Polytarp sailing canoe

So I have this canoe, that’s over 40 years old and it shows.  I don’t know the brand, only a faded silhouette of a logo washed away on the front of the canoe.  A group of people at work were planning a kayaking expedition to Cape Sable.  Everyone armed with tandem kayaks, equipped with pedals and such, I was, once again, on the short end.  “I have a canoe”, I thought, and went on a test run by myself, alongside two people on a tandem kayak.  I learned that in heavy wind, it’s damn near impossible to keep the canoe pointed in the right direction with one person.  With nobody willing to join me as usual, I decided to make another member, in the form of a sail.  I read a little bit about how to make a sail out of a tarp, as well as basic sailing requirements such as a rudder, leeboard thwart.  Equipped with some new sailing terminology, I set out to make the sailing canoe.

Some research online proved I could make a sail out of tarp, double-sided tape, and some nylon rope.  Rather than use blue tarp from the hardware store, I bought some white tarp from Polytarp Int., so I would at least look legitimate.  After a little googling about sailboat dynamics, I set out to make a rudder, and leeboard thwart, and a mast/boom.  The canoe wasn’t strong enough to handle this new adventure so I strengthened it where I thought fit, as well as adding a mounting point in the center for the mast.


In hindsight, the mast, should have been a little more forward on the boat to improve maneuverability.  Also, an outrigger would have made a world of a difference, as I was throwing a way a lot of wind to prevent being flipped over.  In the end, it sailed.  twice.  The second day I ran aground and ruined the leeboard mount.  Since then, I bought the Hobie 16, and I’ve used, but not sailed the canoe.

Quick video in action:

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