Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wa'apa Rig on Wheels

A letter from Germany:
Dear Gary,
Instead of boatbuilding pictures here are some of a few sails we made for Beachsailing!
Your book was a great help. There isn't much literature on sailmaking, in German we actually didn't find any.

The Pictures were taken on Römö, a sandy island on the westcoast of Denmark, which is 3,5 hours from our hometown.

The big white sail has 7,5sq m, it's great for low to ultra-low winds:a whisper on your face and you start going!
The orange one has 2sq m, made for the heavy breeze. Top-speed was 62,5km/h (38,5mph), about two times windspeed. It has also a good size at lower wind for children to practise.
The intermediate white one has 3,5s qm. It almost runs the speed of the (much more expensive) hightech-sails of a similar size.
All are made of Polytarp, not common for sailmaking here, with our trusty old sewing machine.
Maybe a sailing canoe will follow someday....
Greetings from Lübeck, Germany: Bernhard and Johannes 


  1. Awesome! I've always wanted to build one of these. My thinking was to have the wheel configuration reversed (2 in front, 1 in back with tiller-like steering). What are your thoughts on the stability of such a configuration? Thanks!

  2. There are better informed people than me on that subject.

  3. Very, very interesting! I think I might make one to try out on my sandyacht.

    Sandyachts don't need much sail once they are rolling - the apparent wind soon builds up. To get started though, the sail needs a fair bit of 'grunt' - this oceanic lateen rig might be just the ticket as it develops significant draft/camber when the sheet is eased. I look forward to experimenting!

  4. Mike: the center of gravity should be as far as possible from the heeling –axis (middle to side wheel).
    So the pilot (as biggest weight) is positioned best between the side wheels. Steering is done with the feet, you have both hands to sheet in hard to draw chamber from the sail for top-speed.
    Chris: yes, since the angle between mast and boom is less than 90° the chamber changes with the sheeting. Trimming or pulling the chamber a bit out can be like kicking up a gear once you are on the go. A brailing/spiller line to raise the boom a little is fun to play with in almost no wind on the big sail.
    These sails are easy to make (for a sail ;) and great in performance!
    Greetings, Johannes

  5. Hi Johannes, thanks for your reply. I think I will try and make a sail about 3 sqm for my Seagull 'Silence'. I hope you and Gary don't mind but I posted a link to this blog post and the photos on the Australian 'Seabreeze' land sailing forum. It has already got some interest.

  6. Hi Johannes,
    thanks for your and on seabreeze.
    I love this follows the lovely KISS. I got some experience in building sails for my small landyachts from old windsurfing sails, and I would like to build one of these Canoe sails during winter. As my english is bad...perhaps we could have little mail contact (auf deutsch)

  7. Thanks for the resonance!
    Michael (and all others): , (in deutsch or english, i'll try my best...;)

  8. coooool, k designs bi pole rig would be interesting too

  9. That is pretty rad! Useful for getting your "sail-on" in colder climates, too...