17' sailing canoe

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by shiftingstream, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. shiftingstream
    Joined: Jul 2015
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    shiftingstream New Member

    I am turning a 17' canoe into a sailing canoe. I would like to keep the design simple as possible and I am trying to figure out what kind of sails and dimensions should be used. I think a sloop design (mainsail and jib) would be awesome if I could get them to work with this boat:

    Material: Three Layer Polyethylene
    Length: 16' 9"/ 5.1 m
    Width: 37" / 94 cm
    Width at 4" Waterline: 35" / 88.9 cm
    Bow Height: 23" / 58.4 cm
    Depth: 15" / 38.1 cm
    Weight: 91 lbs / 41.3 kg
    Max Load Range: 1,350-1,400 lbs / 612.3-635 kg
    Bottom: Shallow Arch
    Sides: Straight
    Rocker: Moderate

    Can anyone recommend mast height, placement between bow and stern, distance from top of the canoe sides to the foot of the mainsail, and the foot legnth for mainsail and jib? Any other recommendation? Thank you for reading and your time.
  2. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Two self standing masts may be a simpler rig. Particularly with a lug or sprit sail.
  4. HJS
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    HJS Member

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  5. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    You can make a sloop rig work if you must. Messing with both main and jib on a skinny boat tends to be exciting, sometimes wet, and not the most practical layout.

    It will be prudent to think in terms of a unarig until you get good at sailing the canoe. A simple peak sprit will give you all the excitement you can handle. That sail will provide plenty of area on short spars and the center of effort can be kept much lower than it would be on a Bermuda rig. Go for simplicity in the beginning.
  6. Jamie Kennedy
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    Jamie Kennedy Senior Member

    For a small sail of 35 square feet an Optimist Dinghy rig might be suitable. It can be a powerful little sail for it's size, but you can depower it too by letting the sprit fall off in gusts. Many second hand rigs and sails are readily available. A 17 foot canoe of ample beam might even carry two of these. The daggerboards and rudders of Optimist Dinghies might also be would to be quite suitable. Why should the kids have all the fun?

  7. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

  8. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

  9. tspeer
    Joined: Feb 2002
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    tspeer Senior Member

    I rigged a 16 ft canoe for sail using a lateen rig from a Sunflower/Snark sailboat. The 55 sq ft sail was a good fit for the boat.

    You can probably place the sail in a location that is convenient for using the boat. I simply drilled a hole through the forward seat and glassed a block of wood with a matching hole to the bottom of the boat to act as a mast step. The critical dimension would be the distance between the mast and the leeboards, as that determines the directional balance of the boat.

    I found the right placement of the leeboards by running parallel aluminum I beams (actually, tracks for sliding closet doors) from where the forward seat bolted to the gunwale to the center thwart. I used U bolts to attach the leeboard thwart to the rails so I could slide it fore and aft to balance the boat. I kept that arrangement, but once I'd found the right position for the leeboard thwart, I could have eliminated the rails and mounted the thwart directly to the gunwales. Depending on the shape of your gunwales, you might be able to do the same thing with J bolts to clamp the leeboard thwart to the gunwale while you searched for the right position.

    I never made a rudder for my canoe, and just steered with a paddle. This was a good solution because the boat was perfectly balanced and it allowed me to add a stroke now and then when the winds were light.

    A sail rig adds a lot of torsional stress to the hull, and my fiberglass hull would visibly twist under load. You might want to add two diagonal thwarts in an X configuration to stiffen the hull against torsion.
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