Project Griswold: rigging a canoe for sailing

The fever hit me in the form of a boat, and there are very few cures for a case of Boat-Fever other than acquiring a boat. Thus, a canoe was acquired. That being said, once an object is in my possession, it is difficult for me to not modify/upgrade the thing.

This is a pictoral tale of the mods I made to a canoe during the Summer of 2019. Originally, I had hoped to post about each of the main components that were created for the canoe, but that simply wasn't happening fast enough, and thus I decided to post all of the boat modifications at once. Technically, the majority of components are removable and aren't actually "modifications", but you get the idea.

The canoe!

16' Wenonah Prospector… the "Lewis & Clark" model
Clark, Clark, Clark?

Obviously I needed to name the project after the greatest adventurer named "Clark"
Clark W. Griswold

Yup, it can paddle around

Paddling is over-rated, so I built a detachable motor mount

The canoe did not want a motor

the first test of the motor resulted in a flipped canoe, and the need for a new phone. It is amazing that the battery didn't get lost.

Obviously the canoe wanted a more natural mode of propulsion, and at this time it was decided that wind power was the best way to go.

starting the rudder mount

the bolt on bracket for the rudder

Design some outrigger/ama/mini-hulls

Inkscape was used to rough out a design for outriggers

Hopefully the depth of the outriggers negates the need for a dagger board

Outrigger pieces cut

Outrigger skeletons, glued and screwed

Rigid insulation cut for the outriggers

The insulation will be epoxied to the outrigger skeleton and then shaped

Initial design of the kick-up rudder and rudder box

Why not draw designs directly on the wood?

Clamping the insulation onto the outrigger skeleton

Smoothed with a rasp and power sander

Rudder and rudder-box mostly complete

A cap for the rudder axle

The rudder axle is 1/2" copper tube

Finished axle

A yoke on the axle box

The rudder retracts quite well

Find a new tiller

A branch of Ash cut from a local tree will make an excellent tiller

Fiberglassing the outriggers

Designing clamps for the outrigger arms/akas

Akas are done, man

Mast source

a piece of wood for the mast couldn't be found, so I decided to build one from pieces ripped from this 10' 4"x4"

knotwork holding the outriggers to the arms

this was later replaced with a bungie cord that makes the process of assembly quite a bit faster

Laminating a mast

two pieces of 2x1 were ripped from the 4x4 and glued together

Remove the corners

Not quite aligned, but a belt sander put things in order

Making the bolt-on mast housing

Paint does not hide everything

Roughing the sail shape

the sail is based on the 36 square feet sail from

the sail is cut

Hella sinister scissors make every project better

Making the yards

The yards are 1x1 ripped from the remains of the 4x4 used for the mast. Scarf joints helped achieve the correct length

Sippin and sewing


The sail wasn't complete yet, but I was invited to a birthday party on the lake, and felt it was a great time to test the rudder and outriggers on some bigger water.

Stable enough for a hyper puppers

This was the first trip to the lake with the outriggers, and it was a real learning experience. Tear down, load up, transport, unload, set up, and hit the water. Inefficiencies were found, and remedied.

Sheep poo

The sail was finally finished, and tied to the yards. This was done in my driveway; then a sheep walked on the sail and took a crap.

Mast foot

This is the only real modification to the canoe. The mast foot needs to be epoxied to the inside of the canoe so that the mast stays in place.

Holy crap that looks bad, but it works!

Cruising at 3KPH

And there she is, sailing on the lake. :)

Griswold isn't the fasted boat on the water, and that's OK. Any use of wind power for propulsion is time that I am not paddling. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy going for a paddle, but I also like using the wind to help me explore the lake.


jezra :)