Canoe Ballast for Sailing

Daniel Day

Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
I have been reading and have the rigging set to go for sailing my canoe. The one thing I have not come across is information on how much or how little weight to put in the canoe for sailing. The liturature I have reads a 600 lb capacity for the canoe. With this much weight would the canoe be sluggish, hard to handle? One person and no other weight would it be to light? The canoe is a OTCA 17' and I have the 44 sqft sail. Has anyone found a good weight for the best sailing? I am just trying to get an idea of what to expect.
Daniel Day
Spokane, Wa.
I find that my own weight of about 180 pounds is plenty for a 16 foot Old Town sailing canoe with a 75 square foot sail. You should not need any additional ballast in a 17 foot Otca with a 44 square foot sail. Have fun,

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The vast majority of sailing canoes use no ballast other than the two-legged variety. This actually works out pretty well as it's quite useful to be able to shift your weight in and out and fore and aft as you sail and the boat will respond to your actions. Weighting the boat down anywhere near it's capacity would make it very sluggish to sail. Some of the old canoes designed specifically as sailing craft did use weighted metal centerboards for additional ballast, but they usually had very large sailplans compared to the typical add-on sail rigs for regular canoes that are most common these days.