View Full Version : What do I want? Sailing canoe hull shape.
09-01-2000, 06:36 PM
What is the ideal desired hull shape for a cruising saling canoe? I would intend to use it for camp cruising, payload of (solo)250lbs to (double) 400lbs. What diference in the hull shape is there from a canoe that is intended to be paddled only? You see a lot of people putting sail rigs on store bought canoes and even kayaks and some purport to be very fast, but is there something different desired from a hull that is intended to be sailed?
09-01-2000, 07:24 PM
I've really no idea as to what a sailing canoe's ideal hull shape should be, but a canoe that is intended to be paddled and sailed is a bit of a compromise......too wide and you won't like to paddle it. I guess you'd need to decide which is the most desireable characteristic for you and lean toward that direction (lean toward the wind too...heheheheh). Go for something beamy, that tracks well. I don't know, maybe you'd want a bit of a flat, full aft section, with a bit of rocker toward the bow and a nice fine entry??? Ample decking would be good too, and a nice little kickup rudder and leeboard or a small centerboard.
Anyway....have a look at the Selway Fisher web pages. They have some sailing canoe designs that would seem to be more sailing/crusing designs. I like the little 13 footer there.
Michael Storer (Aussie, I believe), has a nice stitch and glue design called Beth. It looks like it'll go well and would not be too burdensome to paddle, though he went fro good performance under sail more than anything. Ian Oughtred has a couple too. they are decked sailing canoes reminiscent of John Macgregor and J Henry Rushton. They are beautiful glued plywood lapstake designs. Check out datadata's pages.....he seems to be the GURU of canoe sailing and his site is exteremely interesting and informative as to the history of canoe sailing. His address is on the other thread here about sailing canoes.
selway fisher www.selway-fisher.com/ (http://www.selway-fisher.com/)
Michael Storer www.storerboatplans.bigstep.com (http://www.storerboatplans.bigstep.com)
09-02-2000, 04:09 AM
If the more traditional forms of sailing canoes are of interest, there are very many lines plans in the following two books:
"Canoe and Boat Building for the Amateur: A Complete Manual" by W.P. Stephens and "A Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing by Dixon Kemp"
A description of each work is on the site:
[This message has been edited by dngoodchild (edited 09-02-2000).]
Increased beam to carry sail and accomadate crew and gear seem most important to me for cruising . I camp cruise my Deleware Ducker which is a half decked double ender with a daggerboard ( 14 ft. by 4 ft. ) . Not a canoe , but as you look for seaworthy and capacious sailing canoes you may find that the Ducker meets your needs better . The boat has a huge cockpit , big enough for two adults to sit side by side on the bottom of the boat and lean comfortably against the weather ( uphill ) coaming . This is far more congenial than stareing at the back of your crews head all day , speaking loudly to be understood. It's also more practical and fun for shareing the lunch, the chart and the binoculars Of course getting the crews' butts off the centerline like this is a huge advantage when sailing in a breeze . I carry a small spritsail in exposed waters and can stay seated in the cockpit in most conditions . Hiking out in a fast boat is fun for a short daysail , but not for a cruise , I think . The Ducker is just about as portable as a canoe . I cartop mine and can launch anywhere. The boat is wide enough to row without outriggers , and it rows beautifully . The decking allows the boat to handle rough water , including on and off the beach in light surf . The daggerboards' pronounced curve in profile allows the case to be placed forward of the cockpit, where it's out of the way and strongly braced by the foredeck . I know everything has been done in canoes durring the Great Canoe Craze of the post Civil War era , and some beautifull boats have come down to us , but that does'nt mean they're the most practical model of small boat for cruising under sail . It seems to me that many of these canoes were Adapted to sail as well as possible with their beam restricted by the use of the double paddle , or perhaps an arbitrary rule . The derring do required of the crew was part of the fun . The Duckers rigged for sail were Designed speciffically to carry two adults under sail thru rough water and serve as a gunning platform when they got to the marsh ; while still being light enough for the crew to manhandle over a sandbar .Not a bad prescription for a light beach cruiser today .
09-02-2000, 09:42 PM
Will, I hear you loud and clear about the beam issue. I have been wondering just how wet I am really interested in getting. This would be a second boat, first is a 14' row/sail. I guess the primary goals of this one would be (in order of priority): portagable by one man (hull in one load, spars, sails and paddle in another.), double paddleable (because I am forced to paddle from the middle of the boat, besides, I like it more), campable (dry cargo space, perhaps even sleepable/tent? Okay, I'm dreaming.), traditional sail canoe style/look (batwing yawl?), daysailer load capacity of two (300 - 350lbs).
In the Lake of the Woods area, Manitoba/Ontario/Minnisota borders, there are a bunch of lakes out on the sheild, there are canoe routes out there all mapped out. I was out there canoeing with the wind at my back. Each paddle stroke was, "dumb guy, dumb guy..." I said to myself, "Self, next time you do this, your canoe is going to have a mast." Myself said to I, "I agree."
So... I can't really see myself dragging a boat w/ 4' beam through the underbrush by myself. And it is really tough to paddle a 4' beam. I know, "Row!". But I do like to see where I am going.
Got any links pointing to the Delaware Ducker? You have peaked my interest.
09-03-2000, 02:03 AM
I'm not sure that I would go overboard (bad pun) on the extra beam issue. Remember that beamy hulls have more tendency to round-up into the wind when heeled. This can affect the balance and may require fairly drastic changes in mast and leeboard placement for different wind conditions in order to get the rig to work and to keep the helm reasonable. The best bet might be to get a boat that paddles like you want it to and adjust the size and configuration of the sailing rig. The result may be a "jack of all trades - master of none" kind of boat, but for the type of versatility that you are seeking, it may be the best option. Many of the things that could be done to a canoe to make it a great sailboat (centerboards, lots of decking, high-aspect foils, broader and flatter sterns, etc.) would hinder performance as a general purpose tripping boat.
09-03-2000, 08:10 AM
Todd, You've kind of summerized the whole thing and gone full circle and left me with the whole question to ask again. What does 'adjust it for the sailing rig' mean? And considering that I am designing the hull from the ground up how do I change the shape of the hull so it sails better, or do I have to?
09-03-2000, 01:47 PM
I'd lean toward Walt Simmon's sailplans, if it were me. It sounds as though you are not interested in a speedy set up for sail, but one that will sail relatively well, without the need for excessive beam and other modification that will make your canoe difficult to paddle. Given that you are prone to using a double paddle (me too!), I'd have a look at Mr. Simmons' canoes and the sail plans for them. The sail plan is very modest........not fast, but you won't need to be a gymnast to sail her. It is configured as a balanced cat/ketch, with simple jib headed sails of identical area. Even with two sails, you won't have any more rigging than some of the other rigs out there.....even less than some of them. The plan is only $10.00, and includes the layout for a 13, 15 or 17 foot canoe. These are the variations of canoes that he has plans for. They are designed for lapstrake construction, but can be done in glued lap ply too. You could adapt the plan to another boat if you wanted.......
I think the key, whatever you decide, is to keep the rig modest. If you are cruising, you probably want to minimize the risk of catastrophy (capsize!).
Good luck, Garland
09-03-2000, 02:06 PM
Yakaboo was sailed all over the Caribbean
You can read about Frederic Fenger and Yakaboo online
WoodenBoat 119:80 (see also about reproduction builder Joe Youcha starting page 86 of the same issue).
WoodenBoat 82:5 (letter about Yakaboo by John Martsolf).
Yachting Monthly (UK) - July 1921.
Yachting (USA) July 1914 and July 1919
09-03-2000, 09:09 PM
If you read the old Forest and Stream correspondence, the Ducker was contrasted favorably with sailing canoes as a camper cruiser. By today's standards she is a bit heavy; traditionally built she is 160 lbs; glued lap takes her down to near 100 and cold molded can get you 70. Plans are available from Mystic Seaport Museum and Independence Seaport Museum. Unless modified the boat is not self rescuing and gear wise she is best suited to solo camp cruising. With a small rig you need to work hard to capsize her. I found mine best suited to estuarys; she is pretty wet in big open waters like SW 15-20 in Penobscot Bay.... unless of course you douse the rig and row.
I did an article on her in WB back I think in 82 and more recently an article on the Duckers larger cousins, the hiker.
For cruising canoes, they continued to develop in the years after WWI in Sweden and Germany. A paddleable sailing canoe was 5.2 meters x .945 meters with a 7.5 meter rig, somewhat larger than the 15-16' boats of the 1880's. The Swedes still sail and race these as Class C and D canoes. Hulls have relatively flat floors and a slightly more buoyant afterbody than forward sections. These are decked and bulkheaded. These boats are a good bit more capable than the older ones. Modern International Canoes are racing descendents of these.
[This message has been edited by Ben Fuller (edited 09-03-2000).]
Ben ; Funny you should mention 15-20knts. on Penobscott Bay . I'm leaving Atlanta on Wedensday ( with Ducker ) aiming for the meeting of the Maine Island Trails Assoc. on Saturday- Warren Island . Then camp cruise for some days . I've got airbags , and a farmer john wet suit if it looks to be a wet ride .Or I'll just drive to a sunny part of the coast and commune with M.I.T.A. later by mail . I made ( sail by Dabbler ) the Gunning Rig shown on the Mystic plans and it's like sailing a different boat as opposed to the tall jib headed rig the boat came with ( I sailed that mast out of the boat) .I think the sprit and gaff rigs selected by the folks who perfected the hull are best for this boat . I intend to build the Pleasure rig from the Mystic plans as well . I think of you as the God Father of my boat and am keenly aware that without institutions like Mystic , and your personal promotion of the the type , I wouldn't have known these boats ever existed . Any unwanted coldmoulded Duckers laying around in your neck of the woods ? - Your Biggest Fan -
09-05-2000, 10:31 PM
If you are planning to paddle, sail and portage the boat with a camping load through areas like the Minnesota/Ontario canoe parks it would seem to me that you have two options. One would be a Rushton-style solo boat - sit on the bottom, double paddle, lug rig (either single or ketch-rigged with a small lug or lateen mizzen for balance) and a fair amount of decking. Expanding the same concept to carry two people and their gear is probably going to be way too heavy to portage. After about half a mile on steep, muddy portages covered with greasy rocks and wet leaves, you're going to seriously re-think your choice of boats.
For tandem use and the versatility that you seek, any good 17-18 foot tripping boat design with an add-on, single-sail rig would be both lighter and probably more seaworthy. If you are building the boat yourself, intergating the leeboard bracket into the center thwart or portage yoke and the mast step into the bow seat or quarter thwart might save some weight and hassle.
There are things you could do to the lines of the hull to make it sail a bit better - like flattening and broadening the stern for more buoyancy aft at high speed, flaring the bow for lift in waves and straightening the stern stem to take a rudder with less difficulty. You could even build-in a very narrow (maybe 3" wide) transom so you can use easy-to-find rudder gudgeons. In a tripping situation though, especially in an area that is very hard to walk out of, you have to sail more conservatively and most of these things are not going to make a big performance difference. A good tripping canoe with a simple spritsail and paddle steering may be a better all-round choice.
09-06-2000, 09:44 AM
I had found the Yakaboee in my WB backissues. Nice boat, but I don't really want to try to pick it up. It sure seems to have a very different hull shape, more like a small keel boat than a big canoe.
I sure don't want to have to rethink my boat on a portage. I will definitely have to decide if I want to carry 1 or 2 and still portage it solo. I only weigh 170, so w/ camping gear solo, I won't add more than 210 to the boat, not very much since a lot of people would add that w/o camp gear.
I really hear what you are saying about the weight Todd. But I don't know what the big weight difference would be between a 17' canoe w/ rig added and a 17' with a bit of a deck intended to be sailed. Really they should be about the same weight, no? Or where does the extra weight come into the question?
Perhaps I'll have to build a wheel system to portage it? <grin>
09-06-2000, 12:57 PM
The problem with decking large areas on a tandem-sized canoe is that the decking and it's support structure (deck beams, knees, coamings etc.) end-up being about as heavy per square foot as the hull material. If you take a good, user-buildable tripping canoe like Hazen's 17' Micmac (The Strippers Guide to Canoe Building) and are careful, the finished boat weighs 55-60 lbs. Decking 40% of the boat will add at least 15 to 20 pounds or more and instantly tramsforms the canoe into something that will be very difficult to portage. Other than using fabric for decking, which is a possibility, regular canoe building materials, in a thickness and construction that will provide workability and reasonable durability are going to add a fair amount of weight. Thin plywood skins, like the plywood sea kayaks use for decking would be somewhat lighter, but it's hard to say how much as they would require fairly substantial framing to support them.
Keep in mind also, that waves do not usually enter canoes (paddling or sailing) over the bow. They are much more likely to come over the side and land in the bow paddler's lap. Even 36"long bow decks, though quite elegant looking, aren't going to keep much water out.To effectively hard-deck such a boat, it would end-up looking like a Klepper on top: bow deck back almost to the bow paddler's knees, side decking and aft decking behind the stern paddler's seat. It would be logical in that case to also beef-up the side decking so that you could sit on it and hike out. Add a couple of bulkheads, bow and stern, tweek the hull shape a bit, add a daggerboard well, maybe a bailer and a good rudder and you'd have one hell of a day sailor which, unfortunately, would weigh 100 lbs. or more.
On the other hand, if we start with our 60 lb. Micmac canoe and build-in a leeboard bracket, we might be portaging a 63-65 lb. hull. A simple sprit or lug rig won't weigh much more than about 10 lbs. The detached leeboard would probably weigh maybe 7 lbs. Paddle steering is free as you already have to have one and you could deck the whole thing with nylon for 2-3 lbs.That's about 20 lbs. of extra stuff for your second trip across the portage with your pack.
Back when we were young and stupid, we used to put one Duluth pack on our back, another on our front and the boat on our shoulders and set off down the trail - usually with at least one hand full of rod cases or other stuff. All we ever saw of the portage was the small area of trail right under our feet. Looking back, it seems like a mistake. It's not like we were in a big hurry or anything and more trips across the portages with lighter loads would have provided higher-quality memories.
Forget the cart - you don't want to be in the places where you could use one. There's nothing like a couple of mile-long portages to give you a little separation from the hords.
09-06-2000, 02:11 PM
Design, design, design. I completely forgot that I was going to want to sit on the deck, esp the side deck. Yeah I would have to frame it out like crazy. Maybe I will have to put two solid keels on it (read skis) and drag it across the portage. <grin>
Sounds like you are a bit bigger than me...duluth packs and all. I did a bit of a Portage with a 15' Coleman this summer. Found it was more the keeping the thing in balance that was the worst, not the weight. Couldn't help but think that an idler wheel at the tail would be a real help if I was alone for a longer distance. I also didn't have a yoke at all so that was a bit of a killer.
Boats like Piccilo are only 12' and claim to carry two, some of the Oughtreds in the WB plan catalogs (30 Wooden Boats?) also start out short, 13' or so. Solo touring kayaks seem to all end up around 17', claiming that is as long as you need to not be limited by hull speed. Wouldn't a sail canoe sail as fast as a kayak paddles? Don't you want the length in your sail canoe for speed? Are they all short to limit the weight or for another reason?
09-06-2000, 08:16 PM
I think the smaller Oughtred designs are intended for solo, but the larger one can be stretched to around 15' to accomodate two. A southern Cal builder built this long version, and she is a beauty. She is no lightweight though, and with that relatively large sail area, he said she can get pretty exciting. This might not be what you want for a camp/cruising canoe. Maybe it would be better to build two solo boats, in which case you could deck them over, since they would not need to be more than 12' or so, and they would still be light enough to portage. The glued lap method can result in strong and light boats.
Mac Mcarthy, I think, has a pattern set for a 14' sailing canoe also, built in cedar strip fashion.
As a side note: I have a 13.5' x 29" solo canoe whose design is along the lines of the rushton types.........I would like to put a sail on her, but It ain't a boat made for two!
If you are going for a tandem, I think I'd go with Tom's suggestions for using a conventional design with an add on sail and some fabric decking.........build a nice stripper and deck it over with a dacron deck like a skin on frame.??? You might have to use some re-enforcement on the side decks if you plan to sit out, but you may be able to approach an acceptable weight that way.
09-07-2000, 02:22 AM
I can't imagine putting two people and gear in anything shorter than 16' and heading off into canoe country. A 17'-18' boat is better still. Length adds speed, decreases draft (and thus increases freeboard) and also increases stability by increasing the amount of volume that must be dunked to heel the boat over.It also gives more lift in waves.
Find a copy of Hazen's book and look at the double-bar portage yoke. It looks a bit unusual and takes-up more space than most but allows you to tilt the boat fore and aft as you climb or decend hills. It also allows you to pick the boat up and start walking from either a bow-forward or stern-forward attitude. This doesn't seem like a big deal until you get to some of the portage landings that have bad footing and then it's a real blessing.
As far as kayaks go, my sea kayak is 18'10" long and 21.5" wide. It will sprint at nearly 6 knots on the GPS, but not for long. Normal cruising speed is 3.5 knots to 4 knots, which takes very little work. Into the wind and waves, I loose about a knot and with the wind, I pick-up about a knot. I doubt a sailing canoe in the 17'-18' range with two people, gear and a touring sail rig will ever plane, but I would not be surprized if it would sail a reach at 4-5 knots without requiring too much hiking for balance. Sailing to weather, it should also move pretty well though your VMG and the efficiency of sailing to weather will depend upon your desired course and how much zig-zagging you have to do to get there.
09-09-2000, 08:49 AM
IMHO sailng to weather in a canoe isn't worth the effort, considering the other requirements.I have a large kite (15 sq. ft.parasail)that I have used to go downwind in my seakayak(18.5' George Putz in plygooge).Other than the very long tail dragging in the water it works very well,with little heeling moment trying to dump you out.It weighs essentially nothing and folds up smaller than my raingear.
09-09-2000, 09:34 PM
Have you looked at the Beth canoe yawl from Michael Storer? This sounds like it may work for you. It would be not ideal for two, unless you were both small, or you traveled very lightly! But, the weight is not unbearable, if you can approach the spec'd weight. Sailing performance would likely be good and is, according to some reviews. Construction would be fairly easy, and if you use good ply, you'll have a very nice looking boat. I still think that she'd be a bit of a burden in the backwoods, but she's made to sail.......at the expense (probably) of some of her paddling qualities.
OTOH..........You could probably give a sunfish sailor fits on your local sailor's lake! www.ace.net.au/schooner/beth.htm#start (http://www.ace.net.au/schooner/beth.htm#start)
09-10-2000, 01:29 AM
Careful, even though they're made from congealed goo, a Sunfish in the right hands is a very formidable sailboat with unbelievable heavy air and rough water capabilities.I have many fond memories of planing along in a Sunfish on days that I would not even have dreamed of trying to sail a canoe.
09-10-2000, 08:41 AM
Sunfish. Grrr. I guess I could say I got my first sailing initiation on that boat. Thought it was fine, but hated the icecream pail of a foot well. I think that has to be one of the most uncomfortable boats to sail. Feels like one of those small sports cars where the foot well is 18" too far to the left.
I am not very worried though, I don't expect to be out entering any Sunfish races. And besides, as I am loading by my self and driving off he will still be trying to find a handhold on his boat.
So far I like the the looks of Yakaboo, but the entire premise for the boat is different than what I want. I did find a picture of W.P. Stephens 'Guenn' that looks almost exactly what I had envisioned. (http://dragonflycanoe.com/stephens/progress3.html#guenn This link will only give you the page link, not the set of frames. Another link - http://www.paddlin.com/fivelakes/iam_plate1.html ) But, after Todd's comments about building it, I am not sure that I would be able to load/unload/carry the hull myself. I was hoping for a traditional look, and was interested in wetting my teeth on glued lapstrake, but after reading Storer's page on Beth, I am curious how much benifit there is in that hard chine and slab sides (getting more righting moment out to the rail as the boat is healing over). Guenn is quite square sided as well, so I wonder how much more a true sqare bilge (Beth) would have over a rounder shape like Guenn?
[This message has been edited by Saint (edited 09-10-2000).]
09-13-2000, 02:08 PM
I could get into first vs secondary righting moments, but a better solution would probably be for you to start small, say a stock canoe with a simple rig, and from there best judge as to want you want.
09-13-2000, 02:29 PM
Life is weird sometimes. Like, I need this list to tell me to go ahead and slap a sail on the old coleman and give it a fling. As if seeing pictures of other people doing it aren't enough. Sheesh. I wonder what Pa will think when I return it with a centerboard slot cut out? <grin>
Brian, yes you could get into it...go for it. I'm listening.
09-13-2000, 02:30 PM
For what it's worth, "sailboats" aren't allowed in the Boundary Waters Wilderness on the Minnesota side of the border (or at least weren't a few years ago; I haven't checked lately). It's one of the dumbest bureaucratic things I've run into in a long time - supposedly sails are "artificial means of propulsion", although it would make about as much sense to ban paddles and force you to use only your hands. I don't know if they'd let you use a sailing canoe or not - best check, or stick to the Canadian side.
09-13-2000, 04:27 PM
Well if that's all it takes for you to hack up a Coleman ... http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif
Seriously, here's a writeup on Canoe design that explains all about hull shapes.
Keep in mind that in order to run a sail you will need even more stability.
This is accomplished several ways.
<LI> greater width.
this will result in a boat that will be very hard to paddle due to the drag.
<LI> a squarer ( if that's a word ) shape
<LI> more weight in the form of ballast. see above
<LI> you could sit out on the gunnels, see photo of Yakaboo. this makes for a very wet ride. You could also "dump" the boat if the wind would all of a sudden change direction. and heaven forbid if you have to reach for something!
<LI> run an outrigger.
[This message has been edited by BrianCunningham (edited 09-13-2000).]
09-13-2000, 06:17 PM
I put a Mirror rig on my sea kayak for a while.I didn't bother with the jib but 2 outriggers were required (4" plastic pipe with ends tapered and plugged,bolted to some aluminum conduit).
The centerboard case was bolted to the conduit.
This mickeymouse setup went like hell but was hard to steer because after all the required refreshments had been consumed I didn't have the energy to install the rudder.
09-13-2000, 09:23 PM
The usual comments apply:
Lotsa canoe stuff. The material from Frazer and Neide makes interesting reading, especially discussing whys and wherefores of canoes for different purposes. Materials have chanegd but ergonomics haven't.
My opinion is that if you are going to portage a canoe a lot, forget a sail, except perhaps for a carbon fiber or bamboo pole which you can use to hoist a small square sail aka tarp, ground cloth, boat cover.
My other opinion is that if you want to sail a sailing canoe, and you want simple, the Beth/Skinney/chine sharpie hull is the best way to go. If you like imagine a Sunfish with some extra freeboard and an extended pointy stern.
Chesapeake Light Craft makes a Mill Creek 15 (which is a sailable double) and a Mill Creek 16 (which is a sailable large single or touring type canoe). You may be able to build them light enough to portage. Both are decked - I don't know how light you can go.
But I think asking for a portage-able canoe combined with a good sailing canoe is asking a great deal unless you have a lot of time and money to build your own ultralight in carbon fiber or cedar strip. Note that a sharpie hull is harder to paddle or row than a round bilged hull, although not excessively so.
09-14-2000, 08:48 AM
This info may be of use to those interested in this thread, and in the Greater Washington DC area. Sorry for the short notice, but this flyer just came into my hands.
"Sailing Canoes on the Potomac
Thursday, September 14, 2000 -- 7:30 PM
Join the Director of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation, Joe Youcha, on an exploratory tour of this very popular craft. During the late 19th century, canoeing was one of the most popular recreational activities in America, and various types could be seen all along the Potomac River. The Seaport Foundation has constructed a few of these, and has restored an antique sailing canoe as well, which Mr. Youcha will bring along to illustrate his talk. There will also be information available about the American Canoe Association, which was originally formed during the late 19th century.
Free Admission -- Free Parking
The Lyceum -- Alexandria's History Museum
201 South Washington St., Alexandria VA
A few notes:
One of the ACA's founders was Nathaniel Bishop, of "Four Months in a Sneak Box" fame. A great site on him is Eric Eldred's - http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nhb/BISHOP.HTM
Thank you Craig for the link from your pages.
As I type, the last coat of varnish is drying on the canoe mentioned. It's construction is fairly common for the period - round bilged, narrow beam, a tiny cockpit that doesn't even seem big enough for your feet, and a long, fairly shallow metal centerboard, which is the one thing which is new to me (I'm no expert at these things). I haven't seen the sail rig.
I can't make the talk, so I won't be able to report on it tomorrow. Ironically, I'll be teaching the last class in basic canoeing for the year -- in a battered Grumman ;^(
We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread...
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