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Canoe Sailing Resources 2010




 ... based on Canoes Sailing Resources 2000, 2003 and 2005. Originally prepared by Dan Miller and Craig O'Donnell. Later revisions by Craig O'Donnell. Please email Craig with any comments or corrections.

Join an excellent discussion group with people from around the globe:

Nautical Web veteran John Kohnen maintains a list of maritime links which contains much canoe-related web-o-terie.

 This is the Link Death Spiral.

The link has aged out, but if possible I'll replace it. If not the author and title/subject remains for reference.

When a book or article is listed in  boldface it means it's on the web in whole or in part.



  • General Canoe Sailing References
  • Open Canoe Sailing
  • Decked Sailing Canoes
  • Kayak Sailing
  • Esoterica for the Truly Obsessed
  • Canoe Sail Plans
  • Directory of Sailing Canoe Plans Published ca. 1880-1910
  • Sailing Canoes in Museums
  • Sailing Canoe Plans You Can Buy
  • Sailing Canoe Associations and Clubs
  • Canoe Meet, British Canoe Association, 1892
  • Images from the Heyday of Canoe Sailing
  • Sailing Canoe Miscellanea
  • Outrigger Sailing Canoes and Proas: Pacific Ocean, Indonesia, etc.
  • Museum and Library Notes

    Left: How the Hawaiians sailed, from Tommy Holmes' The Hawaiian Canoe.

    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).


     General References


    Canoes 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! at

    Canoe 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 Wood Construction

    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.
    Also, the commentary describes an excellent way to rig a canoe sheet with just a single block. You'll never lose the sheet, and you will have a comfy 2:1 purchase.

    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.

    See also:
    ACA National Sailing Committee and Canoe Sailor newsletter (including a sample PDF issue).

    Canoeing and Small Boating References on the Web:



    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.

    Sailmaker's Apprentice

    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.



    A Pluvial Cruise

    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 leeboard.

    Canoe Cruising

    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.
    Note: John is now at the Antique Boat Museum along with Dan Miller.

    Canoe 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 17320 USA.
     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:


    Building a Rig. By Larry Zuk & Bob Halsey. Essay; downloadable Acrobat file.

    You 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 ballast.

    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.
    Alone 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 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).

    The Canoe 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!

    Canoe and Boatbuilding for Amateurs
    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. The Canoe part is here. The title page from the original 25-cent mini-book is here.

    Canoe Handling.
    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. 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 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 Craig, too.

    Canoeing, Sailing and Motor Boating: Practical Boat Building and Handling

    By 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 here.

    Dragonfly Canoe Works • Dan Miller
    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 of "before" pix here.
    Dan has collected various vintage canoe articles and designs:

    Atlantis - rig details
    E.T. Holding Cruising Canoe
    Ruggles Foggy Dew
    Rushton Hyla
    G.U. Laws Isalo
    W.L. Alden Shadow
    Rushton Snake
    H.L. Strobridge Canoe
    Fenger  Union One-Design

    Hugh 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 in Feb 2002, Water Craft Sept/Oct 2002.

    Read about Bufflehead, Puffin and Serendipity:
    See EpoxyWorks' clickable contents, or:

    Modern Decked Sailing Canoes (Hugh Horton)
    Discovering the Cruising Sailing 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)."


    Bufflehead: A 21st Century, Solo Cruising Sailing Canoe. Get plans here.

    Canoe Sailing Magazine:

    Bufflehead ad • Bufflehead writeup.
    Choosing a hull
    for a sailing canoe.
    Small sailing multihulls (trimaran canoes, etc.)

    Missing links:
    Hugh Horton Chooses a Rig (June 2000 WaterTribe)
    Hugh Talks About Sailing Canoes (March 2000 WaterTribe)
    Hugh's older sailing canoe was written up in Messing About in Boats:
    Osprey, a Double-Paddle Sailing Canoe
    International Canoes at the Canadian Canoe Sailing Association
    Tim Gittins (gittins [at]
    Toronto, Ontario
    Long Island canoe cruise, 1903.
    Sailing canoe designs, historical reference drawings.
    Photos, drawings of historical sailing canoes.
    Past and Future of American Canoeing
    (Forest & Stream, January 1900)

    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.
    2010 ...

    Practical Canoeing

    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.

    Sailing Craft

    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 Friede's Mermaid.

    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).

    A 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 version.

    There were ongoing Rob Roy books:

    The Voyage Alone in the Yawl Rob Roy describes a cruise in a canoe yawl.
    The Rob Roy in the Baltic:  A condensation appeared in Harper's Magazine, Sept. 1867.
    Since that was posted, electronic versions have arrived.  Google Books here.
    Another version here.
    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 Roy on the 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 American Yachting
    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 amateurs.

    Voyage 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.


    Kayak Sailing

       CLC SailRig



    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 Light 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.

    Farthest North

    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, [1889? 1891?]
    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.

    Canoeing with Sail and Paddle

    By John D. Hayward, M.D.
    Mersey Canoe Club, Late Vice-Commodore B.C.A.;
    Author of “Camping Out with the British Canoe Association.”
    With Numerous Illustrations
    London : George Bell & Sons, York St., Covent Garden, and New York. 1893.

    Set of PDF files at Dragonfly Canoe Works.


    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 Etheredge).
    Note: LFH redesigned a design contest winner in the 30s. Info coming.

    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. E-book coming.

    Cruises in small yachts and big canoes;
      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 craft

    By Harry Fiennes Speed. London, Norie & Wilson, 1883. E-book coming.
    Evolution of Canoeing
    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.

    The Scientific 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 tutorial.
    Question: who was "Paddlefast"? Someone has suggested W.P. Stephens, but I'm not so sure.
    The Sliding Gunter: A Versatile and Efficient Traditional Rig

    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 wonderful.


    Sailing Canoe Plans for
    Motivated Canoe Sailors


    Plans or kits are available and it's not that hard to build a sailing canoe. All plans are assumed to provide complete building instructions unless otherwise noted.

    Antique Boat Museum
    Designed for plywood by John Summers. "... a hard-chine 16-30 believed to be one of a number of boats built by the Gilbert Boat Company for the Gananoque Canoe Club in the early 20th century."

    Adirondack Museum
    by J. Henry Rushton. "Decorative plans" - these are the same as published in Atwood Manley's Rushton and His Times in American Canoeing. For building purposes, these plans leave a lot to be desired in terms of completeness and accuracy.
    by J. Henry Rushton. "Decorative Plans" - like the Princess drawings, these are found in Manley's book, and are also poor quality.
    by J. Henry Rushton.
    While Ugo was an open model paddling canoe, the same hull when decked over becomes the Nomad. These drawings, by Dave Dillion, are excellent. While the sail plan has been reconstructed and published in Hallie Bond's Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks, the deck beams and deck arrangement would still have to be worked out. Perhaps a visit to the Adirondack Museum to see Nomad on display would be in order...

    Mystic Seaport Museum
    14' Sailing Canoe
    by Wiser. Really neat construction drawings! Study plans in an old WoodenBoat, too.
    In the British style with deck flaps; probably designed by W.P. Stephens. Sail plan only.
    A Rushton Vesper model. Sail plan only.

    Mystic also has the W.P. Stephens Collection, which includes material from the Humber Canoe Club and from Stephens' long friendship with Albert Strange.

    Don't bother to go to Mystic to see their canoes unless you call way in advance: the small craft are away in a warehouse.

    Capt. Pete Culler

    17' two-masted sailing canoe.

    Traditional lapstrake. Narrow, round bottomed tandem. Looks fast and tender.

    13' sailing canoe Butternut

    Traditional lapstrake. Very small.

    See Pete Culler's Boats: The Complete Design Catalog, by John Burke (International Marine 1984; out of print).

    2005 update on plans: Patricia Kelley-Staab emails that "George Kelley was my dad and he passed away in 1999. I believe Pete Culler's plans are available from Mystic Seaport."

    Charles G. Davis

    Free plans online right here.

    A 15-foot canoe yawl from The Rudder, 1895. No offsets; you'll have to work this out by traditional lofting. Interestingly, this appears to be the first DIY boat plan in an American yachting magazine.

    Duck Trap Woodworking
    Offers plans for traditional lapstrake canoes in three lengths modeled after Culler's Butternut. Also offers plans for sail rigs for these canoes, and the book Building Lapstrake Canoes.

    Uffa Fox

    17' Wake

    Wake is described in Uffa Fox's books Sail and Power and Thoughts on Yachts and Yachting. Cost £ 35.00

    20' Brynhild

    Brynhild is a tandem sailing canoe described in Uffa's book Sail and Power.
    Cost £ 40.00

    Uffa Fox Ltd., Thetis Road, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England

    Hugh Horton • Bufflehead

    21st century canoe cruiser, stitch and glue. Plans through Duckworks.

    Island Canoe Company [?]
    3556 West Blakely Avenue NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Said to have plans for several canoes, including Robert Gibson's Vesper and Frederick Fenger's rudderless Yakaboo, as well as open canoes which can be modified for sailing. They have modified the lines for both Yakaboo and Vesper to suit modern tastes. Unfortunately, no Web presence and I've never seen plans from them.

    Individual Designers:

    • Jim Michalak

    Very simple plywood boats. These are decked canoes or kayaks with a small transom. Easier to attach a rudder. Larsboat is based on the Klepper/Folbot folding boats and has an optional trimaran sailing setup. The others certainly can be adapted to modest sail rigs.


    • Gary Dierking

    Wonderful outrigger canoes. Plans here.

    • Chris Ostlind

    A trimaran canoe for expeditions. Plans here.

    Selway Fisher Designs

    15 King St, Melksham, Wiltshire England SN12 6HB. See also Seabird Boats (this was Tyrone Boats).

    15' Canoe Beaver. Stitch-and-glue, and 20' Canoe Seajay (stretched Beaver).


    Lillie - Canoe Yawl

    Waterman 12, Waterman 13, Waterman 16

    Woodland 15



    Michael Storer

    Tremolo, Ephemera and others from Emubo [apparently vanished].
    Plans for ultra-simple sharpie sailing canoes. Very much in the Michalak and Bolger philosophical camp. Modern sailing canoes, and cheap to build. 


    Solo Dancer  Ephemera

    Wooden Canoe Heritage Association

    Wood Canoe plans here.

    George Holmes

    Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

    20' Canoe Yawl Eel.

    Oddly enough, George Holmes' drawings went to W.P. Stephens, and C. Lowndes Johnson, a well-known Chesapeake designer, borrowed them for tracing. There are 3 or4 sheets with lines and a sail plan and deck rigging plan. Complete enough for a serious builder to build from.

    Classic Boat magazine.

    Boating House Publications, Link House, Dingwell Ave, Croydon, Surrey, England CR9 2TA.

    13' x 4' Canoe Yawl Ethel. Lapstrake. Ten part article that ran from January 1991 to November 1991 (Issues #34-41).

    Two articles in the series are especially worth finding and xeroxing:

    Building a Victorian Canoe Yawl, Part 9: A Different Rig for Ethel.
    Classic Boat, September 1991, pp. 51-55.

    This article gives all dimensions for an 80 sqft lug mainsail and 16 sqft lug mizzen, hollow pine mainmast and mizzen mast, and bamboo yards and booms. Ethel is a canoe yawl but the sail area will work for longer sailing canoes.

    Canoe? Perhaps. Yawl? Hardly. by John Leather
    Classic Boat, October 1991, pp. 43-48.

    A typically thorough Leather article on the history of the canoe yawl from its origins on the River Humber to date.

    Solway Dory
    "The home of canoe sailing" offers sailing canoe plans ranging from 11' to 16'. Stitch-and-glue.

    Smallest Solway Dory canoe:

    Chesapeake Light Craft
    Mill Creek 13 (shown) or 16 double-paddle canoes with balanced lugsail.

    Sassafras open canoes can be adapted to sail but they are very light. This is the Sassafras 16. Sassafras 12 is more or less equivalent to the Culler Butternut (above). The 16 might be decked, and with a leeboard, make a nice cruising canoe.

    Plans or stitch-and-glue kits. CLC also sells the sails, which can be used on anyone's canoe.

    1805 George Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401, USA
    Telephone: 410-267-0137

    Michael Storer Designs -- in the U.S., order plans from Duckworks.

    A 17' two-masted sailing canoe, Beth.

    Stitch-and-glue from plywood. Phil Bolger sharpie style: flat, rockered bottom and plumb sides. Very fast.
    Drop-Sailing Rig. Small and simple.

    WoodenBoat Magazine/WoodenBoat Store

    12' Wee Rob

    13'-7" or 15'-8" MacGregor

    Glued plywood lapstrake by Iain Oughtred.

    12'-8" Piccolo

    Lapstrake by R.H. Baker. The construction of this boat was also detailed in WoodenBoat, and reprinted in Wooden Boat: an Appreciation of the Craft, Addison-Wesley, 1982. Reputed to be a poor sailer.

    Jim Michalak Laarsboat.

    Phil Bolger's Sailing Peero

    A $25 'shareware' boat plan for a 12-ft sailing canoe. Flat sides, leeboard, sharpie bottom, much rocker, transom stern, the ACA would not approve but it's fun to sail or paddle and sails exceedingly well.


    John Bull points out, in his book, that Phil Bolger's "His and Hers Schooner" plan is actually a 20-foot schooner-rigged sharpie-style sailing canoe. Unusual perhaps, but it's a possibility.

    Lost in the Woods Boatworks
    Boats and rigs all on a very nice web page.

    Notes on Museums and Libraries


    Peabody/Essex Museum (Salem, MA) • Photos from 1880s and 1890s ACA meets, and its collection includes a charming little decked canoe Urchin. Click here. Library catalog: click here.

    Antique Boat Museum (Clayton, NY) • Click here.

    The Adirondack Museum (Blue Mountain Lake, NY) • A collection of genuine sailing canoes (nope, none sailing) and a library filled with information. Click here.


    National Maritime Museum (Greenwich UK) • The Museum's library is the most comprehensive maritime reference library in the world. It contains around 100,000 printed books as well as pamphlets, bound volumes of periodicals, microforms and a selection of CD-ROMs. The Library collections are fully computerized. The Library is also the point of access to the Manuscript Collection.

    The Rare Book Collection accounts for about 10,000, pre-1850 printed books. It is rich in early books on shipbuilding, seamanship and signaling, and includes examples of early works on navigation. Click here.

    The Navy Department Library <> in Washington DC holds the following obscure titles. You may also find some volumes in the Nimitz Library at the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis) and at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News. Harvard has a good collection of the various editions of Dixon Kemp - perhaps Yale does too.

    Camping out with the British Canoe Association : with chapters on camping canoeing and amateur photography. E-book.
    By John Davey Hayward
    George Philip & Son, [1889?]
    Description: 99 p. : ill., photos. ; 17 cm.
    RARE COLL. UNDERSIZE GV191.48.G7 H39 1889

    The Canoe Aurora; a cruise from the Adirondacks to the gulf.
    By Dr. Chas. A. NeidÈ
    Forest and stream publishing co., 1885.
    Description: 215 p. incl. front. (map) 19 cm.
    GEN. COLL. E168.N39

    Canoe Handling. The canoe, history, uses, limitations and varieties, practical management and care and relative facts.
    By C. Bowyer Vaux
    Forest and Stream Publishing Co., 1886.
    Description: 168 p. ill. diagrs. 19 cm.
    SPEC. COLL. GV783.V38 1886

    Yachts, Boats and Canoes, with special chapters on model yachts and single-handed sailing.
    By C. Stansfeld-Hicks.
    Numerous illustrations and diagrams and working drawings of model yachts and various small craft suitable for amateurs.
    Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1887.
    Description: 384 p. ill. ; 21 cm.
    SPEC. COLL. VM321.S8 1887

    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.
    L. U. Gill [1881?]
    Description: 108 p. illus. 20 cm.
    GEN. COLL. VM351.N41

    Cruises in Small Yachts and Big Canoes; 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 craft.
    By Harry Fiennes Speed.
    Norie & Wilson, 1883.
    Description: viii, 288 p. front., illus., maps (partly fold.) 19 cm.
    GEN. COLL. GV819.S74

    Canoe Travelling: log of a cruise on the Baltic, and practical hints on building and fitting canoes.
    By Warington Baden-Powell.
    Smith, Elder, 1871.
    Description: xiii, 172 p. front., illus., plates (part fold.) fold. map. 20 cm.
    GEN. COLL. DL617.B15

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