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The GOSSIP

Number 205 / December 2008

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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canoes, two outrigger canoes and rigging, and seven adults, into two cars. Not to be recommended if you value your suspension but it is surprising what you can get onto the roof rack and into your car when you have to!

Hoist system
AlistairG's system works well (or did when he was sailing regularly with us). He hoisted his canoe (with a couple of ropes and pulleys) from his car and up under the roof of the car port. He could do

To load up...

drive under, lower away...

strap on and drive off.

this by himself with no lifting.

Sliding Roof Rack
This is one of the best roof rack systems we have seen. It was demonstrated at the 'Great Outdoors' exhibition at the NEC in 2003. It is called a 'Kari-Tek Easy Load Roof Rack'. Load the canoe at waist height, fasten it to the cradle then slide the cradle up and onto the roof. There is a quick and easy to use locking system.

There are of course many more answers to the problem; let's hear yours.

In The Beginning (JohnB)

So, where did it all begin? To be historically accurate, the first real sailing canoes were built by John

MacGregor in the middle of the nineteenth century, but the big developments were by the Royal Canoe Club on the Thames, Twickenham, by people like the Baden-Powell brothers (the scouters) et al. I first became interested in the 1940s when I had a very old Granta folding canoe for which, with a friend, we made a sail out of an old curtain. We used to tow her around behind our bikes and learnt to sail on the winter floodwaters of our local river. For two thirteen year olds this was pure Ransom.

It wasn't until the nineteen seventies, when my own children were

growing up that I became interested again. I had built a couple of stick and canvas eleven foot canoes for them and they splashed about in the low tide channels on the Solway. Soon they had to have sails like proper boats had, so we made two little square sails, about 12 or 16 square feet and these proved very successful. They would paddle down the channel into the wind and sail back at a great speed with shouts of delight. It wasn't long before Dad had to have a go - I was hooked in spite of the small rig. The next job, quite clearly, was to build a man-size outfit and before long a rudder and leeboard. It was great fun going out to meet the incoming tide and sailing home in spite of just a simple square s'l.

For most of the rest of that summer learning to point and at least being able to make very slow progress upwind. It was hard to find books about canoe sailing and I had to resort to reading about large sailboats. Eventually a trip to the US and the maritime museums at Mystic and Blue Lake. Delving about in their library revealed all sorts of books, journals and old letters and within them all my ideas that had cost me sleepless nights came to light. I couldn't help but feel just a bit miffed but at least it showed that I was right in what I had built, even if the proportions were a bit out.

So back home and start on a new outfit, an eighteen foot GRP hull from Colin Broadway, build a new rudder and leeboard, this time to the right proportions. Order a new Lateen rig from the sail maker who I had met in my travels. The result was more satisfactory than we dared hope; we could actually sail well to windward and the new board and rudder worked well, the boat was easily handled and fast in anything of a wind. At the end of that year three of us, Tim Delaney who had spent a lot of time with the boat, my son Adam and myself went up to Loch Lomond at the invitation of the 10 square metre fleet. Winds were very light and very heavy rain, the race was called off, crews were just sitting out there getting wet. In the spring of 1990 I optimistically put an advert in the Canoeist magazine, for which I had written a number of articles on canoes and canoe sailing, saying that there would be a race for sailing canoes on Ullswater at the end of May. I can remember sitting in the car park by myself wondering who would come, would anybody come? (Read Part 2.)

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