it works well, I'll be using the same design for a slightly larger sail for my skiff.
Graham in Shepperton, England

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