Reasonable sail area for canoe

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Reasonable sail area for canoe

Post by dpround »

I need to rig a sail for my 3* and thought it would be fun to do a bit more than improvise. I have loads of old windsurfing stuff and fancy cutting down a mast and sail to sensible proportions and knocking together a basic clip on lea board. What sort of sail area is sensible to a canoe? I should think it wants to be quite modest, perhaps 2 sq m? Then again even an Oppy (first kids sail training boat) has 3.3 sq m...


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Re: Reasonable sail area for canoe

Post by GregS »

Several top coaches use Solway Dory Expedition Rigs. IIRC, these were originally developed long, long ago for Steve Robinson when he wanted something decent to use for his 5 Star.

As a sailor you'll presumably appreciate the following... but many don't:
Solway Dory wrote:If the wind is blowing at 6 knots towards you and you are traveling towards it at 4 knots there is actually 10 knots of wind passing over the sail which can generate a lot of forward force (free power to help you along). If on the other hand you are sailing downwind in a 6 knots breeze and you are travelling at 4 knots there would only be an apparent wind of 2 knots on the sail which wouldn't be able to help you much at all.

Paddlers often make the wrong assumption that it is only worth sailing when the wind is strong and is blowing in the direction that you want to go. You can get much more use from a sailing rig that can help you whatever the wind direction and over a wider range of wind speeds.
I believe Ray Goodwin and Tom Sibbald have 25 square foot versions of one vintage or another, but expedition rig sailing has moved on a little since then. For someone who knows how to sail and a tandem canoe, the obvious option is the new (ish) 35sq ft High Spec rig... which reefs to @20 sq ft for use in strong winds and which stows the sail around 7'6" spars and uses a 7'6" mast to get the most from a pretty compact package.

Members of the OCSG have a fine tradition of producing DIY solutions, and appear to have tried just about every conceivable arrangement over the years... with some being extremely successful... and as a result, senior members are generally well positioned to point out potential pitfalls. Dave S and Dave P at Solway Dory are amongst the most helpful members: they're enthusiasts first and foremost... and I'm sure you find them only to willing to talk about converting your old sails. Alternatively, I'd suggest contacting Keith Morris: the Level 5 coach, RYA Senior Instructor and OCSG veteran who wrote the canoe-sailing chapter in the 3rd edition of the BCU's Canoe and Kayak Handbook.

The obvious alternative source is Todd Bradshaw. Among other things, he's author of the stunningly beautiful Canoe Rig: The Essence and the Art: Sailpower for Antique and Traditional Canoes.

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