Number 217 / March 2010

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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At the moment if you are a canoeist and are interested in putting a rig on a canoe you would probably go onto a paddling forum to ask your question and get loads of advice on how to do it badly by a multitude of paddlers, with perhaps Keith or Steve putting forward a more enlightened viewpoint. Wouldn't it be good if these people had a place where they could ask their questions about sails on canoes and get a lot of informed people from our group posting replies?

I am not suggesting that this will make Gossip redundant, but rather it will add to it. It will make the OCSG more open to outsiders and should help to promote canoe sailing. To get the maximum benefit it requires that the majority of members participate so please join in and start contributing.


Flip Sails (DaveM)


I was checking the links given in The Gossip 208 (April 2009) and also looking for a better quality photo of the first "unconventional sail" shown on Page 2 (left). I couldn't find one but did learn more about it.

The handcrafted, Polynesian-style, redwood strip construction outrigger canoes are made by Bob Cummings of Secret Harbor Boat Works, Potter Valley, CA. They are made in a number of sizes, some with single and some with double outriggers and with capacities of from one to nine people. SHBW don't have a website (surprising in this day and age), but they have sold several canoes to Catch a Canoe of Mendocino, CA and you can see photos of some canoes on this company's website.




The photo in Gossip 208 shows one of the smaller canoes, which is primarily designed for paddling (near right). However, it can also be fitted with a downwind sail (called a 'flip sail'), which has a perimeter frame and is hinged on the bottom. These sails are deployed with a brisk upward paddle flip. It is possible to sail on a broad reach or on a run straight downwind. When this angle is exceeded, and the sail becomes loaded from the opposite side and it gently folds back down to its stowed position, which is parallel to the water. This configuration on a double outrigger makes it possible for Catch a Canoe to safely rent a sailing canoe to the general public with no experience required, and after a 5-minute lesson. Their success rate thus far is 100%, with no capsizes or damage (human or boat!). Here is a photo showing another type of flip sail used by Catch a Canoe (above right).






They also have some 21' double outrigger sailing canoes, which can carry up to three people (with a passenger on each cross arm 'seat'), with stayed mast, reefable, boomless mainsail and foot pedal rudder control (above). These craft are said to be capable of up to 20 knots with a jib, sailing on a reach, and with a 2nd person all the way out on the cross arm, plus 20+ mph of wind. As with our craft, they have shallow draft (6"), so are ideal for exploring the Big River Estuary. They are said to be "ultra-stable and extremely difficult to capsize" but if you watch the video on the Catch a Canoe website you'll see that it takes some active hiking by the crew to prevent this, as the small outriggers are easily submerged (above right).


Canoe Sailing In Kiribati (JanP)

Older readers may remember Sir Arthur Grimble's talks on the wireless. It is hard to forget the one about octopus hunting. Grimble had been a colonial administrator in what were then the Gilbert Islands at around the time of the Great War. "Kiribati" is the local pronunciation of "Gilbert" and, with independence, it became the name of the new nation (Grimble was known as Kirimbo and Christmas Island is now Kiritimati). When he was there Kirimbo believed that a particular local canoe was the fastest sailing boat in the world. There is no reason to suppose that he was mistaken. From the modern pictures it does not seem as though the design has changed much.

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