Canoe Sailing with Ray Goodwin

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That looks like a real practical set up, especially the use of a two piece poling pole.

Ray Goodwin is a pretty accomplished adventurer, I just saw him being interviewed by Kevin Callan in a Whisky fireside chat.
 
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Really practical gaff rig, that lends itself well to small boat sailing. Never thought about using a gaff rig on a canoe, but after that video, my gears are turning.

Thanks for sharing the link to the video Jim. Or maybe not so much, as this looks like it could be another rabbit hole.
 
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A very simple set up without lee boards. Using the paddle for some reaching. If you sail a canoe you are going to get wet. I have used a bed sheet lots of times with two canoes going downwind, but have never tried to reach at all.
 
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We used two paddles and aGI Poncho to sail down wind once in the BWCA, I like these ideas better !

Jim
 
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On a long trip, the prospect of free mileage has lots of appeal. Even holding paddles in the air with a tail wind helps. A poncho, a bed sheet, a ground tarp anything in a pinch. Actually the use of a paddle as a lee board, allows a canoe to run at an angle approaching a reach. It is really good technique if you ask me.

Once on the Upper Missouri R in Montana on the Trail of Lewis and Clark, we had strong westerly tail winds. We were making about 3-5 mph over ground in the current, We brought two canoes along side and used a flannel bed sheet for a sail. We had rooster tails coming off both boats, making about 10 mph over ground.
 
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Sailing, or at least the idea of sailing, has been gaining a hold on me the last few years. I watch several YT vloggers' escapades under sail in their (very) small boat adventures. But canoe sailing doesn't "float my boat". I/we have rafted under tarp sails, hastily hoisted rain jackets between two paddles held aloft, even felt the pull employing nothing more than an old cotton shirt held billowing out from the bow. The exhilaration was real even if the the term "sailing" might've been as stretched as that old shirt. Part of the appeal was the casual inelegance of throwing together in a haphazard way a method of hitching a ride with the wind down a lake. I could even be interested in a wind sock purchase (perhaps) but a full rig setup looks like one more tomfoolery tool to add to my already overindulged gear pile.
But this is just me. It needn't be you. In another life I'd be a confirmed sailor but not in this one. However I do always try to have an old loose shirt laying outside my pack just in case the winds are favourable.
 
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Sailing, or at least the idea of sailing, has been gaining a hold on me the last few years
I could even be interested in a wind sock purchase (perhaps) but a full rig setup looks like one more tomfoolery tool to add to my already overindulged gear pile.

For downwind use in a tandem I think a sturdy golf umbrella works as well or better than a “wind sock” (Windpaddle Sail or the like). And an umbrella is more useful around rainy camp.

But a golf umbrella is damn near useless as a solo sail.

For my simplistic solo downwind-only sailing purposes nothing comes close to the (sadly discontinued) Spirit Sail. No tomfoolery, one shock corded batten to ferrule snap open or fold closed on each side, 28” long x 3” dia stuff bagged and lightweight when not in use, up or down in seconds when you get the hang of it. And getting the hang of it doesn’t take long.

For my purposes, family purposes, friend’s purposes, even putting novices in a boat with a simple sail rig purposes, nothing else comes close to a Spirit Sail.

Family sailing (Lake Marion, SC)

IMG015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

More family sailing. “Wait up youse guys”. (Tangier Sound, MD)

IMG011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Jim Saulers, sailing his Bell Magic (Raystown, PA)

IMG008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Conk handsfree lighting his pipe under sail (Little Tupper, Adirondacks)

PA020023 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

DougD, handfree cracking a beer (Little Tupper)

PA020024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Novice friends Brian and Jim “Look Ma, no hands” sailing. So easy even a newbie can do it. (Transquaking, MD)

IMG021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Good enough for the gear discerning Jim Saulters and Conk. Simple and easy enough for family, kids and newbies and even DougD to operate. Sounds just right for the likes of me.
 
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Early sailing photo, loaded canoe, golf umbrella and child bowman on Chesuncook Lake

EK_0011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Note the bow wake; moving along at a nice clip.
 
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That is cool.

For lake tripping in a tandem canoe bringing a golf umbrella was a no-brainer for us. Effective as a downwind sail, “furls/unfurls” in an instant, effective and directionally controllable angled off to one side, no sheets or lines, doesn’t take up much room and lightweight; the heavy duty golf umbrella we have weighs 1lb 4oz.

Even though we are all in solo canoes with Spirit Sails we still bring the golf umbrella for rainy trips to the thunderbox or simply dashing out from beneath the tarp. Come rainy bedtime I can shed raingear under the tarp and amble over to unzip the tent while dry and undrippy.

But, mostly, when we did have a decent tailwind, we wanted to take advantage.
 
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On our most recent canoe trip I tucked a golf umbrella up front for my wife to try sailing with. She never did. She said something about preferring to paddle and enjoy the view. I was disappointed. How often do you get tailwinds every day on a trip? Every. Day. A brisk tailwind. She chose instead to use it as a wind break in camp.
Oh well. Next time I will insist on giving it a go.
 
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On our most recent canoe trip I tucked a golf umbrella up front for my wife to try sailing with. She never did. She said something about preferring to paddle and enjoy the view. I was disappointed. How often do you get tailwinds every day on a trip? Every. Day. A brisk tailwind. Oh well. Next time I will insist on giving it a go.

Next time there is a helpful tailwind forecast, or a suitable day’s wind direction, trim the canoe for your weight and take the bow seat. Kinda nice up there, not staring at the back of someone’s head.

There’s not a lot of effort in holding a golf umbrella horizontally once the canoe gets up to speed in a tail breeze. Even a 9 year old can do it. The stern paddler though needs to put some effort into paddle blade ruddering, or gunwale grasped lee boarding. For gunwale held aft-of stern rudder action a long paddle, (dare I say double blade), is helpful.

We had enough good-times tandem tailwind trips with golf umbrellas that I knew I wanted a solo canoe solution.

“How often?” No, not every time, or every day. But on a multi-day open water trip, if I have a cooperative tailwind, thankee very much, I’ll take the speedy assist and save my energy for later.

I have snatched weather forecasted next-couple-days trips with wind speed and direction in mind, sailing effortlessly in. And, on some rare occasions, spent a few days/week, and, after listening to the weather radio, sailed right back out.

For any/every trip I want some simplistic sail available. Even if I can’t sail in or out (I usually get at least one option) I can base-camp day paddle into the wind with some assurance of a fast and effortless return to camp.

Don’t get me wrong; I love to paddle. But if I can capture a free downwind ride at paddling speed I think of it kinda like hot-air ballooning; once the umbrella fills and you get moving with the wind it is quiet and easy.

And educational; I have learned as much about reading open-water riffle patterns and wind shadow nuances in a few years of downwind sailing as I learned in 30 years of just-stroke-it paddling. Those learned nuance lessons equally apply for upwind travel.

She chose instead to use it as a wind break in camp.

Brad, two words. Wind chair. Or five words, high rise wind block backrest. Old chair fabric, couple of old tent poles, plug it in and sit wind to your back.

PA070123 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Maybe some seat insulation too. She’s worth it eh?
 
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