fiberglass canoe conversion to expedition sailboat

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by josh907vest, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. josh907vest
    Joined: Feb 2016
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    Location: willow, Alaska

    josh907vest Junior Member

    so last fall i obtained a run down 16' fiberglass canoe for free from my neighbor. My plan is to add a deck on to it, add water tight storage compartments, rudder and a lee board, and some kind of sail rig.
    so where i am at right now is sanding the hull so i can do some fiberglass repairs to the hull and eventually paint it. After i have the hull in good shape, then i want to put a deck over it with probably 1/4" plywood supported by deck beams then fiberglass over that.
    So that is sort of the plan so far.. i'm aiming to make it kinda look like the 16/30 sailing canoes.
    I live in Alaska with plenty of small lakes to sail on but i want to build this canoe for coastal cruising where i can spend a week or two sailing along the coast around mostly Seward and Homer. I'm not sure if i'm going to need outriggers, i would like to go with out them if possible. But anyways, anybody have any suggestions or comments on how i should go about doing this? I'm only 17, so any help will be greatly appreciated.
     

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  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Go for it. When you are young your body can take a lot of abuse. If you stay close to shore and are careful, there is always the possibility to haul the canoe onshore and wait for bad weather to end. I don't like outriggers, they are more of a hassle than anything. Read some of what this oldtimers did with canoes. It is from before everyone believed you needed a 40 footer with three tons of electronics and a piano to go to sea.
    http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/stephens/
     
  3. Barry
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Barry Senior Member

    Google lee boards, images and they have quite a few lee boards as well as outriggers on canoes.
    Without outriggers, you will be hard pressed to go fast as the canoe will still be tippy.
     
  4. josh907vest
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    Location: willow, Alaska

    josh907vest Junior Member

    First time trying to upload a picture, not sure if this is going to work. If it does, then here is a sketch i did of a possible sail and deck design. Lateen main and bermuda mizzen, not sure if this combonation works well or not but it looks cool. Also a drop down lee board and a drop down rudder that is wire controlled by the tiller right behind the cock pit.
     

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  5. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Hi Josh.

    Welcome to the forum.

    One of the first considerations you are going to have to make is performance vs. reliability.

    You can put a huge rig on a canoe, if you use a hiking board, and it will be quite fast. But this is not the canoe to do coastal exploration with.

    Most likely, you are going to need a two mast rig.

    There are two reasons for this.

    1.) This spreads the the Sail Area (SA) out along the Length of the canoe, rather than stacking it it high above it. Being that the canoe is a rather narrow boat, it doesn't have much initial stability, certainly far less than a more conventional sailboat of the same Length. For this reason, it needs a rig with a low Vertical Center of Area (VCA).

    2.) With two masts, you can put one mast in either end of the boat, leaving a large center portion mast free. This center portion can be used as a sleeping area. The end portions can both have water tight bulkheads with decks and hatches, so you have a dry place to put light items such as clothes, sleeping bags, and maybe a cockpit tent. They can also double as emergency flotation, in case your canoe capsizes.

    The next thing you're going to have to think about is a leeway preventer. This is a device to keep the sails from pushing the boat sideways. You have three possible choices:

    1.) a Dagger Board, a board which goes vertically through a trunk or rack of some kind and is held vertical by this trunk or rack. This Board must be pulled up before you run aground, as it can suffer damage to itself, its trunk/rack, or even the hull, if it strikes bottom while the boat is moving fast.

    (see first attachment)

    2.) a Center Board, which also goes through a rack or a case, but the rack or case is long enough to let it pivot fore and aft, which it usually does around an axle or pin.

    (see 2nd attachment)

    With this particular one, the vertical, flat side of the boat is used as half a trunk, and the axle simply has a large head, on the outside. This can usually strike bottom, even at speed, because its able to pivot aft. The Center Board gets its name from usually being mounted in a trunk which is placed at or near the Center Line of the hull, which it passes through. There is no law, however, which says it must be on the Center Line, though this is the usual practice. You can offset quite a bit, as I have--all the way to the outside of the boat.

    3.) a Lee Board, which has no trunk or case, and is held to the boat only at its top. It relies on water pressure to hold it against the side of the boat, so must always be on the lee side of the boat. Usually two are used, so there is always one ready, whenever you change tacks. But one can be used, if you are willing to shift it to the lee side of the boat with ever change in tacks.

    (see 3rd attachment)

    It too can usually strike bottom at good speed, as it is usually held at only one point, and is free to pivot aft. It must always be stationed at the widest point of the hull, and if the hull has some flair to it, it needs some kind of guard, attached to the hull, to keep it vertical.

    Next, you have to consider how you're going to steer this thing.

    With two masts, you may be able to forego having a rudder. You can learn to steer a general course by by use of the sails. Using the paddle as a crude rudder, and/or paddling on one side or the other can allow you to maneuver more precisely. But such can be a lot of work, so you will probably end up wanting a rudder.

    If you go with a rudder, you are going to have to figure out how you are going to control it. It will probably be too far away to use a tiller, so you will use a steering yoke instead.

    (See 4rth attachment)

    This yoke will be controlled by either some kind of push/pull stick, or control lines.

    So these are the first things you need to think about, as you design a new boat around your Hull.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  6. bpw
    Joined: May 2012
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    bpw Senior Member

    You would be interested in George Dyson and his baidarkas. Check out the book "starship and the canoe" by Kenneth brower and "baidarka" by Dyson.
     
  7. josh907vest
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    josh907vest Junior Member

    Thank you sharpii2, the information definitely helps. Two masts seems like a must, smaller sails with reef points, rope controlled rudder, a lee board on each side.. that sounds about what i'm looking for in putting into this boat. And i really like the idea of having a big enough cockpit to sleep in plus add a tent over it. i will look into that some more. It sure would be nice to camp in the boat and not have to worry about bears coming in at night lol.
     
  8. josh907vest
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    Location: willow, Alaska

    josh907vest Junior Member

    i will be sure to check those out bpw, thanks.
     
  9. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    The Lee Board looks like it stays on the same side with each tack, so it isn't really a Lee Board. If it does stay on the same side it looks too weak when it is on the windward side.

    The steering arrangement also looks a bit troublesome. It looks like you will be putting some very high loads on the steering cable. Such could make it inaccurate due to stretch. Plus there is a far greater chance of it breaking.

    One approach, I have seen, is to put a yoke on the tiller and a second one on the rudder, with lines or cable connecting the two.

    The sails look too small.

    You are probably going to want 45 to 65 sf of sail, to make this thing move at any reasonable speed, except in high winds, once you load your camping gear.

    Other than that, it looks like you're off to a good start.
     
  10. josh907vest
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    josh907vest Junior Member

    okay that makes sense, i will draw up a new design. what kind of sail design would you recommend? i've read that a lateen or lug rig works best for sailing canoes. i dont know much about rigging and what not, i would like something simple and easy to handle.
     
  11. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Josh - canoe sailing is relatively popular in the UK.

    Here's the Open Canoe Sailing Group:http://www.ocsg.org.uk/

    They have a friendly facebook group.

    See also the Solway Dory website: http://www.solwaydory.co.uk/ they have a good shot of their pivoting leeboard under 'accessories'. Note the length to ensure good operation of the foil when it is to windward. They also do a good trade in outriggers.
     
  12. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Josh,

    There is a whole forum in England of people doing this kind of a conversion.
    Please go to: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/forumdisplay.php?135-Canoe-Sailing-and-Sailing-Canoes

    Additionally Todd Bradshaw has a well recognized book: http://www.amazon.com/Canoe-Rig-Essence-Sailpower-Traditional/dp/0937822574 which shows lots of options.

    Bradshaw also comments over on the Wooden boat forum.
    There is a fairly extensive article on how to make your own sails also by Todd, it can be used with Tyvek to make proper initial set of sails for a canoe, I'll find it if you want. Todd currently makes custom sails for kayaks, etc.

    Actually, I generally read any post by Todd, even if I don't care about the subject because he has very well thought out comments IMHO.

    A couple of weeks trip without stopping in somewhere for resupply might be ambitious, but I'm just sitting here - Good for you and good luck.
     
  13. latestarter
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    latestarter Senior Member

    The system most people use is a single lee/windward board attached by a bracket to a thwart. On either tack the board makes no contact with the hull so structurally the stresses are similar though reversed.

    You can see it at 2.15 into this video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zexkXRiD9zk
     
  14. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    But the board has to be longer if only mounted on one side because the heel of the boat pulls the board out of the water on the windward side.
    Mounting to the thwart generally provides less stiffness to the position of the board, but it might still be enough.

    One thing you ought to consider is that Alaskan waters are going to be cold. Canoes are not very stable, dumping into the water by your self might be quite dangerous. This is why most of the Brit canoe sailors have a dry suit. It is an expensive piece of equipment but might well save your life.
    it also might be a reason to consider outriggers, Solway Dory in England provides a design that is intended as a safety feature, only used when the boat tips a long way.
     

  15. josh907vest
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    Location: willow, Alaska

    josh907vest Junior Member

    i would really like to see that article if its not to much trouble to find, i've been thinking a lot about sail material. i don't have much money, but i thought about buying a used dinghy sail off of eBay.. if not that than tyvek or tarp sails. i'm leaning towards the tyvek, that way i can customize to specific dimensions for what need. And about the problem of food supply over 2 weeks, it is easily possible to be out in the wilderness for more than two week up here in Alaska if you have the skills. The woods and sea are practically a grocery store, all i need is my fly rod and my old Winchester 20 gauge if get low on food lol.
     
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