based on Canoes Sailing Resources 2000 and Canoe Sailing
Resources 2003. Time for more updates.
Join an excellent discussion group with people from
around the globe:
Originally prepared by Dan
Miller and Craig
O'Donnell. Later revisions by Craig O'Donnell. Please
email Craig with any comments or corrections.
John Kohnen maintains a list of maritime
links which contains much canoe-related
is the Link Death Spiral. The link has aged out, but if
possible I'll replace it.
When a book or article is listed in
boldface it means it's on the web in
whole or in part.
INDEX & LINKS
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!
Cruising and Camping
- 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
- 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.
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
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
- Reprint of a ca. 1930 ACA publication available
from Chicagoland Canoe Base. While the ACA rules are
well outdated, there is plenty of information on both
decked and open sailing canoes, including various sail
configurations and information on building rigs for
- Sail Your Canoe: How to Add Sails to
- By John Bull. Cordee, 1989. John Bull,
Holme Lea, Angerton, Kirkbride, Carlisle,
Cumbria, GB-CA5 5HX, UK. John also published
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
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
Or, add a square
sail based on Rushton's downwind rig of the
- By Clarence Wilson Stryker. In 1923, a group in
two canoes goes camping along the Severn River in
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 leeboard.
- By Frank Furness. Rudder, Feb. 1952.
Sailing and camping on Long Island Sound in a 17-ft
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
- 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!
- 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 getting this book?) Brown's Canoe Works, 2235
Mount Hope Road, Fairfield, PA 17320 USA.
- The Strippers Guide to
- By David Hazen. Tamal Vista Publications, 1976.
Hazen admits to having never sailed a canoe, but
provides drawings for a sail rig, leeboards, and
- Web Articles:
Too Can Sail a Canoe. By Marilyn Vogel (May
a Rig. By Larry Zuk & Bob Halsey. Essay;
downloadable Acrobat file.
Decked Sailing Canoes
in the Caribbean
- 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 #119. More about Frits
and Yakaboo. Available as an e-book.
Mystic's Blunt Library holds the original logs of
Fenger's cruise along with some miscellanea.
Boats and Boating in the
- 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.
Canoe Aurora; a Cruise from the
Adirondacks to the Gulf
- By Dr. Chas. A. NeidÈ. New York, Forest and
Stream Publishing Co., 1885. A cruise in a Rushton
Princess decked sailing cruising canoe. E-book!
and Boatbuilding for
- 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
at Dan Miller's Dragonfly Canoe Works web
New! From the US Naval Academy Library
I've obtained decent xerox copies of the
original plates, and will put them in their
own directory, here.
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.
The Canoe part is here.
The title page from the original 25-cent mini-book is
The canoe, history, uses, limitations and
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.
Mine is found by clicking on the title, above. A few
bits from Vaux, concerning reefing, appear on the
Cheap Pages here.
Canoe Travelling: Log of a Cruise
on the Baltic, and Practical Hints on Building and
- 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
New! An e-book is in preparation.
Sailing and Motor Boating: Practical
Boat Building and Handling
Warren H. Miller. George Doran, 1917/1919, and later
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
2004 ... Dan Miller
- ... has done some horse-trading and wound up
with a sailing canoe which he thinks is a Rushton.
See his excellent series of "before" pix here.
yes, he plans to restore it.
Horton has written up his experiments
with an up-to-date and relatively high-tech cruising
sailing canoe. Hugh says:
- "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 Feb 2002, Water
Craft Sept/Oct 2002. Read about Puffin
the Cruising Sailing Canoe
Decked Sailing Canoes
Horton Chooses a Rig (June 2000)
Talks About Sailing Canoes (March 2000)
older sailing canoe was written up in Messing About
a Double-Paddle Sailing Canoe
- Manual of Yacht and Boat
- 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
- 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.
Racing, Cruising and Design
- By Uffa Fox. Peter Davies Ltd, London 1937.
Building and racing the international canoe Flying
Rushton and His Times in American
- 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 Friede's
Sailing, Seamanship, and Yacht
- 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
David Hardy. Guy builds a tiny (about 13') Alfred
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
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
Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe on
Rivers and Lakes of Europe
- By John MacGregor. Sampson Low Marston &
Company Limited, London 1866. The book that started it
all. See also this e-book
There were ongoing Rob Roy books. One describes a
cruise in a canoe yawl, The
Voyage Alone in the Yawl Rob
Roy. A condensation
Rob Roy in the Baltic appeared in
Harper's Magazine, 1867. The Rob Roy titles seem to be
exceptionally hard to get ahold of. 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
2004... I've gotten ahold of both Baltic
and Rob Roy on the Jordan and will begin
scanning them at some point. Jordan is a little
Traditions and Memories of American
- 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
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
of the Paper Canoe
- 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
Building a Sail Rig for Kayaks and
- 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
Light Craft for plans for CLC's
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
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
- 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
- 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
Camping out with the British Canoe Association :
with chapters on camping canoeing and amateur
- By John Davey Hayward. London : George Philip
& Son, [1889?]
- 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
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.
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. Also
discussion of sliding seats, Yakaboo and ACA on
pp. 145-147. (Thanks to Jon Etheredge).
The Cruise of the Canoe Club
- 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.
Cruises in small yachts and big
or, Notes from the "Watersnake," in
Holland and on the south coast,
the logs of the "Water Rat" and "Viper,"
on the Thames and south coast,
with remarks on anchorages for small
- By Harry Fiennes Speed. London, Norie &
Wilson, 1883. E-book coming.
- Evolution of
- 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
- Robert Louis Stevenson: 1877. RLS and a friend
travel canals and rivers in Belgium and France. Travel
writing rather than canoe writing, but enjoyable.
at Eldritch Press.
Practical boat building for amateurs: containing
full instructions for designing and building punts,
skiffs, canoes, sailing boats, etc. Illustrated with
- 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.
American Supplement (1876): How to
Build Cheap Boats
- 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
- 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. Read it
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 wonderful.