Number 129 / December 2001

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Letter From America (Charles Bronaugh)

I am floored by your website on canoe sailing. I have to hand it to you British folks for taking these things to such use and fun. No one much does it around here in the Pacific NW USA. In fact people hardly believe I can sail a canoe as they try to visualize it as I tell them how cool it is.

About two years ago, I ran across John Bull's little book entitled "How to add sails to your canoe". I went to work that rainy winter and built the rig pictured on the right, all adapted without any marring or drilling to my Mad River Quest canoe, which is 15 feet by 36" beam. Naming the boat Argus is from "Jason and the Argonauts" - a really cheesy 1960's Hollywood film rendition (that is a cult classic to anyone who watches it and loves over-the-top fantasy effects, etc.).

I have recently added a small jib to my rig and the thing runs

even faster, more balanced and tracks and tacks easier than I ever imagined. I plan to add a larger main now that I have become more "salty" with my handling. I taught myself to sail on this boat and it's been so fun that only salmon fishing comes close to the fun for so little cash investment!

I've been taking the boat out on the high lakes here in Washington and Oregon and having a blast with it. Looking at the pictures from your events, it's amazing how much your green landscape is like the Northwest here. I have a tree in my yard that is over a couple feet in diameter, so other than the trees being larger, your landscape looks very much similar. I have only been to England once and barely (Ramsgate, by way of the hovercraft), way back in 1977. I want to visit Scotland.

I feel I overbuilt my mast step. It's rather elaborate. I see you just install a thwart and anchor the foot of the mast to the canoe floor. I did not want to make any drills into my boat and made everything friction fit or clamp and I did achieve that. I tied the armature in with a very sturdy leeward rig. I do wish I had known about your site as its details could have enlightened me when I was building my design. However Mr. Bull's book was my inspiration and, working alone in isolation, I designed every piece custom, except for hardware, and put the furniture finish to it all - solid oak with Z-spar finish.

I will visit your site often. It's the best thing I have seen on this overlooked, underrated recreation! If any of your canoe sailors are ever out here in the USA's NW let me know. There are a zillion excellent lakes to be sailed, several near Mt. Saint Helens - yes, the one that erupted in 1980 that took about 1,500 feet off the top of the mountain!

Have a good Winter Season.

Many thanks to KeithM, firstly for setting up our website and secondly for sending me this delightful message & pics. This is not the first time that the website has been of help. It is a very efficient means of showing prospective sources what sort of a group we are. (And how about replacing the Loch Lomond meet with NW USA?) - Ed.


From Clyde To Iona, 1874 (Part 1) (John Ferguson)

This account of the first part of a remarkable cruise to, and round, Mull was found in cuttings pasted into a battered note book in the club room of the Clyde Canoe Club. It has just appeared in 'Paddles Past', the journal of the Historic Canoe and Kayak Association. My thanks to them - Ed.

The Daily Mail
1st Sept. 1874

A cruise up the west coast of Scotland in a 10 or 20 ton yacht is always a little risky, even in midsummer; nearly sure to be uncomfortable, for, if the wind be contrary, night coming on, currents strong, and anchorage far in the distance, what can a cautious Captain do but give the land a wide berth, or "Jay to" all night, to keep clear of the many sunken rocks and ugly shoals, which are only too plentiful, as a glance at the chart will show? To a canoeist all these dangers count as nothing. Six inches of water will float his boat over anything and if a gale springs up, he runs for the shore, where in some sheltered corner, a bit of turf 6 feet square can always be found to pitch his tent upon. Once inside, with dry clothes on and supper under way, he can laugh at the storm.

I've added this map to show the location of their campsites - Ed.

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