A Drop-in Sailing Rig
By Michael Storer - Mooloolaba, Queensland - Australia

Sailing Rigs for Canoes and kayaks usually break into three groups.

There are auxilary sails for (usually) seakayaks that are used to propel the boat downwind only.

There are rigs to give a canoe high performance.

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A rarely seen variant is something in between - a no-fuss rig that does not make the boat hard to handle but provides enough power to sail reliably upwind and down.

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A rarely seen variant is something in between - a no-fuss rig that does not make the boat hard to handle but provides enough power to sail reliably upwind and down. It should include a sensibly sized leeboard so windward progress is reasonably efficient. It is important that the leeboard is of a reasonable size - boards much smaller than this have poor windward performance.

This rig is the third type. It does not offer the highest performance possible, but it is small enough to fit inside the boat when not in use. The leeboard necessary for upwind sailing is removed at the same time as the mast support leaving the boat ready to be used as a pure paddling canoe.

Recently I received an email from Trevor Killmier who purchased the first set of the plans 10 or more years ago. I'll let him tell the story . .

Hello Michael,
You may remember me from way back. I think we last corresponded back in 95/96. You designed a drop in sail rig for a fibreglass canoe we had.

We had a lot of fun out of that sailing canoe

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I was delighted to see a photo of it on the Duck Flats website and I'm pleased that you're marketing the rig again because I get many inquiries about it.

We had a lot of fun out of that sailing canoe (picture above - the rig was built by David Wilson of Duck Flat) but I think in retrospect the hull was quite unsuitable for sailing. It had a very strong weathercocking tendency and I think I wrote and told you that I managed to hurt myself sailing it.

I eventually added a rudder and was able to sail it myself again. My son also taught himself to sail in it and had an enormous amount of fun. However, it was impossible to right after a capsize unless you were able to stand up and so I looked for a more suitable hull. I had the plans of John Bull's Peterboat sailing canoe and had started building one of those before I hurt myself. Some years later, I was able to resume that construction and completed it, launching it in 98.

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I have since added a small tie on jib and an outrigger and have been sailing regularly since 98.

The plans call for a 40 ft.m² lateen rig but I sail down at Clayton mostly and always thought that was just too big. So, I simply transferred your rig across to the new boat and it has proved perfectly satisfactory. I have since added a small tie on jib and an outrigger and have been sailing regularly since 98. (picture above is launching day)

I am now building John Bull's little Pete -- a single seat version of the same canoe -- and will transfer the rig over to that.

The only drawback is that I sometimes don't get to sail it because I spend so much time talking to interested onlookers!

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I regret not being in touch with you earlier simply to convey how much pleasure I get out of this boat. I guess I'm a minimalist at heart but I'm sure there are many people out there with much bigger boats, far heavier and more expensive, who just don't get the amount of fun out of their boats that I do out of mine. The only drawback is that I sometimes don't get to sail it because I spend so much time talking to interested onlookers! (picture above - canoe at Barmera)

Rosemary and I have a van in the caravan park at Clayton and another semipermanent occupant of the park has told me that he wants to build one. I haven't seen him for a while but have told him that the rig is yours. Now I'll be able to direct him to the site.

I have some photographs of the rig on the Peterboat and if you would like to see them or even use them for marketing purposes, I would be happy to send them to you.

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I have some photographs of the rig on the Peterboat and if you would like to see them

Regards,
Trevor Killmier.

Wow - how lovely to hear from you Trevor!!!

Your letter is EASILY one of the nicest things I have read in a while. When I design something it is often the case that I send the plans off, have a bit of correspondence while the boat is being built etc.

BUT ... to get a letter after 10 years showing the damn thing works, that it has been moved from boat to boat - AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - has fitted into someones lifestyle so perfectly is just the best thing.

Thankyou so much!

If there are photos available of the different incarnations of the rig I would love to see them.

Again thankyou for getting in contact!

Best Regards
Michael

Thanks Michael,
Yes, the damn thing really works!!!!! And works so well for me. I'll hunt out some photos, scan them and forward them to you. I know there are photos of the rig on both the yellow canoe and the Peterboat so I'll look for a selection.

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I just can't understand why more people don't add a rig to their canoes. Instant sailing boat: instant fun.

I'm glad you're still interested in this idea - I just can't understand why more people don't add a rig to their canoes. Instant sailing boat: instant fun. Have you tried it on the Eureka design?
Regards,
Trevor.

Note: I think the boat in the photo has the sail hoisted a little bit too high (compare the photos from Trevor Killmier to the drawings). Keeping it a bit lower will reduce the heeling force (less chance of capsizing) and also reduce the load on the mast. Moving the halyard a little further back on the yard (the wood along the top edge of the sail) will cock the boom up so it won't hit the user's head. That's the designer's (my!) opinion, but Trevor has 10 years of experience of the rig with a series of different boats in a range of different conditions - so who am I to argue! :-) I would suggest setting the rig up like the drawings to start with, but if there are problems with head clearance, move towards Trevor's setup.

Notes from the Plan:

This rig is designed to drop into a paddling boat, whether canoe or kayak. As far as possible all the gear is removable from the boat except for the mast step and three unobtrusive fittings that will not interfere with the paddling function. The blue jibsail in some of the photos is not part of the plans.

Many people have a paddling boat and would like to gain a feel for sailing at moderate additional cost.

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Many people have a paddling boat and would like to gain a feel for sailing at moderate additional cost. The objective of this rig is to add the ability to sail to the function of an existing boat without interfering with its existing paddling performance.

If steering with a paddle take particular note of the section at the end on sailing the kayak. It explains how to adjust the leeboard to minimise the steering loads.

A reefing point has been specified in the drawings to enable the sail area to be reduced in marginal conditions. It is not expected that the boat will be able to sail upwind while reefed, though it will still be able to sail well downwind.

I would recommend doing some practice capsizes in safe waters on a warm day to see if you can rescue yourself or if you need outside assistance.

The spars and leeboard have been sized to fit inside most boats or the leeboard can be swung forward to be out of the way of the paddler should the boat have to be paddled home.

MAKE SURE THE BOAT IS EQUIPPED WITH AND THAT YOU WEAR APPROPRIATE SAFETY EQUIPMENT. KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER.

Another factor for consideration is that canoes and kayaks can be very fast under sail - particularly with the wind coming from astern. Take care not to go excessive distances from your home base without realising and setting yourself up for a very long paddle home. A good way to avoid such problems is to start toward the direction the wind is coming from - then you will be able to enjoy a quick sail home.

Michael Storer Boat Design
Wooden Boat Plans
www.storerboatplans.com

SAILS

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