IV. CANOE UNDER SAIL (I).
- "Now the freshening breeze
- goads on the great seas
- with white caps all crowned,
- Their green crests they hurl
- with foam-fringed curl,
- And they break all around ;
- But I reef down my sail,
- and I laugh in the gale,
- While it speeds us along 'mid the bright, driving spray,
- As to windward I sit, and like dragon-fly flit
- O'er the rollers so gay !
- And my gallant canoe in the blustering wind
- Seems to revel with me in the joy that I find."
paddling with the wind the speed of the canoe is increased; the driving
force of the wind on the surface of the hull and the paddler's back,
added to the force exerted through the paddle, results in greater speed
than when there is no wind, or an adverse breeze, the paddle alone
propelling the canoe. Increase the surface exposed to the action of the
wind and greater speed results; therefore the sail asserts itself.
Canoes that draw very little water can only sail "down the wind;" for,
headed in any other direction, they drift helplessly sideways. Put a
bush in the bow of an open canoe, place yourself well aft, start her
before the wind, and very good speed will result without putting the
paddle in the water.
Before the Wind.
Your own weight so far aft will sink that end
slightly and raise the bow out of water, bringing the bush sail fairly
into play. The canoe will not change her course, since she turns on the
stern as if it were a pivot, and the wind keeps the sail end directly
in front of the point giving greatest resistance to her progress.
A mast is used to support the sail. It is fastened
securely to the canoe and stands straight up perpendicular to keel. A
square sail hung with an equal surface on each side of the mast is best
for dead before the wind sailing. It is so very seldom that your course
can be laid down the wind, that a different form of sail -- being
entirely, or nearly so, on one side of the mast, and capable of being
shifted from side to side--has been found most convenient for general
use. In a smooth, round or flat bottomed canoe a sail is a useless
thing. When it could be used to advantage--which rarely occurs-a coat
spread over the paddle, or a bush stood up in the bow, will give very
fair speed and relieve the paddler, if tired, and keep him moving on
his journey the while. To sail in any direction not directly before the
wind, the canoe must have some hold on the water. This is got by means
of a keel, enough to allow of laying a course and keeping it without
much leeway when the wind is in any direction abaft the beam. The
smooth, round bottom, open Canadian canoes can only change the course
from before the wind, without making great leeway, when they use
76 • 77
A leeboard is a thin board securely fastened to the
side of the canoe and dropping down a foot or more in the water. It
presents its edge to the water when the canoe is moving forward. When,
however, a side pressure is brought to bear on the canoe, ordinarily
causing leeway, the leeboard exerts its entire side surface against the
water to prevent such a motion. The canoe therefore moves ahead (when
pressure is exerted on the sail--not sideways), as this is the
direction of least friction.
For a centerboard a canoe must be fitted with a box from
one to three feet long directly over the keel, built very thin and
high, having its sides, ends and top made watertight, but with its
bottom open directly over a similar opening through the bottom and keel
of the canoe. Within this box is a board which can be pushed down
through the keel a foot or more into the water--edges forward and
aft--to serve the same purpose as a leeboard. Centerboards are always
made movable. When their services are needed they are dropped down into
the water. When not in use they are housed in the centerboard trunk,
entirely within the canoe. The room the trunk takes tip in the small
hold of the canoe is the chief objection to the use of centerboards.
The trunk must be watertight. (See Appendix.)
The canoe, having some hold on the water, sail set, is
taking a course not directly before the wind, but across it at an
angle. It is at once found that the canoe will not keep this course,
but must be guided by the paddle, which is allowed to have one blade in
the water aft and used as a rudder or guiding machine. A canoe can be
steered by its trim to a very great extent. The course chosen, set the
sail to take the best advantage of the wind pressure, as will be
explained later. If the canoe falls off from the wind, the weight in
her should be shifted forward till this tendency is overcome. If the
tendency is to broach-to, move the weight aft; the bow will rise and
the canoe will fall away. Much unnecessary steering can thus be avoided
by a little thought as to trim. Steering by paddle or rudder is sure to
lessen speed. This is an important point to be remembered.
MacGregor in his Rob Roy used a standing lug sail. It is
shown in Fig. B, page 78. This is a very simple sail. The mast
supports it, and it is stretched to present its surface to the wind by
a boom at the bottom and a yard at the top. Yard and boom are but
light, round pieces of wood, sometimes bamboo, to which the cloth of
the sail is laced. There are but two lines needed to work this sail
effectively: a halyard by which it is hoisted and lowered on the mast,
and the sheet--a line fastened to the boom a little way from its outer
end and leading to the hand of the canoeist--by which the position of
the sail is regulated. The inner end of the boom is secured to the mast
just above (leek in a manner allowing of free play in turning. The
halyard is secured to the yard just far enough from its lower end to
keep the peak up--as shown in the figure--when the sail is hoisted. The
halyard runs through a block at the masthead down to one at its foot,
and leads to a cleat on deck near the canoeist's seat.
80 • 81
The sail can thus be hoisted or lowered without the
skipper moving from his seat. A cleat should be on each side of the
well for fastening the sheet to, within easy reach of the captain's
hand. A hook is as good as a cleat for this purpose, perhaps better as
it allows the sheet to be run under it and up to the skipper's hand,
ready to be let go in an instant. Letting go the sheet when sailing
allows the sail to swing edge to the wind, and thus relieves the canoe
of the pressure of the wind on the sail when it becomes too heavy and
threatens a capsize. In sailing dead before the wind the sail should be
at right angles to the canoe to catch the full force of the wind. Let
the sheet out till the boom is at a little less than a right angle to
the keel of the canoe. As the course is changed toward wind abeam, the
sheet (and therefore the sail) is gradually hauled in. Wind abeam
requires the boom to be at about an angle of 45 degrees with keel. Down
the wind boom is at 90 degrees. Wind on the quarter brings the boom in
about half way to beam position.
You are sailing before the wind with the sail out to
starboard. You want to change your course in a starboard direction. You
do so. While the canoe is thus coming around slowly you will notice the
sail lose the wind, gradually. move toward you till the wind strikes it
on the other side, when it will swing around the mast very quickly and
fly out to port with a rush, bringing up with a hang when the entire
length of the sheet is reached. This is called jibing. It is a
troublesome movement, and unless carefully watched and rightly managed
will give you more than one ducking before you acquire the knack of
accomplishing it in safety. Never allow the sail, by inattention to
your course in steering, to jibe without your knowing it is going to do
so. If you do you may find your neck tied up in the sheet or get your
head whacked by the boom as it flies over, to say nothing of the almost
certain upset and cold bath likely to follow. Jibing is not dangerous
in a light breeze. In a blow it is, for the sail is relieved of
pressure suddenly, and as suddenly exerts great pressure on the mast
and canoe in a totally different direction, which force must be
counteracted by a sifting of your own weight at the right instant to
prevent the canoe from rolling. A too sudden or previous" movement of
the body may result in a capsize to windward, a most ignominious
performance. It is well not to allow the boom to get forward of a right
angle to the keel, as the wind on the sail in this position gives a
jerky, rolling motion to the canoe, and does not exert its force in an
economical way for speed. This is a dangerous position to have it in
also if you are about to jibe, for the sail may get away from you and
blow around in front of the mast or the boom lift and go one side of
the mast and the yard the other, resulting in a complicated mix very
trying to the nerves. Keep a firm hold on the sheet always, for by it
you control the sail and therefore your craft.
82 • 83
Kinds of Sails.
Use a small sail at first till you are thoroughly
used to it and the behavior of the canoe with it, and then gradually
increase the size as you acquire confidence. The greater the sail area,
the greater the speed--in general. The smaller the sail, the safer you
are from the chances of a ducking. Skillful sailing requires practice,
and plenty of it. Work away at the jibe early, late and often till it
has no terrors for you. It is well to haul in on the sheet, just as you
begin to change the course for a jibe, and when the wind catches the
sail on the reverse side, let it out with a run, keeping all clear,
meanwhile, so nothing jams and holds the sail in a wrong position. If
the canoe steers easily you may be able to bring her so far around
before the sail runs out, that when it does bring up on the sheet the
wind will not strike it at a right angle and thus exert its full force.
Class II Paddling (sailing) Canoes are not intended for
very effective sailing, and the above points, therefore, cover about
all it is necessary to know t) sail them successfully. The mast and
sail with boom and yard should be made as to size, so they can be
stowed below the greater part of the time -- while paddling -- and not
take enough room to be an inconvenience. Never carry them if you expect
to portage the canoe. Their use does not pay for the space they occupy,
and their weight, though not great, will be found to be an annoyance.
This class of canoes is almost entirely steered by the paddle when
sailing. A rudder is an inconvenience on a rounded stern such as is
necessary for these canoes to have.
Like the sail, it is useless often and weighs "something
too much" when every ounce tells at a portage.
The Sails Used.
IT has been found, after many trials, that the fore and
aft sail used by the larger sailing craft--catboats, schooners and
sloops--is not a suitable sail for a canoe. The sails that have proved
successful and now used largely for canoes are: Leg of Mutton, Fig. A,
page 78; Standing Lug, Fig. B; Balance Lug, Fig. C; Lateen, Fig D, page
79; Settee or Mohican, Fig. E, and the Stoddard sail, Fig. F.
Spritsails, fan sails, batswings, topsails, jibs and many others have
been tried, but are not now in common use. The Lug and Lateen sails,
with their various modifications and combinations, are almost entirely
now used on Classes III, IV, and V. canoes, where much sailing is done.
Leg of Mutton. A triangular sail needing a mast and
boom. The boom is not always placed at the foot of the sail, but may be
used as a sprit to keep the clew in position. Sheet and halyard are all
the lines needed. If the sail is laced to the mast no halyard is
needed, the mast being lowered when it is desirable to take in sail.
The very tall mast required is a serious objection to this sail.
Balance Lug. Similar to the standing lug already
described, except that the boom runs forward of the mast about
one-sixth of its length, and is kept in place by a line from it around
the mast and fastened to cleat on deck. This line is the tack. This
sail has short spars proportionately to its spread, is capable of a
great amount of elaboration in its rig, though generally used in a
simple form, and is an excellent driving sail for a canoe.
84 • 85
Two battens are run through pockets, sewed to the
sail, and fastened at their ends to the leach and luff of the sail to
keep it spread out flat. They are useful also when it is desirable to
reef the sail.
The Lateen. A triangular sail spread by boom and
yard, the yard being hung by its ring over a pin in the top of the
short mast used. The boom is kept in place by a jaw, which is riveted
or lashed to it, and nearly encircles the mast.
The Settee and Stoddard sails are really
balance lugs, but with the yard brought down to the forward end of the
first batten, making lateen sails of them when one reef is taken in.
The batten and yard are attached to each other at their point of
contact loosely, allowing of considerable play.
SPARS. Masts, booms, yards and gaffs; sprits and
bowsprits, if used.
MAST. Mainmast is placed forward in a canoe, from a few
inches to three feet from stem, and supports the mainsail when it is
set. Dandy or mizzenmast is shorter usually than the mainmast, and is
placed aft of the well. The masts rest firmly in the steps on keel, and
are kept in position by the tubes and deck bracings. A brass plate is
often placed on deck around the mast tube to protect the woodwork of
the deck, and present a neat and finished appearance.
BOOM. The spar at the foot of the sail and to which it is
laced. The sheet is attached to the boom between its middle point and
after end at the most convenient place for easy handling. When a long
boom is used the strain of the sheet is distributed for some distance
along it by the use of a secondary line attached at two points to the
boom, as shown on page 86, having a ring or block moving freely on this
line, to which the sheet is made fast. A double sheet is best when
large sails are used and the strain on a single line is too great for
one hand. In this case the sheet is made fast in the bottom of the
canoe, run through a block or ring on the boom --or on a line as in the
figure--and returns direct to the hand, or passes under a hook on deck,
or through a ring in the bottom and then to the hand. The mizzen sheet
should be fastened to its boom about over the sternpost, run through a
ring or block at the head of the sternpost, and led along deck to a
cleat within easy reach of the skipper's hand. It is well to fasten the
end of the mizzen sheet and never loosen it while sailing; but allow
just enough line to let the boom swing in the right position for a free
wind. In this way you can haul in when necessary and belay or cast off
without fear of the sail and its sheet getting away from you and out of
reach over the stern.
86 • 87
Yard and batten.
YARD. The spar at the head of the sail. The halyard is
attached to this spar, by which the sail is hoisted. If the sail does
not drop quickly and easily when the halyard is cast off--even with a
well-greased mast--it is best to have a downhaul, a line attached to
the yard, leading down the mast, through a block (or ring) at its foot
and aft along deck to some point within reach of the skipper's hand.
When the sail is up, the slack of the halyard must be provided for,
carefully coiled on deck or in the well, so it can go out with a run-no
snarls or jams--the instant it is cast off its cleat. The slack of the
downhaul is in the well when the sail is down. To avoid an extra line
and slack of halyard, attach the end of the halyard to the yard and
make it serve as halyard and downhaul too.
BATTENS. Usually flat slats of light wood, though they are
sometimes round; bamboo has been used. The lug sail has from one to
three battens. Usually the mainsail is made with two pockets for two
battens, and the mizzen for one. A line is fastened to the batten just
forward of the mast, passes on the opposite side of mast, and is
fastened to the batten again just aft of the mast. This line is called
a parrel. It keeps the sail from bellying by keeping the batten always
close to the mast when the wind is on the mast side of the sail. Rings
are sometimes used.
SAIL. Forward end or edge is the luff; aft edge the leach.
In making a sail the cloth should be cut to allow the selvedge (the
natural edge of the cloth) to lie along the leach, the widths all being
laid the same way; the head, luff and foot of the sail are cut. The aft
lower corner of the sail is the clew; forward corner the tack; aft
upper corner the peak and the forward upper corner the throat. The head
and foot of a Sail are usually cut with a roach; that is, curved to
take the shape of the spar when naturally bent by the strain it is
intended to sustain.
88 • 89
HALLIARD. When a sail has two halyards one is the
peak, the other the throat halyard. The halyard is used to hold the
head of the sail to the mast, usually, as well as to hoist it. On small
balance lug sails it is arranged much in the same manner that parrels
are, being fastened forward of the mast on the yard, brought round the
mast, and then through a ring or block aft of the mast on the yard, up
and through the block at mast head, to foot of mast and then to cleat
LAZYJACKS. Lines running from mast head to boom on both
sides of a sail to keep the cloth and yard in place when the sail is
lowered. The mizzen in the figure is fitted with lazyjacks. They are
specially useful on the mizzen, as the sail is out of reach, and when
lowered is apt to drop in the water or foul rudder gear, unless some
such device is employed to prevent it.
TOPPING LIFT. A single line from mast head to boom to
support the boom when sail is down. Lazy jacks serve the same purpose
and are better. A jackstay is a boom supporting line from mast head
just forward of the mast, not shown on the figure.
TACK. The line used to keep the boom in position on mast
and prevent it from rising. A corner of the sail is also called the
tack, as before explained.
SAILING to windward is called beating. There are
thirty-two points to the compass -- that is, to the entire nautical
circle. North, East, South and West are the four principal points. They
are eight points apart.
Eight points make up a right angle. A canoe under the most
favorable conditions cannot sail within less than four points of the
wind. In close hauled sailing, the angle the canoe makes with the
course of the wind is between 50 and 60 degrees, or about five points.
To reach a point directly to windward of the starting
point, therefore, a canoe must sail for a certain distance five points
from the wind to starboard (or port, then come about and sail to port
(or starboard) till the desired haven is reached.
The act of coming about is called tacking. The distance
sailed in one direction is a tack. When the windward side of the canoe
is the starboard (right) side, you are on the starboard tack. When on
the port tack the port (left) side of the canoe is to windward. Dixon
Kemp's "Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing" explains fully with diagrams
how and why a boat can sail to windward, and you are referred to it for
fuller explanations, if desired, on many points space here only permits
the bare statement of.
90 • 91
The boat is getting away from the wind, as it were,
and it moves in the direction of least friction. With a keel or
centerboard in the water, and the sail hauled well in -- the canoe
being headed about five points from the wind -- the direction of least
friction is straight ahead.
The sail should be flat for windward work, so that it
presents the minimum amount of leeway-giving surface. Its entire area
should be as nearly as possible in one plane; not the boom in one plane
and the yard in a totally different one, much more nearly in the line
of the wind. The lateen is a better sail for windward work than the lug
for the reason that its yard is made fast to the boom at the tack, thus
holding the peak more nearly directly over the clew than is possible in
the lug when throat and tack are far apart. The lateen, practically,
has no throat, it having but three corners -- tack, peak and clew.
In coming about the canoe is steered from her course into
the eye of the wind, and off to the true course on the other tack, the
sail shaking in the wind the while, and simply swinging over gradually,
as the canoe is turned from the port to the starboard side, or the
reverse, as the case may be.
Changing the course toward the wind is luffing; from the
wind is bearing away. The sail fills when the wind draws on its entire
surface and keeps it rigid. The wind is "spilled" out of the sail by
luffing, thus allowing it to shake, or by letting go the sheet. A canoe
close hauled which cannot be made to tack -- come about -- can wear
round -- that is, bear away till the sail jibes, and then she is
brought up to the true course on the other tack.
Hanging in the eye of the wind without being able to get
either way is termed in stays.
Some canoes sail closer to the wind than others. Just how
close any given canoe can sail to the wind is only learned by
experiment. Many canoeists attempt to sail too close to the wind. Much
speed is lost in this way, and leeway is apt to be increased. Sail as
close as you can, keeping a good fair headway on the canoe all the
while. You may not thus point up as close as your rival, perhaps, but
you will likely go across his bow on the next tack, having gained on
him by greater speed, overcoming his half point better pointing. You
cannot sail as close to the wind on rough water as on smooth, nor is it
well to try; you cannot carry as much sail for the same wind power
As soon as the sail is added to the canoe it brings with
it a number of extras: notably the masts, halyards, sheets and other
lines. Where much sailing is done, the paddle is found to be
inconvenient for steering purposes, as it requires the hands to manage
it when their services are needed to tend sheet, work centerboard, take
in reefs, and numerous other things. The rudder, therefore, is found on
all canoes intended for sailing as well as paddling. But the rudder
brings in a small army of gear and traps all its own. It must be hung
to swing at the sternpost.
92 • 93
Position of Crew.
Two pintles of brass are screwed to the rudder,
which slip into gudgeons permanently screwed to the sternpost.
Where the stern is rounded the lower gudgeon is usually
projected out so its hole comes in a perpendicular line with the upper
A better rig is to have gudgeons on sternpost and rudder
too, with a rod of brass to slip through all four. The rod is sometimes
screwed into the lower gudgeon on the sternpost. Several devices have
appeared for this gear to enable the canoeist to ship the rudder from
his deck when afloat without wetting his arm by reaching way down to
find the lower gudgeons in which to run the pintle, or rod, as the case
Stephens' patent gudgeon is the best of these. A permanent
rod is attached to the sternpost and the rudder supplied with two
peculiarly made gudgeons is slipped down it from the top.
At the top of the rudder is a cross head or yoke to which
the rudder lines, or chains, as the case may be, are attached. These
lines are led along deck and into the well, terminating at a
foot-steering gear of some sort. The lines run conveniently to be
grasped by the hands, if it is desired to steer by them rather than the
feet. It is well, however, to always steer with the feet when sitting
inside the canoe, thus leaving the hands free to manage the sails and
ballast, if any is carried. There are some dozen or more foot-steering
gears in use.
Ballast is frequently carried in canoes doing much sailing
and where its handling is not found to be a great nuisance. When placed
in the bottom, nearly or quite amidships, according to trim desired, it
gives great stability to the canoe, and thus allows the use of larger
For open water cruising the stores and luggage usually
carried take the place of ballast, except in the regular sailing
canoes, where several hundred pounds are needed to give sufficient
stability to allow the carrying of the sails made for the canoe. The
best ballast for sailing is perhaps scrap shot in twenty or twenty-five
pound bags. Such a weight is easily handled, and can be shifted to
regulate trim and placed up to windward when close hauled to overcome
the wind pressure on the sail in a measure, and thus prevent excessive
heeling. In general, it is better to sail a canoe on an even keel than
heeled far out of the perpendicular. Some canoes, however, sail faster
when heeled over slightly, presenting less resistance in this position
to the water. The ballast should be as low down as possible. (See
Position of Crew.
SAILING before the wind is trying on the nerves at times
on account of the rolling motion of the canoe. This rolling motion is
much increased by a heavy sea. When the boom is low down its end is apt
to dip as the canoe rolls, and cause trouble by changing the course
suddenly and inviting a jibe, or catching so much water in the corner
of the sail that it may roll the canoe over. It is well, therefore, to
have the sail so cut and set that its tack is low down near the deck,
and the clew raised up to clear the skipper's head when he is sitting
on the bottom and the boom swings over as it does in jibing or tacking.
94 • 95
By thus topping up the boom it is less likely to
touch the water when the canoe takes a roll running free.
Before the wind, it is well to get all the weight of the
body low down in the canoe, the head, even, not much higher than the
deck. By thus disposing of the live ballast the canoe recovers quicker
from a roll. It takes nerve, however, to lie down in a canoe when
before the wind and rolling somewhat. Cultivate that nerve, therefore.
The best English canoe sailors take a reclining position
always when sailing, either on the wind or before it. They depend on
their two or three hundred pounds of lead ballast, the heavy iron
centerboard (60 lbs.) and their own weight low down for stability. In
this country, where little ballast is carried, and light centerboards
(from 10 to 15 lbs.), if any, used, stability is obtained when sailing
on the wind by the weight of the crew sitting on deck to windward. Of
course the body presents some surface to the wind, which wind surface
tends only to give leeway, but so much greater an area of sail can be
carried when the skipper thus has his weight out to windward that it
very much more than counteracts the disadvantage of the retarding body
A canoe carrying all the sail it can will make to windward
faster with crew on windward rail than the same canoe under all the
sail it can carry when the skipper has his body entirely in the
cockpit. This has been so often demonstrated that the deck position is
taken now almost universally in this country for windward sailing in
races, and very commonly for ordinary sailing around home. It is not an
advisable position to take when cruising, where great speed is not
essential and a very large sail is a nuisance, and safety the main
When sitting on deck, the ordinary foot-yoke and rudder
lines are out of reach. A tiller has therefore come into common use.
The tiller is usually two pieces of wood joined in the form of a T. The
handle is that part which corresponds to the lower end of the letter.
The tiller is pivoted just aft of the cockpit, with its handle reaching
over the after hatch to within easy reach of the skipper's hand. The
turning point is in the middle of the crosspiece. To each end of the
crosspiece is fastened a line running to corresponding end of the
rudder head, thus making an extra set of rudder lines and two steering
gears; one for the feet when paddling, the other for the hand when
sailing. Should either gear give way at any time, there is the other
always ready to fall back upon.
The tiller is usually fitted on deck just forward of the
mizzenmast, but may be attached to it. The tiller should be so
constructed that it is readily detached from the canoe. It should be
well raised above deck to clear the coaming and hatch at all times,
and, above all, should be strong. Many shapes, and neat and convenient
modes of pivoting it, have appeared from time to time. Builders now
supply well-made tillers, when they are ordered, with the canoe; but
formerly all such extras had to be made by the canoeist himself.
96 • 97
Keel and Centerboard.
In running before the wind, if both sails are on
the same side of the canoe, the mizzen will cover up part of the wind
surface of the mainsail. To avoid this and get the full benefit of all
the surface in both sails, shift the mizzen over to the other side, and
thus sail with one boom to port, the other to starboard. This is called
sailing wing and wing. It can only be done going about dead before the
wind. Take care to set the mainsail on the side it is likely to be
wanted on when you change your course, so only the mizzen will jibe
when the change occurs.
or Centerboard and Rudder.
IN a seaway, as the canoe goes over a wave, the bow drops
and the stern is lifted, sometimes clear out of the water. It is well,
therefore, to have a rudder drop well down, so it will not be lifted
entirely out of the water when the stern rises. A deep-draft rudder is
an objection when in shoal water, or in beaching the canoe. If the
rudder is hung on a rod with some three or four inches play, it will
rise up of itself, and thus avoid damage, when it strikes bottom. A
metal rudder in two parts has been invented and now extensively used,
in which the steering surface is pivoted on the upright part and its
drop regulated by a line running to the cockpit. This is called the
metal drop rudder, and is arranged precisely like the ordinary canal
If the rudder gets out of the water you lose control of
the canoe. See to it that this may never occur. On the wind you can
almost steer by the trim. Before the wind the limits of the cockpit
prevent your going far enough aft to steer by the trim, unless you
crawl out on deck -- a very dangerous thing to do, even if possible,
when no mizzenmast is in the way. You must therefore use the rudder
running down the wind to keep the true course, since the sail is more
on one side than the other, and exerts a constant pressure on the canoe
to change her course. Be very careful, therefore, to prevent losing the
use of your steering machinery for even an instant, in running free, by
the rudder jumping out of the water.
The Association rules allow only a three-inch keel to be
used. If you use a keel, have it rockered at the ends -- yes, even its
entire length. This curving of the keel up forward and aft will allow
fairly quick turning, for coming about and like maneuvers, and will
render the canoe easier to handle on shore and less liable to damage.
Keels were much more commonly found on sailing canoes
formerly, before the invention of the fan, or folding centerboard. The
true position for a centerboard is amidships, or slightly forward of
it. This position was a most inconvenient one to place the centerboard
trunk in, when the ordinary single-piece board was used, since it
occupied the most valuable part of the cockpit. For this reason many
English canoes are fitted with two boards, a large one a little forward
of the well, and a smaller one way aft, thus preserving the balance.
The folding boards, however, now used have changed all
this and made it possible to place the trunk where it rightly belongs
without interfering with the internal arrangements, as the trunk is but
from two to four inches high, and in many cases does not even come
above the bottom boards. The fan board is operated by means of a lever
or a rod run through a stuffing-box to the board, preventing leakage.
The Radix board is perhaps the best for saltwater use, and either the
Radix or Atwood for freshwater sailing. (See
© 2000 Craig O'Donnell
May not be reproduced without my permission.