Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Rudder

After many years and different incarnations of kick-up rudders, I've changed to a variation of the cassette dagger rudder.  Thanks to Michael Storer, and the people he got it from, for the inspiration.
My chief complaint of my pivoting kick-up rudders was the difficulty steering when it partially kicked up.  I had a locking pin to use in known deep water but that is still not ideal.  Shallow water control was impossible.
The cassette I built has an open back with two wraps of bungy cord.  Initial sailing trials show it to be rock solid, but I have yet to see how it does over ten knots.  At most, I'll have to add extra bungy.
Besides being able to set the rudder depth for good shallow water control, it also kicks up in either direction for those times when you have difficulty getting launched off a windy lee shore.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Expedition Sailing Canoe

I recently received this article from Frank Jackson in Ault, Colorado.  So many possibilities, so little time.

Several years ago, I went on a house boat trip to Lake Powell. It was a fantastic trip, but the whole time, I was just dying to paddle that water. However, Lake Powell has a reputation for being dangerous for boating during a blow. In many areas, there are miles of continuous cliff shoreline. So I tried to figure out how to make standard canoes safe for trips where one could get caught on angry waters. I thought that outriggers could provide protection from capsizing and spray skirting protection from swamping. I came up with some plans to build out such a canoe, and recorded these ruminations and plans in the document Expedition Sailing Canoe – For the Love of Paddling.
During this planning phase, I did do a little research on the internet, which was helpful, but recently I’ve discovered how much more there is on the internet than what I found initially. I now have to laugh at myself (join in your laughter as you read Part 1), for being so na├»ve.
I also love sailing. To figure out how to rig a canoe for sailing while still preserving the option to paddle, I built a model. Then I built the real thing, sailed it two seasons, and did make a trip to Lake Powell.

We had seven days on the water, paddled around 20 miles and sailed maybe 30. Originally, the plan was a mix of my sailing canoe and canoes with no sails. At the last minute, others wanted to add a sails to their canoes, so I quickly figured out how this could be done, again without the benefit of the rich material available on the Outrigger Sailing Canoes blog. In the end, there were seven of us, with my trimaran, a canoe with outrigger and windsurf sail, and a tandem canoe(s) with windsurf sail. We did the tandem canoes because we were on odd number and there was no one with enough experience and confidence to go solo. Pictures of our trip can be viewed at
These experiences gave rise to numerous design adjustments, further influenced by the additional material I’ve found on the internet (especially
Upon return from Lake Powell, I made the mistake of taking a look at Craig’s List to see if there was a cheap canoe I could pick up. I found a 17.6 Mohawk fiberglass canoe that I couldn’t resist, AND a catamaran mast/boom/sail that was a steal. So now what I’m doing is: Building a new trimaran with the 17.6 Mohawk, rigged with the gaff rig from my current boat Rigging my 19ft Ranger canoe/trimaran with the new cat rig Modifying the canoes with wind surf rigs
I’m documenting the design adjustments and wind surf rigs in the document Expedition Sailing Canoe – Part 2 (forthcoming).
I guess that is all for now. I look forward to interacting with the so many others who share in these passions.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


The most recent addition to my collection of outrigger canoe models is this fine example from Pukapuka in the Cook Island group.   The fine detail and authentic sewn construction indicate that it was most likely built by someone who was experienced at building full scale canoes.
Pukapuka was brought to outside attention mostly through the books of Robert Dean Frisbee.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ulua from Ventura

It's sometimes hard to imagine, in the beginning, how a bundle of long fragile sticks can turn into something of such sublime beauty.

Keith Eldridge did an excellent job on his Ulua.