Adding a small sail rig to an open canoe

We’ve had a lot of sailing cruisers lately, so I thought it would be good to draw some attention to the opposite – the sometimes nerve-wracking madness that is sailing canoes.

Leeboard support thwart

If you happen to have an open canoe and would like to be able to sail it, here’s a link to help you on your way:

You might also want to consider this essay from Moray McPhail of Classic Marine discussing small boat bouyancy – I know I would!

For these and many other essential articles on the techniques of getting your boat ready for the sprint, see the Techniques page at


Some more sharpie links

The Wikipedia on sharpies:

A little something on Iain Oughtred’s splendid Egret-derived sharpie Haiku:

Reuel Parker also has a version:

But my favourite is probably Phil Bolger’s famous modern sharpie, the Black Skimmer. I’ve often thought this boat with its flat bottom and leeboards would make a good choice for the Thames Estuary, if you don’t mind a boat with spartan accommodation, and that it has a tenuous kind of connection with the old barge yachts.

More on the Black Skimmer:

And still more – here are some photos of one being built:

Black Skimmer plans cost just $40 from Harold H Payson & Co:

Click on the picture below for a slightly larger image.

Black Skimmer

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A real-life sharpie

My last post was about a sharpie, and I’m reminded that Dale Austin (the man who built the Apple Pie) is in the middle of a project to build a sharpie derived from Commodore Munroe’s famous sharpie-derivative Egret.

Munroe developed his double-ended and narrow-bottomed internally ballasted shallow-draft sharpie for duties around the shallow waters of the Florida coast. It proved to be a successful and capable boat.

Over the years it has acquired mythic status, not least because the original plans were lost in a fire and attempts to reproduce something like the original boat have met with mixed success.

After several years of spare-time work on and off, Dale is well on with his new boat, which he calls Pangur Ban, and it’s an admirable and striking piece of work. And when it’s launched countless sharpie fans will be fascinated to learn how it works on the water.

One issue is that the boat is rather longer than Dale’s garage, so I’ve included the last photo because it made me smile – letting it stick out through the door was an original not to say heroic solution to an age-old DIY-boat builder problem.

Sharpie plan

Sharpie Garden

Sharpie garage

Old boats, traditional boats, boat building, restoration, the sea and the North Kent Coast – Gavin Atkin's weblog