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Old Town canoe sailing rig evolution

Discussion in 'Canoe Sailing' started by Benson Gray, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The Old Town Canoe Company catalogs show an interesting progression of the standard sailing rigs over the years as shown in the catalog pages attached below. The first sailing canoe was shown in 1907 with tear drop shaped leeboards and no rudder. The next major change was to a more square leeboard with a handle on top in 1913. A larger leg-o-mutton rig was also introduced this year as shown at and in use. A square rudder was first offered in 1917 and shown in a small picture in the corner. A shallow triangular rudder was first offered in 1924 with a stronger pintle and gudgeon fitting. This rudder was enlarged to a more tear drop shape in 1928. The leeboards changed to a deeper and more rectangular shape in 1932. Many variations of these were also made including ones with twin sails and built in centerboards. Hopefully there will be many of these on the green and in the water at the Assembly this year!


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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  2. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    Cool stuff Benson! The rig I have is from the later years according to your "chart".

    Thanks for posting!
  3. R.SCHELL/canoeist

    R.SCHELL/canoeist Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Sailing Rigs

    Thanks again for the information Benson. Wanted to know if anyone had an actual picture or sketch of a rudder out of the 1925 Old town Catalog. Also looking for the same for a 1922 Carleton. None of the Carleton catalogs that I have seen offer any pictures. Thanks, Ray
  4. OP
    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    My guess is that a Carleton sailing rig would have been identical to the Old Town rig of the same era since they would have been built by the same people in the same building after the original Carleton factory burned on May 17th, 1911. It is also common to find a newer sailing rig that was added to an old canoe many years after it originally shipped.

    The images below show another rudder style that appears to have been installed on some AA grade canoes in the 1930s although it was never shown in a catalog. A short piece of bang plate is screwed in around the bottom for extra protection.

    These also illustrate a frequent variation in the sweep of the 'horns' on the top of the rudder even though the catalogs always show them swept forward. I have found the forward sweeping ones to be more practical to use for a number of reasons.


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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  5. Pernicious Atavist

    Pernicious Atavist Canoe Sailing Publisher

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