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Rigs on a Fletcher?

Discussion in 'Canoe Sailing' started by Don P., Apr 4, 2006.

  1. Don P.

    Don P. Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I have a 17' Fletcher (out of Atikokan, Ontario), Bill Mason Heavy Duty model that we use for occasional river trips in our neck of the woods (Illinois) and take up to the Boundary Waters every other year or so.

    I'm thinking of putting a basic rig on it for crossing some of the bigger lakes we encounter up there (Basswood etc.) and to play with for the sheer fun of it on a nice day.

    Now that I'm getting old and crochety (or so my kids inform me) I'm not looking for a Chesepeake Log Canoe "fat-butt-fully-hiked-out-on-a-plank" style of sailing just something for the fun of it.

    I believe the Fletcher was modeled after the Chestnut Propector that Bill Mason loved so well.

    I haven't found much info on the Fletcher canoes in general and nothing regarding a sailing rig. Any good examples I should be looking at for ideas? Or just assume that any rig for a 17' will work, with some fine tuning fore and aft?
  2. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    The fine tuning is mostly a matter of fitting the sailing rig and it's various parts to the boat with as little disruption to the original structure as possible. If you can't find info on the original sailplan, there are plenty of other plans and types that should work just fine with a bit of tweaking.

    I can see using a sailing rig for coastal tripping, but have some doubts about the practicality of hauling so much awkward stuff across portages in a Quetico-type environment. One could certainly spend an interesting week sailing on Basswood alone, and it would be great once you got there, but depending on your entry point, I can't say I'd look forward to the part of the trip where you make your way in there.

    Perhaps, at least as far as the tripping/sailing idea goes, a more simple downwind-only rig might be a better bet. That way you could leave most of the spars, the rudder and the leeboard/leeboard-bracket assembly at home. It won't replace paddling unless the wind is blowing in the general direction that you want to go, but all you have to portage is a stick of a mast with a sail rolled up around it.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the best of the downwind sail rigs in terms of controllability, fast deployment, fast furling or depowering and safety is called the "Twins" rig, built by Balogh Sail Designs. You can read about it here:

    It's not particularly traditional looking, but in a subtle color it wouldn't be too bad - but it's a great design for tripping use. For regular daysailing around home, where you don't have to disassemble the rig and drag it through the woods, you might want to go full-bore with leeboards, a rudder and a more conventional and traditional sail and spar system.

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