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Simple DIY rig?

Discussion in 'Canoe Sailing' started by KaniJonas, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. KaniJonas

    KaniJonas New Member

    Hello, I have paddled a lot but never sailed a canoe, or anything else for that matter. My canoe is a wood canvas around 4 1/2 feet. Kind of a small guide in the form.
    I'd like to make a simple sail, preferably from wood and cotton canvas. But since I've never sailed before I think I should follow some instruction when making my first sail. Do you have any tips where I could find that and maybe some instructions for sailing as well.

    I'm sorry if this has been asked before. I guess it has but I didn't find anything when I did a quick search.
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    While not really a treatise on making the sail itself, this book:
    contains a lot of information that you'll want to know. It's a great discussion of how & why sails work best, and has wonderful pictures of different types of sail rigs. It's worth every penny!
  3. OP

    KaniJonas New Member

    Wow I love that book already before reading it. I will make sure to get my hands on it!
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I suspect that there is a typographical error in your original message since a canoe that is only "4 1/2 feet" long will be a bit short for most adults. The pictures at and show that even small children have trouble with canoes this size. Todd's book is a great place to start. You will also need to decide what type of sailing you want to do. Downwind is easy and almost anything can be a sail. An old tarp or a rain coat with some poles will work fine. The key here is to be able to take it all down quickly if the conditions change since they often do on windy days. The ability to sail across the wind or upwind will require something in the water to prevent the canoe from sliding sideways. Leeboards are the usual solution although a paddle can be lashed in position for this. The easiest solution is usually to just buy an old sailing rig for a canoe. The page at will give you an idea of what you are looking for. These show up regularly on the used market although you may need to buy a canoe with it. Good luck,

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  5. OP

    KaniJonas New Member

    Hey, you are right! I missed a 1.. should be 14 1/2!

    Thanks for your advice and the link! I have ordered the book now. It seems like a great starting place!

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