revisions by Craig O'Donnell. Please email Craig with any comments or
Join an excellent discussion group with people from around
Nautical Web veteran John Kohnen maintains a list of maritime links
which contains much canoe-related web-o-terie.
The link has aged out, but if
possible I'll replace it. If not the author and title/subject remains
When a book or article is listed in boldface it
INDEX & LINKS
Left: How the Hawaiians sailed, from Tommy Holmes' The
The Hawaiians quickly adopted western rigs. By the early
20th century paddling outriggers were often equipped with sail and
raced. Usually they sailed stern-first (I kid you not).
and Canoeing: Paddling, Sailing, Cruising and Racing
Canoes, and Their Uses, with Hints on Rig and Management, Etc.
- By C. Bowyer Vaux. Spaldings Athletic Library: American
Sports Publishing Co. NY; 1894. E-book!
- By Perry D. Frazer. Forest and Stream Publishing, 1897. A
fun book, with excellent photo plates of open and decked canoes. E-book!
Designs for Boatbuilding: Access to Plans for Wood
- By Iain Oughtred. Barnacle Marine Ltd, Colchester, Essex,
England, 1990. Shows John Bull's Little Pete (13' x 28") with lateen
sail, and gives information about other John Bull designs and a source
for a Nethercott International 10sq meter design.
A Dinghy Rig article
- By Percy Blandford, from 1954. Blandford is a clear,
concise and prolific writer who, as far as I last heard, is still
alive. He wrote a large number of practical books and articles on
sailing, paddling, etc., etc. This
article talks about rigging the generic yacht dinghy to sail
with a balanced lug and leeboards. The dimensions for spars and rig are
given and clear drawings help show all the parts. It all can be adapted
to a canoe quite easily.
Canoeing and Small Boating References on the Web:
More Building Classic Small Craft
- By John Gardner has an excellent historical overview in a
chapter entitled "Four Canoes". Describes a sail rig for an open canoe,
and two decked sailing canoes.
Mystic Seaport Museum Watercraft
- By Maynard Bray. Photos and specifications.
Sailing Canoes: A
Brief History together with an outline of types, classes, designs,
specifications and rules
- By O.S. Tyson • American Canoe Association, 1935. Reprint
in PDF format. Racing rules are outdated, but the
other information is valuable. A quick read.
- Sail Your Canoe: How to Add Sails to Your Canoe
- By John Bull. Cordee, 1989. John Bull, Holme Lea,
Angerton, Kirkbride, Carlisle, Cumbria, GB-CA5 5HX, UK. John also
published an on-line open canoe sailing newsletter, now apparently gone.
- By E. Marino. Excellent text for those wishing to
make their own sails.
Open Canoe Sailing
Sail Any Canoe!
Sam Manning has graciously let me put his drawings from
a 1978 WoodenBoat article, Sticks
String, online here. If you've ever puzzled over how to
add a simple, low-tech knockdown rig to any canoe, here's
how. It can be used with almost any small sail.
Sam tells me in his recent letter that he still uses
this canoe and rig, and more than his other boats. This is absolutely
the definitive cheap and elegant canoe-sailing article as far as I'm
concerned, and I wish I knew of it when I started fiddling with my
Coleman canoe a few years back.
Or, add a square
sail based on Rushton's downwind rig of the early 1900s.
- By Clarence Wilson Stryker. In 1923, a group in two
canoes goes camping along the Severn River in Annapolis.
Building the Maine Guide Canoe
- By Jerry Stelmok. Contains dimensioned drawings for a 60
square foot rig, including sail, spars, mast partner and step, and
- By Frank Furness. Rudder, Feb. 1952. Sailing and
camping on Long Island Sound in a 17-ft aluminum canoe.
Canoe for Sail
- By Jo Currie. Cottage Life Sept/Oct 1995; 38-44.
With lots of great information provided by John Summers, Curator of the
Marine Museum of Upper Canada and avid canoe sailor.
Sailing, from The Boy's Book of Canoeing
- By Elon Jessup. This is one of those legendary, funky old
youth books from the early 20th century. One short chapter; not
actually very helpful; it's
here because it's here. I went to the trouble of finding it and
by gum, I was gonna scan it! The rest of the book goes into great
detail about paddling, camping and so on.
- By the American National Red Cross. Doubleday and Co.,
1977. Surprisingly good reference for open canoe sailing, including
dimensioned drawings for leeboards and rudders. There have been many
editions of this book and it's easy to find.
- Sailing Canoe Rigging
- By Jack Hazzard. A How-To Book of Building Basic and
Advanced Sailing Canoe Rigging Equipment. Fairfield, PA: Brown's Canoe
Works, 1991. Detailed work by a long-time sailor of open canoes, mainly
related to adapting wood/canvas canoes. (Has anyone had luck fiding
this book?) Brown's Canoe Works, 2235 Mount Hope Road, Fairfield, PA
- The Strippers Guide to Canoe-building
- By David Hazen. Tamal Vista Publications, 1976. Hazen
admits to having never sailed a canoe, but provides drawings for a sail
rig, leeboards, and rudder.
- Web Articles:
a Rig. By Larry Zuk & Bob Halsey. Essay; downloadable Acrobat
Too Can Sail a Canoe. By Marilyn Vogel (May 2000).
Decked Sailing Canoes
(Michael Storer writeup
& plans at Duckworks)
The 16-30 Racing Canoe
Along with more historical
information coming onto the Web through articles, e-books and online
magazines, canoe sailors seem to have become more active worldwide.
Nearly 100 years ago, the ACA "16-30" rule racing canoes began to
decline in popularity. Eventually they mutated into the International
Canoe, or IC, class.
However, the 16-30 (16-foot by 30-inch beam) is something like a
sitdown windsurfer. You can get dumped, but you get 'er right up and
keep going. The classic 16-30 uses a "sliding seat" and you're the
There is a brief article here
Until recently, the only way to have one was to restore an original, or
to have one custom-built. A couple years back, John Summers at the
Antique Boat Museum decided to loft a classic 16-30 for plywood
construction. Plans for sale here
- By Frederic A. Fenger. Yakaboo sails north from
Grenada. Yakaboo was rudderless; balance was achieved by
shifting the centerboard fore and aft, and adjusting the rig. Yakaboo
was recently reproduced by Joe Youcha; the story is found in WoodenBoat
Yakaboo. Available as an e-book.
Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks
- By Hallie Bond. Adirondack Museum and Syracuse University
Press, Blue Mountain Lake, NY. 1996. An excellent introduction to
wooden boats, particularly those used in the Adirondack region of New
York State. Some emphasis on Adirondack boatbuilder J. Henry Rushton.
Contains a catalog of the Adirondack Museum's collection of small
craft, which includes several sailing canoes. Contains sail plan for
Rushton's decked sailing canoe Nomad (which is based on the
open Ugo model).
New! Click here for drawings and photos of the sailing canoe on display
at the Museum itself.
- Paul Butler's Fly (photo & text).
Aurora; a Cruise from the Adirondacks to the Gulf
- By Dr. Chas. A. Neidé. New York, Forest and Stream
Publishing Co., 1885. A cruise in a Rushton Princess decked sailing
cruising canoe. E-book!
- By W.P. Stephens. Forest and Stream Publishing,
NY. 1st ed., 1885; 9th edition, 1903. Single best reference for those
interested in decked sailing canoes. The bad news is it's long out of
print. The good news is Mystic Seaport Museum has reprinted the
"unobtainium" plates that originally accompanied the book. And now it
is available online
at Dan Miller's Dragonfly Canoe Works web site.
From the US Naval Academy Library I
obtained decent xerox copies of the original plates. They are found in
their own directory at this site.
The Canoe and the Flying Proa; or,
Cheap Cruising and Safe Sailing
- By Wm. L. Alden. Harper Bros., NY, 1878. Interesting, but
not much information for builders. A reprint of several articles from
Harper's Magazine. Craig has a xerox of this book, if you're desperate.
The Flying Proa part is here.
Canoe part is here.
The title page from the original 25-cent mini-book is here.
The canoe, history, uses, limitations and varieties,
practical management and care and relative facts
- By C. Bowyer Vaux. Forest and Stream Publishing,
1885/1888/1901. Both Dan and I have converted Canoe Handling to
an e-book. Dan's is found here.
appear on the Cheap Pages here.
Travelling: Log of a Cruise on
the Baltic, and Practical Hints on Building and Fitting Canoes
- By Warington Baden-Powell. London: Smith, Elder, 1871.
Not as exciting as the title makes it appear, but worth the read if you
can find it. Valuable because it's very early on in the era of
canoe-cruising mania and ol' B-P liked to document his designs.
Google Books here.
Can be saved as a PDF. Another version here on a scouting page. An e-book is in preparation by
Boating: Practical Boat Building
Warren H. Miller. George Doran, 1917/1919, and later editions.
Collected from old magazine articles, the first half of the book
concerns canoes. Includes instructions for building a canvas-covered
sailing canoe. Good sail plans and rigging instructions. E-book
- Dragonfly Canoe Works • Dan
- Much historical
material here. A few years back he did
some horse-trading and wound up with a
sailing canoe. He had an excellent series
"before" pix here.
- Dan has collected various vintage canoe articles and
Hugh Horton has
- "My goal has been to update the old idea of a decked,
solo sailing canoe for cruising, one in which the boat is very capable
under sail or paddle. We're not trying to scrimp, rather we want to
design & build the best we can, using up to date materials &
current thinking." Hugh's write-ups can be found in Sailing Jun
2000 & Aug 2001, Sail in Feb 2002, Water Craft
- Read about Bufflehead, Puffin and Serendipity:
- See EpoxyWorks'
clickable contents, or:
Canoes (Hugh Horton)
Canoe (Meade Gougeon)
and in the same issue, "Evolving the sailing
canoe rig for cruising" (Meade Gougeon) and "Building an alternate
leeboard bracket (Robert Monroe)."
Cruising Sailing Canoe. Get plans here.
- Canoe Sailing Magazine:
ad • Bufflehead writeup.
Choosing a hull for a sailing canoe.
multihulls (trimaran canoes, etc.)
- Missing links:
Rig (June 2000 WaterTribe)
Canoes (March 2000 WaterTribe)
Hugh's older sailing canoe was written up in Messing About
Double-Paddle Sailing Canoe
- International Canoes at the
Canadian Canoe Sailing Association
- Tim Gittins (gittins [at] mycybernet.net)
- Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing
- By Dixon Kemp. Wonderful stuff, primarily concentrating
on the Nautilus and Pearl canoes of Baden-Powell and Tredwen. Contains
much information on rigging and fittings. The 1911 edition was
reprinted with commentary by John Leather by International Marine. Some
bits available here.
- Craig has a xerox of the first edition (1878) which is
light on canoes and canoe yawls. The 11th edition, 1913, is also light
on canoes and canoe yawls.
- 2004 ... having located a 6th edition of Kemp,
it's now possible to begin scanning and placing the canoe and
canoe-yawl items online.
- By Tiphys (1883). "Tiphys" is the author (a.k.a. Charles
Penrose), or rather his boat. A very good and very thin illustrated
manual to canoe sailing ; his rigging diagrams are just about the best.
Many sailing canoe enthusiasts consider this the best of its genre. E-book.
Racing, Cruising and Design
- By Uffa Fox. Peter Davies Ltd, London 1937. Building and
racing the international canoe Flying Fish.
Rushton and His Times in American Canoeing
- By Atwood Manley. The Adirondack Museum and Syracuse
University Press, 1968. A biography of famous canoe and boat builder J.
Henry Rushton, of Canton, NY. Rushton was one of the founders of the
ACA, which had its roots in decked canoe sailing. This book includes
good information on decked sailing canoes, with photos and plans
(albeit flawed) for several of Rushton's sailing canoes.
Sail and Power
- By Uffa Fox. Charles Scribner's Sons, NY 1937. Building
and cruising in the 20'x4' Brynhild, and building and racing
the international canoes Wake and Nymph II.
- By Edwin J. Schoettle. Has a chapter with a partial
history of decked sailing canoes in North America by Maurice Wilts.
Several small scale lines drawings of decked canoes, including Leo
Sailing, Seamanship, and Yacht Construction
- By Uffa Fox. Peter Davies Ltd, London, 1934. Chapter on
"Winning the Canoe Championship of America" with plans for East
Anglian and Valiant, along with construction details.
Details their sneaky circumvention of the American 2-mast rule.
Skinney, a 17-foot Sailing Canoe
- By C.A. Nedwidek. MoToR BoatinG Ideal Series, Volume
15 - Thirty Easy to Build Sail Boats with Auxiliary Power edited by
Charles F. Chapman and F.W. Horenburger. MoToR BoatinG, New York, 1939;
pages 31-32 + blueprints. Tall jibheader sail plan. Looks fast. Build
her and add a more reasonable rig.
"A Strange Reincarnation," WoodenBoat #97
- By David
Hardy. Guy builds a tiny (about 13') Albert Strange canoe yawl. Canoe.
Canoe yawl. Canoe. Well, whatever. It's a really nice little boat.
The Albert Strange Association
- Dedicated to researching, preserving, building and
sailing Albert Strange yachts. Strange got his start among the
canoe-yawl buffs and was great pals with George
Holmes, father of canoe yawls.
Thoughts on Yachts and Yachting
- By Uffa Fox. Peter Davies Limited, London 1938. "Craft I
have Owned and Sailed" includes a 16'x33" cruiser. Also building and
racing the International canoe Defiant, and more details about Wake
and Nymph II (see listing for Sail and Power).
Canoe on Rivers and Lakes
- By John MacGregor. Sampson Low Marston & Company
Limited, London 1866. The book that started it all. See also this e-book version.
There were ongoing Rob Roy books:
Roy describes a cruise in a canoe
condensation appeared in Harper's Magazine,
- Harper's Magazine
has a searchable online archive (with a subscription you can obtain the
electronic documents). Its canoeing material is at this link.
MacGregor apparently wrote up a trip to Holland for a magazine -
"Blackwell's" maybe? Has anyone seen this?
Yale University holds some of
MacGregor's logbooks. A profile of John
MacGregor appears in WoodenBoat #168 Sept/Oct 2002.
2004... I've gotten ahold of both Baltic and Rob
Jordan and will begin scanning them
at some point. Jordan is a little tedious, actually, being more
of a quest for Biblical locations.
Traditions and Memories of
By W.P. Stephens. WoodenBoat
reprint 1989. Massive
collection of articles that first appeared in Motor Boating
magazine. Includes a section on the development of sailing rigs which
includes excellent information about decked canoes, and a section on
Small Cruisers, with more of an emphasis on larger canoe yawls.
Stephens liked canoe yawls.
Uffa Fox's Second Book
By Uffa Fox. Charles Scribner's
Sons, NY 1935. Building
and racing the International canoe Gallant.
Yachts, Boats and Canoes, with special chapters on
model yachts and single-handed sailing
By C. Stansfeld-Hicks. London:
Sampson Low, Marston,
Searle, & Rivington, 1887. Numerous illustrations and diagrams and
working drawings of model yacht and various small craft suitable for
By Nathaniel Bishop (out of
print, reprinted in Messing
About In Boats in the 1980s. Bishop takes a Nautilus-type sailing
canoe, mostly under oars, from Albany New York to western Florida. From
about 1875. See the e-book
at Eldritch Press. Four Months in a Sneak Box
is also online at
the same place, and canoe-cruise-like in concept.
- By George Dyson. Sailing kayaks based on Aleut craft;
aluminum and Dacron, lashed. Includes offsets and plans. Dyson built a
number of baidarkas, most with sails, some with outriggers. A wonderful
and inspiring book.
Building a Sail Rig for Kayaks and Canoes
- By Chris Kulczycki. WoodenBoat No. 131 - July/August
1996. Building instructions for amas, akas and a leeboard, designed
primarily for kayaks, but possibly adaptable to canoes etc. Recommended
sail is a fully battened Balogh. See Chesapeake
Craft for plans for CLC's second-generation SailRig.
Canoes and Canoeing
- By Percy Blandford. W.W. Norton and Co., NY, 1968. In the
British tradition, canoe refers to kayak; in this case the kayaks are
canvas over ribband construction. Percy offers several suggestions for
sail rigs that would be adaptable to many kayaks or canoes.
The Complete Folding Kayaker
- By Ralph Diaz. McGraw-Hill, 1994. Details how to sail
folding kayaks using various rigs -- jib gaff-rigged Folbot rig,
Balogh, and downwind twins.
- By Fridtjof Nansen. Harper & Bros., NY 1897. Trekking
from 85 degrees north latitude back to civilization, two bamboo-framed
kayaks were paddled or lashed together into a catamaran and sailed.
Good parts online here.
Esoterica for the Truly Obsessed
This section contains the references that are very
obscure and hard to find, or that contain information useful to those really
into canoe sailing. If you just want to set up a rig and go sailing,
don't waste your time with these...
- Boats: A Manual For Their Documentation
- By Paul Lipke, Peter Spectre, and Benjamin A.G. Fuller
(editors). American Association for State and Local History, 1993. An
impressive volume on recording small boats. Includes several examples
of sailing canoes, particularly with respect to construction and rig.
Camping out with the British Canoe
Association : with
chapters on camping canoeing and amateur photography
- By John Davey Hayward. London : George Philip & Son,
Canoeing with Sail and Paddle
- Two available e-books: here (Open Library catalog
listing); go right to a nice online reader at this link; use this to
download PDF or Kindle, etc., on
this page; and as unproofed text here. Both seem to share the
same original volume.
By John D. Hayward, M.D.
Mersey Canoe Club, Late
Author of “Camping Out with the
British Canoe Association.”
With Numerous Illustrations
London : George Bell & Sons, York St., Covent Garden, and New York.
Set of PDF files
- By Kirk Munroe. Harper Brothers, 1892. Juvenile fiction.
Two boys go on a cruise through the Everglades and Florida Keys. Injuns
and adventure, but you can tell Kirk Munroe knew and loved small boats,
sailing canoes, and South Florida. A good read. Fiction indeed, but the
illustrations are nice, and since Munroe lived in South Florida the
descriptions of both boats and scenery are authentic. Clearly he loved
boating. After all, he owned the Presto-sharpie Allapatta. E-book!
Canoes of Oceania
- By A.C. Haddon and James Hornell. Bishop Museum Press,
Honolulu. 3 Volumes reprinted as one, 1975. Stone-age technology in the
1700, 1800 and 1900s.
The Common Sense of Yacht Design: The Theory and
Practise of Naval Architecture
- L. Francis Herreshoff. Reprint 1974, Caravan-Maritime
Books, Jamaica, NY.
- A discussion of sliding
seats, Yakaboo and the ACA on pp. 145-147.
Includes "Fig. 366 - Showing the great lever arm the sliding seat gives
to her ballast" which shows the distance between the center of ballast
and the center of buoyancy for a sliding seat canoe, sandbagger, LFH's
fanciful "sailing machine" and a 6-meter. (Thanks to Jon
Note: LFH redesigned a design
contest winner in the 30s. Info coming.
The Cruise of the Canoe
- By W.L. Alden. Harper Brothers 1883, 1911. Juvenile
fiction. Four boys go on a cruise with a Rob Roy, a Shadow, a Rice
Lake, and a ribband-canvas canoe, with sundry sailing rigs. They
survive many mishaps that would do in most boys of today. E-book
Cruises in small yachts and big canoes;
or, Notes from the "Watersnake," in Holland and on the
the logs of the "Water Rat" and "Viper," on the Thames and
with remarks on anchorages for small craft
- By Harry Fiennes Speed. London, Norie & Wilson, 1883.
- By Frederic G. Mather, 1885. From the pages of Outing
magazine, a review of 13 or so popular designs for paddling and
sailing. Line art.
How to Build Canoes
- By Ed Smith, ed. Diamond Point, NY: Smith Book Press,
1989. Smith Book Press, RR1, Box 217D, Diamond Point, NY, 12824, U.S.A.
Reprint of older Popular-Mechanics-style DIY articles about open canoe
sail rigs. (I have not had luck getting this book from a library, let
us know if you do...)
- An Inland Voyage
- By Robert Louis Stevenson: 1877. RLS and a friend travel
canals and rivers in Belgium and France. Travel writing rather than
canoe writing, but enjoyable. E-book at
Eldritch Press. Another one at the University of Virginia here.
Practical boat building for amateurs: containing full
instructions for designing and building punts, skiffs, canoes, sailing
boats, etc. Illustrated with working diagrams
- By Adrian Neison, C.E. London, L.U. Gill,1878. It would
be rather difficult to build a canoe from this book as there are no
lines or offsets, just overall dimensions and profile drawings. There
is a drawing of a small balance lug sail. Bits coming.
Supplement (1876): How to Build
- By Paddlefast. A multipart article which starts with a
scow and doesn't look back. The "simplified construction" of the canoe
[below] seems rather strange, but there it is. I have a xerox of this
article. Too complicated to put on the web. Look
here for the mold patterns and a set of rig notes that grew much
longer than I intended, heck, it's a tutorial.
- Question: who was "Paddlefast"? Someone has suggested
W.P. Stephens, but I'm not so sure.
- The Sliding Gunter: A Versatile and Efficient
- By David Nichols. Boatbuilder March/April 1995,
pp. 22ff. Gunter from A to Z with helpful photos and diagrams; mentions
the batwing in passing. Now online at Duckworks. Read it and rig.
Spritsail & Lugsail
- By John Leather. "The Rigs" section comprises chapters 1
and 2. This is excellent and detailed information on the different
kinds of lugsails and spritsails, all of which have surely been applied
to sailing canoes. However, in the chapters following there is nothing
specific about sailing canoes; Leather is writing about workboats. The
Figures are usually detailed enough to give you all the clues to
construct a sailing rig's mast, spars and sail. Out of print but