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Sailing Solo

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by dboles, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. dboles

    dboles LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I put this in the Open Forum.
    I have sailed while tripping tandem using various methods and materials for sailing.Unbrellas , tarps and such.
    Was wondering if anyone has refined a technique for solo sailing.
    Im not asking about full blown sailing rigs for canoes,just for ideas on solo sailing while tripping.
    Every once in a while contrary to the myth there is such a thing as a tailwind.Never would have known last weekend.
    Spent half of last friday all saturday under a tarp in front of a fire because of huge headwinds and a sunday dash into the same lesser wind to get to the truck
  2. Tom Heys

    Tom Heys Paddler/Downwind Sailer

    Dan, I'm not sure how refined it is, but I spent part of last September working on a downwind sailing rig. I'll try to get some pictures of the rig posted, but... It amounts to an upside-down trapezoidal sail which is hauled (I guess that's what you'd call it) up two six-foot long spars made from one-inch diameter dowels. It sort of resembles a sling-shot, and amounts to less than fifteen square feet of sail. The spars stick into a piece of two-inch thick mahogany which clamps to the wales forward of the bow seat. I was able to try this once last season before I put the canoe away for the season. The goal was to be able to use it with two people in the canoe, but I anticipate equal success (?) solo. I do a late Autumn trip with some old friends (we call it the five-man fade) in New York. Last year, as Murphy the lawyer would have it, what should've been the downwind leg was on glass-calm water and the return paddle was into the teeth of 20-25 knot "Breeze".
  3. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    The most interesting and controllable downwind sails that I've seen lately are the Balogh "Twins" which come in several sizes. You'll find them here in the list of products
  4. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Solo sailing can be a challenge. Usually, we just raft together two or more canoes for ease and stability, then attach the ends of a tarp (I keep one rigged with ropes specifically for sailing) to paddles, or for extra height, to poles or spars ready cut. The important thing safety-wise, is to be able to "blow" the sail immediately if needed to prevent dumping say the wind gusts stronger or changes direction suddenly. When in a group, the people holding the spars are able to focus on their task, and release the simply attachment knots in milliseconds. Planning for sailing solo safely and simply is a little more challenging. Hopefully someone with relevant experience will contribute here.

    One other idea; hold up a windbreaker or poncho with both arms, sort of like singing the first letter of that old tyme favourite song "YMCA"
  5. OP

    dboles LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Holding the arms up gets tiring after a bit.
    Learned the hard way about sail placement on a canoe for downwind sailing on the Mackenzie River.Sail should be far forward as possible.Which is fine when travelling with a bow person who gets the task of handling the sheet.
    When soloing a person isnt very close to the bow
    Ive tried a medium sized umbrella duct taped to a long stick,works but leaves much to be desired for effectiveness.
    That site looks interesting Todd is there any other equipment required with that sail or is that implied by the term downwind sailing.
    Dumping the sail from back of the canoe with abrupt wind changes is the problem not very sfe when travelling alone.
    When tripping hard to have those rare tailwinds passing by without being utilized,nothing better than scudding along in a canoe under sail almost like cheating somehow.
  6. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    I believe the Twins rig consists only of the mast, with sail attached, the mainsheet bridle system (also attached) and whatever you choose to steer the canoe with. In my opinion Balogh's Twins system for downwind use is just as good, and just as much better than any other downwind rig out there, as the manufacturer claims it is. The first one I ever saw was being used by a couple in a two-seat Klepper who were making a two-mile, island-to-mainland crossing on Lake Superior. It was a windy day with a nasty big chop and my first thought was that they were totally nuts. I watched them come all the way across through the binoculars and was surprised to see that they were in perfect control of the boat, despite the weather and waves. No other downwind system that I know of will allow you to power-up. adjust, or completely depower the sailplan so easily and quickly - and with only one hand. Since the sheeting angle is less critical than most, you could probably even lead the sheet once around the stern quarter thwart to ease hand-holding tension on it, or temporarily pin it there with your foot if you need both hands at times.

    I could possibly see a case for a slight cosmetic overhaul to make it look less flashy on a traditional boat, but that's about all I'd change on it.
  7. Tom Heys

    Tom Heys Paddler/Downwind Sailer

    Dan, Here is a picture of my downwind sailing rig. The initial idea was to have something that would be easy to deploy that would assist us when we go canoe camping. I wish I could tell you it works great, but I haven't gathered that data yet. I completed it for my annual get together on Indian Lake (NY) in October, but the leg of the trip when we would normally have had the wind at out backs was glass-calm. Tom

    Attached Files:

  8. Tom Heys

    Tom Heys Paddler/Downwind Sailer

    Another view.

    Attached Files:

  9. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Kayak sail ?

    Simular to Toms'. Basicaly an upside down triangle that folds up for storage . It has a pivoting base that allows for quick raising , lowering and direction control with 2 top lines . Often advertised on Ebay .

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